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The sugar bashing campaign

It’s been all over the papers this year, again in the Sunday press today 2014 is sugar bashing year.  Just read The Times, The Guardian or The Independant.  OK, I know it’s January and it’s ‘diet month’ so if it’s not ‘give up sugar’ it’s the 5:2 or 4:3 diet or something so I tend to give it short shrift.

I’m very much ‘everything in moderation’ so rather then give it up, use alternatives and cut down rather than go cold turkey, especially where children are concerned.  I do have an issue with Stevia, especially after watching the last episode of Breaking Bad, you know what I mean if you’ve seen it.  Also it sort of melts if you sprinkle it on hot food.

I’ve also got to be careful what I write about re sugar, having an APP out on the market about Cupcakes, Muffins and Afternoon Tea and making Sticky Toffee Cupcakes at my cookery school yesterday.  But it’s the ‘moderation’ thing again.

Personally, I’m a nightmare for sugar, I still have it in my tea (*ducks to avoid things being thrown at me for being so bad*), only one spoonful though.  I’d rather give up tea than give up sugar in it as my real issue with tea is that I can’t have a mug without having a biscuit or two to go with it, so best to just give up tea and switch to herbal, yes?  Rather addicted to Aveda tea but it’s so expensive I have to ration myself.

All this stuff in the press about sugar has started me thinking, so much so that I am going to look at ways to cut down, maybe making cheese scones for the children coming home from school, or pesto or other savoury versions.  Cutting out chocolate (serious addition here) and finding alternatives to a large spoonful of dark muscovado sugar on my porridge (sob).

However, on Friday nights I usually make pizza, from scratch so I know you don’t need to put sugar in bread dough to activate the yeast, even if you do you only need a teaspoonful to make sufficient pizza base for around 6 pizzas.  Friday was my ‘good’ day and I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist homemade pizza so I made chicken breasts stuffed with low fat mozzarella and chorizo and shed loads of steamed veg for us, big girl made an omelette and I bought a plain cheese and tomato stone baked pizza from M&S for the younger ones.

They had a couple of bites and said it was horrid and tasted sweet.  We tasted it, yes it did taste sweet, in fact the bread base tasted like sweet bread.  I checked the label, for a pizza to be shared between two children, aged 11 and 13 there was 19.5g of sugar in the base, that’s almost an ounce, just under 10g each in half a pizza base which is completely unnecessary.  Pizza is a savoury item so why on earth does the base need to taste sweet .  I was outraged, they refused to eat the pizza so I had to cook for them – classic pick and mix pasta.

I cook from scratch most evenings – how could I not with my job?  Occasionally I buy pizzas, usually if I’ve got a hoard of teenagers on a sleepover or camp out in the garden but this horrified me, or at least kicked me into touch to read labels and has given me a huge ‘wake up’ call to check sugar levels in the everyday food we eat.

Shame on you Marks and Spencer.