Something I want to do more of on this site is to talk about some interesting articles I read in the news. I read about 7 newspapers every morning while I’m still laying in bed, trying not to wake my fiance, but definitely trying to stay warm and cozy before I have to get up and start my day.
On top of this, I have a few students who want to read and discuss a different news article every week, so I have to stay on top of what’s going on in the world in order to be able to read and discuss the articles with them in lessons.
So I read a lot.
I read this article recently, about how to ‘get rid of your sweet tooth’. I thought it was worth sharing, since the evidence and results presented here are something I learned on my own when I moved out of the US.
I was already eating relatively healthy foods by the time I left, but I had no idea what was coming. I guess when you’ve only lived in one place (or one country), everything about it seems like the right or only way to do things, and just ‘the way things are’. But when I moved to Germany, I saw something else.
It was confusing. Why did the ketchup taste strange, when it was in the same Heinz bottle I’d grown up with? Why didn’t the chocolate hurt my teeth anymore? The answers took some time (and asking a lot of Germans) to find, but it was clear: Germany uses different sugar in its products, and it’s not the sugar I was used to ingesting in the US. Also, in Germany, sugar wasn’t one of the top 3 things listed on the ingredients list on the package.
I had been angry in the US: why was there sugar and HFCS in my orange juice? Why was it the second ingredient in the bottled water? Even then, I was actively trying NOT to eat sugar in foods it didn’t belong in (like my bread and milk: WTF?). So when I moved to Germany and learned that they don’t often add sugar to things that are naturally sweet, I was pretty excited about it.
I was also excited to learn that Haribo Gummi Bears are flavoured with natural fruit juice, rather than processed sugar. Those things taste amazing.
We can all appreciate what is being said in the article above: a good way to reduce your sugar intake overall is to try to get the taste of sugar out of your mouth. Snack on fruits for a week. Eat your Corn Flakes without adding sugar (I know, but trust me). It really only took me a few weeks of conscious choices to notice (and taste) the difference.
I actually can’t eat Hershey’s chocolate bars anymore. They taste like sugar packed in chalk, with added sugar. It didn’t take long for that to happen to me, once I left the country.
Obviously, not everyone can just pick up and move out of the US, and why should they? But it is important to eat healthy and to eat well. To do that, reading the labels and trying to avoid foods(or food products, as they are called by Michael Pollan) that contain a lot of sugar is the best thing we can do.
We don’t have to quit sugar completely. We just need to scale back and eat sweets in moderation. Once the taste is not in your mouth anymore, it gets a lot easier. Kind of like quitting smoking, or stopping biting your nails (and yes, I have done both of those things).
Go off of soda and snacks in a box for a week. Stay away from fast food (even though Double Cheeseburgers used to be my favorite). Stock your fridge and cupboards with natural or whole foods, like fruits and vegetables. If you have snacks in the house, just put them somewhere out of sight, so you kind of just forget they’re there. Make your own dip for chips. It’s amazing how little it takes for your tongue and taste buds to notice the difference, and get used to the natural sweetness that is already there in so many things.