As we continue with our in-depth study of First World Woes, today we look at the stuff that is killing us – this week.
It seems it was just last week that excessive salt use was throwing us in our graves prematurely and those bastard manufacturers of foodstuffs were being indicted for blowing our our hearts, sending our blood pressure into stratospheric realms and trashing our kidneys.
Prior to that it was so-called ‘transfats’ and we were told that most of the products we were consuming were clogging our arteries at an unheralded rate and we were all going to die sooner rather than later.
Go back a little further and butter was a major evoker of health-crisis panic. Like trans-fats it was also clogging up them old arteries and we were exhorted to eat shitty margarine in lieu and expected to fall for the myth that we are unable to “believe it’s not butter.” Sorry, but it’s easy to believe it’s not butter. And bless dear old Julia Child who lived forever and consumed butter by the hogshead each day.
They’ve worked long and hard over the years, have our health authorities, to convince us that coffee is contra-indicated. I don’t care what they find out in that realm. Take my coffee away and you won’t like the sort of human being you leave in its wake.
Of course the jury was out on smoking years ago, despite all those doctors, dentists and ballplayers who sucked back nicotine like there was no tomorrow. We’ve all seen those quaint old ads with the nine out of 10 doctors preferring Camels, or whatever brand. I guess maybe for some of them there was no tomorrow.
Well, today the arch-villain that is knocking us off like flies is sugar. You know it’s a bad thing when Maclean’s Magazine here in Canada has devoted a huge spread to the scourge that is annihilating us.
By sugar they aren’t talking about the boring ‘good’ sugar that is found in fruit and vegetables. They aren’t even obsessing as much about what you sprinkle on your corn flakes, or that is found in your donuts, Danishes or cakes. Well, yeah, they are, but I happen to like those things so I’m choosing to ignore the findings. I live on the edge – sometimes.
One of the major culprits is sugary soft-drinks. Especially humongous sized drinks that kids scarf down in massive volumes. When I was a kid that crap (and it is crap, as tasty as it might be) came in seven or ten or 12-ounce bottles. Nothing bigger. And we got it rarely as it cost money, times were tight, and my parents lived by the mantra ‘don’t overindulge the little bastards’. Consequently, I never developed a huge taste for it. I don’t mind the odd Coke or Pepsi on a hot day, but that is about it. Otherwise, it’s not in my frame of reference.
In truth the major villain in a health scourge that has led to unheralded obesity, diabetes and a shortened life-span (they say) is ‘hidden’ sugar and especially in the form of ubiquitous corn-syrup. They pump that shit into everything from ketchup, to peanut butter, to pasta sauce, and assorted other things you might not dream contained sugar. Even unsweetened breakfast cereals are chock-a-block with added sugar. And sweetened yogurts so favored by women (real men don’t eat yogurt) have as much added sugar as ice cream – and are nowhere near as tasty, my bias tells me.
How do we get around this? Well, the manufacturers ain’t gonna roll over and play dead on products that are hugely profitable, so it’s up to you, the consumer, to fastidioiusly read labels. “Phew”, say the manufacturers in collective voice, “people are too damn lazy to read labels.” They may be right, alas, but you really have no other options.
Other than that, learn to avoid products that contain extra sugar past acceptable daily allowances, get sugar from fruit and veggies, and take charge of your own well-being. And maybe you’ll live long enough to wait for the next First World health scourge.