There is a flood of misinformation in the media today regarding all-natural sugar. This month's Sugar Packet takes aim at three prominent myths.
Myth: Sugar Is To Blame For America's Obesity Crisis

Nobody discounts the seriousness of the rise in obesity in America. But any attempt to confront the problem by laying blame on sugar (sucrose) defies reason (and scientific data).
Here’s the reality: Department of Agriculture data show that U.S. per-capita consumption of real sugar (sucrose) is lower now than it was 40 years ago by 34 percent.
During this time, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) replaced sugar in thousands of products, particularly in beverages—often inaccurately called “sugary” or “sugar sweetened”—which mostly contain no sugar at all. In fact, more than 90% of the caloric sweetener supplied to the US beverage industry is HFCS, not sucrose.
To target sugar as the scapegoat to the obesity crisis does consumers a disservice.
Other factors should be and are being considered, including changes in our diet, particularly increases in the consumption of certain foods, the role of physical activity and sedentary lifestyles, and other social elements.

Myth: Sugar Is Addictive

The science is very clear on this matter, showing conclusively that eating behaviors do not support the simplistic belief that sugar is addictive, and the cause of overeating.
Craving can be a characteristic of addiction, but craving alone does not equal addiction. Eating is a sensory and emotional experience and food preferences are based on many stimuli, including flavor (salty, sweet, and bitter), aroma and texture.
No matter how much a person likes the taste of sweet foods, people don’t rush to the kitchen for a teaspoon of sugar and would probably be upset with a heart shaped box of granulated sugar on Valentine’s Day. We all get cravings. Simply craving certain foods, including sweets, does not mean someone is addicted.
Eating disorders that result in overeating are real and a serious problem for some people, but the evidence does not support the "addiction theory."

Myth: All Sweeteners Are The Same

When critics of "sugar" talk about its high or increased consumption, they are inaccurately and misleadingly lump natural sugar (from sugar cane and sugar beets) together with man-made sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup and all the other caloric sweeteners manufactured from starch.
But sugar isn't high-fructose corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup certainly isn’t sugar.

Sugar is a natural substance found in plants. Sugar, following its extraction principally from sugar beets and sugar cane, is the food ingredient consumers have trusted for eons. Whether still in a plant or in our sugar bowl, it is categorically the same. Sugar is a crystal made up of equal parts glucose and fructose bound together at the molecular level. Mother Nature has made it this way for thousands of years.
HFCS describes man-made variations of "free" fructose, glucose and other substances, with some formulations made up of as much as 90 percent fructose. It’s been this way since scientists in the late 20th century invented a way of transforming corn starch at the molecular level to synthesize a cheap, alternative sweetener.
These molecular differences between sugar and HFCS are biologically meaningful.

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In This Issue...
Look Who's Switching to Sugar...
Whish Three Whishes Sugar Scrub renews and polishes with its unique combination of organic sugar cane, brown sugar, raspberry seeds and bamboo powder.
Sierra Mist is made with real sugar and natural flavors to let the crisp, clean and lemon-lime taste shine through. It's simple, delicious, and naturally refreshing!

More on Consumer Confusion
Fact Sheet: Consumers have a right to know about sweeteners
Audio: Consumer Sweetener Confusion News Release
See what new sweetener labels might look like
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The Sugar Packet
April 15, 2014
The Sugar Packet
March 27, 2014

Published by Sugar Association
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