Celebrate without sugar?
Christmas without Christmas pudding, Easter without a foil wrapped egg, birthdays without a proper party?
More than just calories
That’s the problem food is about so much more than just calories. Families get together. It’s special. We feel good. We raise a glass and the fear is that if we outlaw sugar, we lose out on all the benefits we get from celebrating.
A role for sugar
There has to be a role for sugar and yet – before sugar was as common and cheap as it is now we had festivals and feasts. Medieval feasts were lavish multicoursed events which went on for days. Christmas celebrations used to go on for the entire 12 days of Christmas and sugar was so rare that it was used as a spice. As it has become cheaper and more widespread though it has become an essential part of everyday feasting.
Maybe the question should be more about how we can keep sugar as special. Still celebrate, just cut back on the amount of the sweet stuff that we stuff ourselves with.
The real problem
The real problem is not that we celebrate with sugar but that we celebrate and use sugar to cheer us up every single day. Need a lift? Have some chocolate. Cup of tea? Biscuit or two or three… Someone’s birthday at work? Doughnut or a bit of cake. Visit to a coffee shop? Would you like a piece of cake to go with that?
It’s not just the obvious stuff that has sugar in it either. The amount of sugar in foods bought at the supermarket has increased from 723,000 tonnes in 2015 to 743,000 tonnes in 2018. Manufacturers are sneaking it into foods where they can to encourage us to eat more of their products. Sugar is not just everyday, it’s every meal. Unlike a medieval Christmas which lasted for 12 days and included very little sugar, we are celebrating 365 days of the year if sugar defines a celebration. A report from 2015 found that adults in the UK were eating on average slightly under 60g of sugar a day. That’s 15 teaspoons.
Is it possible to celebrate without sugar?
Possibly, probably. We have no nutritional need for the sweet stuff. However, if we cut back or cut out the hyper-processed foods though we may not need to completely cut out the sugar at celebrations. If we are careful about the amount of cake and don’t celebrate everyday – why not have the odd piece if you really want to.