Sugar?!April 20, 2011
I read with trepidation the article in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine about sugar. The cover was not promising with the title Is Sugar Toxic? and the subhead Sweet and Vicious. Was this article going to put me out of a job? Would my career go down the drain? It sat on my desk until Tuesday morning when I finally picked it up.
I know sugar isn’t great for you and I didn’t want to have more evidence against it. As they say ignorance is bliss. The article was well written, interesting and enlightening. And yes, a bit frightening to read as it denounced sugar as an evil with a capital E.
As a pastry chef who dips into a 50 pound sugar bin on a regular basis it can be easy to dismiss the anti sugar studies with the rationalization that the research isn’t completely proven. I can easily quote contrarian studies which say it will do no harm. But that would be irresponsible and inaccurate. I hope and believe if eaten in moderation it is not as extreme as the author Gary Tauber, states. Regardless we do have to face the fact that the majority of Americans eat too much sugar. It adds to obesity, increased medical costs and a multitude of health problems.
What is even scarier is many people don’t even know how much sugar they are eating. They don’t stop to look at processed food labels in their cupboards at home. As I travel across the country and meet people I am shocked, even for a pastry chef, at how much sugar people actually consume.
Like we did with wine and a good steak, it is time to take responsibility to limit our sugar intake. My meals are primarily made up of whole grains, lean proteins and vegetables. I do not drink soda or fruit juices. I read nutritional labels diligently. I do not consume products with added sugar. I am selective and make sugar an exception to my diet and not a daily requirement. I also exercise regularly as I believe it helps counter act and flush out any damage I may be doing to my body. At my annual physical I take my cholesterol and triglyceride numbers seriously.
I want to be healthy so I will be around for a long time. But I am willing to take the risk and have some sugar because without it I’d lose a big part of the emotional joy in my life. Why live without that?