OH, Sugar, Sugar!

OH, Sugar, Sugar!

It didn’t start with us, our parents, or even their parents. An audiobook I heard this week said it might have started with the ancient Egyptians, if not before. “It”, in this case, being the love-affair our taste buds have been having under our very noses with sugar.

The book is called The Case Against Sugar, by Gary Taubes, and it sounded like he’d done a lot of research for his writing. There were plenty of facts and figures, and the author made some very good points about one of the most common food addictions of the current times. He wrote: “Sugar does induce the same responses in the region of the brain known as the reward center as do nicotine, cocaine, heroin, and alcohol”.  So we eat sweet stuff to make ourselves feel good, and then we get addicted; I’ll admit to that readily enough. But then I heard:  “The more we use these substances, the less dopamine we produce naturally in the brain.” That didn’t sound so good.

Now just think for a moment about our typical terms of endearment:  Sugar, Sweetie, Honey, Sweetheart . . . never once have I heard someone lovingly refer to their significant other as Brussel Sprout, or Cauliflower, have you? And if you did, wouldn’t you wonder, just a little? We’re raised to view desserts as a reward. . . no pie if you don’t eat your supper, right? So is it any wonder if we dive into the chocolate marshmallow ice cream after a rough day at work? I don’t think so!

Last year my family doctor took a look at the lab results from my previous visit and made a dubious remark about the nearly borderline glucose level in the chart.

“I’m watching it” I assured him.

“Watching it . . . what’s that mean, exactly?  You’re watching the sugar spoon so it doesn’t overflow on its way from the bowl to your coffee cup?” he chuckled.

“I don’t put sugar in my coffee.” I told him. “And I fix my oatmeal with a pinch of salt and a smidgen of butter. And I make my own yogurt with fresh milk, instead of buying the sweetened stuff at the store. And I rarely ever have more than one Pepsi a week.”

All true statements, but I don’t think he bought it, which only served to bring out my righteous indignation all the more. Poor guy, he’d probably heard every version in the book, and then some.

But it’s just as well he retired before I listened to this book. All that talk about sugar and the potential side effects that overindulging can have on us got me all stressed out. And you know what they say about “stressed” being “desserts” spelled backward? Good thing I had that big bag of Halloween candy to fall back on.

Bindi the Very Good Dog doesn’t get to sample the chocolate, but she LOVES Angel Food cake!


  1. I just told my sweetiepie to read this. The response to ‘my little broccoli ‘ did not have the desired response, btw.

  2. white owl says:

    I asked my honey-dew about a recollection that the French use phrases like “mon chou”, which I always thought was cabbage. He admits that it could also refer to cream puffs. Leave it to the French to hedge their bets.

  3. How can something so good be so bad!!
    Sugar and carbs are killing us. Great blog, I really liked the
    Halloween candy comment. LOL.

  4. Kate Lemasters says:

    I made my sweetie pie a chocolate pie today- nothing like chocolate!
    I’m claiming the “sweet gene” from my dad. Think Mom made him
    a pie at least wavers other day.
    My nemesis: York Peppermint Patties! ?

    • You make Excellent chocolate pies, Auntie! And the way I heard it told, was that when your dad was questioned about his favorite–being well known as a Pie Lover Extroidinaire–his answer was that he had TWO favorites: hot, and cold.

  5. When I was making an effort to count my calories, I also tried watching my sugar intake. Its amazing how many low calories “good” foods still have a fairly good deal of sugar. Strawberries vs apples for example… And you’re right. I had lost 13 pounds until I began preparing for a major audit and the diet flew out the window and the sugar wagon made another round. Stress = Mt. Dew & chocolate covered raisins!

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