Monday 3 October 2016

Sugar Is Not Evil

Someone I know had shared a great little video of someone making camp bread in a zip lock bag (a clever idea really) but with the following caption:
Screen shot from my Facebook
People commenting and posting things without doing any research is one things that really winds me up. 
I don't need to tell many of you, but a little sugar is often needed in bread, for the yeast to activate, for the crust and for the taste. Now American bread is certainly sweeter than English but most of us add sugar, I know some french breads and sour dough's don't.

When I pointed this out he then started to tell me that sugar is just "empty calories" with "no nutritional value". 

I think this idea of blaming sugar is wrong. 

What's wrong is people's inertia. If you're sat on your ass all day then it's easy to blame sugar for your increased girth. 

There's no such thing as empty calories, it's all fuel for the fire. If you've ever sat on a roof in the middle of a cold January with rain beating down on you for 9 hours a day, you will understand that that chocolate bar you ate at lunch is giving you the energy to get back out there and keep earning your living. Or that night your lambing and been up for hours, that sugary breakfast helps you get the kids ready for school. 

People love to tell us what is good and bad for us when they don't know what our bodies are going through. My whole body is adapted to my lifestyle, I eat a lot because I burn a lot of fuel, some of that happens to be sugar, I eat many other things that provide the other essentials for life, but sometimes I just need a bit of extra energy. 

What's your take on sugars current reputation? 
Do you eat much sugar in your diet?


  1. I stopped eating sugar when I was about 24. I am now Type 2 Diabetic.... The two don't seem to be related, although people will tell you that eating sugar is a cause.

  2. We watch sugar it's hidden everywhere, I don't eat fruit yogurts because of high sugar content, my issue is the amounts of surgery drinks around, and their high intake, I don't drink fizzy pop in any way and hate the taste of coke. I agree with you complaining whilst doing nothing to help yourself is wrong, but some of us believe there should be a fix by someone else for every wrong thing they inflict on themselves and not only related to food and body size.

  3. I did see that post on FB, I use a stevia sweetener in my tea, sugar in cooking when required, sugar is also used in curing and preserving, I dont buy processed food well very very little of it so no hidden sugars there, dont like fizzy drinks never had just dont like the fizz, I am a believer that a diet should be everything in moderation and the occasional bar of chocolate wont do any harm.

  4. Even a little sugar probably isn't good for us, but common sense tells us that convenience is sometimes with a little risk. Besides, it's not the folks who use a little that have problems, it's those who eat and drink entirely too much of it. Sadly, unless you make EVERYTHING that you eat and drink, even moderation isn't easy.

  5. Anyone with your level of fitness and daily activity Kev, should have no problem with eating sugar for energy in reasonable amounts. The modern problem is the vast amount of hidden sugars in convenience and low fat foods. A lot of children are being raised on these, especially the foods labelled as 'healthy', when in fact they are far from this.

    Sugar is the one food that actually feeds growing cancer cells, so very moderate consumption in healthy people is to be recommended. But as you say it is also fuel for hard working bodies, so I think commonsense is also what is needed.

    Personally I have just reduced my sugar consumption to virtually nil, and feel all the better for it 😊

  6. Hi Kev. John Seymour said eating cooked English breakfasts never gave farm labourers cholesterol or cancer because they burned it off doing physical work.

    People often condemn a can of baked beans because it contains sugar. Yet they will eat lots of fruit which contains natural sugars. Everything in moderation is the old saying which is still very true.

  7. There are several problems with the American diet, and it's not because of a teaspoon of sugar in a loaf of bread.

  8. The natural sugars in fruits (and many vegetables) are quite different than processed sugars, of course. Sugars do feed cancer cells and fungus in the human body. The American diet, especially, is waaaay too high in processed sugars because of the totally unnatural, non-food foods most eat. The best we can do? Stick to unprocessed foods, stay active (possibly most important), limit even great quantities of fruits (vegetables are better for us), grow your own to avoid poisons and man-made chemicals, and as other commenters have said . . . moderation in all things!

  9. The American diet sucks. It's cheap, fast and awful. At our little guys one year checkup the pediatrician asked us "how many times a week does he eat fast food? " um, what? None?
    I haven't had a soda in three years and try to cook well for us but I do sweeten bread as a bit of honey seems to keep it fresher longer.

  10. All the people who have lived through the war and are old now, like Granny Mac, lived on sugary tea and cake. Granny Mac has never been over 8 stone other than when she was pregnant. Breakfast of porridge, some days salt somedays jam mixed in. Oh and she love the salt! Lunch is a cooked dinner, with bread and butter and an afters of something like rice pudding. Tea, is 2 slices of bread and butter and half a can of peaches. She drinks the syrup! Through the day she probably has 12-15 cups of tea all with 2 or 3 spoons of sugar. If she is still hungry of an evening, after she has had a tipple or 2, she has a hand full of biscuits or crackers. She is still extremely active in her 90's. She picks most of the veg from the garden herself, granted she doesnt turn the soil, but she weeds herself. She doesnt trust anyone else to do it. I hope I am as good as her in my 70's. She is a marvel. And her tipple must have a lot of sugar in it as well. She did give up smoking when she was 70. She has never done anything else to be health. All the food and cake, bread etc she has always prepared herself. Of and she likes a Canada Dry.

    I eat some sugar, not a huge amount but some. I add honey to bread, I think it makes the crust better.

  11. Great comments Kev. No one food is evil or bad. People are generally...lazy. I do however sweeten mostly with our own honey for all the other great honey benefits, like reducing local allergen reactions, and maple syrup made by a friend of ours. My breads all rise well with either.

  12. Sugar has a place in our diet like lots of things that are reportedly bad for us. Moderation, Moderation and moderation.

  13. i hate people that just want to dump stink on everyone. i mean really...they need to get a life.

  14. You have a sensible approach to the sugar issue. Many people lead a sedentary lifestyle and eating sugary foods is bound to have an adverse effect on health. A little of what you fancy does you good, but it's all about moderation, and not sitting on your bum all day!

  15. I was surprised when I watched a TV program recently about sugar. It was very eye opening as to just how much sugar is in the food at the supermarkets. They removed the products from the shelves that contained sugar and there was not much left to choose from.

    I believe that living a healthy lifestyle including sugar in homemade goodies is fine. Sadly sugar is addictive and that is why there is so many people with weight issues related to sugar. Eat everything in moderation and there will be no problems :)


  16. I drink approx 12 cups of tea a day in which I take 2 heaped spoonfuls of sugar!
    I do however have a very active lifestyle with everything cooked from scratch, mostly with my own homegrown food. That being said, if I sat down all day and lived on hamburgers (ugh) I would till have 12 cups of tea a day with 2 sugars!

  17. There seems to be a lot of that going around these days, i.e. blurting out whatever without first checking to see if it is even remotely true.

    Unfortunately almost all commercially processed food in the US is loaded with sugar. Heck, they even add dextrose to our table salt. But what can one expect when our food is grown for shelf life rather than nutrition and flavor? Most commercial food in the US is tasteless unless loaded with salt and sugar. For those of us used to growing and eating most of our own food, stuff from stores and restaurants tastes pretty bad.

    That being said, I do add sugar to my homemade bread. I add one teaspoon (and only one) to feed the yeast. Any more than that makes it too sweet for us.


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