‘Sugar and spice and all things nice’. It has been drilled into us for decades that anything sugary or sweet can only be nice,that it can only be good for us…..And if your having a birthday party for little Timmy,that you’d be a fool to think of serving anything else other florescent fizzy drinks because well what the hell will the kiddies drink?? Heaven forbid that there would be water available.Today’s 12 ounce can of soda contains around TEN yes that’s TEN teaspoons of sugar!! Although now a days we all are aware of this,yet still we crave the sweet stuff,wanting the white powder to feel loved,to fill the gap,to devour a Crispy Cream Doughnut with such aggression that we come away from the box looking like we spent the weekend at …………………. house!!!!! One might point out that the cotton candy machine that has had permanent residence at any fairground was invented by a dentist and that its precursor-spun sugar-was practically an art form in 15th-century Venice,whose confectioners shaped it into animals,birds,and buildings for the amusement of guests.
So what has Man’s greed done to us?
Well back in the seventies as a young boy watching TV I was bombarded with such jingles as(and i quote) ‘A finger of Fudge is just enough to give your kids a treat!’ Or that a ‘Mars a day helps you work rest and play!’and even worse that the ‘Milky Way’ was the snack you could have in between meals without ruining your appetite.
But there is a darker side to our sweet tooth,a nasty filling that has been sugar coated for hundreds of years.
In the 18th century the marriage between sugar and the slavery trade was strong.Every few years a new island-Puerto Rico,Trinidad-was colonized,cleared,and planted.When the natives died,they were replaced with African slaves. After the crop was harvested and milled,it was piled in the holds of ships bound for London,Amsterdam,Paris where it was traded for finished goods,which were then brought to the west coast of Africa and traded for more slaves.
The bloody side of this triangular trade during which millions of Africans died,was known as the Middle Passage. Until the slave trade was banned in Britain in 1807,more than 11 million Africans were shipped to the new world-more than half ending up on sugar plantations.The sad truth about that is that without the slave i would not be the person I am today, being of African/American and English decent.
But of course nowadays the slave traders are well dressed men in beautiful suits with big beautiful pearly white grins,these are the dealers,the guys that give you that little something you need to help you get through the day,sugar is the drug that is very much over the counter.
BUT, BUT,But if sugar is so bad for us,why do we crave it?
The short answer is that an injection of sugar into the bloodstream stimulates the pleasure center of the brain that responds to cocaine or heroin. Added sugar is the single worst ingredient in modern diet, added sugars(like sucrose and high fructose corn syrup) contain a whole heap of ’empty calories’ because they contain no nutrients.
So whats the new fad now…. Sugar coated vitamins for children…. That’s right folks cant get little Timmy to eat his greens or rip into a banana,no problem mum and dad throw a handful of these tasty gummy bears into his gob and he’ll be good to go!,you may as well just give him a double shot espresso and a chainsaw!
As a proud father and an ex chef i can only hope that my 8month old son will not be swayed by the same men in their suits,the same men that dealt their sugary drug to his father,who still loves 3 sugars in his tea(even though he is trying to cut back).