Sugar isn’t controversial. You could spend eons perusing the arguments over gluten, corn, grain soaking, nightshades, and shellfish, but who’s going to raise a spoon in defense of sugar, unanimously stamped as unhealthy? Well, I am, I guess.
Like most children, I was addicted to sugar when I was little. I pinched sugar out of the box when making cookies. If something sweet was offered to me I ate it without question, unless it was from a creepy stranger driving by in a car. Sugar did not make me fat, and I supposed that I could deal with any other effects it might have on my body at a much later date.
If you’re pursuing a healthy diet, I do believe that cutting back on sugar is one of the best things you can do. Many people don’t realise how much sugar they consume on a daily basis. In retrospect, I’m shocked that I used to think that one to two soft drinks a week, juice at breakfast, and a daily dessert or mid-afternoon snack was moderate. When I realised this and started my blog, I assumed that one day I would have to give up white sugar altogether.
But recent musings on a healthy yet realistic approach to food have me convinced that giving up white sugar altogether is not a path I’ll take. There are some pastries, cookies, drinks, cakes, etc. in which you simply can’t omit white sugar without altering their flavour for the worse. White sugar adds clean sweetness, and that’s it. No flavours to overpower other ingredients. (The only exception I can think of is if you intentionally “burn” or caramelize the sugar to alter its taste.) This makes white sugar ideal for more delicate creations in which you want other flavours showcased, like cream in custards or rum and butter in a rum cake.
That said, I’m pretty picky now about what sweets I eat. I’m no longer the girl who takes sweets just because they’re there. I pass up the cornucopia of store-bought or partially-homemade desserts at a potluck, or soft drinks that I don’t really enjoy. It has to be truly tempting–something I’ll savour, like a spicy Coke at a restaurant, a completely from-scratch cake, or chocolate chip cookies just out of the oven.
Perhaps I’ve realised that once you’ve learned to respect white sugar, it can be rather fun to welcome it back into your kitchen. Happily, during my “use white sugar only as a body scrub” days I’ve learned how to incorporate a few other, more healthy sweeteners. I’ll be posting about these in the next couple of weeks.
Linked to Healthy 2Day Wednesday