Updated: Feb 20
I have been feeling strongly about sugar ever since I came to the States. Suddenly, I had gained 20lbs within the first 3 months. But I was young and carefree, so I let these extra weights stick with me and keep increasing for the next 2 years. Until a few months before my wedding, I realized I needed a much slimmer waistline to fit into a gorgeously looking wedding dress! I began to search for what I can cut off and I found these extra sweet cakes and treats everywhere around me! For the first time, I started to read the ingredient statements: high-fructose corn syrup, cane sugar concentrate, sucrose, dextrose, molasses, honey, maple syrup, palm sugar, coconut sugar, agave nectar/syrup, maltodextrins, and the list goes on. Wow, their presence is so overwhelming and often accounts for the leading ingredient on the label, meaning the dominating flavor and nutrients from that food is some sort of refined sugar. Fortunately, my indulgence with sugar was not that longstanding, and I was able to quit eating most of the packaged foods with added sugars and happily fit into my wedding dress. And thanks to my training in a food science major, once I realized the negative impact, I’ve been able to shun away from sugar ever since.
I became happy and proud to stay fit in my sugar-free fortress and kept ignoring my conflicted feeling about sugar impact on others. But the sugar monster never goes away, instead, it grows stronger and more humanized, and attacks more people without alarm. I kept noticing more confounding factors about sugars and sweeteners, and many new forms that mislead consumer perception vs explicitly telling the facts of the various options. The ever-growing big family of low sugar or sugar free options (where you can find them in the ingredient statement of packaged foods) includes, sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, xylitol and mannitol, artificial sugar substitutes such as saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame-K, sucralose, erythritol, and the new favorite natural high-intensity sweeteners such as stevia leaf extract and monk fruit extract. They have low or even zero calories, making them perfect sugar substitutes (many claims sugar-free) into many iconic food brands and widely used to enable the popular keto diet.
Despite knowing these confounding messages on the market, I continued to live happily in my own fortress and presumed it would shield my family as well. Until my own pre-teen daughter was diagnosed of pre-diabetic and anxiety symptoms together with period disorder, I realized this monster is much more powerful than I thought. My daughter had healthy meals with family, but when she was at school with her peers, she ate sugar-loaded school lunches, sugary snacks from vending machines, and sneaked away all the candies and chocolates in the household whenever she had a chance. I felt such a failure as a mom who claims to be super healthy and preaches to her about the detriments from sugar all the time. But all my efforts seem to be in vain for an adolescent who already became a sugar addict and is more greatly influenced by her peers.
What went wrong? I studied all the sweet foods she ate, some of them claims to be sugar free, but are formulated with those high-intensity sweeteners which are 200-300 more potent than table sugar. So, eating these foods although no sugar calories, may possibly make her crave for more and stronger dosages of sweets from a psychological perspective. She may end up becoming more of a sugar addict as well as suffering more mood swings due to overly intense sensational spikes. The other side effect from some high-intensity sweeteners could be hormone disruption, for example, steviol glycosides, the chemical compounds responsible for the sweet taste of stevia leaf, are a type of steroid, and study has found this chemical could increase progesterone production in the body.
I’m convinced that I need to step out of my fortress, to be part of solution to tame this sugar monster, for my own daughter, for many adolescents like her, and for all of you who may struggle with sugar additions and related diseases. My startup LusOasis Foods is embodying this belief as the first principle in developing every food we deliver to you. At LusOasis Foods, we aim to make fun flavorful vegan foods to help anyone who’d like to cleanse your body with a healthier vegan life style (even for a few days a time), it’s even more important to set up the sugar boundaries, as a treat like Oreos cookie can be classified as a vegan food but will not cleanse your body. At LusOasis Foods, we have a zero-tolerance policy of extra sugar and sweetener consumption and dare to be the first company who insists on eliminating refined sugars, artificial and high-intensity sweeteners in our foods. I’d like to help anyone who’re ready to say farewell to any sneaky sugar additions, and fully enjoy the carefree, clean satisfaction that is genuinely good for your overall wellbeing, body, and mind.
· Does stevia have any side effects? Medical News Today
· Shannon, M., Rehfeld, A., Frizzell, C., Livingstone, C., McGonagle, C., Skakkebaek, N. E., … Connolly, L. (2016, May 15). In vitro bioassay investigations of the endocrine disrupting potential of steviol glycosides and their metabolite steviol, components of the natural sweetener Stevia. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, 427, 65–72 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0303720716300533