Why Can’t We Just Quit Sugar?
I rarely go a day without a bite or slice or square of something sweet. If it’s not cake, then it’ll be a cookie, a slice of tart topped with fruit or a slab of dark chocolate, a little pop of joy to accompany a short black coffee or a tall cup of green tea.
That’s more than some people can bear to hear these days. “I was going to buy your cookbook,” said one reader. “Now I have read this column and changed my mind.”
“Sugar is poison, full stop,” says another reader. “No way around that. The Science is there, as reported repeatedly in the NY Times lately.” That same reader goes on to say, “My acupuncturist in San Diego is a fantastic desserts chef (he serves them to us in the waiting room :-).”
Chefs sometimes turn out to be prescient about nutrition. In the midst of the panic about fat and butter, Julia Child proudly disagreed. She told the New York Times in 1990:
Everybody is overreacting. If fear of food continues, it will be the death of gastronomy in the United States. Fortunately, the French don’t suffer from the same hysteria we do. We should enjoy food and have fun. It is one of the simplest and nicest pleasures in life.
Today her disdain for low-fat everything has been vindicated. People would have to attack her for using sugar.
We will never eradicate sugar from our diets. A serving of breast milk – nature’s perfect food – has 17 grams of sugar. Excess is the only problem. Excess added sugars. Endless servings of sugary beverages. Those and other excesses took us to a sugar high in our diets. Sugar consumption is coming back down from that high. Our food and our health will be better as a result.
But sugar is not going away. Happy Valentine’s Day. Enjoy your chocolate.
Click here for the column by Yotam Ottolenghi.
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February 14, 2017