When we started Fools & Queens, we made the conscious decision not to make ‘clean-eating’ raw puddings. We didn’t want to make chia seed puddings and beetroot brownies – that isn’t the way we eat normally (the look of horror on my husband’s face when I floated the beetroot brownie idea was enough of a deterrent anyway). What we wanted to create is a product that rang true with our lifestyles. We wanted something we recognised, but without the added sugar. Don’t get me wrong, I long for the self discipline that is required to maintain a ‘clean-eating’ way of life, but I’m a realist. Like most people, I have the breaking strain of a wet Kit Kat when I’m hungry, I want something that will sate my appetite without the accompanying knot of guilt that is to be found at the bottom of the 500ml tub of ice cream – I want the convenience of my cake and I want to be able to eat it, but I don’t want it laden with sugar (enter from stage left the Fools & Queen’s pudding range)
The more we read, digest (pardon the pun) and understand about ‘clean-eating’, the more certain we become Fools & Queens is on the right path (and that isn’t the clean-eating one). It doesn’t matter if your healthy, alternative, chocolate cake is gluten free and the refined sugar has been replaced with raw organic cane sugar or maple syrup, that will make ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENCE to the way your body deals with it (unless of course you are a coeliac, in which case the gluten-free flour really will save your life!) Sugar is sugar is sugar. Dates are sugar. Maple syrup is sugar. Coconut sugar is well, sugar. The NHS isn’t struggling under the number of lactose intolerant people it has to deal with, it isn’t trying to find a solution to the number of people with a gluten intolerance who stumble through its doors each day. No, it’s going to come crashing down about our ears due to the sheer weight of obese people. Type 2 diabetes is killing us but it just isn’t fashionable yet to cut out plain old sugar. It isn’t desirable to eat unflavoured food (read for ‘no added sugar’). It came as no surprise to us last month when Dolmio’s (the staple of pretty much every dry store cupboard in the UK) warned us not to eat their pasta sauces every day due to the high levels of added sugar packed into them. So imagine how much it caught our attention here at F&Q HQ when America, home of the Big Mac, the originator of the glazed donut and the proud owner of Aunt Jemima’s corn syrup announced three weeks ago it had changed the rules regarding the labelling of food products.
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration in America) finalised the new ‘Nutrition Facts’ label for packaged foods, these have been designed to “reflect new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease”. The new column that has piqued our interest is the ‘added sugar’ value underneath the ‘total sugars’ value. For American food producers it is no longer enough to just state the amount of sugars in a product, they now have to stipulate how much extra sugar they add into the mix. We see this as a win-win situation, it has to be the way forward – if the only way to reduce waistlines and to improve health in the world is to hold food producers accountable then so be it. Someone get me Jamie Oliver’s number, we have an idea for his next campaign!