Sugar: Marketing Impact Part 4


I want to “discuss” (because it is not like I am sitting with you to talk about this) the how companies are impacting what we consume. I will just present my thought in main points, but I would love to hear what you think in the comments below.

I Feel:

  • You can see sweets are in your face EVERYWHERE! Next time you are in the convenience store or grocery, pay close attention to what is eye level for you and children. What is the most accessible and visible products when you first walk into your grocery store?
  • Sugars (processes, artificial and natural) are included in ingredients lists for things that it does not even make sense to have sugar in it. Look at the ingredients of the snack and packaged food items in your pantry:
    • How many of them have sugars in the list of ingredients?
    • Where is sugar on the list? Is it within the first 5 ingredients? Should it be so prevalent in the item you are looking at?
  • Sugar is not the devil, but companies are making it out to be. Most companies have their profit in mind, not our health. If adding certain ingredients creates a product that you can get hooked on, they will do it regardless of whether it is good for people to be consuming it.
  • Snack foods and sugary beverages do not solve the world’s food problems.

We Can Do More:

  • Easiest thing, make different choices.
    • Educate yourself. This can be as easy as watching Jaime Oliver’s Sugar Rush, That Sugar Film or the documentary Fed Up.
    • Learn to make simple healthy food. Not enough time? Consider how you can make it work for you.
      • Slow cookers can save you time.
      • Pre-chopped vegetables and fruits may cost more, but could be worth the time saved.
      • Keep it simple. Salt, Pepper and Olive oil can create a lot of great flavor to your protein and vegetables.
    • Reduce or stop purchasing processed foods.
    • Request products at your grocery with simpler ingredients (5 ingredients or less) and that do not contained additives of which you have no clue what they are. Did you know you can submit requests for certain products in your local store? I even submitted a request at my local Whole Foods and they listened! 🙂
  • Contact your politicians to voice your priorities.
    • They should listen to their community to vote on legislation and make decisions
    • If they can propose groceries stop distributing disposable bags, then they should be able to propose a tax on junk food and beverages or change up requirements of how stores are set up.
    • They could impact what is provided in schools.
  • Get involved at your child’s school.
    • Provide whole foods for your kid’s snacks and lunches.
    • Talk with the science teacher about a field trip to a farm or garden to help the students understand where their food comes from.
    • Members if the PTA at some schools can work to make changes to what kind of foods children are provided.
  • Contact brands with the number/email on the back of the package and provide your feedback on the ingredients they use.

The research I have been doing for this blog has me chanting, “I want to be more active in my community regarding this topic, I expect more from the food provided to me and I can not sit by anymore listening to the statistics of our country’s health crisis. I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore.”

So now what? I take action. I continue picking up that phone to call my city representative, making requests at my local grocery stores, purchasing whole foods to make simple, healthy meals, taking advantage of opportunities when someone asks me about what I am doing to feel so great and writing posts for this blog to show people it is possible on a budget. I want to impact people in a positive way, the same way I have seen people change how they feel about science in my work at the museum everyday. Positive experiences are long lasting. I hope my passion and actions are providing that to others.


Sugar: Best Time for Consumption Part 3

Since I can not consume coffee nor do I want to take energy supplements, foods with sugars can help me power through an intense workout. I plan my weekend workouts to be more intense and tend to be the first thing I do in the morning. Actually, first thing in the morning is typically when it is most convenient for me to do all of my workouts. So I plan out my meals to increase my glycogen stores to help me get through those rise and shine workouts.

Sugars are carbohydrates (carbs) and you need them to fuel your muscles. I have noticed that carbs in the morning help me feel more awake and ready to take on the day. I do try to limit the processed grain carbs I consume, but fruit and vegetables I will eat as much as will fill me up. On top of providing me carbs for energy, fruit and vegetables provide much of the micronutrients I need.


St. Louis’ Finest Indeed! One of the things I ALWAYS indulge for when I visit my family, Ted Drewes. Now you can even get it at the airport!

Now, when I treat myself to dessert (more than just a piece of fruit), I will often line that up with a moderate to intense walk or run following immediately to burn off the energy. Especially since added sugars give me quite the rush and can make it challenging to sleep.

For instance, on Pi day (March 14th) this year I indulged in half a slice of pie some coworkers brought in around 2 PM and within 30 minutes could not focus on my work and felt SUPER jittery! I ended up going for a 2+ mile walk after work, which helped bring me down from my sugar high. My digestion was not in it’s best state, but at least I was not up all night.

Now it may sound like I should just start my day with dessert if I am going to have it, but that just makes me feel sick the whole day. I have also had folks tell me I NEED to be eating something before I workout, but I really do not have the time to eat something, wait for it to digest, get my workout in, cleaned up for the day and out the door on time for work.

Also, there are arguments both ways on the importance of breakfast first thing in the morning. Personally, I have found that not eating as soon as I wake up works well for my lifestyle. Let me clarify, I NEVER skip breakfast! I just do not eat it before my workout. Since I workout in the morning I need to refuel afterwards with something nutritious for my muscles to recover and grow. Even if I do not workout in the morning, I find myself feeling sluggish and irritable without breakfast until I get my lunch. #NotProductive

This is just another reminder to do what works best for you and what I have learned about how sugars effect my body.


Fruit is one of the great ways to get in carbs 🙂

Sugar: My Addiction Part 2

As we enter this new year I feel withdrawal from the sugar exposure I allowed myself too often over the holidays. I ate more than I planned and am reminded of what it does to me; fatigue, cravings for sweets I do not even care for, lack of satisfaction from my meals, lack of interest in my daily life and serious constipation.

I truly believe I have an addiction to sugar. Only a couple of years ago, I could not go a full day without something sweet. It had to be a baked good or very sweet hot chocolate. However, my tastes have changed. I find myself feeling quite unsatisfied when I eat something that is just sweet. I crave flavor when consuming any thing sweet. Sugar cookies are the worst invention to my tongue.

What did me in over the holidays was that I felt like I could not stop until I found the intense flavor I was truly looking for. I know why too. Stress. Between all the travel in a short period of time, busy schedule to keep up with, little to no me time, endless holiday food buffets, judging comments, and family problems that can arise; I find the holidays to be a time of high anxiety.

When I am filled with anxiety I undergo a combination of two things: loss of appetite or binge eating sweets. Stress is the reason I do not keep sweets around my home all the time. I developed this habit in undergrad. I would bake when I was stressed and depressed, then binge on the sweets I prepared until it was completely devoured and repeat the cycle. In late 2014, I became conscious of what I was doing.

For the week before Thanksgiving 2014, I stopped consuming anything with added sugar until Thanksgiving day. I really thought I could never make it through that week or be able to pick it back up again after treating myself during the holiday weekend. I did it, but not without experiencing withdrawal symptoms for 7-10 days. I went back and forth between binge eating and not feeling hungry at all (i.e. stressed out), lacked interest in daily life, became easily agitated, was very restless (though working out helped with this a lot), endless nightmares each night, various parts of my face were twitching, etc..

After about 2 weeks without any added sugar in early December 2014, I felt great! Better than I ever had, actually. My bowel movements became regular. My energy was up. I felt calm too. I found what I needed, or more what I did not need (Sugar). Also, fruit was more satiating than it had ever been before in my life. I only ate a piece once per day. I still enjoyed a cupcake, but I stopped thinking about them everyday. I felt cured in a way.

Though I know I have an emotional issue with sweets, I have felt a mental and physical impact. Now when I eat any amount of sweets, I feel an intense sugar high. Not to mention, many baked goods these days are LOADED with sugar (40+ grams in one serving). This has changed my routine big time. I use to think to end my day with something sweet. Within the past few years, I mainly end my day with dinner and nothing else. I find that I sleep so well and feel energized in the morning.

This may not be the solution for everyone, but our society consumes far too much sugar. Sugar has been found to negatively effect your heart and cause weight gain. These two impacts alone lead to many other health issues. Reducing your sugar intake and being more conscious of how much sugar you are consuming can improve your life. Sugar is EVERYWHERE, but does it really need to be added to everything?

Sugar: What I Learned and What I Believe Part 1

When I was first told to avoid added sugar, especially the heavily processed sweeteners, there were 2 main thoughts that ran through my head, “NO CUPCAKES!” and “How am I really suppose to follow that? I do not have control over ingredients in food.” It was challenging to process the rest of what my doctor was telling me after that, luckily she gave me quite a bit of reading material and I was able to email her with questions. Of course, I became stunned even further when I learned all the different names for sugar that you can find on ingredients lists… O_O

So much needed to change for me to obtain a higher quality life and I was determined to make it happen. I had definitely developed a heavy sweet tooth since the first year of graduate school, but to be honest I always had a sweet tooth. I loved cake and I still love cake. I had become a frequent customer of gourmet cupcake shops and everyone close to me knew I was obsessed with cupcakes. I receive cards and gifts with a cupcake themes to them for every occasion. Why cupcakes? I find that they are the perfect serving size with the potential for the most delightful balance between cake and frosting. 🙂


I digress, I had already been trying to cut back on sweets at the time I visited the doctor since more family members were being diagnosed with diabetes recently. However, I had developed this strange routine of not eating ice cream, candy or baked goods for 7 days and then ALL THE TREATS in one day. Not the best method. I was itching for something sweet after every meal still and avoided social gatherings because of the desserts. I felt like I had an addiction, but I had always believe that it was more something in your life or lack of education that caused you to eat poorly. Not that those do not play a role.

In the process of reading each ingredient label and finally coming to terms with letting go of foods I had come to depend on, I noticed there are people with strong opinions about sugar. Not just the processed sugars added to food, but even a piece of fruit. Out of curiosity, I followed these point of views and began to question why is sugar in everything?

Then, I watched That Sugar Film and I began to question even more. Why are governments so entangled with our food suppliers? Why are there so many words for sugar with the same source or even when it is the exact same product? Why do foods with honey in the title have cane sugar higher on their ingredient lists? Why do they modify maple syrup with other sweeteners? Why do so many savory, salty products have added sugars in their ingredients? Why would folks want sweetened nut milk if they had been drinking unsweetened dairy milk? I feared that food corporations had the worst for us in mind just to make money. Do they know what their products are doing to people? Do they really add sugar to keep people coming back for more? Not to mention, it has been proven that artificial sweeteners, thought to help you lose weight, actually increase your appetite. It was a lot to take in.

I needed to focus on what my body needed though because a change starts with you. You have the power to change the demand for foods you require to be happy and healthy. I  was amazed when I first requested certain produce, types of meat and other whole foods at my local grocery. They actually listened and brought in some things I requested! 🙂 It restored some faith in the system for me. By the way, I see nothing wrong with the sugars that naturally exist in produce and other whole foods.

In the end, I believe the large food producers and most of our government officials do not have our interests in mind. They are in this to make money. Taste is important to them, but nutrition clearly is not. I feel like we need to take actions into our own hands whether by making our own food again, informal nutrition education, demand higher quality products at our grocery stores or more accessible nutrition labels on all food. Additionally, it may seem like certain foods are the devil if you have digestive issues, but keep in mind that it is not an issue for everyone and it could more be the misuse of the product by our food suppliers that makes it villainous.