What is this delicious flavor for you? – Manila Bulletin

Spoonful of sugar (Pixabay)

It’s an old song in an old movie where Julie Andrews sings “Just a spoonful of sugar brings the medicine down…”

The lyrics were floating around in my memory recently because of all the sugar news. From the news that the government has canceled a 300,000 metric ton import order, to the expected shortage of sugar in October, to the beverage companies shutting down assembly lines here for want of what else – that sugar ingredient, to the article about pandesal bakers reflecting on reducing sugar in this morning staple – how can this song not be on my mind.

Sugar is part of life. And as the song says, it brings down the medicine. Imagine swallowing sugar-free cough syrup. If the pandesal becomes sugar-free and you dip it in sugar-free coffee, I wonder what kind of morning it would be.

It is likely that many people exceed the daily sugar intake level for their age. Even without the sweet tooth, many foods eaten throughout the day contain sugar. Think cookies, donuts, cupcakes, sodas, fruit smoothies, energy drinks.

Is sugar good for the body? I know it gives pleasure, so this feeling boosts the mood – and that’s good for me! It’s also good for those who need an instant lift, a second wind for people on a run or a long hike. (I always have a pack of M&Ms in my backpack on a hike or a long drive.)

We all know that too much of a delicious thing is not good for the body. Health experts have advised it for many years. Open any health website and you will find an article advising you to reduce your sugar intake.

So when is sugar “too much” for you?

The advice of the American Heart Association is echoed in many columns of health experts: Men should consume no more than nine teaspoons (36 grams or 150 calories) of added sugar per day. For women, the number is lower: six teaspoons (25 grams or 100 calories) per day.

The best way to visualize these numbers is to think of a spoonful of sugar. The Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health has a nice picture of it: four grams of sugar equals one teaspoon.

If you plan to open a 12-ounce can of cola, that’s 39 grams of sugar, or nearly 10 teaspoons of sugar, according to the school’s Nutrition Source newsletter.

Here’s an article from the same newsletter that might be of interest to those who want to lose weight but can’t get rid of pop or fruit smoothies:

“If you were to drink a single 12-ounce can of a sugary soft drink each day, and not cut calories elsewhere, you could gain up to 15 pounds over three years.”

For those with a sweet tooth (like me), avoiding sugar is like being on an extended abstinence sacrifice during Lent. However, we don’t need to live without sugar. We just need to reduce the consumption of this very delicious flavor. Here are some tips for continuing to eat this source of pleasure:

  • Eat a smaller portion of your favorite cake and enjoy it, chewing slowly and savoring every bite.
  • Share the sugar – cut your dessert in half and share it with a friend.
  • Choose water to quench your thirst, even during a workout.
  • When the sweet craving hits, grab some unsweetened dried fruit or a cup of ripe fresh fruit.

My deep dive into the topic of sugar (not as nice as tasting the real thing, though) revealed an interesting fact about Filipino sugar consumption. Contrary to the informal observation of our peers and others in restaurants and supermarkets, our sugar consumption has decreased, according to CHINI-MANDI, India’s largest news and information portal for l sugar and related products industry.

In a February 2022 article, the website reported, “Philippine sugar consumption impacted by health.” The article indicates that the growth of sugar consumption in the Philippines is flattening.

“The Philippines consumes around 2.5 million tonnes of sugar each year, making it one of the biggest consumers in Asia, along with India, China, Indonesia and Thailand. But the government’s decision to tax sugary drinks in 2018 led to a reduction in sugar consumption,” the article said.
A United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report on sugar production and consumption in the Philippines states that “2023 consumption is expected to remain flat at 2.3 million metric tons.

Remember the news stories years ago about school administrations banning the sale of sugary drinks? I’m sure that will always be the policy after schools recently opened for face-to-face lessons.

For now, my mind is on another spoonful of sugar.



Rachel J. Bradford