What’s The Deal With Sugar? Or Why Sugar Is Evil

Glucose, sucrose, lactose, fructose, galactose.  All sugar.

Brown sugar, corn syrup, confectioner’s sugar, corn sweetener, dextrose.  All sugar.

High fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, maltose, malt syrup, molasses, cane juice.  All sugar.

Agave nectar, brown-rice syrup, date sugar, fruit-juice concentrate, honey, maple syrup, sucanat.  All sugar.

Erythritol, hydrogenated starch hydrolysates, isomalt, malitol, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol.  All sugar.

Even though there are many names for sugar, it all boils down to one thing- it’s all still sugar.

What is the deal with sugar?

Have you noticed lately that it’s everywhere?  Seriously, it is in our desserts, in our dinners, in our breads, in our juices, in our cereals, and even in our chewing gum.

Sugar is all pervasive, all encompassing and over used.

Don’t believe me?

Try to go just one single day without eating anything with added sugar.

For a bigger challenge, skip all sugar, even natural sugars for an entire 24 hours.

You’re going to find a difficult, but not impossible, road ahead of you.

Sugar has found its way into almost every single prepackaged food, drink and snack that you can put your hands on.

Even, horror of horrors, the foods, drinks and snacks in a health food store are more often than not laced with sugars.

Why is this a bad thing?  Why does this make sugar evil?

Did you know that a regular can of soda can have 17 teaspoons of sugar inside of it?

Or that the “healthy” yogurt you’re feeding your kids can have almost the same amount of sugar in it as well?

Let me ask you a question.

What happens when you spend a week at the beach?

The first few days you can’t help but notice the beauty of the beach, the sun, the water.

The next few days, you still think they’re pretty but you stop waxing poetic about it.

After that what happens?  You barely notice your surroundings because it’s become common, expected and the norm.

Imagine that sugar is the beach.

In the beginning you taste how sweet everything is.  After a little bit, you stop noticing.

Did you know that the average American eats approximately 140 pounds of sugar each year?

If you take out the people who don’t eat a lot of sugar, the very young and the diabetics, then you can actually imagine  how that estimate is actually quite a bit higher.

I bet you know someone right now who weighs about 140 pounds.

How would you feel if you imagined eating their body weight in sugar each and every single year for the rest of your life?

It somehow starts sounding a little less appealing each time you think about what 140 pounds looks like.

But why is sugar that bad?  If it makes things taste better, then what is the big deal?

For starters, look at all the major diseases that exist right now.  Most of them are diseases of excess.


High cholesterol and eventually coronary artery disease.


In one way or another, these diseases are recognizable by their level of excess.  Be it salt and blood pressure, cholesterol and fatty deposits in the arteries or sugar and insulin in the blood, each of these can be related to an excess.

I left one out on purpose.

How about obesity?

Isn’t obesity also a disease of excess?


This is why I think sugar is evil.

The excess of sugar in our daily diets is causing some frightening things to happen to our bodies and these things are happening younger and more frequently.

Here is a brief list of the sugar related concerns that you should be aware of:

1. Diabetes and other blood sugar related issues

2. Obesity

3. Candida and yeast infections

4. PMS symptoms

5. Mood swings

6. Fatigue and exhaustion

7. Suppression of the Immune system

8. Contributes to vitamin and mineral deficiency

9. Contributes to tooth decay

10. Decreasing sensitivity to flavors in food, i.e. sweet, salty, bitter, spicy, pungent

While this is in no way a complete list, it is just a taste of what is possible when sugar rules the diet.

So how can we conquer sugar?  How can we limit the amount of sugar in our diets?

Here are some simple ideas for minimizing sugar:

1. Focus on whole, unprocessed foods.

2. Drink more water and less sodas and juices with added sugars.

3. Eat the fruit itself instead of drinking its juice.

4. Get more exercise, more physical activity

5. Limit your caffeine intake as well- sugar and caffeine are a love affair waiting to happen

6. Read more food labels, educate yourself

7. Start keeping a food journal.  Notice how you start feeling after a sugary meal versus a non-sugary meal.

8. Clean out your kitchen.  Remove all offending food!

9. Focus on the other flavors in your meal.  Experiment with different foods to find better tasting meals without all the sugar.

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  • lorilatimer

    This is a great article, Annette! Yes, sugar is everywhere. I quit drinking coffee (for the most part) about a year ago because I can't drink it without some kind of sweetener in it. I only drink water and maybe two or three times a year I'll drink some kind of soda.

    I love your list of suggestions. I'll have to try a few of them out. Thanks!

  • annettenack

    That's great Lori! I'm really glad you liked the article.

    I was just trying to explain to my mom (a nurse) how bad sugar is and how it's everywhere. I got a raised eyebrow, just before she claims to not be a big sugar person as she's sticking a spoon into some ice cream. Better luck next time, right?!

  • lorilatimer

    Hey, you get points for trying, you know?

  • Mary Havlicek

    Annette, this is an eye-opening article. I knew that we Americans ate a lot of sugar, but I didn’t know I was eating almost my entire body weight in sugar each year.

    But I am one of those who can say that I know I have a sugar addiction. I used to need salty fixes, but after my second child, man did my sweet tooth explode. I’ve actually cut back quite a bit from where I was – I knew when I was having headaches, mood swings, irritability, upset stomach, it was time to take a look at my diet. The first day I cut back I was having withdrawal symptoms – it was like I just needed a fix, just a little, to get me through the day. I felt like some kind of drug addict.

    I’m not doing anywhere near perfectly (says the ice cream and chocolate syrup I had earlier this evening), but I’m doing better. When I make desserts, I’m not making the processed ones out of a box, I’m doing them from scratch. I’m noticing they’re nowhere near as mind-blowingly sweet as the out-of-box ones, and I enjoy them more. And it’s more fun to make things from scratch, and nowhere near as difficult as people make it out to be.

    So I’m starting to cut back a little – it’s progress, right? :)

  • Anonymous

    Always! Always points for trying. One day it might just stick!

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely progress!

    Sugar is a really scary thing. It’s everywhere & as much as we may try to be good, it just winds up being a huge struggle because your body literally fights you.

    I’ve had huge sugar issues in the past & they’re getting better for sure, but then I open my eyes a little wider and see just how much I’ve slid back into Sugar World.

    Wanna hear something even worse?

    I’ve even seen estimates of up to 170 lbs per person per year for sugar consumption in the US…

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