Sugar Shock

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I successfully made my first batch of jam. It was mango lime freezer jam (a few steps shorter than traditional jam) and it turned out to be a beautiful shade of orange with little green slivers. More important than looks was the taste, though. It was like having a slice of key lime pie smothered in mangoes, which to me is awesome. The downside was how much sugar was used. No matter how pleased I was with my work, I couldn't ignore the sugar shock.

Ok, this wasn't literally sugar shock I was dealing with, but I was shocked at the amount of sugar the recipe required. I looked online for other suggestions but didn't come across anything substantial. Most of what I read said that without enough sugar, the jam wouldn't set right. Fine. I can use less sugar...but I want to know how much less sugar I can get away with before it's not jam anymore. Anything is better than the five cups of sugar called for in the recipe that only used three cups of fruit.

Dealing with sugar is such a pain. It's not just the sugar that we know about, but more sadly, the sugar that is hidden in everything we buy. Just the other day, I was enjoying my tofu ice cream and realized that it had corn syrup solids in it. If high-fructose corn syrup is awful for you, I can't imaging that corn syrup solids is much better. Unless I find out otherwise, that's the last time I'll buy that product! Just last week the CBS health blog posted about a report from UCLA that basically shows that high fructose corn syrup feeds cancer cells. Awesome!

"The study, conducted by scientists at UCLA, found that pancreatic cancer cells grew faster when "fed" with fructose. Study author Dr. Anthony Heaney, associate professor of medicine and neurosurgery at the university's cancer center, said it was likely that fructose would also speed the growth of other cancers as well."

I am very glad to have been ridding my home of high fructose corn syrup products. It does take effort to let go of favorites that are laden with the stuff (farewell, Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ), but it's best for me in the long run. And I do try to help others become aware of what's in their food, but don't want to come off pushy. Besides, sometimes what they're purchasing is what they think is best for their budget. What have you had to let go of? How do you encourage others to read labels and decide to skip the high fructose corn syrup products?

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