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Of the 600,000 food items in the American grocery store, 80% have been spiked with added sugar; the industry uses 56 other names for sugar.

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Sugar is not one chemical. It's two. Glucose is the energy of life. Every cell in every organism on the planet can burn glucose for energy. Glucose is mildly sweet, but not very interesting (think molasses). Fructose is an entirely different animal. Fructose is very sweet, the molecule we seek. Both burn at four calories per gram. If fructose were just like glucose, then sugar or high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) would be just like starch. But fructose is not glucose. Because a calorie is not a calorie.

The food industry has contaminated the American food supply with added sugar to "sell more product" and thereby uphold their Wall Street mandate to increase profits. Of the 600,000 food items in the American grocery store, 80 percent have been spiked with added sugar; and the industry uses 56 other names for sugar on the label. They know when they add sugar, you buy more. And because you do not know you're buying it, you buy even more.

Sugar in excess is a toxin, unrelated to its calories. The dose determines the poison. Like alcohol, a little sugar is fine, but a lot is not.

What about GMO's

I've never heard of GMO's called toxins, but are they bad for us? Unclear.

I'm not real sure either but I question because of family members who are adamantly against them. In truth I haven't done enough of my own research, & if I'm really being honest I was hoping you would do it for excuse for being lazy on this issue is a.) the grandma thing. 2) clearly other things are more important at the moment (energy knowing about attention & all) & c.) I'm a true believer in moderation, too much of anything is not good, but we are human & sometimes you just can't resist something delicious.

No worries, Danielle.

Evidence is inconclusive but one interesting observation is that GMO's aim for less label transparency.

That alone makes them suspicious. Why don't the companies watch people to know what's modified?

The labeling thing is concerning, however between the bacon, beer, jerky & cigarettes I consume...I'm not sure I have a right to complain at least not until I find the will to give up those wonderful little treasures ;-) 

Jerky is bad? I guess it has preservatives.

I'm thinking of trying it with Nutella...& that statement is cue it's time to sleep, Ciao!

Jerky + Nutella is like Satay in peanut sauce.

Sugar is hard to avoid.  A recent study reveals that 80 percent of the 600,000 food items in America are laced with added sugar.

Dr. Robert Lustig says, “There is not one biochemical reaction in your body, not one, that requires dietary fructose, not one that requires sugar.  Dietary sugar is completely irrelevant to life.  People say oh, you need sugar to live.  Garbage.”

READ | Interview Transcript


Took me a long time to realize this.

This gets to the heart of how we eat--try cutting sugar out of your diet. You will find that you cannot eat processed foods. I'm not the sugar police, but if you make intentional choices around this issue, it changes your entire paradigm and lifestyle. I love this TED by Carolyn Steel. She discusses the genesis of urbanization and our disconnection with food slowly as trains and cars took over the landscape--these events didn't just create suburbia, they disconnected our communities, food markets being part of this.

Do an experiment. Cut out sugar--all added sugar (as opposed to --for a month. 1.How does it shape the way you think about food, cooking, ingredients, fresh vs. processed. 2. At the end of your month, eat something processed, with all the sugar and chemicals included. Have you changed your thoughts on how this tastes to you? 3. Note how you feel. Sugar isn't just connected to obesity and diabetes, it's connected to so many other ailments. 

I'm not an extremist...I do think that eating naturally makes me feel much better, food tastes better, and I get excited about prepping my next meal. 

Thanks for the Carolyn Steel TED talk:

Cutting out all sugar for a month is harder than it seems.

It means no restaurants because they sugar lots of foods.

Not "no restaurants." No CHAIN restaurants. Any real chef will have something prepped fresh.  One of the benefits to my slippery slope toward natural eating (not macrobiotic, not paleo, no labels...) was that I became a damned good cook--from scratch. Sure, I get mocked a lot bringing my mason jars to work, but I'll take that as a badge of honor from people eating boxed frozen foods and uncrustables. I never like food at chain restaurants anyway. Rather give my cash to the farmer down the road, all things considered. 

If you cut down for a few weeks even, you notice the difference. I cut it out entirely for months, but then I added a bit back--preserves I made myself, couple snacks once in a while, honey, maple. I don't really want it now, though. 

Natural Eating sounds fascinating. Where can I learn more?

I'll dig up some stuff and make you a stash--it's really about natural ingredients, in season, and moderating--for example, I'd put butter and oils down as natural but does everyone want to Paula Deen themselves? Probably not. All things in moderation, grass-fed or locally sourced meats where you know how it was produced (avoid factory farming when possible)...this may mean cutting down meat quantity for quality. Make what you can (I make breads, soft cheeses, yogurts--very easy within the daily cycle of a busy life if you time it right...), I dehydrate, do canning in season, cook large batches and freeze in meal-sized portions.  For example: There is no culinary difference making a small pot or a large pot of chili. Make the large pot, use a Food Saver, you have extra meals. Same with roasting chicken--roast two, carve into meal-size portions, eat in the week--avoid the processed food restaurant. Save money. Eat better...

Why doesn't everyone eat this way???

Why are supermarkets and restaurants designed to encourage us to eat badly?

Profit. Supermarkets are specifically designed so you have to walk by the processed foods to get to the dairy, etc... Also, products often pay premium for certain shelf space. These are usually processed foods. Restaurants make us what we like to eat, which is generally salty-greasy-sweet. It sells. I'd like to say this is conspiracy, but I fully support the rights of these companies and fast-food restaurants to make this stuff. I'm horrified, for example, that people sue McDonalds over obesity. People make choices about their own condition.

What I think I'm hearing you say is that salty-greasy-sweet is just as addictive as other drugs.

Why this drug is legal (along with cigarettes, caffeine, and now marijuana in some places) is debatable.

I think Michael Bloomberg is way ahead of you on this one.

By banning soda? Couldn't he just add a giant tax on sugar so products with sugar cost a lot more?

This is crazy. I don't even drink soda and I am tempted to bring a Big Gulp and parade into Times Square this weekend when I go into the city for work. I support a citizen's right to eat poorly. I just want to make the healthy stuff available and make people aware of the true ingredients in their foods. Another case of lawmakers misallocating their time. 

The intentions are good but the implementation is not.

I've been looking at Ingredient/Nutrition Facts a lot more lately.  Nutritional Value per $ is the way to go...A good friend in a dual program for MD and MPH keeps reminding me that the only sugar you should have is the kind from fruits and vegetables - natural sugar.  Any other is artificial, and ultimately detrimental.  Well, control/management/moderation should always be the way, anyway.

The challenge is that sugar makes its way into lots of places we wouldn't expect.

For example, the dressings of salads!

What's fascinating is that we all know processed food is bad for us yet we're perpetually bombarded with advertisements from processed food makers.

That's true, but I find it difficult to cause this to be regulated unless we're dealing with fraud. The problem is that the American consumer has been disempowered by excessive legislation. Time to say, "Listen, eat the apple. Don't wait for Congress to regulate it." Tell us what's in the food, label the GMOs and then we should have the onus to eat healthy. 

So why is there so much resistance to telling us what's in the food?

Because if we know, we won't eat it?

This does sound really, really bad, the more I know about non-food masquerading as food.

Exactly. I have no objection to holding people accountable for the food they eat. But, they must be given the honest information. After that, it's all on them.

if we want an apple, we want to know it's an apple. but what makes an apple?

a MBP running Windows is not the same as a MBP on OSX. Only the latter is true. yes/no?

With food it's straightforward to say if this was grown naturally or if there were things added or changed.

That's the transparency we seek.

(I thought we could reply to any individual comment that we wanted?)

re: salad dressings and processed food advertising.

I think this is because, historically (as in the pure food chain of farm to table), processed/canned foods are not the natural choice for humans. They (processed food manufacturers/"producers") have always required advertising to extol and CONVINCE people of the benefit - convenience.

But of course, we are more conscious these days.

On a related note: you guys heard about the recent lawsuit about lead warnings on baby/toddler foods?  Gerber, Del Monte, Dole, and Beech-Nut are among the accused.  The trial is taking place in Oakland right now.

(Some comments are in consecutive blocks so you can only reply to the last in a block.)

I hadn't seen the baby food lawsuit. Fascinating. I'm interested to see what happens in the trial.

Waylan, I hadn't seen that suit, but it only goes to underscore my thoughts--I never bought that stuff. It's in a two-inch glass jar and costs a million dollars. And I don't know when I've ever seen peas that turned an oxidized brown. Carrots cost--like--nothing yet a jar of "organic carrots" costs a small fortune. It seemed to reason that in the olden days no one grew jars of Gerber in the fields, so I did things like squish carrots, bananas, peas, apples, etc. Why create the waste when I can give him some of what I'm eating anyway? Sometimes I froze it in little blocks, too. I hate to sound all neo-hippie, but it just seemed so common sense. 

So you just crushed things you were already eating and gave them to babies?

Yup. It seems so hippie, but it's really common sense... And good budgeting. 

I honestly wonder why everyone doesn't do this!

Geege wants to know why you call this "so hippie"...

Starting waves, Adam:)  Seems like a commune thing to me... reminds me of my very youth in the 70's when our moms did such things. Then, by the 80's, everything was neatly in packages... My mom reminds me that she didn't have time to be a hippie, because she was busy working my Dad's way through college. 

Nobody has time to be a hippie these days. We all have too much work to do!

i mean, that's how we (society) fed our animals, before "pet food."  My mom still does this with her chickens - all the dinner scraps and watermelon rinds and corn cobs.. they eat it all.  and their eggs are the richest yellow i've ever seen.

Scraps seem a lot healthier than pet food.

Dawn, why is it "hippie" to feed your child healthfully?  I wonder if the perception that serving real food isn't "modern" enough is what holds some people back from making better choices for themselves. 

(IMO, labeling home-cooked meals "slow food" did not help the movement! Everyone's busy. Call it "maximized food" or something that denotes a big return for minimal effort.)

I agree, "slow food" is a poor word choice. "Awesome food" or "superfood" is way better.

Well, my nutritionist friend calls it eating clean... another movement is zero waste lunch. It's interesting though, how perception changes--that "modern" used to be convenience foods, and now modern is bring your own bags, green, natural. Which is really a lot better for people and the environment. It's interesting, I can't eat processed foods a lot now because I don't like them--does take a while to change the taste buds, though. 

Making the change requires an almost militant attitude.  Nobody likes militants!

I don't feel it has to be militant. It's funny, because i have a few friends who are similar to me in eating, so it's almost like prepping for a restaurant. We each have our lists of things we do and don't eat... However, when going out it's a different game. I never expect to be accommodated when I am a guest beyond the vegetarian part... I skip the meat. It's more and more common to find people with "lists" between the paleos, the celiacs, the vegetarians...I'm almost not strange these days. 

Stole this from a friend off Facebook... I might be guilty of this (until it gets to the meat part)!

LOL.  "I lick mountains."

Me too!

Thanks Danielle. Huge subject for debate right now.

It's really one of those things I almost wish I didn't know. To think of the huge lifestyle change it will take to honestly contribute to stopping this is overwhelming. Yet at the same time how could I ever really enjoy Nutella again? :'(

I know, right? It does seem like the word "food" is called into question.

Just because we can consume it, does not make it food.

I thought of growing my own garden, it's really how you get the best "stuff worthy" zucchini. However being in Florida we have the mosquito planes constantly flying overhead making me run with my dogs when I hear them coming LOL so it wouldn't really be organic, I wonder which is worse, the GMO's or the pesticides? 

They both have things not to like. Why is it so hard to eat well???

Well we can get all conspiracy theoryish & say it's because the government doesn't want us to collect social security, however no one wants to see me go there. So I think it goes back to moderation, & you do what you can to eat, think, & live healthy, and that will provide longevity. Because if you're constantly fighting against some conspiracy, GMO's, for labeling or whatever it may be...well you're bound to get tired eventually, & my guess it will be quicker than "Stoner Joe" who's only concern is the next wave he's going to catch.

61% of American calories are from processed foods:

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