We sure love our legal addictive stimulants, don’t we? At least, here in America we do.
Watching the Great British Baking Show, and seeing how much less sugar they use in their yummies, really nailed the idea home for me. My husband and I had already been pondering how desserts always taste way too sweet. It seems like any time you order a dessert at a restaurant, or buy a pastry at the bakery (or supermarket), the main flavor is always just sweet. Too sweet.
In most recipes, my husband and I will usually half the amount of sugar that it calls for (even cornbread). And you know what? There’s more flavor in the tasty treats and less cavity-causing cringing. In fact, this last weekend, I made a Tres Leches cake that called for TWO CUPS of sugar for the entire 9×13 cake! It was insane! I only did 1 cup of sugar, which I still felt to be excessive, and the cake was still so sweet. I can’t imagine how it would have been if I’d added more. Gross.
Why so much sugar? I’ve already proven (by very sciency methods) that so much sweetening is completely unnecessary. Your cookies will still turn out the right consistency if you half the sugar. I’ve been doing this for years. It’s so much yummier, I promise. It’s better to taste the flavor of the treat, and not just sugar sugar sugar. Hey, even candy, which is pure sugar, still sometimes has more flavor than a store bought muffin.
I have a huge problem with sugar. Problem as in- I get super addicted to it. If I even let one small jellybean* pass my lips, I’m hooked. Like a crack addict, I’ll tear the house apart looking for more jellybeans until my mouth burns from sugar-acid overload. Same thing happens with chocolate, especially M&M’s. Those things are trouble for me. Sweet sweet trouble…
The problem with consuming so many addictive sweets is that I can immediately feel the negative impact it has on my mind and body. I feel waspish, slow, sleepy and my pain** skyrockets. I also crave more sugar, surprise, surprise! I remember that I attempted to get all the sweet treats out of the house once, and through the withdrawal process (yes this is a real thing), I desperately ate a cup full of cheap chocolate chips. I got so sick, those things are full of nasty oils and crap sugar alcohols.
One thing I’ve found over the years of trying to reclaim my taste buds is that I enjoy dark chocolate a whole lot more than I used to. When I eat milk chocolate now, it almost always tastes too sweet. I’ve found many dark chocolate candies that still satisfy my sweet tooth, but that are also still good for me, as long as I don’t over-indulge.
I have found a great many good articles about how sugar negatively affects the brain. It’s as addictive as cocaine and has many of the same effects. But we treat it like no big deal because it’s legal and is approved by the FDA. <the same company that says it’s okay for aspartame to be in our gum or soda. I don’t want to get into all the conspiracy stuff with the FDA, but I definitely don’t believe that they’re really looking out for our best health.
Really, we are the only ones that can do that.
So what’s my conclusion? I don’t even know if I can conclude this article without feeling like a huge hypocrite because I’m literally sitting on a stash of candy that’s currently calling my name. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever be completely free from the call of sweet sugar sliding*** across my palate.
*Note: this only happens with the Starburst Jellybeans. These are the only brand of jellybean I like. Yes, I’m a jellybean snob.
**I have Fibromyalgia. It’s a fancy word for, “the doctor doesn’t really know why I’m in pain all the time.”
***I’m a big fan of alliteration. How many times did I use it in this article?