Sugar is Killing People

My rant for 2016 is that sugar in all its forms is killing people. Look around, the number of morbidly obese people is astonishing. When I was first teaching at a large university in the 1980s, I would see a few heavier kids; by my last classes a few years ago, I was astonished by how much heavier some many of these young college kids had become. There used to be some heavy people, but nothing on the order we see every day in the 21st Century. The latest data says that about a third of children in U.S. are already obese, some already developing diabetes and fatty livers. This was absolutely rare until the seventies advent of high fructose corn syrup, micronized flours and sugars, artificial sweeteners which create even greater cravings for sweets and food generally. Remember grains (whole or otherwise), pushed for so long as healthy, turn into the triglycerides aka sugar once digested. If you crave sugars and starches, you are likely to become a victim of the sugar-pushing culture we now live in.

Our food has been dramatically altered over the last fifty plus years, with hybridization and genetic modifications making fruits, vegetables,and grains much higher in sugars and starches, and the processed food industry has learned how to pack the most calories into the smallest packages. Further, food is everywhere! You can’t even go through a clothing store without seeing candy and soda at strategic spots; usually the check out. Fast food, junk food is ubiquitous. You can’t watch a  movie, a television program, look at a magazine, or listen to the radio without ads for food and drinks regularly pushed forward. This is a big problem for our limbic brains which evolved to see, smell food and then issue a demand to eat. Yes, there is that tiny group of people who are not affected, but the evidence is clear all around us, that for the majority of people, the results are highly fattening.

The fattening eventually leads to one of several problems, mainly diabetes, high blood pressure, fatty liver, dementia, allergies, and many believe cancer and heart disease are the result of a diet gone crazy.

The number of diabetics has quadrupled since the 1970s, and all the other related diseases have increased dramatically as well.

I have read continuously on this subject for the last seven plus years, and the evidence keeps mounting. I find it astonishing that if we have three cases of ebola, the CDC and the government go into a full-blown panic, but this epidemic of obesity still gets the same wrong information perpetrated since the 1960s, to eat, and exercise. Of course, the agribusiness, big pharma, hospitals and medical people have nothing to gain by telling people the simple truth that their way of eating is causing the problems.

People now expect to grow older and start popping a dozen different pills to keep going, for that is what they see in all around in their families, but what a terrible quality of life. This doesn’t have to be our future.

Success is found all over the world by people willing to give up the junk. Low carbohydrate and even ketogenic diets are now becoming popular among many older and younger people who want to reclaim their health, as well as control their weight. And it works! Go to any of the hundreds of blogs out there like MarksDailyApple, DietDr, AuthorityNutrition, and more, to see the successes people have by eating in a way that eliminates modern high sugar-starch foods, highly processed, chemical-filled cheap calories.

We can be healthy, enjoy great food, and age healthily and appropriately without the aid of expensive pharmaceuticals.  That’s my goal! I hope it is yours, too.

Yours in frustration,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

The Sugar-pushers Don’t Give Up!

Daily I see head lines, blog lines, suggesting low sugar, low carb, paleo ways of eating neglect carbs, that we need carbs. These are typical strawman arguments, for all these diets are about staying clear of processed faux-foods that are filled with cheap sugars like HFCS, and sticking to the healthiest carbs, those from nature: berries, vegetables, nuts.

The latest evidence of worry in the agri-biz world is that Coca-Cola is now buying scientists to try and tell us to just exercise more, and keep on drinking their totally empty calories. No reputable exercise physiologist agrees; while exercise is important for health, it does make you hungry. Further, no one need ever consume such junk!

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/08/09/coca-cola-funds-scientists-who-shift-blame-for-obesity-away-from-bad-diets/

The sugar-pushers don’t give up, and neither will we!

Yours in health,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

Yuk! Everything is too sweet.

I’ve been off sugar and most starches, as well as any artificial sweeteners but a little stevia and erythritol, for years now, and it is true that with time you will lose most of your desire for sweets, especially for sugaraholics. I always had a sweet tooth, but the longer I’m away from sweets, the less I want them. The real surprise, though, is how much I dislike most of the sweet things I used like.

Today, on an impulse while grocery shopping at my favorite Wegman’s, I got a bottle of diet iced tea, a brand I used to often get, but I threw away most of it for it was so overpoweringly sweet tasting. I said “Yuk!” right out loud.  Another thing I used to love was Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, but the last few times I had a taste, it was really unplalatable.

Same goes for bread. For years I made most of the bread we ate, I loved bread, but really don’t miss it anymore.  So, given time, many things that used to be triggers become much less desirable. But the catch is, if you start to eat those foods again with any regularity, the old habit pathways will open right back up. At this point I can’t imagine doing that with sweets since most of those sweet foods don’t taste good anymore, but I wouldn’t risk it with good whole grained breads.

So that’s the good news: be patient, and sugar becomes much less potent in your thoughts, and diet.

Yours in patience,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

Great New Sugar Science Site

This is a wonderful site to check in with, and get notices from: http://www.sugarscience.org

This site is staffed by several doctors of one type or another, all interested in working to help get us off the dangerous drug that is Sugar.

Spring at Last: Brings New Focus

We in the northeastern USA have gotten through a strange winter all predicted by climate change science a few years ago. But now, the snow is gone, and it is springtime. Like most creatures in springtime, I have the normal animal urges to get out, plant, be productive, and feel connected with the great cycle of the seasons. My beloved and I were both down with some version of cold-bronchitis-flu for most of a month, and that only increased my usual winter ennui. So just now feeling focused, wanting to do more, like reconnecting via this blog. I have been storing up a few possible posts to share, and hope to be more regular for a while.

Blogs are a bit like diets; there is an initial excitement and intensity, then you slowly move to a kind of burnout phase when your interest wanes. But what does not wane is my absolute belief that our people are being made ill, and dying of diseases, caused by sugars, starches, and most artificial sweeteners. Death by diet. Our big-agri business has co-opted the government and medical establishment into supporting a way of eating that is not only unhealthy and fattening, but ultimately dangerous. A look at the western diet prior to the 1950s and now is evidence enough; a look at the change in obesity and diabetes rates during that time is appalling. Take a look at the stats found at these sites, more than enough to be disturbing:

http://www.diabetesandenvironment.org/home/incidence

http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9043-1/index1.html

http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/PDFs/stat904z.pdf

http://authoritynutrition.com/11-graphs-that-show-what-is-wrong-with-modern-diet/

http://mpkb.org/_detail/home/pathogenesis/mortality.gif?id=home%3Apathogenesis%3Aepidemiology

I am not a person who buys into conspiracy theories (they take a level of cooperation almost impossible for any group of people), and I don’t believe what happened in our western food realm was an conspiracy, except the ultimate one ruled by money. The same issues were at play in the cigarette industry for decades; not until there was no denying the obvious fact that smoking was killing people in droves did anything finally get done to show the public that tobacco kills.

Here is a good interview with a soda representative that shows it is hard for an abuser to defend his/her abuse: https://youtu.be/g4nTuSKEJug

I have a couple new recipes to add to my recipe blog, so take a look there.

Yours in the burgeoning of spring,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

Sugar in Salt! Rant of Rants

We know sugar hides in many places under a surprisingly long list of aka’s. I thought I was pretty savvy to the hidden or simply unrecognized sources of sugars like dried fruits, but I was blown off my knowledge perch when I rushed into my local market, picked up a couple boxes of salt in order to make some fermented cabbage/sauerkraut. When I got down to the job, I picked up the familiar round blue box I’ve known all my life as salt, and read the label. My jaw hit my chest, there was dextrose, the most well known of sugar’s alternate names! When did they start putting sugar in salt? The claim is that it help keep things like salt free-flowing, but it is not necessary, and was not in salt until fairly recently. I usually buy sea salt, that has lots of additional minerals, though still basically just salt, which is how I suppose this sugary salt got by me, but still, sugar in salt!? Totally unnecessary.

For those of us who are very sensitive to all sugars, regardless of type, the tiny milligrams and grams add up quickly. So yet again we are reminded to read labels, all labels. I returned that sugar salt the same day, and while reading several labels was to learn that many of these salt packages contain dextrose. You have to read all food labels–EVERYTHING. Now I’m wondering how many other seemingly harmless cooking items, say baking powder, have added sugar. Time to clean the pantry and learn the ugly truth.

Yours in aggravation,

Nan aka Sugarbaby

Willpower: Maybe, Maybe not

I grew up with the notion that you only had to have enough will to accomplish almost anything. Willpower, though, while good on many levels, on others it may not be quite all it’s cracked up to be. Will or willpower can help us achieve many things, but there are definitely limits to how far willpower can take us, especially if the root of a particular problem is adequate or correct information; or deeper in the brain than the part that deals with willpower.

When it comes to sugar, starch, and artificial sweeteners that act on our limbic brain, we no longer are dealing with the frontal lobes where everyday thinking occurs. We have to get at the root of our sugaraholic behaviors by eliminating the offending substances, which can take some willpower, but to try to have these substances and hope to exert control via willpower over their actions in our brains is nothing short of foolhardy.

Willpower is good, it pushes me to walk that extra mile, or push that heavier weight, or sit through a boring lecture, but there are limits to what the will can do when it comes to many of our health issues.

Below are some interesting articles that look at the subject from different angles, and I recommend Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit, which deals with willpower as well.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-science-willpower/201212/was-the-year-in-willpower

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/opinion/sunday/willpower-its-in-your-head.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/04/books/review/willpower-by-roy-f-baumeister-and-john-tierney-book-review.html?pagewanted=all