We can all agree that to live a healthy lifestyle avoiding sugar when cooking is crucial. Especially since sweet tasting foods are just delicious to eat. I mean, who doesn’t like a great tasting sweet dessert for a special occasion or a “just because”. Even looking at the presentation of a dessert with a swirl of chocolate or a raspberry sauce design, or a cake with beautiful artwork is enough to get the taste buds salivating. It was our ancient ancestor’s desire for sweetness that helped them to survive. How else could they determine if a plant, leaf, or fruit from a tree was edible? If it was bitter, sour, tingling, or tart there was less likely hood they would consume it. On the other hand, if it was sweet, succulent or mouthwatering, it was consumed and sought after. So in some respects, the Sugar in foods has helped our species to endure and thrive.
Fast forward from the time of foraging for food in the forests to foraging in aisles of the grocery store. If you’re looking to live a healthy lifestyle, it’s important to know what goes in your food. Reading the ingredients on packaged foods has become more mainstream, but often times reading the labels can require a google search or two if you really want to know what you are consuming. One of the ingredients that you will find more and more of, especially in so called healthy foods, is Sugar. Now it’s important to know, I am not talking about the naturally occurring Sugars already in the raw ingredients but the added Sugar that’s added into the final product. There are over 40 different varieties of simple refined Sugars being added into our foods. For example, rice Sugar, high fructose Sugar, barley malt, cane juice crystals, and invert Sugar are just a few of the 40 types of simple Sugars companies use in processing our foods.
I am not here to bash Sugar, sometimes I use Sugar in some of my recipes when cooking. What concerns me is the trend I have been seeing with Sugar being added into the foods we regularly consume. It concerns me because years ago we never added it! Why start now? Is it really necessary? The largest culprits of this new trend are pasta sauces, nut butters, and bread. I have noticed the less expensive brands tend to add Sugar, and a lot of it! You may think you’re making healthy choices but watch out, smoothies, yogurts, and flavored instant oatmeal often contain huge amounts of added Sugars. Salad dressings, ‘healthy’ energy bars, peanut or other nut butters, soups, granola, even frozen fruit (YES frozen fruit) are also big packers of Sugar. If your focus is to eat healthy and take good care of yourself, knowing this may help you make aware, conscious choices that support your lifestyle. I am here to help you with that.
Feel free to contact me to see how I can support you further – whether it’s cooking in your home, catering your next function, or teaching a cooking class. I look forward to connecting with you soon.