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The guilty gut! Sugar hurts the physical and emotional waistline!


Good vs. bad. In our world of confusion around every corner, isn't it way easier just to say, there is no good and there is no bad? I would mention a metaphorical topic here that could illustrate my point but I don't want to start an argument that isn't about food. Instead, let's get down to the topic at hand. After-all, if we acknowledge that there might be bad foods (sugar), we should probably resort to restricting them and in a world where delicious sugary food is everywhere; this obviously becomes a big problem. The question isn't as much as whether a food is bad or not; it's more based on whether we want to continue having the guilt associated with eating said bad food.


If we could eliminate the "bad foods", it wouldn't be so hard to call them bad. Suppose all the donut trees in America died off and our type II Diabetes reversed, we would have no problem with calling donuts bad, right? Alas, there are no donut trees and the donuts continue to make their way into just about every kid's birthday party at school and all other unceremonious events at work. As I like to tell my patients, "we are trying to stay healthy while living in a donut shop". Of course, we can't just blame the donut for our waistline. We have crammed sugar and other starchy goods into just about everything, even our benign beef jerky has turned into a donut.


"Everything in moderation"; let me explain why I hate this expression. We don't tend to use this "pearl of wisdom" for other drugs, so why for sugar? "Meth in moderation, right?" Obviously this is silly. Meth is a hard drug, but for some reason, despite sugar being proven to be just as addictive as hard drugs, it's kept around in moderation or . . in . . maximization. Don't get me wrong, I understand the implications of trying to stop sugar all together. It's almost an impossible task, for example, I'm addicted to sugar cereal, I grew up on it. It takes me back to childhood, when I could sneak a bowl after school or after a baseball practice. It's freedom for me, a time I can get away and bask in a sugary crunch and neon colored milk. It's awesome and soul-sucking at the same time. Sugar has made its way into our basal ganglia and we now habitually seek it out. We hunt for it after the kids go to bed, we mindlessly leave our desks like zombies to get the latest treat brought in by co-workers.


So let's dive a little further into what makes writing off sugar so difficult. Think of every family party, church activity, kid's soccer match, work party, friendly get together, double, triple and quadruple date you go on. How often is sugar not involved? It's just about as rare as a zero-sugar Bavarian cream-chocolate glazed donut. It is interwoven into our American cultural tapestry, sugar is now the offering that keeps families together. Every time a Grandma passes away, we are reminded of the wholesome nature of a bowl of candy. Every time an adult activity occurs, someone makes the joke, "I'm gonna have my dessert first, because I'm adulting". Remember when Hostess sort of went out of business? and we all rooted for its survival? What would we do without unhealthy food? Our supposed culture would be threatened.


But what truly is at stake if we take an honest assessment of our Westernized way of eating? Well, while the unhealthy garbage isn't going away anytime soon, we feel guilty every time we indulge. It's like being a heroin addict coming off a high, except you have the cognitive and emotional function still available to feel the guilt. Plus everyone around you is a heroin addict and they think it’s weird that you aren’t partaking. "Narc!". So in order to remove the guilt, it's much easier to rationalize the thing and not believe it's "bad" in the first place, because that would be mentally unhealthy. I'm being a bit facetious; I apologize. I wan't to reiterate my statement in the third paragraph, stopping sugar after it's been ingrained from childhood is extremely difficult and I understand it all too well.


But, despite all that, there is a reason I'm writing this blog post, I'm calling a donut a donut, sugar is bad. It most definitely is not healthy and is tied intimately to some of the most insidious diseases known to humankind and continuing to frame its supposed benign-ness is madness.





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