Sugar, Fat, and Fatuous Legislation

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Within the previous 7 days of writing this article, two attacks in on-line media were read, both of these forays practically bunker-bombing my favourite carbohydrate. No need for panic, this article won’t get technical; I just needed that word to point out that text-books have been written on these substances, part of a so-called “chemistry of life“. So, perhaps while hearts palpitate at the possibility of war in this or that part of the world, some government, with the connivance of a special interest group, is quietly working on having a bill passed, limiting what we might call, our organic freedom.

Yes, it will be spelled out for you with sweet words, the ever-fattening size of governments and their compendia of laws, rules, and regulations, having already made, in some parts of the world, organic farming nigh impossible, would deprive our organism of ever more of what we crave, and can still obtain at reasonable cost.

I speak of sugar, those little white crystals that sweeten our coffee, tea, and pastry. The attacks are not really new, just more aggressive. The anti-sugar lobbyists barely seem to have a firm grip on their subject. One article claims that “fructose” is a bad sugar, badly digested by the body, leading to weight problems, and whatever comes along with that. Another article will say that the problem is specifically high-fructose corn syrup, present in a lot of foodstuffs and popular drinks, and different from normal fructose, which is found in fruits, but web-pages can be found showing that even vegetables such as onions and carrots contain high levels of sugar.

Furthermore, consider my first link, above, a  Telegraph article entitled “John Yudkin: the man who tried to warn us about sugar”.  It quotes a Dr. Robert H. Lustig, who wrote in Time at the end of 2012.  He admits that he wasn’t sure if his own family would watch his 2009 video.  He presents 5 myths, which in a way are artificial constructs.  The conclusions he presents are probably true, but if in a chemistry examination, the question were posed, “Which has more calories, galactose or fructose?”, we cannot talk about a half truth of equal calorific density.  His third myth is accompanied by the most forced conclusion, he tries to debunk the ease of limiting one’s intake of sugar by saying that it is mildly addictive, but ends the paragraph with the words “alcohol” and ‘”vicious cycle”‘.  Sure, the reader may beg to differ, but the only “sugar” listed as addictive by the Unites States National Health Service’s ¨Commonly Abused Drugs Chart” is heroin. It cannot be denied that they have articles about sugar, but this gem shows that not all thrills can be equal: “Mutant mice that exhibit behaviors resembling mania seemed to get a bigger kick than normal mice from sugar water, cocaine, and electrical stimulation of the brain’s reward center.”  Well, comparing to humans, cocaine does not require mutuation before addiction, few of us are going to opt for Frankensteinization to enjoy electrical stimulation, and whether we have a genetically-altered human or not, who is going to say, after not being able to get the fix of choice, “Well, I guess I’ll have some disaccharide.”

What I have rarely found in these articles is the mention that the sugar which we use in our homes is “sucrose”, the most-refined form of all sugars. Well, obviously, no problem, it may come to pass that all sugar is to be condemned by the sweet wisdom of the parenting State. In the United States, the A.T.F. (Alchohol, Tobacco, and Firearms might be renamed, S.A.F.T., German for “juice”, the law enforcement agency against sugars, alcohol, etc., with all the slang meanings of “juice” making a nice match.

I had wanted to avoid the term “Big Brother”, but it is now necessary.  In order to enlarge my vocabulary of German, I had picked up, for free, a copy Orwell’s   1984   fit for, can I say “Book-burning”?  Along with a factual history of the past, places of worship, privacy – including of thought, non-adulterated meanings of words, milk, real coffee and chocolate, wine and what-not, sugar was on the list of supplies not available to any but the inner-circle of the government, if at all. [Search for the word “sugar” in this English chapter of the book .]

Let it be made clear, I neither have investments, nor am in the employ of anybody directly or indirectly involved in the sugar business. I am not against people being properly informed on nutritional matters, especially if a specific health problem needs to be addressed. It was clear in my youth: sugar causes cavities. That alone, after experiencing the quasi-water-boarding of a dental clinic, should chastise the majority of us. Let it fervently be hoped that it is not mandated that are dental treatments are to be more painful in the future, if sugar is suspected to be the source of poor oral hygiene!

Let us look at this writer’s relationship with sugar. It is found in all milk, the healthiest being from one’s genetrix. I would concede that the replacement of this nutritive beverage by something over-processed from the über-sized udders of some farm-yard hybrid is not a healthy replacement. Fortunately, when it was obligatory to buy a daily bottle of milk in primary school, the chocolate version was also offered, because frankly, even in 1960, without something to mask the taste of the bovine beverage, it was nauseating!

I had a terribly sweet-tooth. As soon as I used to come home from school, I used to eat sugar by the spoonful, upsetting my mother. It was not considered a cheap substance.

In secondary school, on the hot, humid days just before the end of the school year, I would drink one can of soda pop after another, from the conveniently-placed vending machine in the school cafeteria.

I have drunk up to four litres of the same beverage within one hour, back in the 70s. This rare practice, in accordance with my not-taken-seriously private slogan, “everything in excess”, ended around 1983, after 3 litres in some non-air-conditioned 3rd world hotel.

So, the reader is entitled to ask about my health. My weight in high school hovered around 140 pounds, with a maximum of 145, or about 63.5 to 66 kilos. I was kept in shape by physical work.

In 1983, as a result of budgetary restrictions, my weight dropped to 127 pounds or less (58 kilos). It took about 2 years to recover my previous weight. My work was still physical, though indoors.

In order that the weight can be compared to height, I’ll just say, I’m under 5 foot 8. (173 cm.)

My lifestyle is more sedentary now, but I walk up to 100 blocks some days of the month, and a minimum of about 25 per working day. I am a bit overweight, but have kept the weight constant over at least 10 years. My principal use of sugar is for coffee at the office. When I drink a jarful of the brew at home, it is taken black.

I used to like to eat an incredible quantity of sweets. I no longer do, and consider cakes as too rich.

This last detail is important, because it serves to counter some of the arguments in favour of a so-called tax on sugar. There is evidence that as one grows older, the taste buds actually prefer saltier to sugary foods. (Well, salt, another item on the about-to-be-banned list? The European Union already mandates less salty foods.)

That was one of several points I would like to make. The argument has been made that high sugar consumption among ordinary people (as opposed to the rich), and the supposed weight gain associated therewith first came about, at least in England, around 1850. I believe it was in Encyclopaedia Britannica that I once read that the rats in Ancient Egypt ate the sugar from the store-houses, and thus were not the foul-smelling beasts that one might know in poorer areas of a city. (What I see on the web states that Ancient Egypt had no sugar, so I’m not sure what country is in question.) Well, I don’t know about the aristocracy of that time and place, but we can at least say, that sugar has a long history.

Another point is that in Britain, during the war years, housewives were forced to find substitutes for sugar to make cakes. On recipe involved carrots. Their “excessive” sweetness has already been mentioned above. Perhaps, carrots too, are a modern dietary addition. (Actually, in the form that we now know them, this is true.)

And the worst place for dietary advice seems to be the New Testament. There they multiply bread twice, talk about salt losing its taste, and have John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey in the desert! At least 3 of the four are often condemned on health-food web-sites. The locusts, of course, are now laced with pesticides, therefore definitely off-limits.

We are expected to believe that the sugar lobby does everything possible to make sure that this supposedly toxic, habit-forming substance will continue to be sold. Let’s look at that a little more closely. Perhaps the Cuban Revolution was about defeating Western Imperialism with sugar exports, especially to the countries which do not boycott it, such as Canada, and some or all of the European Community.

And finally, to the degree that it is true that poor people did not use to have much access to sugar (something my father also claimed for another European country), does not a tax on sugar again work to deny the poor of this substance? Is it then not a form of discrimination and oppression that has, in theory at least, been left behind?

It is said that guns don’t kill, people do. Likewise, sugar doesn’t make people ill, individuals cause their own sicknesses.

In conclusion, if I am, or were, a socialist, I would say that the media, including the left-of-centre sources linked in this article, have fired the opening salvos against the poor in general, and against Cuba in particular. In the week that I write this, the problem was supposed to be that granary, Ukraine. Oh, perhaps the sugar tax is supposed to help that country be bailed out!

March 7, 2014.  7  марта.  Павел Карл Мёллер  © Paul Karl Moeller

Bibliography.

BBC. “Sugar tax may be necessary, England’s chief medical officer says.” 5 March 2014. http://www.bbc.com/news/health-26442420

Carrot Museum. “Carrot History – Carrots in World War Two”. http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/history4.html

Churchville, Sara. “High-Fructose Corn Syrup Can Make You Both Fat and Stupid”. http://www.minyanville.com/mvpremium/2012/05/16/high-fructose-corn-syrup-can/

Journal of Clinical Investigation. “Too Much Sugar Is Bad, But Which Sugar Is Worse: Fructose Or Glucose?.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090420182151.htm>.

Llewellyn Smith, Julia. Telegraph. “John Yudkin: the man who tried to warn us about sugar”.  17 Feb. 1014
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/dietandfitness/10634081/John-Yudkin-the-man-who-tried-to-warn-us-about-sugar.html

Lustig, Robert H.  Time. “What You Need to Know About Sugar”.  http://ideas.time.com/2012/12/27/what-you-need-to-know-about-sugar/

 

 

 

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