I've been listening to the Slow Your Home podcast for awhile now and I really enjoy it. This year, they're embarking on monthly experiments and for February, they cut out processed sugar. It's been interesting hearing about their experience. I've cut back on sugar, but haven't tried cutting it out completely and have no plan to. They mentioned That Sugar Film in one episode though and it sounded interesting. I was able to borrow it from my local library (yay!). You can watch the trailer here:
Curious how much sugar you're consuming? Check out That Sugar app too.
I found it very interesting. A lot of the information shared, I've heard or read elsewhere, but it's definitely worth a watch. The film follows Damon Gameau as he changes his diet and begins eating the same levels of processed sugar that an average person consumes. I found it very telling that at the end of the experiment, Gameau had gained weight even while eating the same or fewer overall calories than he had previously. In moderation, sweet foods aren't bad, but sugar consumed in the amounts most of us do daily isn't good for anyone. Take a look at some of the labels of the processed foods in your cabinets and fridge. You may be very surprised at many of the products that have sugar added in one form or another and it all adds up. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 tsp (25 grams) for women and 9 tsp (37.5 grams) for men of added sugar per day. Sound like a lot? A can of Coke contains 39 grams of sugar! Want a real shock? Those 7-11 Big Gulps? 91 grams of sugar! And that's if you put in 4 oz of ice before filling it up.
I cook mostly from scratch, especially now that I'm avoiding most packaged foods. Sure, there's still processed junk in the bulk bins, but I try to limit those items and stick to the one-ingredient bins. ;-) When I bake, I mostly use local raw honey these days in place of the sugar or at least cut back the amount in the recipe.
Why honey instead of sugar? The sugarcane industry has a negative impact on the environment and wildlife where it's grown. Forests are cleared to make way for the crop. The growing and processing of sugarcane requires immense amounts of water and pollutes our waters with runoff and production waste. And then there are the fossil fuels burned in shipping the sugar across the country or around the world.
For the past few years, I ate an almost entirely vegan diet and avoided products with honey for that reason. Over the past year, as I've learned more about the impact of the sugar industry, I've added local raw honey back into my diet in place of cane sugar in most circumstances. Not only do I feel this has a lighter environmental footprint in many ways, I'm also supporting local business. I can even refill my own jars from the local raw honey on tap at my co-op!
More information on the environmental impact of the sugarcane industry can be found here.
Have you ever tried to cut added sugar completely out of your diet?