What a crock of s…ugar – why quitting the white stuff cold turkey could do more harm than good


A little bit of my childhood just died with the news that the really quite legitimately named Sugar Puffs are to be rebranded as Honey Monster Puffs. Aside from the fact the new moniker is really clumsy to both read and lay out, this name change is a symptom of the recent anti-sugar brigade’s relentless pursuit of curing us of society’s most addictive white powder.

But do we need a cure? I have a real problem with demonising foodstuffs, of categorizing what we eat as being ‘good’ or ‘bad’, virtuous or indulgent. It only serves to attribute guilt to the consumption of the likes of sugar or fat, when really we need a healthier view on certain ingredients.

We all know that, in excess, good old granulated can cause serious issues for teeth, livers and heart as well as contribute to cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. But, if we take responsibility for what we consume and only put a moderate amount in our bodies, there is no need to avoid these foods altogether and no need to feel any guilt.

The inconvenient truth (and irony) is that when we are made to feel guilty about eating “bad foods” it doesn’t jolt us into arresting the consumption, it more often than not perpetuates it, so demonising the sugar in my dearly beloved Sugar Puffs only serves to fuel the regret and self-loathing, and subsequent bad health. I’ve been there in the past but even though I’m now the healthiest I’ve ever been, I still readily and happily chow down on a bag of Tangfastics. To compensate I exercise and brush my teeth and keep my skin in good condition. This is not an all or nothing, cold turkey, zero tolerance decision.

What’s more, shock horror, there’s still sugar in Sugar Puffs. A higher ratio of honey, yes, but still sugar. What next? Smoked salmon being rebranded as just ‘salmon’ for fear of association with cancer sticks? Research showed that parents were being put off buying the cereal as they were concerned with its overt nod to sugar. But who are they kidding? Only their cereal-munching munchkins it seems.

Putting aside the affront to my nostalgia, blotting the copybook of ingredients that yes, can be unhealthy but no, don’t have to be unhealthy is a dangerous path to go down, for it is education about potentially troublesome fare, not denial, that will see us emerge from the sticky mess of obesity.

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