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Sep 21 2009

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Sugar Shortage? (Is that a bad thing?)

Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that

Some of America’s biggest food companies say the U.S. could “virtually run out of sugar” if the Obama administration doesn’t ease import restrictions amid soaring prices for the key commodity.

In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack, the big brands — including Kraft Foods Inc., General Mills Inc., Hershey Co. and Mars Inc. — bluntly raised the prospect of a severe shortage of sugar used in chocolate bars, breakfast cereal, cookies, chewing gum and thousands of other products.

Vilsack’s not exaggerating about the “thousands of other products”. Read the nutrition labels on food, and you will find sugar is in just about everything, including stuff like bread, salad dressing, ketchup, peanut butter, and spaghetti sauce. Read the label on “low fat” anything, and odds are they make it taste better by adding sugar to it. Low fat yogurt and mayonnaise come to mind.

Having reluctantly given up 99% of my sugar consumption — and it used to be major — I did my part to save some for everyone else’s latte or iced tea. But if this shortage is real, you will do yourself a favor to start cutting back on your own timetable rather than one suddenly imposed by M&Ms’ prices tripling. Besides saving money, you can’t possibly harm your health by cutting back on sugar. (It’ll just feel like it is when you first forego it.)

I know it’s hard to break habits, particularly if they involve a form of addiction, or fill a specific need or void. Food — and especially, sugar — has long been my anti-anxiety drug of choice. Having external controls placed on it just ups the anxiety. I far prefer to control the time and place of the habit-breaking. It becomes my choice and my decision, and when I succeed there can be no doubt that it’s also my victory.

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Permanent link to this article: http://thirdofalifetime.com/2009/09/21/sugar-shortage-is-that-a-bad-thing/