Is sugar good for you?

We have heard both sides of the argument before. We’ll briefly go over those, but then give you a new point of view.


The argument for sugar:

Sugar is what fuels the body and especially the brain. In fact we would starve without it. That is why anyone on a diet restricting carbohydrates has probably failed. You are fighting your body’s primal instinct to survive.

Secondly, obesity is generally said to be the cause of many major illnesses, and excessive calorie intake is the root of obesity. So if you eat a lot of sugar, then you must simply scale back on your other calorie intake.


The argument against sugar:

Sugar is a relatively new addition to the common person’s everyday diet. It wasn’t until the last century that sugar became cheap enough for everyone to afford it. As we saw an increase in the sugar consumption of first world countries, we also saw an increase in certain diseases such as diabetes.

Secondly, white table sugar affects the body in a different way than calories from fat or protein. Mostly they are burned rapidly so you end up eating more calories in the long run, thus gaining weight and getting sick.

Thirdly because it is so refined, there’s nothing good left and you end up eating empty calories-calories that could have been used for nutrition.


Counterarguments:

Obviously the conventional case for sugar is not taking into account the types of sugars eaten or the quality. It fails to address that different foods are digested differently, even various types of sugar like glucose, fructose etc. It assumes that if something is not immediately hurting you (like an actual poison) then it is okay. It also assumes that diabetes and illness are caused by obesity, without questioning if obesity is just another symptom of a malfunctioning body.

The case against sugar also assumes questionable premises. It assumes that because the increase in disease over the last century correlates directly to increase in sugar sales, they are directly related. What about overworking in the modern industrial era for example? It also assumes that because it is bad in excess, it is always bad. This is particularly the case diets where sugar is restricted, even if it’s in the form of fruit or whole grains. This black and white thinking is also seen as someone who “cheats” on their diet and then decides to splurge since they already ruined their diet for the day.



A holistic, ayurvedic approach to sugar:

Yes, we need sugar as a staple in our diet! But not highly refined, simple white sugar. That is not what our ancestors relied on to fuel their brains for humanity’s history. We need the sugars of grains like rice. The sugar of starches like potatoes, and even the sugars of sweet foods like milk and meat.

Now what about white sugar? A little bit is fine. In fact there are medicinal tinctures formulated with sugar because sugar can carry special herbs to the liver. A little bit of sugar in a cup of black coffee will balance it out in a good way. And a little syrup in a bowl of oatmeal makes a perfect winter breakfast. But we’re not drinking it like water 5 times a day!


So if everything in moderation, what’s the big deal?

Refined white sugar has been overused in our culture. It has been used as a cheap, delicious filler for most processed foods. It is also a great way to make even the roughest quality foods palatable. If you pick up almost any can of processed food or granola bars or whatnot, you will see sugar is one of the main ingredients. I would argue that if you made that exact same thing at home, and even added your own sugar, you would not add as much as is in that product! Because most people eat these already cooked foods, they are also eating a lot of extra sugar. Unfortunately this added sugar is not in a sweet treat like a doughnut or homemade blackberry jam (a moose’s favorite with muffins) but in staples like cereal and canned spaghetti. Basically, we unknowingly eat dessert for every meal and often add another intended dessert on top of that.

What people have done to counter this is go on a low carb diet such as atkins or keto. These diets can actually be good for a short while to reboot your system, but in the end, we need sugars to survive and this can not be sustained. These same people are still eating food that comes in a package, and it’s a cat and mouse game against the food manufacturer to hide the sugar. If you are eating staples like beans and rice out of a can, then you are likely not getting proper nutrition. Your brain feels malnourishment and then goes to what it is programmed to eat on an evolutionary level: sweets and fats. Then it’s you versus nature.


How did this happen?

Well because you keep on buying it! If you went to the farmers’ market and bought fresh food, you couldn’t add enough sugar for it to be a problem. You could eat dessert every meal and still eat less sugar than if you bought prepackaged meals. (Ok that was a hyperbole.) Kellog’s brand originally was intended as a healthy cereal to balance the overconsumption of meat in those days. But when Kellog’s competitors launched their own cereals, laden with excessive sugars, consumers bought the competitors cereal instead (it tasted better), and Kellog’s had to conform. If you cooked your own food most of the time, and bought products that you aligned with in an educated way, then companies would have to conform to that demand.


Why is a jam company writing about sugar?

We are practicing what we preach. We believe a little bit of sugar (we mean organic cane sugar) is great. It’s delicious, it helps preserve the summer harvest, and it balances the cooling effect of the fruit in jam. We don’t overdo it though. We add only enough to preserve the fruit, the way you’d cook at home. We are also selling condiments-that means our products are meant to be eaten sparingly-though we often hear stories of customers sneaking the entire jar spooned straight out of the jar!


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