Sugar Addiction: Where Does It Come From?

May you live by the motto “We are all farmers by proxy”, meaning that each time you eat, you choose your farmer and therefore your impact on the earth. For this post I would like to share a fascinating discussion I had with a friend recently, on sugar. We were not regurgitating past articles about this poison; rather, she was pointing out to me that as humans’ use of sugar has changed, both in type and quantity, so our dominant thought paradigm or consciousness has changed.

Imagine the typical plant.

We will start at the flower, which is the source of honey – which was the original sugar (sweetener). Humans consuming this were hunter-gatherers who were very connected to nature, to one another, and they consumed very little of this sweetener. We then moved down the plant and started consuming the stem. The widespread use of sugar-cane to provide our ever increasing need for sugar was facilitated by slavery. Please pause to think of what we did to our fellow humans so that we could enjoy something that has never been good for us. Our thinking became more disconnected from nature.

The industrial revolution pushed us even further away.

Napoleon then waged war against England and he knew how important sugar was, so he cut off the sugar-trade. This did not deter the English, who now went into the root (sugar-beet) for their source of sweetness. Today we have artificial sweeteners that are made from the mineral realm and not the plant realm, and we have become even more disconnected from nature and from its rhythms – and from one another. Not only has our source of sweetness changed, but the volumes of sugar that we consume have changed dramatically. In 100 years our sugar-consumption has gone up 50 times. The average South African consumes 80kg of sugar annually. Some consume very little and others a lot more than 80kg, or the equivalent of a full cup of it daily.

Bottom line: there is absolutely no health benefit to sugar.

Our Department of Health is in denial about the obesity epidemic that we face. We are the third most-obese country in the world, and the taxpayer is bearing that burden, whereas the soft drink and processed food industry should be paying a sugar-tax. The other thing that has changed is that as our dominant thought paradigm has become more reductionist and myopic, we have started to treat animals in the most abhorrent way. Because we see them as production widgets, we confine them and feed them a diet very high in this sweetener, which makes them fat quickly, along with the other growth stimulants, such as antibiotics and asthma drugs. Click here to find out more about the sugar tax in South Africa.

Another observation relating to this consciousness is that accounting is also reductionist in its nature, and the concept of true cost accounting is never discussed by academia or the mainstream press. This results in a grain-fed confinement beef steak being priced the same as a grass-fed beef steak, where the former damages the environment and the human eating the omega-6-overloaded meat, while the latter heals the earth and nourishes the human eating it.

The final observation is the relationship between sugar and the will.

One of the reasons why it is so addictive (eight times more so than cocaine) is that it requires no will to ingest. Compare it to chewing on a stick of sugar-cane, where you have to work for your sweetness. We all prefer the way of least resistance.

As always, you are welcome to enjoy a real food safari on our farm if you are ever down in Stellenbosch.

Who is the writer?

Farmer Angus is a biodynamic farmer based in Stellenbosch. Follow him on Twitter @FarmerAngus or go to his website at www.farmerangus.co.za.