By Mason Wenzel
Zucchero is the Italian word for sugar. American palates are uniquely acute to sugar. It’s in just about everything we eat, both explicitly and vaguely. Salads are considered healthy. However, when you add dressing, like a packet of honey mustard, you might be adding as much as eight grams of sugar to your meal. Low-fat yogurt might seem like a good breakfast -alternative to fatty meats, but it might contain upwards of seven grams per serving.
This is further compounded by processed foods. According to time.com, “nearly 60% of an American’s daily calories come from “ultra processed” food… defined as food that contains ingredients such as flavors, colors, sweeteners and hydrogenated oils, emulsifiers and other additives (time.com).”
High levels of sugar and processed foods are hard to avoid for Americans. You can’t be intentional about your sugar consumption. This distinction is the difference between American’s and Italian’s relationship with food.
Sugary food in Italy is far more sugary than food in America. In a half-cup serving, gelato has roughly 27 grams of sugar compared to just 14 grams of sugar in ice cream (forbes.com). Dessert wine, a popular after-dinner drink in Italy that isn’t used much in America, has eight8 grams of sugar in a 3.5 oz. glass. Regular wine, by comparison, has 1.2 grams of sugar in a 5 oz. serving.
The difference here is that other popular foods in Italy, like pastas, breads, and pizza, have little sugar content. When there is sugar, it naturally occurs from fruits and vegetables.
Therefore, Italians can be intentional with their sugar consumption. They can have a big scoop of gelato and a glass of dessert wine that they know is sugary because they also know they haven’t been covertly consuming it throughout the day.
Editors: Grace Tipps, Aly O'Shea, Taylor Glissman
Photographer: Emily Turner and David Reinhardt