The day we started pouring sugar on our salads is the day um…salads became, you know, less healthy. (Now, that’s a brilliant quote worth sharing if I ever saw one.)
Sugar on our salads? Surely not! Why would anyone do that? Just read a bottle of salad dressing from the store. Almost every single one contains a lot of sugar – except for the ones that contain high fructose corn syrup, which is, of course, even worse. If I want sugar, I’ll have chocolate, not a salad.
Sugar is in almost everything – especially processed foods…and salad dressing. But somehow, saturated fat gets blamed for causing obesity and heart disease. We interrupt this post for a fatty, sugary history lesson:
Before 1910, many people ate lots of meat, eggs, butter, cream – and very little sugar. People worked hard and were rarely sedentary. Heart disease was almost non-existent. Then, between 1910 and 1970, animal fats and protein consumption took a huge dive – because experts began to tell people that they were bad. These experts had “research” to back up their claims, which many additional researchers found to be flawed. Nonetheless, the concept of cutting out animal fats and protein gained publicity (and that was before Facebook – amazing).
At the same time, sugar and processed food consumption increased by 60 percent. Also during that time, while the amount of butter people ate was dramatically reduced, the percentage of vegetable oils in the form of margarine and shortening increased by (wait for it) 400%. Guess what else happened? Heart disease, which was almost non-existent before 1920, became the leading cause of death among Americans. (source) And we blamed the saturated fat in butter? I’m speechless. (Not really. I have more to say.)
So back to drizzling sugar on our tossed salads…
The simple truth is that we have to cut back on our sugar intake in order to be healthier. The issues our bodies have as a result of eating too much sugar go way beyond cavities and hyperactivity.
Cutting back on sugar has been one of the most difficult adjustments for me to make personally. (Remember my Pepsi addiction?) I have always loved my sugar. Who doesn’t? Sugar tastes really, really good!
Since beginning our healthy eating journey, I’ve tried to at least stay away from most refined sugars, and instead stick with raw honey, real maple syrup, and sucanat. You can read more about those natural sugars here. I notice a big difference in how I feel after eating white sugar as opposed to one of the healthier sugars mentioned. Yet while these choices are much better than white sugar and corn syrup, they are still sugars and they still effect our bodies negatively if eaten in too large a quantity. Remember, we’re going for nourishment here - not just trying to fill a hole. Sugar offers so little in the way of nourishment. When we eat more than just a little bit of sugar, our bodies simply don’t know what to do with it. Therefore, it stores it away and it becomes extra pounds on our hips – or wreaks havoc in many other ways in our body.
Here is what has worked for me as I’ve cut back on sugar for my family:
- Stop drinking your sugar. If I can do it, you can do it.
- Cut back on the sugar called for in recipes – yes even in my recipes. I now cut the sugar in half in my recipes. They’re still plenty sweet. Cut back gradually if you need to.
- Eat fruit – it has natural sugar, but it also has loads of nutrients!
- Watch the white flour, white rice, and white pasta. They offer few nutrients and turn to sugar in our systems.
- Make sweets a treat instead of consuming sugary foods all day long.
And for certain, my most important advice in an effort to cut back on sugar: Pray. I am a sugar lover. The fact that I have been able to cut way back on sugar is only possible with the Lord’s power, not my own will-power.
And as for putting sugar on our salads – I have several real food, no sugar or low sugar dressing recipes here that are delicious!
Do you struggle with eating too much sugar? What are some habits you can begin in an effort to cut back?