You might have followed all the chatter yesterday – sugar as toxic as alcohol…should be banned…oh, hang on, no, it’s harmless. Etc. Etc. Wendy Harmer buzzed and asked me to provide this comment for TheHoopla. I’d spent the day chatting about it today on radio (and I think I shocked a few jocks into putting down their Boost).
Thought you might like to read my thoughts…
It’s a year to the week that I quit sugar.
And because I’m about to bang on about the need for more transparency in this world, some disclosure: I wrote an ebook about it. So it could be said I have a vested interest in this topic.
Anyone who’s quit sugar would know what I mean when I say that the most challenging-slash-intriguing part of quitting is The Resistance. People get affronted. Angry.
It’s funny. If I told people I no longer ate frozen peas, no-one would care. I wouldn’t get the outrage. The anger.
But sugar? Well…
Earlier today it was revealed a team of scientists from the University of California has called for sugar to be treated as a poison, in much the same ways as alcohol and nicotine. They’ve suggested sugar, too, be taxed heavily and come with warnings, better labelling and education campaigns.
In an article published in science journal Nature they argued sugar isn’t just a bunch of naughty, empty calories. It’s making us fat and killing us. Sugary food, they say, is responsible for 35 million annual deaths worldwide.
They point out that, at the levels consumed in the West, sugar alters metabolism, raises blood pressure, disrupts hormone signalling and causes significant damage to the liver that is still not fully understood, leading to heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
And boy has it brought on The Resistance. Today I’ve watched online as nutrition experts around the world railed against the idea.
But why? I mean. Why?!
Surely none of them think sugar is good for us? Or would disagree with the claim that we’re consuming too much of it? Why not push for better labelling?
As one of the article’s authors said, “We’re not talking prohibition. We’re not advocating a major imposition of the Government into people’s lives. We’re talking about gentle ways to make sugar consumption slightly less convenient, thereby moving people away from the concentrated dose.”
Some of these experts are arguing sugar is entirely avoidable. No it’s not!
Have you been to a supermarket or food court lately? Sugar’s in everything, and insidiously so. It’s so well hidden it shocks when I tell people that barbecue sauce is 50 percent sugar, that pasta sauces can contain more sugar than chocolate topping.