Note the 655% increase in diabetes in the last sixty years which correlates all too well with the increase in sugar in foods.
My rant for 2017 is the same as it was in January 2016: we have an obesity epidemic that is largely being ignored by the people who are responsible for the type and quality of food most available to average consumers in the USA, and most western countries. No other so clearly documented rise in a disease area would be ignored; yet, obesity is laid uncaringly at the feet of consumers.
Never before have our markets had such a domination of the shelves by cheap high sugar-starch foods. The poor have even fewer options. Unless you can grow your own food, which is neither easy nor inexpensive these days, or have farmers’ markets nearby, you are solely in the hands of the five big agricultural controllers of the world’s food supply. Our markets now have less variety of foods, and lower quality, with more of the same low cost-to-produce goods, filled with highly addictive and damaging carbohydrates, and no warnings on those products to mostly untutored consumers.
The latest data can been seen at the sites below, and we can expect obesity, and its related diseases (diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia dominating) to continue to increase at disturbing levels. If government and industry won’t address the problem, and it seems unlikely they will since it means big-ag loses money–and fewer lobbies are bigger in Washington, D.C. than big-ag. That leaves it up to ordinary citizens like us to make sure information is spread to help people who are particularly vulnerable.
Yours in basic human decency,
Nan aka Sugarbaby
I’ve been having a discussion with a friend who is in a support group for overeaters–and forwarded me this site–about the complexities of dieting. As I read through the list, it came to me that intention (to eat healthier or lose weight) without knowledge, or knowledge without support, can make sticking to a healthy eating program a far bigger challenge than many might think.
Many people who know clearly that they have an addictive response to sugars and starches can still struggle to stay on a low carb program if they don’t have adequate support to keep at it day after day, year after year. Especially those with morbid obesity and/or metabolic issues like low thyroid, among others. While I’ve read dozens of books on diet, nutrition, paleo-primal-evolutionary development, filling my head with information, and stopping the obviously offending foods, was only the first step. The limbic brain at work in most of us doesn’t completely cease to crave those high carb foods, especially when we constantly see and smell them; and, in this age, we can barely have an hour when there are not some advertisements before us via magazines, television, internet, radio, billboards, and at virtually all businesses we commonly patronize. I daily see the discards of fast-food along the highways, which means escape from the sight, sound, smells of the worst of modern foods is hard to come by, so prevalent is the industry in the west.
On the other hand, those attempting to get relief from cravings need to get knowledge about the ubiquity as well as addictive nature of high sugar/carb foods, since nearly every strong craving comes from carbs, salt, or fat, usually in combination. I’ve yet to meet anyone with an overwhelming craving for plain lettuce.
So we who struggle with addictive responses to sugar, starch, and most artificial sweeteners need both knowledge and support.
I know it is hard for people with families who do not understand that modern high carb diets are not only generally fattening, but unhealthy, and insist on keeping such foods in the house. I’m very fortunate to have tremendous support from my spouse, and others. If you are not so lucky, you might want to look into one of the weight loss or food addiction support groups which give support regardless of what food program you are on (see my previous post).
Perhaps one of the hardest concepts to keep before us is that we are individuals with varying responses to varying stimuli, including foods. I have people in my family who struggle to gain weight, others who struggle to lose weight, all with differing levels of vision-dental-physical-mental health, not to mention all the other ways we differ; no one thing works perfectly for everyone else. While we share a great deal in common, it is important to keep in mind we are unique individuals. People who point fingers and say “if you just did x, y, z” need a big dose of humility. Health is in some ways simple, as indeed is life, but in more ways it’s complicated. The best we can do is continue to look for answers throughout our lives.
Yours in looking at all sides of the issues,
Nan aka Sugarbaby
No matter how good the eating program may be sometimes it can be hard to implement the program if we are surrounded by people and foods that would undermine our resolve.
I’m very lucky to have a supportive spouse who works with me, and no kids in the house, but I have known many people who get push back from partners, spouses, children, and friends when they try to eliminate the old standard American/western diet (SAD) for lchf, lower calorie, or any of the low carb healthier plans. I also know when our grand-girls are here for a visit, I find my eating is much more of a struggle, and have been known to go off the tracks here and there.
For many people the value of programs like Weight Watchers (WW) and TOPs, lies in the support they receive for making the diet changes. While I disagree with the WW platform, I have known several people to be successful with weight loss on WW because of the support and encouragement.
A better program for many people who struggle with cravings, binges, and overeating in general, is Overeaters Anonymous (OA.org), which doesn’t advocate any particular diet, and focuses on abstinence from trigger foods (usually sugars and grain-based foods). They follow the model of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), using a 12-step approach that for many is very helpful; plus they have online and telephone meetings as well as face-to-face meetings so you can get support anywhere or anytime, especially if you get a sponsor. Many people have a true addictive response to sugars/grains, since those foods act on the same part of the brain as opioids and alcohol, so OA can be a great way to get support for people with addictive eating or eating disorders.
I read of a study (could have been this one I’ve linked) some years ago that found when people had a weight-loss buddy, sponsor, friend, they had much higher success. This makes sense, for it adds the element of accountability. When faced with the chocolate cake, we are more likely to ignore its call if we know we have someone who will ask how we are doing with our food.
During the holidays many of us feel the challenge of avoiding the old high-carb foods of the past as we meet with family and friends for the festive occasions. Additionally, especially during holidays, work places, and other meeting places, can be minefields for people working to get and stay low carb. Always being prepared is a great goal, but also requires good discipline to make sure we don’t give in to foods that can trigger eating in unhealthy ways. Few of us are always prepared. Having a support system in place can make the process of avoiding old trigger foods much easier.
One thing I know, and so do you, we are never happier for eating poorly, so doing whatever it takes to get the support needed to be healthy is a good way to go.
Hoping you have the support you need.
Nan aka Sugarbaby
Like the effort to control smoking with ever increasing tobacco taxes, those concerned with our obesity epidemic, and declining western health, are now moving to similar taxes on one of the major culprits which is sugary drinks like soda pop. New York mayor Bloomberg was ridiculed when he attempted to make a difference on this front several years ago, but now Philadelphia, PA has such a tax with the funds directed to early childhood education.
Only time will tell how much this tax will change anything, but it is a step in the right direction for a country with over thirty percent of its population dangerously obese, and all related health problems like diabetes and heart disease increasing rapidly.
Getting Americans to recognize the dangers of smoking took half a century, and there are still people who smoke, but the totality of measures from taxing, education, warning labels, and removal of ads that encouraged smoking finally made a dent in what was a growing lung cancer crisis. None of these changes happen quickly, but nothing will change without some effort toward addressing the problems associated with our western high sugar-starch foods that dominate in our super markets.
I saw some of the ads by purveyors aired during the run up to the election, and they were in my opinion shameful distortions, calling the measure a grocery or food tax: we all know that soda is not and never will be food. But such is the greed factor that always seems to be as strong if not stronger than the human health factors.
Other places are moving this direction, so I expect it will be the norm before too long. One step for human health, and not before time.
Yours in health,
Nan aka Sugarbaby
PS: Update–Seems the tax may work: http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-soda-tax-works-20160823-snap-story.html
I came across this https://www.eatthismuch.com site a few weeks ago and thought it was a great idea for people who don’t like cooking or thinking too much about planning meals. You enter the parameters of your way of eating and it will come up with various meals and recipes for the foods.
I know a lot of people who don’t have patience with meal planning and preparation which may cause such people to stop at the nearest pizza place, or other fast food sources–never a good way to go. Meal planning and preparation is often key for success when starting a new diet or new way of eating, and need not be onerous. While I happen to enjoy cooking and don’t find the preparation a challenge, I still don’t like to spend a lot of time every day cooking or thinking about what our next meals will be. I tend to cook a lot of meat or make a big casserole type dish once a week to have some always ready to go. But if you are one of the people who don’t want to do this, you may find this site a good option.
Yours in convenience,
Nan aka Sugarbaby
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