Sugar: The Herpes of the Food Industry

The Hubs and I have had a particularly exhausting week with very late nights and hardly a minute to ourselves, let alone to do the things we need to do.

So yesterday was one of those days where we both bought lunch instead of bring from home. Addison has been working on making healthier choices here and there, so when he saw that they were serving sweet potato tater tots instead of the normal fries or onion rings, he was pretty excited.

The moment we got to the table, I did the annoying girl thing and stole one of his tots. Only, when it hit my mouth, I was shocked. It was so incredibly sweet, I couldn’t believe it.

“Honey, I think they sprinkled granulated sugar on your tots,” I said.

He rolled his eyes at me, “No, its just the salt bringing out the natural sweetness of the sweet potato.”

“I don’t think so,” I replied. “It tastes like the whole inside of the tot has sugar kneaded into it too.”

He decided to find some loose “salt” granules at the bottom of his plate to prove me wrong. but when he stuck the straight crystals into his mouth, his eyes got as big as saucers.

“Oh my gosh…it IS sugar.”

Later, a coworker agreed that she had always likened that food item served in our cafeteria to funnel cake.

WHY? Why is there a need to sprinkle SUGAR on a sweet potato tater tot? It’s already fried and now you’re gong to make it worse?

But it’s not just an isolated occurrence. Sugar is EVERYWHERE. It’s like the food industry opened up a can of glitter and accidentally spilled it EVERYWHERE and now we can’t get it out of things that you wouldn’t normally think sugar should be in– or at least in the amounts that it has been lately.

Like salad dressing. Like bread. Like milk. Like EVERYTHING.

What happened? Did a child get hired as a CEO somewhere and decide that it’s time to make everything sweeter because it’s “awesome” or did a diabolical genius rise to power and realized that by over sugaring up our society, our palettes would essentially be ruined and we couldn’t help but be addicted to whatever product they want us to buy?

I’d say it was like a disease, but it’s more than that. It IS a disease. The increase in sugar and even artificial sweeteners is increasing illness, disease and health issues in our society. And it’s terrible. We deserve better than that.

I recently started making my own salad dressings because a clean eating blog brought up some of the crap that’s in these things. I never thought about them before. I’ve always just bought “Lite” dressings and figured I was doing my part being a savvy consumer. Oh how wrong was I.

Just look at this nutrition label for the Ken’s Balsamic Dressing with Honey. After the normal ingredients you would use to make it (ie. oil and vinegar), what’s the next most used thing? Corn syrup and sugar. Really? Have you ever baked with corn syrup before? It’s pretty nasty stuff that’s a “necessary evil” in Pecan Pie. But it’s in everything too…and really, it’s a code word for sugar. What I really don’t get though, is if you’re going to use honey to sweeten something, why would you use other sweeteners more than the actual ingredient advertised on the label?

Oh, that’s right. To mislead everyone who is too busy to pick up the bottle and turn it over. Got it.

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The crazy part is, I had all the ingredients for all the salad dressings I’ve attempted so far ALREADY in my pantry. What was I doing wasting my money on pre-made salad dressings that aren’t good for me?

My favorite so far is the Greek dressing. Oil, red wine vinegar, lemon, minced garlic, oregano and dill weed. So fresh. So easy.

The others? I’ve mastered a balsamic and an Italian dressing so far. Italian dressing uses apple cider vinegar. Who knew?

And yes, I’ve had all these vinegars right underneath my nose. If you don’t have them yet, don’t worry! It’s a worthwhile investment that you don’t have to use much of to pack a punch. You can really use them to heighten the flavors in almost any dish (I had them because I use balsamic for meats and veggies, red wine vinegar for sauces and apple cider vinegar for pork and appley things…and of course sometimes I just experiment).

Is there added sugar anywhere in those recipes for REAL, fresh and 5 second salad dressings? No. Not at all. Then why is it in the bottles we buy?

To kill us. To make us zombies. To make us slaves to the processed food industry that bleeds us drive of our money only to give us food that does a poor job nourishing us at all.

I’m not an extremist. I’m not even 100 percent clean eating. What I am though, is a curious person trying to be a well-informed individual in a society who likes to pull the blinders over our eyes. I’m slowly learning things and trying to make changes. It’s not hard to make small changes. You can start with something simple….Like salad dressing… and then work your way up to milking your own goat.

I’m totally kidding about the goat, by the way.

But for us to not take 5 seconds to mix some oil and vinegar together for our salad is just irresponsible. I don’t know about you, but I’m worth more than that. I’m worth taking a small amount of time to make better choices.

Aren’t you?

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9 thoughts on “Sugar: The Herpes of the Food Industry

  1. I love this blog! I lost 10 pounds once I started reading the sugar content of food, who knew there was sugar in ranch dressing??? haha not me

    • And this is why I read your blog! I love your honesty! And I’m headed to buy stuff to make my own dressing! I know it’s not the healthiest but can you make your own ranch?

      • Hey! Sorry I was out of town all weekend so I didn’t get to this until now. I am not a Ranch dressing person myself but I will look into it and get back to you! Maybe I’ll do a whole post on salad dressing recipes :-). How did your attempt at making dressing go?

  2. The title of this blog is crazy amazing. I love the “glitter” reference too. You’re writing is so creative. Kudo’s. I also have loss 10 lbs since watching the sugar intake. You should, or probably, watch Hungry For Change. That is a great documentary on the subject of what people eat.

  3. Thanks for sharing! Could not agree more. When we avoid the overuse of sugar and salt, suddenly the world is full of flavor. It’s interesting too that in France (for example) there isn’t guilt associated with the pleasure of food. Here we think if you’re indulging then it must be unhealthy. They’ve also captured the art of presentation recognizing we also eat with our eyes. In our case that means we’re sometimes sold by bright colors on a label or a product name. When we balance our perception of food and make the right changes we’ll become less guilt ridden and more likely want to make smarter, healthier choices for the long run. Unfortunately, we you have to search for the facts and real food if we want it.

    • The French are really awesome. And you’re totally right. Our food perceptions really do play a huge role in our overall eating habits and psychology of eating! If only nutrition facts were so crazy for the lay man to understand. Hopefully one day we’ll live in a world where wholesome food is the norm and everyone wants to be educated consumers.

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