Believe it or not, table sugar was once consumed only by those who could afford it, and the price was extraordinary high. In fact, in the 18th century people called sugar “the white gold”. Only after the year of 1874, when a British Prime Minister abolished taxes on sugar, did the white gold become available to all people.
The White Gold
At first, the price of sugar ranged about $100 per kilo. However, the mass production of sugar took place after the birth of America, since the environment and climatic conditions on this continent were excellent for growing sugar cane.
Then, during the 18th century, people became obsessed with the sweet taste, eating jams, candy and consuming tea, coffee and various forms of processed food.
Today, 120 million tons of sugar is consumed every year in the world. Two million tons is consumed in the US alone. Also, in many countries which rely heavily on agriculture, sugar production is the most common purpose of this industry since sugar import percentage is very low on a global level.
Different Forms of Sugar
Besides the usual, white sugar, we have its unrefined variant which is considered to be healthier at the same time – the brown sugar. Caramel is made from sugar and is the main ingredient of many candy products and beverages, also used as a food dye.
Corn syrup is another alternative derived from corn starch, used as a sweetener for numerous food products. When sugar cane juice is refined, or a sugar solution treated with acids, golden syrup is made. This product is used for desserts and is an essential part of many baking recipes.
Finally, adding molasses to refined white sugar creates natural brown sugar.
Sugar Consumption and Our Well-Being
Refined and starchy food is usually very rich in sugar content. Thus, through consumption, these foods release sugars into our blood stream, through the linings on our stomach. Additionally, consuming sugar from low fat food results in blood sugar rise. Then, our body produces more insulin, lowering the blood sugar, only to make us hungry again and repeat the process, leading to weight gain and overeating.
So, foods with high glycemic index trigger hormonal and metabolic changes in our body, resulting in weight gain and health problems.
Some of the impacts of sugar on our health are increased blood insulin, leading to premature aging and increased glucose levels leading to diabetes. Additionally, we might suffer from raised cholesterol or triglyceride levels, flatulence, constipation, gallstones, skin problems, osteoporosis, emotional disorders, food addictions, arthritis or gland exhaustion. Thus be careful when consuming “the white gold”, the toll on your health may be too severe.