The “sugar scourge” is spreading across North America. While the recommended sugar intake is a maximum of eight teaspoons per day, a single can of pop or a 600-millilitre bottle of so-called “vitamin water” contains eight or nine… and that’s before you touch any dessert or sweet snack. The average American diet provides the equivalent of more than 20 teaspoons of sugar per day, a likely culprit in the obesity epidemic observed on this continent.
Some people are concerned about the type of sugar they consume. And yet, whether the sugar comes from corn syrup, sugar cane, beets or fruit juice concentrate, in equal parts, these products all supply the same number of calories… and no additional nutrients! Whatever its color or its source, sugar is sugar!
There have been some consumer concerns as to the food industry’s use of high-fructose corn syrup. The latter is a favourite among food manufacturers because it is inexpensive, more stable in acid mediums like soft drinks and extends the shelf life of solid foods.
In the end, however, high-fructose corn syrup is not so different from regular sugar, which is made up of glucose and fructose in equal parts. The main difference between them is that the two sugar molecules are linked in table sugar, whereas they are separated in syrup. High-fructose corn syrup is therefore no more harmful to your health than good old white sugar.
The problem with the Western diet is therefore not where sugar comes from, but rather that we consume too much of it.
More fruit and vegetables, fewer processed foods: following this simple rule will decrease your sugar intake and improve your diet in general!