PURE, WHITE AND DEADLY ! THE SWEET BASE FOR OBESITY.
THE SWEETEST OF ALL KILLERS
"MY NAME IS JOHN ADAMS AND I AM A SUGARHOLIC ". That, if ever the day dawned that a help group like Alcoholic Anonymous were to be set up to help sugar addicts like me, is how I would introduce myself. Born in the days of World War Two, I do not recall my early days being dominated by sugar, which like most food substances was heavily rationed in the UK. Indeed, I seem to recall more the bitter taste from a sugar substitute, saccharin, in my earliest memories.
However, well before teenage years, I became hooked on the white stuff. I even made sugar sandwiches and also liberally sprinkled the stuff on chips during one period. Being blessed with a racing metabolism, throughout my life, I have burned of the main excesses caused by my addiction and have never had a weight problem as a result.
My first hard jolt about the effects of sugar on the body came in around 1972 when my Boss at the National Governing Sports Body for which I worked, introduced us to the work of Professor John Yudkin and his book entitled, PURE WHITE AND DEADLY. Yudkin, a respected physiologist had identified sugar as a key factor in mal affects to the human body and organs. His work was later to a certain extent ridiculed and overlooked, no doubt after much "research" sponsored by the sugar and food industries which had and retain, massive self interests to protect by encouraging the consumption in as many ways possible, of the substance in question.
Thus, forewarned but the disarmed, I have continued to manfully enjoy all manner of sweet foods and add the stuff liberally to my tea and coffee on a daily basis. Not even a perforated bowel in 2010 has altered my consumption in anyway and without any further public information, I expected to go on in the same way " ad infinitum". That is till this very weekend.
BATTLING THE ADDICTION.
Initially, my attention was caught by an article in a Sunday publication, by a somewhat unfortunately named lady, Alice Smellie, explaining her efforts to break free from sugar addiction. Ms Smellie left no stone unturned explaining first, that she was used to consuming 40 kg of sugar annually, one way or another, and secondly, how tough breaking away from the addiction had proved. Like addicts attempting to break away from alcohol and nicotine, the effort forced unwelcome changes to the personality, turning the erstwhile placid person into an ill-tempered ranter.
Ms Smellie quoted an American expert on the subject, Robert Lustig, who had taken up the Yudkin banner to warn of the dangers of sugar. Looking into Lustig"s theories, I was struck that whilst he centred on problems faced by the body in dealing with fructose in sugar which requires processing by the body unlike glucose, the other constituent which apparently can exercise itself to carry the sugar direct to cells by insulin and also deliver hormonal signals when sufficient has been absorbed. Fructose, on the other hand, just waits to be processed in the liver, builds up in the blood and disrupts the messaging systems in the body, leading to insulin resistance, fat build ups in wrong areas and a general feeling of lethargy. The logical conclusion to this pattern is Type 2 Diabetes and OBESITY.
Readers of some of my previous Hubs will be aware of my great concern about the rapid growth of this disease in the Western World. Lustig offers me no comfort either on this. He claims 120 million Americans are obese and that it will be 150 million by 2050. A staggering and chilling number. UK has seen a dramatic rise in Obese citizens over the past 30 years and numbers continue to rise.
Lustig puts sugar use firmly in the frame for this and asserts it is sugar and not calories that people should count to deal with the problem.. Like Yudkin before him, he is considered a maverick in some circles but again consider the vested interests there are behind sugar and the use of it, especially in the ever growing processed and fast food industries. He makes a telling point when he notes that the human body, anything can be made to taste good if enough sugar is added to it. His graphic example is dog excrement. Please do not try this at home !
Finally, for those of us with no wish to cut ourselves totally away from sugar as Ms Smellie did, Lustig offers some encouragement. He does not advocate total abstinence but a controlled consumption, asserting that little is "fine" whilst too much is "toxic". As ever, the answer is in the hinds, not to say minds, of the consumers. Ms Smellie has concluded much the same. One teaspoon of sugar is around 4g. Think of how mant build up to that 40kg per year quoted earlier. I for one, must attempt to heed the warning I dismissed back in the 1970"s. Would 3 cubes in a mug of tea as opposed to 4 be a start ?