Sweets That Kill

Like many teachers and parents, I tried my best to get my students NOT to eat candy or chew gum in class.

However, it was an uphill battle, which I usually lost, as I would find out when the students’ desks were periodically cleaned out.

I kept on losing the battle, even though almost all of my poorer students had relatives who had become obese, had high blood pressure, or had lost limbs or gone blind from the effects of sugar diabetes. I never did a study, but I am willing to bet that all of those relatives had diets high in sweets, bread, soft drinks, and candy.

Sugar is more addictive than crack, some researchers report.

 The latest National Geographic has an article on sugar, one that backs up what I tried to say back then.

It points out that a very large fraction of the slaves taken from Africa to the Americas were employed in growing and refining sugar – a murderous enterprise all around, but one that made enormous profits for a few predatory, racist, capitalist growers businessmen and merchants who profited from the misery and deaths of millions of Africans and indigenous people while causing tooth decay and much worse among the population of the ‘civilized’ world.

A little quote from the article:

     “…in the 1960s the British nutrition expert John Yudkin conducted a series of experiments on animals and people that high amounts of sugar in the diet led to high levels of fat and insulin in the blood — risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. But Yudkin’s message was drowned out by a chorus of other scientists blaming the rising rates of obesity and heart disease instead on cholesterol caused by too much saturated fat in the diet.”

     Note: Yudkin’s research did NOT implicate meat, red or otherwise, nor fat, nor cholesterol as causes for obesity and diabetes. Instead, his research pointed to sugar as the culprit. But the medical and drug establishments completely ignored his data, and said the problem was animal fat and cholesterol.  People listened to that advice and began eating fat-free this and low-fat that — stuff that tasted like cardboard. The only way to make that crap palatable was to fill it with “fat-free” sugar, so that’s what the food corporations did. Continuing the quote:

     “As a result, fat [now] makes up a smaller portion of the American diet than it did 20 years ago. Yet the portion of America that is obese has only grown larger. The primary reason, says [Richard] Johnson [a nephrologist at the University of Colorado Denver], aloong with other experts, is sugar…’

“Recently the American Heart Association added its voice to the warnings against too much added sugar in the diet. But its rationale is that sugar provides calories with no nutritional benefit. According to Johnson and his colleagues, this misses the point. Excessive sugar isn’t just empty calories; it’s toxic.

(my emphasis)

no candy

Published in: on July 20, 2013 at 5:39 pm  Comments (4)  
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  1. I live in an area where diabetes type II is epidemic. Sure, it can hit people who are genetically disposed. Yes, it is a metabolic disease that may not include sugar as the first culprit, but caused by other inherited metabolic characteristics.

    But, by and large, it is BIG SUGAR, like Big Banks, being too big to fail. It is in almost all of our food (corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, etc.) . Some years ago, I was starving (okay, just hungry) and stopped at a Panda Express for some veggies (outside of where I live). Now, this may not apply to ALL Panda Express outlets, but the manager of the one I went to told me that even the vegetables have sugar in them.

    Big Ag, the Food Industry, huge subsidies to major producers of foods on the shelves of our markets, have ensured that sugar, salt, and fat comprise a large part of peoples’ diets. Especially those people who live in “food deserts.”

    Where I live is a food desert. The biggest and most popular restaurant for 20 miles is McDonald’s. We have two grocery stores. They DO offer alternatives to junk foods, but you will be hard pressed to find shelves that aren’t filled with processed, sugar filled foods. And the food choices I see in most store baskets are comprised mostly of sugar, fat, and salt based foods.

    The next largest restaurant in town is Pizza Hut. I am not condemning these named places (necessarily), but it is an indicator of the diet priorities of most people in this area. By choice or by necessity (high poverty area where little attention is given to the available information out there regarding good nutrition). Pepsi and menthol cigarettes have been the top sellers since I can remember.

    While many, especially the young, are making significant progress in reducing the intake of sugar, salt, and fat, most still prefer the umami of this mixture. Habit.

    Alcoholism is huge out our way. Combine a couple of 40’s of malt liquor with a typical “plate lunch” (which contains two huge scoops of white rice, AND macaroni salad, and fatty, most often fried meats), lack of exercise, and the results are painfully visable. A drive down our main drag is a sight to behold.

    The population out our way has grown by ten times since I first visited the area some years ago. The preponderance of amputees, and those (mostly men) with reddish purple lower limbs nearing amputation is a real shame. Also, the number of kidney dialysis centers (growing exponentially as one heads from Honolulu out to the west side, the side of O’ahu with the greatest poverty) is alarming.

    As teachers, my wife and I do not allow eating candy or drinking sodas or other sugar filled drinks in our classrooms. Water only. The greatest push back we get is not from the kids, but from so many parents who tell the schools that they insist that their kids be able to eat what they want when they want it. Obesity is huge out our way. Mostly among adults while the young who maintain poor eating choices are catching up to the adults. It’s all a part of the conditions of poverty and diminished opportunities. Access to more nutritious retail restaurants and other food providers is lacking. Some argue with me that all the bad foods are certainly not forced down the kids’ throats. Well, okay. But in so many other ways, that’s exactly what’s happening.

    Eating in the classroom (unless a planned activity) not only increases snacking on sugar, salt, and fat, but ti also contributes to CPA (continued partial attention). Just as is the use of electronics in the classroom during interactive work time. I do not allow them and have been called in on the carpet and admonished by vp’s and principal’s for sticking to my policy.

    My wife teaches full time as a special ed, teacher in a local elementary school. I, having retired after several decades in education, now contract with the one and only DOE in Hawaii to teach the teachers how to teach. The eating habits of the teachers in my workshops often mimic those same habits and choices the kids have and make. As our high poverty area schools are being slowly subsumed by the effects of RTTT and CCSS, this coming year will likely be my last. I will continue substituting here—I love these kids—until my wife’s contract is up in three years. I hold little hope that any major changes will be supported by a plantation system of rule that has little regard for the poor and disadvantaged.

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    • Ah, yes, being called on the carpet by superiors for the crime of trying do one’s job and to teach. Not uncommon — teaching is becoming more and more Orwellian.

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  2. Wrong. “The chemical process to make sucralose alters the chemical composition of the sugar so much that it is somehow converted to a fructo-galactose molecule. This type of sugar molecule does not occur in nature and therefore your body does not possess the ability to properly metabolize it. As a result of this “unique” biochemical make-up, McNeil Nutritionals makes it’s claim that Splenda is not digested or metabolized by the body, making it have zero calories. ” Explain to me why you think Splenda is better for you. Is it because of the advertising they do? Also, if your claim that is it made of another form of sugar is true, why won’t you just eat sugar? The bad chemicals are the sucralose (sugar, chlorine) in Splenda, the aspartame in Equal, and the sacharin in Sweet n low…those are the synthetic chemicals.

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  3. Right. You’re both right. Sugars, refined, man made, or otherwise exist and detrimental to one’s health. The only sugars I choose are those found in fruits, vegetables, and tonic water for my vodka tonics.

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