Thinking Differently About Sugar…and other things
Like I said in the story about Joe and Jo, Joe’s success in giving up sugar still left him fighting sugar with sugar and caffeine with caffeine. I also noticed that his wife Jo (these are not their real names, by the way), who had more or less “given up sugar” with him, was drinking an 8-oz. Nancy’s Blueberry Kefir that had 37 grams of sugar in it, which is just about the stiff dose you’d get from a can of sugar-sweetened soda. Even if that sugar came as low-glycemic agave syrup, Jo did not need a product that had 70 percent of its calories coming from a sweetener with essentially no nutritional value.
It reminded me of how often I’ve seen diabetic customers desperately in search of something sweet and gluten-intolerant customers in search of the most bread-like product they could find. Granted, there’s a filtering effect here, because I wouldn’t be aware of diabetic customers who are happily buying foods that are simply not sweet.
But it reminded me of how unwilling we are to change the way we look at things, to “think different,” as the old Apple ad campaign put it.
Now maybe you wouldn’t suspect this about a man named Laughing Water, but I’m a think-different kind of guy from start to finish. Even my first-grade teacher told the class, after we were given some kind of diagnostic test, that I had the strangest answers but the highest score. In later years my banker remarked how I always wanted to re-invent the wheel. My financial/environmental/health solution to the transportation problem was to sell my car eleven years ago and ride a bike year-round in Montana.
Anyway, back to the point, if we really want to deal with obesity and diabetes and all the suffering and cost that comes with it, we have do think differently about our relationship with sugar and more generally, the craving for sweets. I believe that most of us can completely overcome the craving for sweets, the kind driven by blood-sugar lows.
I grew up on sweets, and in my early twenties I lived through a phase of roller-coaster blood-sugar highs and lows until I found that a solid breakfast totally put an end to that. Unfortunately, I still spent a lot of years before giving up my ice cream habit, which I loved, along with any foods with added sweetenings.
Life is sweet enough and satisfying enough without drowning it or escaping it with artificial highs and extreme man-made concoctions. And I’m going to have to talk with Nancy about that kefir, although knowing her, she might make me think differently yet again.
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