Journalist Carina Glenning at Swedish paper Corren wrote a new sugar-critical opinion piece about the ongoing diet debate. More and more articles critical of sugar appear in the mainstream media.
Here’s the full article, translated into English.
A Happy – But Not So Sweet – New Year?
Few things get folks as worked up as those concerning the way we eat. It’s both understandable and at the same time incomprehensible.
My better half and I are trying to ditch the sugar, and I can tell you it’s not easy.
Let’s skip all the talk about “fad diets” and a few extra pounds. This is about life and death and nothing to be sneezed at. The problem with an elevated blood sugar is that it’s one of the risk factors metabolic syndrome, “the Western disease”, that increases the risk for cardiovascular disease. Diabetes, cancer, fungial infections, digestive issues and possibly also depression (recent Harvard report) are also triggered by sugar.
More and more doctors and scientists are coming around, realizing that it’s sugar, rather than fat, that is the culprit. But it gets complicated in that starchy foods, such as refined grains, also consist of a chain of glucose molecules, that are converted to sugar in our digestive tracts. So there went the pasta.
But people have eaten bread since the dawn of time! No, not this modern, disease-resistant, high-gluten wheat variety that is cultivated today. And definitely not, as today, consumed along with heaps of other refined sugary products. Nearly all processed foods contain sugar. Like ham. Baby food. Muesli. Ketchup. Mustard. Low-fat yoghurt. Tomato paste. TV dinners.
This is nothing to sneeze at. Still, its’ understandable that some do. What if 30 years of dietary recommendations were built on a gigantic mistake? That for decades we have been given dietary recommendations that, in reality, have made many of us sick. The thought is mind-boggling.
The debate should not be about weight-loss diets. The debate should be about how diabetes type 2 (the type you weren’t born with) has become a common disease that is increasing exponentially in Western countries, but also in Asia. Asians were able to manage their starchy rice until they added Western soda junk food to their diet. That’s when they hit the “sugar ceiling”. Our cats and dogs have also begun to get diabetes. They’re not designed to eat the grains that processed pet food contains.
We know that along with diabetes comes a shortened life expectancy and many secondary diseases. We also know that diabetics are over-represented when it comes to cardio vascular disease and dementia (diabetes type 3). The old name “sugar disease” was much better, as it clearly revealed what it’s about.
However, the sugar lobby is as strong and powerful as the pharmaceutical industry, and Coca Cola is now educating their own dietitians! It would be a devastating blow to them if we went off sugar (and the drugs that we need for the diseases sugar causes).
This is nothing to sneeze at. This is something to fear.
It’s not the sugar craving in itself that’s the problem, as you’ll lose your cravings after a week or so of abstaining from sugar, but the problem is finding food WITHOUT sugar. You need to be an inspector with a magnifying glass and an ocean of time to spend in your grocery store. This is verging on being a hopeless mission, but important for us sugar addicts for whom even a little sugar starts triggering cravings for more.
Low-fat products are out. Check carbohydrate contents (should be no more than 5%) and you’ll understand why. When the flavor-carrying fat is removed, the food doesn’t taste good, thus it’s fortified with flavor enhancers, sugar and grains. This is a money machine for the giant food industry, since they are cheap to produce. Low-fat products are excellent fillers, if you don’t care about the consequences.
If you have friends, who have gotten well, or less sick, when they reduced their sugar intake, who have been able to go off their blood pressure medication, quit or dramatically reduce their insulin injections and epilepsy drugs.
That’s when you’ll no longer sneeze at these things.
Corren: A Happy – But Not So Sweet – New Year? (Original article in Swedish, by Carina Glenning, Östgöta Correspondenten, Sweden. E-mail: email@example.com)