Life is sweet for most Canadians: it has been noted they consume on average 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. A significant part of this comes from pop and other sweet drinks, but there are multiple other overt and not-so-obvious sources. What is this doing to the health of the nation’s citizens? Is white sugar the culprit, and are there alternatives that can satisfy the craving for sweet flavours that seems to haunt humankind?
It must be said at the outset that while white refined sugar often takes the rap for the ill effects “sugar” has on health, this is a broad term that includes corn syrup, honey, palm sugar, maple syrup, brown and dark brown sugars and molasses. These sweeteners may contain different forms of sugar (i.e. sucrose, glucose, fructose), but all are problematic and have similar effects on our bodies to a lesser or greater degree.
Eating too much sugar has the well-known consequence of adding calories to your diet, often from foods that contain few or zero nutrients. One soda drink, for example, has eight of teaspoons sugar and contains 150 so-called “empty calories.” The bottom line is humans only need so many calories a day – excess is stored as fat.