Thursday, April 21, 2011

"Sugar Dooesn't Make You Sick"

I just spent the last hour and a half in an employee benefits meeting with our insurance provider. While I am sure the presentation given by two very sweet girls was informative and as helpful as insurance companies that file taxes on a for profit bases can be, I was only concentrating on one thing. The giant bowl of candy in the middle of the conference table. This poses some issues for me namely because from the bits of information that actually beat its way into my brain past the dumfounded confusion was about how we need to start taking responsibility for the cost of our own health care. This is true, but I am literally the only one who saw the true irony in the snack offering. I can safely say this because I actually commented when I first sat down, “isn’t a candy bowl a slightly inappropriate snack for a health and benefits meeting”. And the resounding reply through chocolaty lips and sticky fingers was “sugar doesn’t make you sick.” And there you have it folks, ignorance to nutrition and a total lack of responsibility for our own future health all wrapped up in a social exchange that took less than 15 seconds. Could people really be this stupid?

I think the answer is yes, people can be this stupid. Or maybe stupid is too strong a word, maybe confused, or ill-informed  is more appropriate. Either way. Yes, sugar very much does make you sick. No you will not get diabetes from a single snack sized candy, eaten once a year, or month or probably even once a day. But that would be assuming you are eating 4+ serving of veggies, 3+ fruit, 2+ whole grains, 8+ glasses of water and a small amount of animal protein. But if you are like any one person I work with you are probably not eating breakfast, your midmorning wake up snack is a soda from the vending machine (my cube is next to it, I know who you people are and how often you fetch soda), a Healthy Choice microwavable meal (which was so perfectly summed up by Michael Pollan “Healthy Choice is a brand name, most defiantly not a fact”), followed by the 5 pieces of candy I just saw you horf down, and I’d put money on the fact that the sugar consumption doesn’t stop there. I don’t even need to go into how much sugar can be found in places people don’t expect it, because if you are dumb enough to be drinking soda on a regular basis in the first place let alone more than one a day, you obviously don’t know or don’t care that you have consumed the equivalent of 20+ packets of sugar. And maybe the worst fact of all is that in most cases it’s not even cane sugar anymore its corn syrup or some other sugar substitute that  literally wreaks your system. Ever wonder why so many kids are fat these days, just spend one day with them and will wonder no more. Sugar does make you sick. Processed sugars and sugar substitutes are the leading cause of obesity, and type 2 diabetes in this country. And there have been numerous studies that show just how much a single tablespoon of sugar lowers your immune system the second it hits your blood stream.

Am I perfect? No. I eat sugar, I love ice cream and brownies. Give me a good dark chocolate bar and I am in heaven. But I make d*** sure I know what I am eating and how it effects my body and my health, present and future. The only thing I drink regularly is water and if I am going to indulge in a sugar food it’s not going to be sugar from a microwavable food like substance lunch or 5 piece of candy that doesn’t even taste good. I am going to eat a high quality knock your socks off delicious dessert.

Health care is  getting more expensive, I don’t know one person who hasn’t experienced this strain in the last couple years. If you really want to know about the American health care system there are plenty of books that cover the history and complex nuances of how we got to where we are today. But the biggest thing driving health care costs up is that people are getting sick and they aren’t getting any better. We need to start looking at our own personal choices, and take more responsibility for our health. Everything you eat effect your health, in a lot of peoples cases negatively. If people don’t want to be paying thousands of dollars in medical bills they need to start taking care of themselves. We are personally responsible for nearly all aspect of our lives, why do we as Americans think it is the medical communities responsibility to take care of our health?

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