It is reported that the North American diet contains about 20 per cent sugar. This is equivalent to 30 teaspoons a day! Most of it is hidden in pop, processed food and baked goods. Like alcohol, sugar has no nutritional value. It has no vitamins, minerals or fiber.
North American children’s consumption of sugar per day is reported to be between 25 to 35 per cent of total calories. Is this too much? Yes. The World Health Organization recommends daily dietary sugar intake of no more than 10 per cent of total calories.
What is sugar? Sugar is any of numerous sweet, colorless, water-soluble compounds present in the sap of seed plants and the milk of mammals and making up the simplest group of carbohydrates. The most common sugar is sucrose, a crystalline tabletop and industrial sweetener used in foods and beverages.
Sucrose is found in almost all plants, but it occurs at concentrations high enough for economic recovery only in sugarcane and sugar beets. Sugarcane ranges from seven to 18 percent sugar by weight, while sugar beets are from eight to 22 percent sugar by weight.
Sugarcane, once harvested, cannot be stored because of sucrose decomposition. For this reason, cane sugar is generally produced in two stages, manufacture of raw sugar taking place in the cane-growing areas and refining into food products occurring in the sugar-consuming countries. Sugar beets, on the other hand, can be stored and are therefore generally processed in one stage into white sugar.
Different methods of crystallization of sugar containing syrup are used to produce variety of sugars and at least six or seven stages of boiling are necessary before the molasses is exhausted.
The first three or four strikes are blended to make commercial white sugar. Special large-grain sugar (for bakery and confectionery) is boiled separately. Fine grains (sanding or fruit sugars) are usually made by sieving products of mixed grain size.
Powdered icing sugar, or confectioners’ sugar, results when white granulated sugar is finely ground, sieved, and mixed with small quantities of starch or calcium phosphate to keep it dry.
Brown sugars (light to dark) are either crystallized from a mixture of brown and yellow syrups (with caramel added for darkest color) or made by coating white crystals with brown-sugar syrup. Nutritional value of brown sugar per 100 gm is 380 kcalories compared to granulated sugar which is 390 kcalories.
Beet sugar factories generally produce only white sugar from sugar beets. Brown sugars are made with the use of cane molasses as a mother liquor component or as a crystal coating.
Sugar is dangerous because it causes obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease leading to sickness and death. Sugar is very tempting and addictive because it tastes good and is very satisfying to our palate.
Men who drink sugary drinks have 46 per cent increased risk of stroke, possibly because of sugar’s blood-thickening osmotic effect or its known ability to raise cholesterol levels
Reports suggests diets high in refined sugar increase the risk of developing Crohn’s disease and colorectal and pancreatic cancer
Smokers keep smoking although they know smoking is dangerous. Similarly, sugar consumers will continue to eat sweet stuff as long as it tastes good and give you a temporary sugar buzz. It is a dangerous addiction and a slow poison.
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