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Sunday, 13 November 2011


A few years ago I was on a scientific workshop about lipid metablism. A lady presented her data showing that, when sugar was added to th diet for the mice of an animal model of Alzheimer's disease, the animal developed more severe symptoms of the disease, literally being more stupid. That was quite revealing. After the meeting and on, I found myself adding more and more sugar in my coffee.

And to be really healthy, besides the excess sugar, I also try to avoid artificial (chemical) flavoring, colouring, emulsifying, and preservation agents. I discovered that means avoiding supermarkets entirely, and only shopping at the local bio-food market. It's very hard to find wholesome, totally natural food in the mainstream retail channels. So in practice it's simply impossible (or certainly impractical) to avoid all that excess rubbish entirely.

E.g. most so-called "fruit" yoghurts in the supermarket have no fruit ingredients whatsoever. Instead they are fruit flavoured, which means they contain a carefully composed mix of flavouring agents that taste like fruit but are totally unrelated to the real thing. Consumers are constantly being misled. (Although many people I know simply don't seem to care much what they put in their bodies). Sad really.

Hey Mike,

Sugar is not bad for you. Fiber depleted foodstuffs are bad for you.

Sugar is essentially food energy that has been stripped of the fiber and water that would normally provide the roughage to fill your stomach and stop you from eating.
You'd have a hard time eating seven apples in one sitting, but remove the fiber, and a few gulps of apple juice can be downed in a short time. Go another step, and remove the water, and apple juice concentrate, or basically apple sugar can be finished in a shot glass.

So don't cut out sugar. Just cut out sugar that doesn't come with the original fiber that encased it to begin with. Or re-add the fiber to your diet that has been removed, if you do have something sweet.

Refined food increasingly seems like a really bad idea. There are now four of us in my family who can't tolerate gluten. And diabetes seems to be running at more than 50% of the fifty-plus generation.

One of the few sources of high-fructose corn syrup that was still in my diet in recent years was in "Coke". I've since found a stevia-sweetened alternative called Zevia. No calories, no artificial sweeteners, and I prefer the taste and lightness to Coke - you can even drink it at room temperature because it doesn't get that syrupy leaden feeling when it's not ice cold.

I'm glad this was brought up. Sugar in foods is a major problem in the world. So much so that a scientist I will respect, Raymond Francis, said that if you can do one thing to improve your life cut out sugar. (This includes actual white refined sugar and all sugar copycats like maple syrup, corn syrup, and even honey!) He also says that if sugar didn't exist until this day and someone tried to put it on the market it would never be allowed.

About the tasteless bread, if there is one key to good bread, it is to let the dough sit hydrated for a long time. Then complex sugars have enough time to break down into simpler ones that we can taste. The easiest way to do this is to use a very long natural leaven (sourdough) fermentation - I typically let my dough ferment for about 16 hours. (Natural leavening also enhances the flavors in other ways).

High fructose corn syrup is just about the same as table sugar - about half fructose - unless a few reports are correct that manufactured fructose is somehow different (and worse for you) than the natural fructose in fruit.

Additives of all kinds are hard to avoid if you need to. I used to have to shop for someone who was both lactose intolerant and couldn't eat onion. It turned out that most prepared foods had dried onion, powdered milk, or both. And just when you found some food that didn't have them, the recipe got changed and now the dreaded ingredients were present.

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