A Cup of Coffee – Sugar, Sugar, Sugar

Welcome back! Last week, we talked about domestic violence. If you missed that blog and would like to catch up, click HERE.

With a candy-coated holiday coming up tomorrow, we thought this would be a good time to talk about sugar!

I recently heard someone say, “Sugar is not a treat“. That really threw me for a loop. As a child, it was presented as a treat. “If you’re good, you can have a cookie“, “Eat all your dinner and you can have dessert“, and my favorite, “You have a sore throat and cough? Here, take a spoonful of sugar after you swallow that horrible cough syrup“.

I wasn’t allowed to trick or treat as a child. My parents didn’t trust the candy. Instead, my sisters took me from the front door to the back door, and back and forth, until my sack was full. I thought this was how it was done. Imagine my embarrassment when I started school and lost the argument! My generation, and even my children’s generation, didn’t understand how harmful sugar could be. We wallowed in it.

Jody Stanislaw, ND, CDE says this about sugar, “Unfortunately, sugar is hiding in many of today’s most common foods — meaning not only in obvious processed junk foods, but also in many common foods, as well as even ones labeled as ‘healthy.’ Code words for sugar that are often seen in ingredients lists include:

  • Agave
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Fruit Juice Concentrates
  • Honey
  • Malt Syrup
  • Maple Syrup
  • Molasses
  • Raw Sugar
  • Fructose

Do not be fooled. These all mean: sugar“.

She goes on to clarify, “I want to clarify that the sugar I am referring to is ‘added-sugar. I was not referring to the naturally occurring sugars found in whole foods grown in nature. There are only four categories of these nature-made carbohydrates:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Whole Grains
  • Legumes

These foods, when consumed in their whole-food form, are an integral part of a healthy diet”.

So why is sugar so bad for us? The answer lies in the pancreas. Our pancreas dumps something called “insulin” whenever sugar is detected in the body. The insulin takes the excess sugar out of the blood and feeds it to your liver, muscles, or stores it as fat.

If you take in too much sugar, your pancreas can be damaged due to overuse. We need our pancreas, or a substitute for insulin, to stay alive. When our pancreas has been damaged, we get what’s called Pre Diabetes, or Type 2 Diabetes, and at that point we must put that insulin into our bodies ourselves because our pancreas can no longer do it for us.

Cake and Ice cream are very obvious sugar sources, but what about the not so obvious sources of sugar, such as:

  • Yogurt
  • Granola
  • Cereal
  • Bread
  • Pasta & Pasta Sauce
  • Salad Dressing
  • Soda & Energy Drinks
  • Alcohol — even when used in moderation.

Reversing damage to our pancreas in pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes is possible, especially when caught early, through dietary and lifestyle changes, but you have to be committed to changing your lifestyle. We all know how hard that is to do.

So, when your ghosts and goblins come home with that pillowcase of candy tomorrow night, keep these things in mind.

  1. Your kids don’t have to grow up on sugar the way we did.
  2. The younger your child is when you wean them off sugar, the better.
  3. You don’t miss what you’ve never had.
  4. Remember, sugar is not a treat… it’s a short term rush, followed by a lifetime of addiction and health issues. Not a gift to give a child.
  5. We now know better, so we need to do better.

The Foundation wishes you and yours a very safe and healthy holiday!

5 Comments


  1. Avatar

    Reposted with permission from another Facebook page.

    Rayna Mitchell:

    I follow Division of Responsibility feeding and Ellyn Satter institute philosophy on feeding children. In this there is no such thing as “junk”food as food is good and each food does a different thing inside our bodies. Some things have more positive effects than others. Sugar can give some energy to our bodies and can harm bodies if we have too much. Protein can also harm our bodies if we have too much. I have 4 children who have all been trusted to know their limits without telling them some foods are poisons or unhealthy or junk. I was raised in a very anti sugar home and the minute I was on my own I binged and used sugar as a reward or a way to stuff emotions. These emotions were often shame or guilt or feelings of not being good enough. What did I look for? The food I had been told all my life was “bad.” Probably because I felt bad so I deserved a “bad” food. Who knows the psychology behind it all but I do know I had a VERY unhealthy relationship with sugar which was based on it being forbidden fruit my entire childhood. My own children (19,17,16 and 2y old) all self-regulate very well because they’ve been TRUSTED to do so and have no associations of good or bad emotions with food.
    Simply put, dieticians agree that when sweets are never or rare they become an obsession, when they are routine they become another food and not placed on a pedestal.

  2. Avatar

    I’m willing to admit I really struggle with sugar addiction. I quit all the external sugar (soda, dessert, etc.) for a couple weeks, then fall right back in. Very frustrating.

  3. Charlie Ross DO

    If you watch the video….Judy Stanislaw has some important information. But she could have improved your health to a greater extent if she had recommended eating fiber from whole plant foods instead of protein from some of the animal products she lists. The building blocks (amino acids) of all protein come from plants. One requires no animal product to get enough protein in the diet. Consider that there is protein in every plant product you eat…spinach is 50% protein. She has chosen not to mention that fat in your diet leads to insulin resistance….so it is not just the sugar in your diet that is the problem leading to diabetes….Consider the fat that is stored on your body and the fat that you eat. The healthiest way to reversing diabetes is transitioning to a whole food plant based diet and eliminating animal products.

  4. Charlie Ross

    Thank you for addressing this important issue. Now is the time to start retraining our population about the chronic diseases associated with the food choices we make. To improve the health of patients, staff, and visitors the American Medical Association (supported by the American College of Cardiology) in July 2017 resolved that all US hospitals serve plant based meals that are low in fat, sugar, and no added sugar and to eliminate all processed meats (as they are carcinogenic). It is time to follow the science before it is too late. Thanks again for this timely article.

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