Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

My Addiction

with 6 comments

Hello, my name is John, and I’m an addict. Studies with laboratory rats have found that the substance of my addiction happens to be more rewarding and attractive than addictive drugs like cocaine.

fed-up-movie1I am addicted to sugar. I have known this for a long time, but only now have I come to understand to what degree, and how futile my previous attempts to self-regulate have been. I have my children to thank for recommending I watch the movie, “Fed Up,” which has informed me more clearly and concisely than other sources that have come my way up to this point.

For the past 6 years or so, I have been receiving news from two different doctors who have performed my annual physical examinations that my blood tests show me as being ‘pre-diabetic.’ I wasn’t completely surprised, because I knew I had a sweet tooth. I try to eat a generally healthy diet, and I usually get plenty of exercise, so I figured it wouldn’t take much to produce better results the next year by eating less sweet treats.

I love ice cream so much that I figured that was something I should be careful to control. I can often times avoid candy, though I do have trouble with occasional binges. When I give in to the urge, I usually give way in and go for broke. Other times, I just subtly slip myself one or two treats, one, two, or ten times a day, so I don’t notice how many I have truly consumed.

DSCN3077eI never really counted calories, let alone paid attention to the actual number of grams of sugar I was ingesting. The annually increasing paunch that is expanding my middle, seen clearly in this shot Cyndie captured of me with the Morales boys in Guatemala a couple of months ago, was easily dismissed as a function of my age and lackadaisical attitude about what I was eating.

I now understand that I have been consuming a dramatic amount of (hidden) sugar every day in foods beyond simply just the desserts to which I have succumbed. The food industry has taken every advantage to push their products on the under-informed world by making processed foods sweeter and thus irresistible to the inevitable cravings for more which result.

The sugar industry is in business to make money, not to keep us healthy, and the public policy of my government is supporting the obesity epidemic in this country with subsidies. On average, I bet I have been eating between 3 and 4 times the recommended healthy amount of sugar daily, and I have been doing so despite the fact that I don’t drink soda pop (one of the most evil of sources for sugar calories) or put ketchup on my food.

One of the worst things I do is exceed serving sizes as indicated on food labels. My vice after ice cream is cold cereal and milk. It is no surprise that there is a lot of sugar added to processed cereals. Whatever the label shows, I usually consume twice that or more, because I rarely stop at one bowl.

NutritionLabelOur nutrition facts food labels indicate how much sugar there is inside, but the food industry has successfully steered the government away from forcing the added reference of what percentage of the recommended daily allowance would be. It’s there for fat, carbohydrates, sodium… but not sugar.

If I should be limiting myself to less than 25 grams/day, I can easily exceed that at breakfast alone, with multiple bowls of cereal, orange juice, and toast. I usually have two slices. Ever look at how much sugar there is in bread? Double that, because a serving size for the nutrition label is commonly 1 slice.

The movie, “Fed Up“, has given me new incentive to address my addiction to sugar. I don’t know how anyone in America who isn’t thinking about this issue can possibly avoid exceeding the healthy amount of sugar per day, given how much processed and packaged food has become a part of our eating habits.

I urge you to see this movie, with hope that it will help spread the word about how pervasive sugar has become in processed foods and the consequences of not paying attention to it.

Here is the trailer to hopefully inspire you to seek it out:

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Written by johnwhays

June 4, 2015 at 6:00 am

6 Responses

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  1. Watched it and was amazed…most days we do pretty well since I cook from scratch and we don’t do desserts often, but on the lazy days when we eat boxed or restaurant food, or someone brings home a treat, we surely eat 3-4x the recommended sugar. Yikes! I totally sympathize with the binge treat eating. If it is in the house, I have a hard time stopping; luckily we are usually able to limit what makes it in.

    Thanks for the movie recommendation; I will be paying much closer attention to our sugar intake now!

    Liz

    June 5, 2015 at 6:28 am

    • I’m happy to know you have seen it. Yes! The reality of how easy it is and how quickly it happens that an indiscretion sends us quadruple the healthy amount. The oblivious person will do that over and over. How can we NOT get addicted. It’s how the brain reacts. If we do nothing else, we must at least teach children to be aware. Good luck! The system is tilted against them.

      johnwhays

      June 5, 2015 at 7:13 am

  2. Wow. Eyes opened. Thanks.

    Jane

    June 4, 2015 at 7:19 am

    • You’re welcome. Thank you for reading. Teach your boys about the challenge ahead for their life-long health if they don’t know about how sugar affects our brains!

      johnwhays

      June 4, 2015 at 8:58 am

      • Note: John, that sugar itself is not the enemy: it is processed sugar that creates the problem. Whether by stifling the digestive system or producing terrible dental decay… on the other hand, natural fruit sugar or sugar cane is a blessing having virtually no adverse effects. Hence, if you honor your craving in its true form you may eat or drink as much as you wish. Try bingeing on bananas, you will remain as healthy as some of our top athletes with absolutely no adverse effects.

        Ian Rowcliffe

        June 4, 2015 at 3:51 pm

      • I’m afraid the American diet has swung too far with added sweetness to allow the luxury, due to the addictive nature. At least, the sugar in fruit is combined with fiber which is processed differently than just getting stored as fat cells. Once the addiction is broken, we can enjoy healthy sweetness in reasonable doses.

        johnwhays

        June 4, 2015 at 10:45 pm


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