Saturday 30th September

I grew up on sugar.  At least three spoonful’s in tea, (coffee was rare, a Saturday morning treat, Nescafe powder and warmed milk) We always had a tin of Golden Syrup in the pantry and I would often dip a spoon in, twist it round and watch as the pure glowing stream thinned and turned into a long globular drop – then straight into the mouth.  We had golden syrup on everything, that famous green tine with the lion and bees drawing on it.  Sometimes we had sugar sandwiches too.  Porridge was darkened and sweetened with rich brown, almost black, Muscavado sugar.  Monday morning and Mum was baking; rich fruit cake, sponges, scones and buns – and the secret ingredient in all of it was SUGAR.

But we were growing kids and were playing outside in all weathers, burning off all that energy.  I cannot remember that much chocolate. Chocolate was definitely a treat.  Our Easter eggs were eked out and lasted well into May.  But boiled sweets we had loads of.  Pear drops, rhubarb and custard, fruit drops and a great favourite of mine was a sherbet fountain.

In fact, looking back so much of our diet was sugar.  Maybe because in the early Fifties rationing ended and sugar had been strictly rationed in the War and was suddenly available.  Besides it was cheap and even more important it tasted great. I have always had a sweet tooth and don’t mind admitting it.  I have since cured myself of sugar in tea or coffee, but I never feel my day has really started until I have had a sweet pastry, usually a pain au raisin with lovely white sugar crystals sprinkled liberally on the top.

And now the Health Police are condemning sugar as bad for us.  Well, I don’t know about that.  I love sugar and sweet puddings and don’t seem so bad on it; still quite slim unlike many I see waddling along.  The danger, I think is when it is added to foods, especially processed foods; ketchup, chutney, pasta and curry sauce and of course soft drinks – many, like smoothies, pretending to be a healthy option.  And, of course, consuming sugar and not burning it off is a recipe for disaster.  The sedentary lifestyle is the real killer; kids stuck in front of screens all day long, daytime telly and the armchair life.

So, don’t feel guilty because you like sugar, just have as much fun burning it off as eating it.  Yum yummmmm

  • Joe Moore

    There’s no up side to sugar. As you point out, it’s easily hidden and in its refined form almost six as additive as tobacco. Sugar seems to play a hand in many ailments. Diabetes and cancer have strong coalations, I admit that both these medical problems have a very high genetic component, but as sugar has no upside would you want to take a chance? There seems to be a widely held belief that cancer is more prevalent, diagnosis of cancer is certainly better. If there is more cancer, in addition to us living longer lifetimes and giving cancer more years to attack, there is the spectre of sugar. Some cancers definitely thrive on it. My late wife Alison gave it up for this reason, I told her I didn’t think her cancer was sugar related (she didn’t consume much), but she said why would I take the chance? Now we live in a world where being diagnosed with diabetes 20 years earlier is normal, where American hospitals are finding children aged 3.5 years are diabetic. Where corn fructose is sneaked into many products, to replace the fat we discard from them. Sugar in the refined forms we ingest it is difficult to find in nature. Perhaps each of us needs to be aware that, there’s really no upside to sugar!