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I used to love the old Adam West Batman shows. The good guys always won, and you always knew who the bad guys were despite them trying to sneak around. If only it were so easy in real life...
Recently I watched the video "Fed Up" - a documentary on sugar. Much of the information seemed geared towards approaching foods with common sense. However the tidbit that struck me the most was in how many seemingly "health foods" sugar was hiding...in plain sight.
This past weekend, my SigO and I were about to have a leisurely lunch at a rather large Whole Foods. After picking up a lovely vegetarian sushi pack (rice, seaweed, avocado and cucumber) I went to grab a drink to go with my lunch. Although my SigO went straight for a root beer soda, I, rather smugly now that I look back on it, went for the healthier option of an Honest Ice Tea drink. Grabbing a favorite - the Honey Green Tea which advertises as "Just a tad sweet" - I turned over the bottle to find that it contained NINETEEN GRAMS OF SUGAR per 1 bottle serving.
Let me backtrack for just a moment...The World Health Organization suggest that no more than 10% of your total energy intake come from sugar, and strongly recommends that you reduce it to less than 5%. This fact means we should consume less than 6-12 level teaspoons of sugar per day. (Note: They are referring to added sugars in foods, and outright sugars like honey, cane sugar, fruit juices, etc. They were not referring to sugars naturally occurring in whole fruits and vegetables. The documentary "Fed Up" did a nice job explaining the difference between orange juice and eating an orange.)
Back to my "health choice" of tea. With 19 grams of sugar, this one drink would mean that I was consuming over SIX TEASPOONS of sugar in this meal alone! I quickly put it back on the shelf, and grabbed another one. Tazo Black Tea Mango...THIRTY SEVEN GRAMS OF SUGAR...Iced Bhakti Chai Tea...NINETEEN GRAMS of sugar per serving BUT ONE BOTTLE equaled TWO SERVINGS! I could feel myself plummeting into the depths of despair when I made...ONE...FINAL...SELECTION...Teas' Tea Green + White tea...ZERO grams of sugar...whew...
Now before anyone thinks I am demonizing any of the products I mentioned, understand that I am simply telling you about a true experience from this past Saturday to emphasize my point...SUGAR appears in PRACTICALLY EVERYTHING -even those things which I did not expect it to be in! I actually purchase Tazo tea bags to brew at home - SANS SUGAR - I just wasn't expecting to find so much in their bottled products, or in any of those mentioned. (By the way, in the interest of fairness Teas' Tea also has bottled products high in sugar, and the other companies may have products low or with no sugar.)
On Sunday, my SigO and I went grocery shopping. Fortunately my love has infinite patience as I began checking the backs of practically every bottled or canned product for its added sugar content. Unless it was a raw unprocessed fruit or vegetable, practically everything we touched had sugar added in one of its various forms. I felt like I was under attack. On the way home, while my SigO was driving, I began searching on my iPhone for sugar topics..I wasn't sure whether to morbidly fascinated or appalled at the results of a quick search. It looks like I have some reading to do...
So here's the ending of this story. I like the occasional sweet (as anyone who follows me on Instagram can attest to). However when I choose to have a piece of cake, or a delightful French macaroon, I am consciously making the choice to have a sugary substance. I don't expect it to be in my foods when I am cooking dinner, drinking a tea, or grabbing a "healthy" snack for a hike (energy/granola/health bars - I'm talking to you). Therefore like the old superhero of yore, I plan to go on a full offensive.
Sugar...thou art my new nemesis...So watch out...
Samantha Eve, a