Is Sugar Toxic? A Series Of Thoughts On Health.

April 5, 2012

Sugar from the date palm. Wikipedia commons.

This past Sunday, a Facebook friend of mine sort of lost it at the proverbial they when the media began their formidable war against….dut-duhduhduh!…sugar! Now, as someone whose said that sugar in the vast quantities we consume these days (without knowing it, usually), this comes as no surprise. However, my friend totally has a point. What is it?

 

Stop blaming the food for the problem and start holding consumers (and certain business and government entities who’ve manipulated them) responsible. (Her a political side note: stop distracting the viewer from what’s really going on in this country.)

 

Yes. I said it. I’m not ashamed of saying it. There is no food in this world that will make you fat or sick (unless you possess an allergy) or anything else if consumed:

 

  1. As a whole (or as whole as possible) food.
  2. In moderation.
  3. Responsibly.

 

It is time we, as a society, stop blaming others and start taking responsibility for ourselves. As I often tell people, we only have one vessel (body), so lets take care of it! Yes, the advertisements look scrumptious. Yes, box/frozen meals are much quicker in this day and age. Yes, we seemingly don’t have the same amount of time that our predecessors did.

 

(I’ll argue this point: our ancestors–even 100-200 years ago–worked a whole lot harder than we do for a whole lot less. They worked hard for their food. They worked to produce and make almost everything they owned, or for money with which to buy what they needed. Their entertainment was a book, or knitting, or some other occupation. What they did not have, they worked to get. To boot, they made virtually every meal they ate. Even the wealthy still had duties within the home. The majority of the population were not sedentary; no one had television; very few disregarded the benefits of exercise because they were too busy–caring for the body was looked upon as a responsibility.)

 

What I mean to say is they were just as busy, or busier, than us. Moreover, they considered it shameful to shirk such an important responsibility as caring for our bodies. Take my grandfather, for example. He’s about 85 now, has had a couple heart attacks (genetics the major reason) and a hip replacement. Still, his doctor says he has the heart of a middle-aged man, he gets up and exercises every day (he took up yoga at the age of 82), and then goes about his business of tending his garden, caring for his two dogs, and cooking his own meals. (Admittedly, he does not eat as much as he used to because he suffers from GERD.) I have never once seen the man put on an extra ounce of weight.

 

This mean that, regardless of age, proper maintenance of the body is doable. It requires discipline and determination, persistence and patience, and an understanding that what we do to ourselves is our responsibility. Our doing. Sometimes, we cannot unmake what we’ve done. Why? Because our bodies can only take so much abuse. By abuse, I mean disuse and over- or under-feeding.

 

We were made to move. We were made to eat within reason. Vegetables, meat, sugar–there is nothing on this planet that we cannot digest and that is not beneficial to the body. Certainly, some things we ought to intake in lesser quantities. Meat, for example. Sweets is another. It does not mean that we cannot have them, nor that we should not enjoy them when we do.

 

Becoming anxious when we decide to indulge in a weekly dessert shows that the proverbial they have exerted some control over you. They want you to be anxious, nervous, fearful. They have an agenda, after all. (Everyone does; not all agendas are bad, but I believe than no agenda should place people into uncomfortable situations or negative mood swings.) They want you to do or buy or start whatever it is they are trying to sell at that time. The dieting companies, for instance, insist that you’ll shed those pounds by following their guidelines. But, honestly, do you really need someone to tell you exactly what to eat or how to exercise? Has our common sense been tossed out the window?

 

Sanchertorte. Wikipedia Commons.

In many instances, it probably has. However, I note with great enthusiasm that people are starting to take their common sense back. Farmers’ markets are popping up everywhere. People are growing gardens and making their own preserves. People are returning to some of the old ways of doing things–crafts, sewing, etc. They are taking back the control that the proverbial they had grasped and helping themselves. My own aim, as a fitness professional, is to give people to tools they need to help themselves. I have no desire to become a leaning post, or one of the proverbial them. I believe everyone can be healthy.

 

It is a simple process, actually. First, one recognizes what they want to work on. Say, losing 20 pounds. Then one identifies the hurdles that hinder success. For me, I have a sweet tooth. Once they have been identified, one ought to seek some council with one’s doctor, particularly if you have an eating disorder or disease, or may suspect that something is not right with your body; or, to see the areas you need to work on. Appointment done and advice in hand, one must then next pick the simplest hurdle to overcome. Yes.The simplest. One ought to see progress even from the start of a diet and/or exercise regimen.

 

One of the main ideas behind the practice of Ayurveda is that good, wholesome foods and proper exercise/meditation promote self-healing. I do not think one has to read too deeply into the practice to get something out of it. If you think a specific food hinders the process of weight loss/healing, cut it out of your diet for 2-3 weeks. Then reintroduce it to see if the side effects you experienced return. If they do, eat less of it or avoid it altogether. If not, the answer may lie in something else you eat. The same goes for exercise: if a certain kind taxes your reserves too much, it may not be the right exercise to start with/do. (Remember, you can gradually work into new sorts of routines, but start slowly and build with care.)

 

Continue the process, repeating the steps, until you see the results you desire. (Please remember that my suggestions do not compromise a recipe for success. They are suggestions. What works for some does not always work for others. Tailor your diet/exercise plan to yourself, seeking help from fitness, nutritional, and medical professionals along the way if, and when, needed. This means use that staff at your gym; they’re usually bursting with information.)

 

All in all, is sugar toxic for you? Any food large quantities ails the body, and I believe the engineering and processing that our foods undergo these days promotes disease and defficiencies. My opinion, then, is that should one want to be a healthy, responsible individual (it is a choice that you alone can make; don’t do it just to please others or because certain business/government officials say you should), take charge. Be responsible. Do your research carefully. Talk a lot with people, preferably people who know something on the subject. Eat and exercise responsibly, within reason. These are not obsessions. Do not let them become so. The projected images of beauty and wealth are undernourished, pubescent-like bodies. You are a unique person, made to be you. Not the proverbial they. You.

 

Be you. Love yourself and find happiness within, not from the outside. Care for your vessel. Reach for your dreams. Keys to success? I think so.

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2 Responses to “Is Sugar Toxic? A Series Of Thoughts On Health.”

  1. habisha said

    I have been able to maintain my “diabetes” at normal person’s levels for over three years because I am careful of what I eat, but I still eat real sugar (not substitute sweetners because they are nothing but poisonous for the body). My weight will fluctuate five to ten pounds, but with walking and watching portion sizes I can lose it again.

    Your grandfather does gain weight, but when his pants get tight, he stops eating sweets and starts losing weight again. After the last heart scare in January, the angiogram showed a blockage in one by-pass and the heart still good. His doctor says he has “a young man’s heart.” So all those high cholesterol numbers aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Still, I’m glad he’s got people watching over him. He could be one of those old guys with dicky tickers who lives to be over 100.

    BTW, you tell us to watch how much sugar we eat and then put a sachertorte in the picture! Hmmm. But it has come to everyone’s attention last week that chocolate is good for a person — and we all need something sweet to brighten the days.

    Just in moderation.

    Good post, as usual.

    • Meredith Rose Ashe said

      I put the pictures out there because the original topic that was discussed was sugar and sweets. And, personally, a piece of torte won’t kill anyone…in moderation 🙂 Trust me when I say that I tried to find something healthy or topic-related to post. It simply wasn’t there. So the torte had to suffice.

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