First published on November 7, 2014. I have a friend with whom I am arguing about sugar.
Believe it or not, there are things in this world worse than soda, sugar, and obesity. Oh, you say? But, sugar is evil. It is so evil, the city of Berkley has passed a ‘sin’ tax to remind sinners to imbibe on diet drinks. The tax of 2 cents an ounce is to help prevent diabetes, especially in the African American community. Yes, that’s what I read in the article. You see, nothing, absolutely nothing in society is worse that obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Or, that’s what the sugar haters want you to believe.
Sugar is not toxic.
“…“Sugar, in general, is not poison,” he said. “Breast milk contains sugar. The human bloodstream contains sugar, at all times, and the moment it doesn’t, we die.”
To label sugar “toxic” is misleading. It implies that the sweet substance is dangerous at any dose. But of course, it’s the dose that makes the poison. A single can of Pepsi, a veritable bastion of sugar, is a delicious complement to a slice of pizza. To die from an acute toxic overdose of sugar, the average adult male would have to drink roughly 58 of those cans in rapid succession. That doesn’t leave much room for the slice of pizza.
Polonium, on the other hand, now that’s a poison. As little as 800 nanograms — an amount so small you could barely make it out on the palm of your hand — is enough to kill the average adult male.
I make this comparison not to trivialize the health drawbacks of sugar, only to demonstrate that sugar is obviously not a poison.
The American Heart Association and the World Health Organization recommend that women consume no more than 24 grams of “added sugar” (basically, sugar not found in fruits or non-sweetened milk) each day. For men, that number is 37 grams. Currently, conservative estimates indicate that Americans consume roughly twice the recommended amounts. Much of that sugar comes from nutrient-deficient soft drinks, luxurious desserts, processed food, or candy. Eating too much of any of that stuff increases the risk of fatty liver disease, heart disease, diabetes, and being overweight….”
Yes, there are things that are worse than the above list of diseases that are ’caused’ by the consumption of sugar. Sugar helps a person gain weight. Obese individuals, such as moi, are the dregs of society. We are horrible, evil individuals, to be ridiculed, insulted, ignored, and treated like dirt. After all, we’re the ones costing all the medical dollars – right?
Submitted for your approval is an ongoing family story. Do you know anything about Osteoporosis? It is going to be one of the most costly medical conditions to hit the modern world, one of these days. How do I know? It runs in my family. Thing is, because I’ve been overweight all my life, I’m going to be spared the horrible death, debilitating pain, and constant worry of fracture. Women my size, rarely, if ever develop osteoporosis. Sure, there is a chance of diabetes and high blood pressure, but, when you factor in the lies and crunch the actual numbers, someone like moi has a greater chance of developing those two things than a thin person – by maybe a few percentage points – that’s it. But, a thin woman, who has dieted her entire life, has a very great chance of developing this horrible bone disease.
My mother has it. She spent her entire life around the 95-103 pound mark, ballooning up to 123 after reaching her 70s. The food Nazi of the family, she avoided sugar, fats, unhealthy meat, breads, an anything that might cause her to gain a pound or two. She made my life, growing up, a living hell. I was put on a diet when I was just 8 years old. I was nearly the height I am now – 5 feet tall, and weighted 100 pounds. But, the charts said I was too heavy. So, the yo-yo dieting began. You don’t recover from yo-yo dieting, ever. You also don’t develop osteoporosis.
My grandmother Froehlich died and agonizing death with it. It becomes like bone cancer, dissolving bones, causing pain so horrific a person lives on high-powered narcotics. My mother is now popping 3 Vicodin a day. She is 84-years-old, and has about 9% bone density. Her spine is full of compression fractures caused by the disease. But – she was always thin.
In 2005, her condition became so bad, she was given a new medication to help build bones. The physician never bothered telling her that, if she had a-fib, it could lead to heart failure. Two weeks later she coded twice. A few days after that she received her pace-maker. When she was revived, she was given a shot that hit a nerve in her leg, causing serious bladder control issues. They also discovered she had very high cholesterol. My father, Mr. Quarter-Pounder with Cheese had a normal count. He was a diabetic, but that was under control. His blood pressure was high, but that was under control. Fact is, for a good 14 years, until his death three weeks ago, his medication costs for diabetes and blood pressure was about $20 a month – at the most.
On the other hand, the costs for my mother – to attempt to prevent the inevitable, has cost a fortune. Just in Posie pads alone, it is $18/month – twice a month – or $39.00 a month. That’s close to $500 a year, or over $4000, so far. Contrast that to the cost of the diabetes and blood pressure meds – $20 a month or about $250 a year, for 15 years, to total about $3600. His diabetes and blood pressure were kept under control, primarily by diet. He never had a real problem.
Then there are the heart meds. We’re looking at another $70/month. That’s less than it has been. So, we’re around $840 a year, but more like $1000. Multiply that times 10 and that’s close to $10K. Add the $4000 and we’re pushing $15,000, so my mother could be thin all those years.
We’ve not stopped there. I’ve left out the broken bones, medivacs, hotel stays, constant emergency room visits – over a 10 year period. My father developed Alzheimer’s Disease. Our costs went up another $50 a month or so, the last 3 years of his life.
Oh, wait, it gets better. My mother’s back is so bad, now, she is not only popping up to 3 Vicodin a day, but now uses a lidocaine patch. A box of 30 runs us $40. Her back is so bad, she has lost all bladder control. We’re up to 4 of those $18.00 packets of Poise a month, or about $80. She is in such constant pain, and in such bad shape – because she was so nice and thin all those years, that she can’t be left alone. I now get a grand total of maybe 3 nights a week at my home. The rest are spent with her. She requires someone with her at all times.
Get the picture?
The beautiful irony of all of this is that, in order to build up her energy, and get her to eat, once again, or she will, she was told by her primary care physician, not last until Christmas, she must consume at lest 12 ounces of evil, sugary soda a day!
I’ve had to live with a parent who had high blood pressure and diabetes, and also Alzheimer’s Disease. I live with one who is falling apart due to osteoporosis, and the quest of thinness, food politics, and avoiding the evils of sugar. Have you ever seen anyone dealing with late-stage osteoporosis?
It’s a living hell.
It is a living hell that could have been avoided by a life misspent, chugging evil soda, eating meat, bread, and dessert.
Do you have any idea what an epidemic of this is going to cost the taxpayer? It’s going to be far more than the consequences of diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure ever were.
My mother did everything right. She watched her diet, her weight, and was physically active, exercising, doing yard work, gardening, and walking. She took the right vitamins and supplements. Contrary to the popular myth of diet/exercise, it doesn’t even begin to stop the ravages of the disease.
There is something worse than being obese. I watch my mother every day. She can no longer walk on her own. She uses a walker. She must sit up to sleep. She can’t even lift her legs to get into the shower. Her back is so miserable she can’t sit down in a shampoo chair at the beauty shop. There is now this massive hump on her back. She sits stooped over, leaning over to feel some relief from the pain.
Sugar is evil?