23 Feb 2012

Bowling Green Community Expresses Mixed Feelings Towards Sugar and Alternatives

Author: Collin Sims | Filed under: BGSU, Local stories, Localizing story, Science, Health, Environment, Spring 2012

Candy bars full of added sugar line the shelves at a local store. Photo by Collin Sims.

By Collin Sims

Some researchers say there is a hidden danger within many of our foods that leads to obesity, heart disease, poor dental health and decreased immunity.

            One such ingredient is added sugar found within many food items that serves no nutritional value and leads to health risks if consumed in too large a quantity.

            In the wake of Pediatrician Robert Lustig’s talk on NPR of sugar regulation, members of the Bowling Green community responded with mostly skeptical reactions to the idea of sugar being regulated similar to alcohol or tobacco.

Rebecca Pobocik, Associate Professor in the School of Family and Consumer Sciences, is skeptical about the regulation of sugar due to its abundance in many food items.

            “I think that there is some merit to taxing sugar sweetened beverages, but it would be very difficult to regulate sugar in the way alcohol and tobacco are because it is an essential ingredient in many commonly consumed products,” Pobocik said in an email.

            Rachelle Kirk, a server at The Call of the Canyon Café, said taxing sugar would be a good idea, but regulating sugar would be a waste of time due to larger issues that deserve focus.

            Due to popular demand from customers, the Café’s menu contains items not high in added sugar and is mostly healthy like seven kinds of salads, Kirk said.

            “It’s a better alternative to McDonalds,” Kirk said when speaking about the café’s fresh bread, fruits and vegetables.

            Jane Crandall, registered and licensed dietician at Student Health Services, said natural sugars like fructose are a natural type of sugar found in fruits is not a concern as “added sugars are what you need to be aware of.”

            Recommending consumers look at the carbohydrates on the nutritional facts, Crandall said if the sugar is more than half consumers should exercise good judgment.

            Crandall has some doubts about the effectiveness of the idea in terms of the legitimacy and possibility of regulation of sugar.

            “Based upon health concerns, there might be, but I doubt it would get that far,” Crandall said.

            Instead, Crandall said the better alternative is to educate people on nutrition and healthy choices such as drinking water instead of drinks with added sugar like soda pop.

            Meresa McKesson, a sophomore Computer Science major, is one student who mostly chooses the healthy alternative and said she eats healthy, exercises and takes vitamins in order to lead a healthier lifestyle.

             “I can understand where they’re coming from; sugar can be detrimental to our health like alcohol or tobacco. So maybe if it is abused, then I can see it,” McKesson said on her views of sugar regulation.

            Feeling it is possible to avoid food with added sugar, McKesson said she always tries to grab fruit instead of a cookie.

            Crandall finds the possibility of someone avoiding added sugars possible, but unrealistic as it is not often fun or what people want to do.

            “Even the best person on Earth who is diligent about being healthy will eat sweets,” Crandall said.

Comments are closed.