Watch out sweets – sugar is the new smoking


Recently, there are rows and rows of sugar substitutes in large, colorful cans on the supermarket shelves with the baking ingredients. In addition to raw marzipan and couverture, erythritol, xylitol and co. promise a sugar-free Christmas and quote: “Snacks without regrets”.

Not even in cookie time does the food industry tire of making sweets that have hardly any calories palatable to us. There is, for example, stevia ice cream, of which you can eat a whole cup, no – you should. Or the garishly advertised “sugar-free caramel” keto candy bars that are marketed as “super healthy.” Despite all the additives.

Sugar consumption is considered a sin

Sugar has a bad reputation: soccer player Philipp Lahm recently boasted to children that he had never advertised Nutella. As if his clean image would otherwise be at stake. An acquaintance even took her son out of daycare because there used to be cake there. She reported it so shocked, it was as if someone had put heroin in her child’s muesli.

Actually modern, smart people talk about sinning – and mean the consumption of simple carbohydrates. Gluttony is no longer a mortal sin in a society where food is plentiful. You don’t eat anything away from anyone. Sin now means something else: getting fat.

In the USA, a psychologist conducted an experiment: He showed his subjects a chocolate cake and then wrote down what spontaneously went through their heads: Guilt was the top answer. As if love handles were something that had to be eliminated for moral reasons alone.

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Sugar substitutes encourage a craving for sweets

As soon as something is labeled as sugar-free, many believe it is automatically good. Which is way too easy to think. Frying fat is also sugar-free. cigar smoke? Sugar free. Petroleum, asbestos, kerosene? All sugar free. Nevertheless, supposedly health-conscious people only unabashedly grab sugar-free products. They would rather click 15 sweetener tablets into their coffee than treat themselves to a piece of Christmas stollen from time to time.

Sugar opponents feel uncomfortably superior all the time. It’s like vegans or people who don’t have a TV. How do you recognize a person who no longer eats sugar? She tells you. Some health apostle is constantly pointing out how bad sugar is. Although there are toothbrushes – and gyms.

Abstinence from sugar is supposed to help against stress, against pimples, against tiredness, against engorgement, against Long Covid, against cancer. Sugar-free – the supposed supermedicine. What researchers do know, however, is that too much sugar substitute has an unfavorable effect on the intestinal flora, and sweeteners only help diabetics. It has also not been proven that you lose weight. On the contrary: Artificial sugar substitutes satisfy the desire for sweets much less – and you automatically eat more. Maybe that’s why sugar opponents are constantly looking for the applause of others: If they’re going to deprive themselves of real pleasure, they want at least a little praise as substitute satisfaction.

At Christmas the soul also needs sugar

Of course, too much sugar is bad for your liver, your teeth, your concentration. That’s why you don’t eat it all the time. Sweets are special. The smell of cinnamon stars always reminds me of my beloved, deceased grandmother. Christmas cookies are love language for the soul and the palate, a language of love that everyone understands. A reward, a tradition, a memory of one’s own childhood. As is so often the case, the right amount of sugar is also important.

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Fabienne Hurst (*1987 in Müllheim/Baden) is a freelance journalist. In addition to her journalistic work for ARD and Die Zeit, she writes socially critical sketches for Maren Kroymann and Carolin Kebekus as well as screenplays for various series (including “King of Stonks”, Netflix). Her documentary “Big Mäck: Gangster und Gold” will be released on Netflix in January 2023. For her journalistic work…

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