Something's Killing Us and I Have to Have this Conversation with You!

I have to have this conversation with you. And I do so at the risk you'll stop reading. After all, this newsletter devotes a lot of space (my articles included) to just the thing I'm about to lambaste.

But it's a matter of ethics. I gotta do this. The research is in and there's no more debate. I'm quoting several MDs and scientists, but this summation comes from Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook (from the site Care2):

"If you overheard a conversation in which a highly addictive, white, powdery substance was being implicated in numerous deaths, you might think the discussion was about street drugs. You might be surprised to discover that lethal substance is actually sugar. Volumes of research have been published on the widespread damage sugar causes in the body. Now, a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded study conducted by the University of Texas found that high sugar consumption (the amount in a typical Western diet) is linked to an increase in breast cancer tumor growth and rapid spread of cancer.Top of Form

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"Sugar is found in virtually all processed, packaged and prepared foods consumed in the United States and around the world. Industrial sugar processing has increased individual consumption of this lethal sweetener by 25 times over the last century. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, per capita consumption of caloric sweeteners such as sucrose (table sugar) and high-fructose corn syrup increased 43 pounds, or 39 percent, between 1950-59 and 2000. Each American consumed an average 152 pounds of sugar annually - the equivalent of 52 teaspoons of added sugars daily. This is over and above the naturally-occurring sugars present in fruit, vegetables, grains and legumes, which provide more than enough sugar in our daily diets.

"The past few years of research have linked excess sugar to a host of diseases and disorders that have reached epidemic proportions, and now it science says breast cancer must be added to that list. The American Cancer Society forecasts that approximately one in eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime thanks in large part to this high sugar consumption we enthusiastically support. Tragically, one in 36 women will die from the disease. And by the way, increase in breast cancer is showing up in men as well!"

While researchers say it's impossible to clearly determine the number of breast cancer diagnoses linked to sugar consumption, one thing is for sure. Everyone needs to reduce sugar consumption; we all need to change some dangerous habits.

And doing so will absolutely reduce our exposure to, and risk of a number of sugar-related health problems. So exactly HOW can we reduce sugar consumption, if it's in everything we find in the grocery stores? By taking charge of food choices and aggressively doing these four things:

1. Read labels on all packages.

2. Stop frequenting fast food places and restaurants; cook more at home.

3. Reduce consumption of alcohol and canned or bottled beverages.

4. Substitute a love of baking/making high-sugar desserts for a love of baking bread, cooking with vegetables, or making sugar-free or sugar-less fruit desserts.

In taking these four steps you will cut out many pounds of sugar annually, protect your health (and lose some weight at the same time). Treat your sweet tooth only rarely to a typical dessert.

Step number 4 is probably the biggie in terms of this newsletter. And so all this said, I'm going forward in 2016 doing a better job of helping us with this by focusing much less on sugar-loaded recipes and much more on sugar-less to sugar-free treats. It's a matter of ethics. I gotta do this, even if you stop reading.

And to get us off to a good start, I'll conclude with a product recommendation and a refined-sugar-free dessert you might want to work on perfecting this year.

A product I'm finding I wouldn't want to live without: the Yonanas machine. You just feed frozen fruits into the spout and out comes the creamiest "ice cream" imaginable. It's so much easier to clean than a food processor and does a much more efficient job of creaming the fruit. It's $49.99 off the Yonanas site (, but you can find it at Bed Bath and Beyond often, and they send out 20% coupons monthly, which takes the cost down a bit.

Now for the recipe (no need for the Yonanas machine; the food processor will work fine). Only 2 ingredients-this is a winner:

FROZEN FRUIT "ICE CREAM" (serves 1 to 2)

2 bananas
1 to 2 cups frozen berries of your choice

Cut bananas into chunks and freeze for at least 12 hours. Add the frozen banana chunks to a food processor along with frozen berries of your choice - strawberries, raspberries, blueberries etc. The more berries you add, the more it will be like sorbet. Using fewer berries and more banana will make the dish more creamy.

Process until consistency becomes creamy. No one will know it's only made only with fruit!

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    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
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