The Squid Game is raging over the internet, making the netizens flock to the candy shops looking for the infamous candy, the dalgona. The more adventurous ones will try to make it themselves. It only requires three ingredients – sugar, water and baking soda. You can easily find the recipe in numerous YouTube Channels and websites and various Tik Tok challenges.
The dalgona (달고나) or ppopgi (뽑기) has been sold by street vendors in South Korea for decades, and was especially popular in the 1970s and 1980s, according to the South China Morning Post. It's also known as "honeycomb toffee" due to its taste and consistency. The candy is light, airy and brittle. it tastes sweet with a bit of smoky caramelly taste. Dalgona might be very popular in South Korea, but some version of it can be found worldwide. In New Zealand, sugar and baking soda are combined with a bit of corn syrup to make a honeycomb treat called hokey pokey that's thicker than dalgona and cut into cubes. In Hungary, it's known as törökméz (Turkish honey) and sold at fairs. In Japan, it's known as karumeyaki, and like dalgona, is sold by street vendors. There are versions of this honeycomb toffee in China and Taiwan as well.
Candy makers melted sugar and frothed it up with a pinch of baking soda to make this dalgona candy. They then skillfully pressed the hot sugar mixture flat and pushed shapes like a circle, triangle, square, star or umbrella into the center.
The dalgona challenge appears in one of the episodes of Squid Game. It is a children's game turned deadly. Initially, children will try to pick out the stamped shape using a needle without breaking it. If the children successfully removed the shape from the brittle candy, they won another treat for free. The Squid Game brought a much darker version of the innocent children's game. Before the clock ran out, players needed to use a needle to carve the shapes that were stamped into the candy. If players broke the dalgona and could not cut the complete shape out of the brittle candy, they were killed. Who would have thought an innocent children's candy would harm us? In reality, too much added sugar has a significant impact on the skin, obesity, diabetes and even heart health.
Sweet - Heart
We are not blaming the sugar. It's the EXCESSIVE sugar that we are talking about. Sugar is a substance our body needs to supply energy for us. A study in over 30,000 people found that those who consumed 17–21% of calories from added sugar had a 38% greater risk of dying from heart disease than those consuming only 8% of calories from added sugar.
Consuming too much added sugar can raise blood pressure and increase chronic inflammation, which are pathological pathways to heart disease. Excess sugar consumption also contributes to weight gain by tricking your body into turning off its appetite-control system.
Beauty is Beyond Skin Deep
Sugary foods quickly spike blood sugar and insulin levels, causing increased androgen secretion, oil production and inflammation, all of which play a role in acne development. Some studies show the significance of consuming added sugar excessively with acne. For example, a study in 2,300 teens in Turkey demonstrated that those who frequently consumed added sugar had a 30% greater risk of developing acne. Also, many population studies have shown that people from the rural communities that consume traditional, non-processed foods have almost non-existent rates of acne compared to the ones in more urban, high-income areas. So, ladies and gents, if you are having skin issues, particularly that stubborn acne, no matter how good your skincare routine is, try ditching that sweet stuff a little bit and see if your complexion improves.
Another thing, high sugar consumption can also accelerate skin ageing. Now we don't want that. Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are compounds formed by reactions between sugar and protein in your body. They are suspected of playing a key role in skin ageing. Consuming high refined carbs and sugar leads to AGEs, which damage collagen and elastin, making the skin lose its firmness and begins to sag.
Type 2 Diabetes
Consuming too much sugar in our diet may lead to obesity and insulin resistance, both of which are risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Obesity, often caused by consuming too much sugar, is considered the strongest risk factor for diabetes. What's more, prolonged high-sugar consumption drives resistance to insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar levels, causes blood sugar levels to rise and strongly increases your risk of diabetes.
May Increase Your Risk of Cancer
Eating those sweet foods you love excessively may increase your risk of developing certain cancers. Don't believe me? That food can lead to obesity which significantly increases your risk of cancer, according to studies conducted by Giovanni De Pergola and Franco Silvestris from University of Bari "Aldo Moro".
A study in over 430,000 people found that added sugar consumption was positively associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer, pleural cancer and cancer of the small intestine.
Still not concerned?
Another study showed that women who consumed sweet buns and cookies more than three times per week were 1.42 times more likely to develop endometrial cancer than women who consumed these foods less than 0.5 times per week.
Although the research on the link between added sugar intake and cancer is ongoing, and more studies are needed to fully understand this complex relationship, it is still something that we can't take lightly. Don't you agree?
These are a few of what excessive sugar can do to you. Of course, there are more like feeling unenergetic, fatty liver and decreasing our dental health. It is not that sugar is bad for us. We need sugar in our daily routine. But not excessively. I know the Squid Game Dalgona craze is tempting, and you might want to be on the bandwagon. But always remember, less is more, and prevention is always better than cure.