The Telegraph today published an article by Samuel Huston ‘How much ‘invisible sugar do you eat’. Of all the recent sugar related newspaper articles, you maybe want to check this one out. The article bases much of its content on research from Dr Robert Lustig, someone who classifies sugar as ‘toxic’, ranking it along with tobacco, alcohol and cocaine.
After being that person who needed more and more sugar in increasing amounts to keep me happy, you can’t blame me for siding with Dr Robert Lustig, who believes we become accustomed to sugar and even ‘addicted’ in the same way as other abusive substances.
Take this quote by Charles Spence, an Oxford professor of experimental psychology:
“We are used to it because we eat more – and we eat more because we need more”
Ok I had to read that a few times, but translated to my real experience…
I was relatively healthy (i.e. no coke or donuts), however I was eating savoury/low fat processed things with invisible sugar and a lot of dried fruit. I thought I was in good shape. In fact, I was probably worsening my need for sugar more than I knew.
Examples of how my behaviour started to change..
- I started going back for second helpings of museli…nearly all the time.
- I started to eat one and a half muesli type bars, and then go back and eat the rest of the other half 20 mins later. So doing the maths I basically had to have two.
- A fruit flavored yoghurt was fun until I ran out and scraped my spoon around for the very last bits. I used to then feel like I wanted another and felt very dissatisfied at such small pots.
- I’d have one chocolate. Argue with myself not to have another. Have another. Argue again. Repeat a few times. Least to say it did my head in.
Invisible sugar had a big impact on me. Each discovery was a bit painful in its own way…
- My beloved muesli packed with sugar, both added and the dried fruit (ok more natural but still too much sugar). I actually feel like I mourned museli, I was that upset.
- Tomato and BBQ based sauces. A sad day.
- Yoghurts. The staple healthy sweet treat I’d know for years. At least there was a natural yoghurt solution (read my guide on low sugar yoghurts).
- Bread. First thought was along the lines of.. Well this is getting ridiculous, what the heck can I eat. Not all breads have sugar, but some do and it can really vary.
When you first think “righty ho, I’ll cut out sugar”, you start with the obvious sweets, chocolate and sugar in your tea. I certainly didn’t consider my pasta sauces, bread or oatcakes (yes even all oatcakes aren’t safe).
I merely just wanted to share some of my experiences in relation to this article. You may relate to them, you may have your own or be lucky enough not to suffer any degree from ‘the sugar hook’.
Nonetheless, don’t ignore the invisible sugar, check all the packets, brands, products you use most. A little is ok, but some can be quite shocking and in this case, ignorance isn’t bliss.
Any sweet behaviour you’re brave enough to disclose?