White Poison
Off the Wall, April 12
, 2013

When you think of it, we all can learn something from someone if we pay attention and listen. Granted, it may not always be favorable, but even so, learning is waiting to gain something by ear or eye.

So, there I sat, during one of my regular weight watcher meetings, taking in everything the instructor was introducing to us. Some of what she said we all knew, but still it was necessary for her to repeat some statements so the subject matter may take hold in one brain cell where before, it went into one ear and out the other.

And that’s when it all began. Before I tell you what struck me, I have to make mention that we are taught to note carbohydrates which have point values. Our aim is to not eat foods that mount up past the assigned total that each of us have to strive for. For instance, I plan my meals so I accumulate no more than 24 points in the course of each day. That takes real planning. Exercise helps a great deal, because it provides an allowance whereby I can subtract points, thus eating a tad more food.

Three-quarters of the way through what she was sharing, she said “Watch your sugar intake.” All along, I thought the carb point values were tallied with the sugar intake, so I never gave it much thought. After all, I even bought a handy little calculator that determines point value which I use daily to determine totals.

So, upon entering my refrigerator one morning to begin breakfast, I pulled out my fat free milk and decided to read the datum that discloses the information necessary that I have to know to put into my calibrating device. Lo and behold, what did I see? This “beneficial” liquid contained 12 grams of sugar. Next to that container was a regular quart of milk. It also contained the same amount of sugar? I was awestruck. I began hearing the woman’s voice – “Watch your sugar…”

Even though I speak for myself, in my opinion, I believe I am not alone when I state, “What’s a gram compared to in language we understand?” According to wiki.answers.com, “One-quarter of a teaspoon equals a gram. One gram of sugar equals 4 calories. One cup of granulated sugar is 200 grams. From a website, www.forbes.com, in an article written by Alice G. Walton in Forbes Magazine, August, 2012, referring to a website, OnlineNursingPrograms.com, she noted “Every five days, Americans now consume 765 grams of sugar, which when added up is equivalent to 130 pounds of sugar every year.” To make matters worse, “The Average American consumes three pounds of sugar each week or 3,550 pounds in an entire lifetime.”

If no other statement I relate in this commentary write this down and post it somewhere – “Given the way it acts on the brain, sugar may be just as addictive as cocaine.” Walton disclosed, additionally, in her article, “A new study reports that although soda is becoming less commonplace in middle and high schools, sports drink – which are essentially sugar-water by another name – have largely replaced it. These drinks are a key part of the obesity epidemic that’s spreading among young people.”

Another website, MayoClinic.com states, “Adult women should get no more than six teaspoons (tsp.) of added sugar each day, which is about 24 grams (g.), while men should stay under nine tsp. or 36 g. This equates to about 100 calories per day for women and 150 calories for men. To stay within these guidelines, limit desserts, soda, candy and processed meats.” Reader’s Digest suggests, “Look for products that don’t contain added sugar. Read labels carefully for hidden sources of sugar, which include high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, glucose, lactose, maltose, molasses, sucrose, syrup and any item that is called a sweetener or contains the word, ‘sugar.’” Are you starting to get the picture?

And from cross-references I read, “Stay away from fast food restaurants.” The answers.yahoo.com website pointed to the facts that just about everything has loads of sugar in it. “Best to stay away from eating all that garbage. It will kill you!”

Recently, my friend, Gilbert, called and exclaimed, “Boy did I have a great meal tonight. I had pancakes covered with lots of syrup with chocolate on it, topped off with blueberries, lots of them,” to which I said, “That’s a lot of sugar, isn’t it?” “Oh, but it was so good, so good.” And that is how the white poison grabs hold and make us addicts!

- Paul J. Volkmann
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