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monsoon

Why is there so much sugar in American food?

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I went to someone's house the other evening and they fixed some kind of prepared chinese food as a snack. It was so sweet that I couldn't eat it and this was in a dish that isn't supposed to have sugar in it. So I went down a few isles at that grocery store to look at frozen food and cereal and it was almost impossible to find food where sugar wasn't the second or third ingredient. And in the case of cereals, there were only two brands that I could find that didn't have any sugar, regular shredded wheat and oatmeal that you have to cook.

Even more interesting not one label lists it as sugar. It hides under other names such as fructose, corn syrup, and in the case of the organic health food stuff, evaporated cane juice (that is pure sugar, haha) or molasses

I can see why Americans are getting so over weight and why children are getting Type II diabetes.

Why is there so much of this stuff in our food now?

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I think our taste buds in this country are quickly evolving so that nothing tastes good to us anymore unless it is loaded with sugar. Food is no longer a necessity for most, but rather a delicacy. I guess that's what happens in a "prosperous" nation that overall doesn't have too many people that are starving to death.

Personally, I have less of a problem with the amount of sugar and fat in our everyday groceries and a much bigger problem with the lack of physical activity in most people's lives. All part of our "drive to the gym and then walk on the treadmill" culture.

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As someone trying to get back to my fighting weight, it's amazing how many "low fat" meals are loaded with sugar. After looking at a label, I'm just like, "Give me that fattening stuff. It can't be as bad as 36 grams of sugar."

Having said that, I will load iced tea down with so much sugar it's almost undrinkable to some people.

I'm with Recchia though. Just get out of the house and run around somewhere.

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I too am one watching my weight, I am down 85 lbs from my peak weight and scrutinize labels like you wouldn't believe. I was guilty of eating sugary foods way too often and have had to switch to much more basic foods (grilled, boiled, broiled) with less sauces and staying away from carbs.

I have sworn off sugar soft drinks/tea, I still drink a couple of diet but am working phasing that out.

Sugary Foods and Treats will always be available but we have to get in a mindset of eating healthier and not eating these foods as the norm. But as long as corporate America keeps telling us that this is 'what we need to eat' and we're mindless enough to buy it, expect to see mass quantities of sugar in the American diet.

(let's not forget sodium on processed foods either, many foods have close to a whole days worth of sodium in one serving!!!)

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Sugary drinks must be a huge part of this country's weight problem. They're essentially all empty calories that probably add up close to 1,000 calories per day for the typical person. A lot of people I've seen seem to think that drinking things like fruit juice is better than drinking soda, not realizing that the fruit juices actually have more calories per 8oz.

I for one am glad that the "low fat" craze of the 1990's is over and done with. All of those low fat products essentially had the same amount of calories as their higher fat counterparts and were therefore worthless. Not to mention they tasted awful (Snackwells brand comes to mind...)

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Why is there so much of this stuff in our food now?

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I admit I'm a slave to Master Cane. I can't imagine not eating sugar or a world with nothing sweet. The real healthy stuff just doesn't have a taste that has me craving more which is why I am not crazy about salads. It's all a grand conspiracy to make everyone diabetic and have to go to doctors and take medications. It would be nice though if sugar wasn't in like 99% of our food, but I don't see the day.

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I had a friend move to the states from Canada and she can't stand our packaged foods. Still has her mom ship her ketchup from Canada. She's noticed that all of our foods are full of corn syrup. We can thank good old government subsidies for that. ;)

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i'm working on losing weight. i've basically tried to cut back on the amount of snacks i eat. i do love sugar and junk food though. i only eat pre-packaged foods when i'm in a rush, generally i eat fresh deli meats and cheeses and make my own meals. i've gone to coke zero, which isn't that great for me, but it still lacks the calories that are found in regular coke. i can't live without flavored drinks and i'm not a big fan of plain tea (iced or hot), so i need to add sugar.

the problem is that high fructose corn syrup isn't real sugar (though it is a sugar). it's a lot cheaper than natural sugar, but not as good for you.

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I've heard a lot of people refer to high fructose corn syrup as "the white man's poison" ... and it probably is. So much of our foods and drinks nowadays contain the stuff it's ridiculous. And we all wonder where we're getting obese and diabetes from.

College didn't really help me, only until the end of my tenure there did I start paying attention to my increasing weight. A severe lack of exercise (well, I still have that problem) coupled with constant beer, pizza, Wendy's "Double" combos, and ripple chips with cream cheese took a toll. I way back on all the crap, plus soda. I'll have a Sprite once in a while when out and about, but I try to drink far more water.

I have a problem with candy though. Starburst, Dots, cherry Airheads, Smarties, Reese's, cherry pull n' peel Twizzlers. Here is my unhealthy addiction, and I got a problem.

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i've gone to coke zero, which isn't that great for me, but it still lacks the calories that are found in regular coke. i can't live without flavored drinks and i'm not a big fan of plain tea (iced or hot), so i need to add sugar.

Coke Zero is as bad as any diet soda drink and is likely worse for you than simply drinking a regular coke. Aspartame has lately been possibly linked to certain cancers and a host of other problems. I've stopped drinking sodas cold turkey with the exception of the occasional Ginger Ale. I only drink water, coffee, or teas. For tea I brew my own and mix and match green tea with something exotic like mango or pear. You certainly get used to a life without sodas and (I'm sure it has little to do with) I feel better.

I also stay away from packaged foods for the most part unless I need something on the go and stay clear of fast food joints (especially the likes of McDonald's, Taco Bell, and KFC).

I really wish America would get with it and stop forcing this junk on its citizens. It is a shame that you have to work so hard to eat healthy.

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Has splenda been linked to anything harmful yet? I tend to drink the no name diet sodas sweetened with that instead of aspartame. I'm hoping this will do me better. I have gotten around to drinking my coffee black with no sugar finally.

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I really wish America would get with it and stop forcing this junk on its citizens. It is a shame that you have to work so hard to eat healthy.

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Has splenda been linked to anything harmful yet? I tend to drink the no name diet sodas sweetened with that instead of aspartame. I'm hoping this will do me better. I have gotten around to drinking my coffee black with no sugar finally.

There hasn't been any health risks linked to Splenda yet. That isn't to say that a health risk by using Splenda won't be found in the coming years or decades. Like you I use Splenda as a substitute in nearly everything that needs sugar, especially in things like coffee and apple pie or when purchasing ice cream. When I make tea I mix regular sugar, raw sugar, and splenda.

There are a couple of sites for Splenda, both attempting to get the truth out about Splenda, but are on each side of the fence on the health issue:

Pro:

http://splendatruth.com/

Con:

http://www.truthaboutsplenda.com/

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Coke Zero is as bad as any diet soda drink and is likely worse for you than simply drinking a regular coke. Aspartame has lately been possibly linked to certain cancers and a host of other problems. I've stopped drinking sodas cold turkey with the exception of the occasional Ginger Ale. I only drink water, coffee, or teas. For tea I brew my own and mix and match green tea with something exotic like mango or pear. You certainly get used to a life without sodas and (I'm sure it has little to do with) I feel better.

I also stay away from packaged foods for the most part unless I need something on the go and stay clear of fast food joints (especially the likes of McDonald's, Taco Bell, and KFC).

I really wish America would get with it and stop forcing this junk on its citizens. It is a shame that you have to work so hard to eat healthy.

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And it isn't very hard to eat that healthy. Just hit the local farmer's market and butcher.

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This is what I was saying I'd need to do if I don't want any sugars. Only fresh produce and meat... man that sounds pretty bland.

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It is possible to grow into not being a sweets person IMO. It seems that I can taste sugar if it was used in something such as a pie or tea, etc., perhaps that comes from my long usage of Splenda as an alternative. Just stay away from candy and other junk for a while and I doubt that your mind will desire those things as much if any anymore.

I have heard that the part of the brain that deals with hunger/appetite resides right beside the part of the brain that remembers what you ate and thus your brain is tricked. When you get hungry and eat junk food your brain remembers what you ate that it satisfied that hunger so next time you get hungry you unconsciously reach for the same junk.

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What really bothers me is that when you go into a convenience store to get a bottled beverage, your only choices for something to drink are... MEGA ULTRA SWEET CRAP, and water. Bottled iced tea? Ridiculously sweet. Bottled iced green tee? Ridiculously sweet. Convenience stores only stock the ultra-sweet V8 Splash, too - not the regular, non-sweetened V8 tomato juice. Even the drinks with "just a splash of fruit flavor" like Propel Fitness Water are waaay too sweet. If I don't feel like water, I'm stuck with it, or else I have to pick the "least bad" option which usually ends up being grapefruit or orange juice (good for you in many ways, but still contains loads of sugar.)

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a Coke every now and then as much as the next guy, but sweet drinks just don't satisfy my thirst as well as drinks that aren't sweet, and water is sometimes kinda blah (especially bottled tap water sold at $1.29 for 500ml.)

Why can't we have UNsweet bottled iced tea in the US? Or UNsweet bottled green tea? Why can't we have a nice UNsweetened drink with just a splash of fruity flavor? It pisses me off.

I never paid this any mind until I spent some time in Japan. Half of the drinks they have there at convenience stores and vending machines are unsweet. An unsweet bottled green tea is refreshing like you absolutely wouldn't believe. Nama-cha (生茶) is my favorite, btw.

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I mainly drink water, and occasionally sweetened green tea (cold), Kool-Aid and fruit juice as my beverages of choice. I do realize how much sugar are in the latter 2, but I don't drink them often. I haven't really drink a soft drink since 2000, so those aren't even my problem.

I'll go to Subway every once in awhile. I most definitely don't indulge on fried fast food, YUCK! Fried food makes me neuseated, and the last time I ate actual fried French fries I got Migraine and later wind up vomitting.

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High fructose corn syrup is definitely the devil. As it has been said, even the stuff you think is better for you--Gatorade, the vitamin waters, etc.--is loaded down with the stuff. I can usually stomach the diet Lipton green tea, but the diet Sobe green tea tastes like mouthwash. Yuck.

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As noted above by Orulz, bottled or canned green tea with no sugar and unsweetened is actually pretty good once you get the "sweet" cravings out of your mouth. Unfortunately it's impossible to find in the USA unless you are lucky to have an Asian grocery store that stocks the imported stuff. I do find it interesting the major manufacturers actually make the good stuff for sale in the foreign markets but when they formulate the product for the USA they add a lot of sugar that isn't found outside the country, often in the same named brand. Canned coke for example in Japan has a lot less sugar in it.

If one leaves the USA for a even a short while and then returns the very first thing that you notice is how large Americans are and I don't mean that in a good way. A lot of it has to do, I think, with the huge amount of empty calories that has found its way into our food in the form of hidden sugar. IMO, there is no reason that a canned drink has over 140 calories in it, all from high fructose corn syrup. On the earlier comments about farmer's markets and local butchers I do support that people eat locally grown food as much as possible, but I will also note that for most people this isn't a realistic option as most of the local growers and retailers have been driven out of business from corporate farms, distributors and huge grocery organizations such as Walmart.

BTW, USA tax policy has made much of this possible as corporate farmers get huge subsidies from the federal government which has made high fructose corn syrup very very cheap. These kinds of subsidies need to end as I don't know why the government should be giving incentives to corporations to produce a product that is causing so much harm to society.

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Fructose isn't inherently bad. You need a certain level of it in your blood, or you'll run into pretty serious complications. You need other sugars too though, and the lack of them in food products, the homogeneity of HFCS, is not good. HFCS became widespread because it's sweeter than other naturally occurring sugars. You don't need as much in the food to produce the equivalent 'sweetness'.

There's a certain emptiness to it though. It's sweet, but not in enough ways. There's some element missing from it, so you eat more to get the same satisfaction from it.

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Way back when I was in high school, I remember the first time a German exchange student took a bite into store bought cake. They couldn't take it. You could see the look on his face when he discovered how unbelievably sweet it was. He almost spit it out. When I took a bite, it was perfectly normal. Really, it does show how much our taste buds have adapted.

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