Making Food More Delicious (and Addictive)

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F0033388 Sucrose molecule SPLIf someone offered you a “miracle” drug that reportedly caused you to enjoy the taste of your food more, would you consider taking it? If they made it in the form of powdered granules that you could add to virtually any food you prepared for your family, getting even your fussiest eaters to eat, would you use it? Now, suppose that drug had a side-effect, such as depleting your energy slightly after consumption – would that discourage you from using it? What if it had several side effects? Let’s say that it caused inflammation of your joints, changed your metabolism, raised blood pressure, affected your immune system or damaged your liver? Would you still weigh the benefits versus the risks? Let’s give that “miracle” drug a name. Let’s call it sugar. And yes, it can create ALL of those side effects (and many more).

In fact, scientific research has shown sugar to be not only damaging to our health, but highly addictive as well. According to the American Heart Association, the average U.S. adult consumes a whopping 22 teaspoons of sugar a day! That amounts to an added 355 calories per day in empty, toxic calories. And the healthcare costs associated with this substance are growing exponentially, as are American waistlines.

Last week an article called “The Toxic Truth about Sugar” was published in the journal Nature. Researched and written by a team of researchers at the University of California at San Francisco (Robert Lustig, pediatrics and obesity specialist, and Laura Schmidt and Claire Brindis, health policy researchers), the team says that sugar has a potential for abuse, and with its “toxicity and pervasiveness in the Western diet,” it plays a major role in the world health crisis.

The researchers would like to see a levy imposed on added sugars, and for sales of sweet food and drinks to be restricted during school hours, and possibly setting an age limit for children to be able to buy them. They don’t expect people to stop eating sugar, but hope that some policy changes might discourage people from over-consuming it. At the very least, the money from the taxes collected could go toward meeting the growing costs of health issues related to sugar consumption. France, Greece and Denmark have already implemented a soda tax, and the concept is being considered in at least 20 cities and states in the United States.

Ultimately the research team would like to see people move away from consuming high levels of sugar and to have more healthy food options available which are cheaper and easier to get. And once you get accustomed to eating less sugar, it is amazing how incredibly delicious natural and whole foods taste!

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