How bad is sugar for you? Dr. Weston A. Price found that when people started to eat a high refined sugar and flour diet instead of their traditional diet, their health declined quickly. Julia Ross believes that sugar can be just as addicting as drugs to some people. And there is a general consensus that our sugar consumption is a factor in obesity, diabetes, and other health issues (I should say I don’t think that if someone has weight issues or diabetes that it was necessarily because of their sugar consumption, simply that it is a factor for some).
So, we talk a lot about sugar being bad for you, but have you considered the money you save by cutting out sugary food? Today’s “52 ways to save money on a healthy diet” wants to address just that.
Did you know that Americans eat on average 152 pounds of sugar every single year per person? 200 hundred years ago we only ate an average of 2 pounds of sugar every year!
Part of the reason we have had this increase is because sugar is so cheap.
But guess what? Sugary foods aren’t always cheap.
If you look at the numbers of how often the average American family eats out, and how much it would cost if you got a soda every time you did (which many do), you would be paying around $977 dollars a year just to have soda with your meal. With 53 million Americans drinking a soda everyday, even just the daily expense of it will add up.
When you add to that the “cheap” sugary foods such as packaged (or bakery) cookies, cakes, pop tarts, “breakfast bars”, pancake syrup, chocolate milk, candy and snacks, the average American must spend a small fortune on sugar in some form or another.
And, even buying 152 pounds of sugar per person is going to cost something. Let’s say you are a family of 4. That would be 608 pounds of sugar every year. If you were buying cheap sugar – say from Wal-Mart, you could get it for .58 cents a pound. Not very much, right? Well, that would still be $352 per year. That would buy me 1/8th of a cow share, right there.
For your health, adding in nourishing food is more important than simply taking sugar out. But as you do that, you may find your food budget groaning. If you were buying a lot of sugary packaged foods and/or soda, you just may find that your budget groans less once you dramatically cut down on those purchases.
We eat sugar. We do, but we generally choose it in the form of maple syrup, honey, and coconut sugar. And if we were to replace all of the sugary foods Americans usually eat with these more expensive, less refined versions, we would pay even a whole lot more. So we simply prioritize.
We attempt to limit our packaged foods dramatically, and keep desserts and sweets special instead of part of the daily routine. That way we have more money to spend on higher quality meats, vegetables, fruits and grains. It helps.
The other advantage? We are going on a trip this summer, where I plan on splurging on some organic candy for the plane trip (as well as bringing some homemade treats). My kids won’t be the only one in enjoying such a special treat, because I plan on enjoying it too! While eating a ton of sugar on a trip is a bad idea for us, as we could get sick with our immune system overloaded with sugar, a little bit will make that long plane trip go a whole lot smoother for us.
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As I read this, I am munching my morning walnut raisin bun, toasted and laced with melting butter and apricot preserves. I don’t have sweets on toasted breads every morning, but I am well aware that I eat a lot more sugar in my dotage than ever I did as a young woman. What’s worse, I crave sweets, especially the chocolate variety. Is it better that all the sugars I eat are organic?
As I read this, though, I am thinking of the processed foods in the pantries of so many people I know. Thanks to Costco and Walmart, they can get them on the way-cheap by watching for sales. All those HFCS- and salt-laden treats make easy snacks for the kids in the car between school and dance lessons or ball games. They hydrate with juice boxes (with “real fruit juice”), and feed their energy needs with pre-packaged bars, bites and bits.
How can healthier whole foods possibly compete with those prices and the convenience? For some, the bottom line may well be saving money. You’ve done an excellent service bringing the discussion right down to the family budget. Thank you.
I agree with you Kimi!! No HFCS or refined sugars in our home and I can tell the difference between our family’s health versus our friends and other family members! I wish more people would pay attention to what they are putting into their bodies. It would save lots of lives!! Thanks Kimi for always spreading such wonderful information and simply great recipes!
I gave up sugar and wheat a few years ago. I had to cause I was hypoglycemic and had adrenal issues, so just gave it all up. No dates, no raisins, no baked goods with sugar, no agave…..all gone! I make my own protein cakes and muffins and sweeten them only with banana, sweet potato or stevia. That’s it! I don’t hardly even use grains at all…usually coconut flour, protein powder, mesquite, chia seeds……although I do use buckwheat groats and grind them sometimes to put in my protein bars. It’s amazing how I don’t even crave sweet now. At all. It shows me how out of balance I was. Once in a while I allow myself a piece of chocolate, but I don’t want more! My body is really happy. They say it takes 21 days for a new habit to set in to the brain, but this took longer than that. It was worth it. When my adrenals do get stronger and I can eat more sugar, I likely won’t. Why mess with a good thing!
Thanks for this encouragement. I am working on trying to eat cleaner and need all the suggestions and inspiration that I can get!