But, it makes the medicine go down…doesn’t it?

In Unprocessed Sugar on September 12, 2010 at 7:42 am

Just between you and me, I thought the easiest part about this month was going to be staying away from refined sugar.  I thought I’d be mostly concerned with avoiding sandwiches with fluffy, pure white, delicious gluten-ey bread or accidentally ordering a beer with dinner.

I have a scandalous secret, an ace up my sleeve that I figured would give me the upper hand among my friends.

I’ve never really had a sweet tooth to speak of.

I know. I know!  I mean, I like gummy bears, for sure… and every now and then I indulge in a torrid love affair with a piece of dark chocolate… but those are rare moments, blips on the radar.

The past week has been just fiiiiiiiiine.  There have been those surprise moments when I find out, for instance, that there’s sugar in the chicken sausage I bought from Trader Joe’s, or in my favorite brand of dried fruit…but for the most part my willpower has been downright impermeable.  There’s a whole roll of untouched cookie dough in my fridge and I have a bowl of chocolate sitting on my desk at work for people who stop by to say hi.  It doesn’t even phase me.

Then, something happened yesterday that I couldn’t explain.

I spent ten solid minutes staring at a piece of dark chocolate trying to think of a *good* reason not to eat it.

I have one haunting image of my orthodontist shining a bright light over my face, twisting my braces on tight warning me that if gum or candy got stuck next to the metal, I could ruin my teeth FOREVER.

Forever is a huge meaningless word to a fifth grader, but nothing, not even forever-ruined teeth, could be as scary as Dr. Levine CEMENTING METAL TO MY TEETH.  How is that NOT more damaging long term (emotionally, if not physically!) than something sweet and tasty and comforting like sugar?

Scary words like “obesity” and “diabetes” were fading out somewhere in the back of my head and they seemed kind of meaningless.  My rock-hard will was crumbling fast.  If I have that one piece of chocolate, is it really going to hurt me all that much?

Why do all the warnings about sugar have to be so dire?  Why is it Dr. Levine’s scowling face that’s in my head warning me to be good OR ELSE, and not a healthy happy picture of someone showing me how good you can feel when you eat well?

My best guess?  Probably because people who want me to eat sugar, own sugar plantations and are willing to put money in to ads like this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

Somehow, I dug up some more willpower and avoided that piece of chocolate.  Not because it’s going to kill me, but out of principle.  I made a deal with myself for this month, and I’m going to try and stick to it.

I also realized, I need to do some more research into why exactly sugar IS bad for you.  I have a lot of unanswered questions like:

What *is* the process that makes processed sugar?

Why exactly is sugar bad for me (other than being bad for my teeth and obesity mumble mumble)?

Is it possible in America to cut out processed sugar completely?

Where should I draw the line for myself personally?  Should I let myself have pure cane sugar? Raw sugar?  Or is there something innately wrong with sugar cane all together?

So.  I guess it’s time for some research.

  1. My humble opinion is that sugar,
    like most other foods,
    is fine in its natural state;
    and, like most other foods,
    in moderation.

    it’s kinda hard to squish a sugarcane into one’s coffee.

    (And those ads are ridiculous!)

    • The problem is finding foods with sugar in its natural state. We can get Sugar in the Raw, etc, to put in our coffee. But the processed forms are in EVERYTHING. And, as someone who has struggled with her weight all her life, when I find out that processed sugar is ONLY calories and nothing nutritious, I have to ask if it’s worth putting in to my body at all.

      You’re absolutely right about moderation, of course. But this month is more of a challenge to be aware of just how many processed foods I eat.

      I actually really love these ads. They’re all just so ridiculous! I’ve been watching Mad Men lately, and I keep trying to figure out what boardroom conversations lead up to each of these ads. Hilarious.

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