No this is not a blog post for alcoholic’s anonymous. It is a post for another type of addiction. White Sugar addiction. Sugar is a silent or more socially acceptable addiction than others such as cigarette and or ‘herbal’ smoking for instance. This addiction can be just as devastating if not worse than a nicotine addiction. According to acclaimed author Michael Pollan, in his formative book the Omnivore’s Dilemma, I’m not alone in this obsession, so too is much of America: “since 1985 our consumption of all added sugars-cane, beet, HFCS [High Fructose Corn Syrup], honey, maple syrup whatever- has climbed from 128 pounds to 158 pounds per person” (The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan 102). This preoccupation with sugary treats is hurting both our wallets and our bodies. I myself commit about $160 a week of what Oprah calls the ‘Latte Budget‘ to junk food, with little to show for it besides an upset stomach and a bank statement that I can only look at with one eye open and the other closed.
As a part-time corner-store/movie store clerk I see children come in regularly [sometimes more than one time during a single shift] to get a quick hit of sugar. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with bicycling or walking to the corner-store with your chums to pick up a quick treat. This is a right of passage that I myself went through, as did many, if not most of you. What is detestable, is the degradation of this national pastime into a simple drug run. This might be a shocking statement, but you can’t dance around the fact that we have a huge societal problem on our hands today. Children go to the corner store today, not with ‘visions of gum drops and lollie pops dancing in their heads’, but rather with visions of pixie sticks [a plastic tub of artificially coloured refined white sugar] and sugary mouth sprays dancing in their heads. Hello Houston, we have a problem…
When I was a kid I would not have touched these kinds of items. But then again, I wouldn’t have imagined that we would buy bottled water as well as energy drinks. To their credit, I do see a lot of Gen Xer’s who come into my store and monitor their children’s dietary habits. Kudos. On the other hand I do witness an equal number of other young parents who cave into their children’s demands for sugary treats. The question that these parents, whom by appearance seem to be interested in healthy living, should ask themselves is; if they value their own health lifestyles why don’t they demonstrate the same level of concern for their kids? What did Bob Dylan say, the times they are a changing? They certainly are, and sadly for the worse according again to Micheal Pollan: ” [a] recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association predicts that a child born in 2000 has a one-in-three chance of developing diabetes” ( The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan 102).
So what is the solution if any? I invite you to try an experiment with me starting today. For one week I will monitor my purchases to ensure that I don’t succumb to my Achilles Heel of Reese Peanut butter cups. I challenge you to do the same and write back to me about your own experiences. If your comfortable doing so I will share them in a post next week.
Having done this experiment one time before the first few days are very difficult but the cravings will subside eventually. Remember that by cutting back on your sugar intake you will feel more hungary. Ironically eating healthy food isn’t as filling as eating junk food. This is attributable to the difference in caloric intake. So pre-plan your meals and pack a lunch to deter you from stopping into McDonald’s for lunch during the work week. The goal of this experiment is not to eliminate all sugars but eliminate those that are bad for you, some sugars are good for you such as naturally occurring fruit sugars.
If you’re still not convinced that you have a sugar addiction, take the test at: http://www.howtothinkthin.com/quiz.htm