Our body needs sugar for energy. Our cells depend on it. We just happen to be eating a lot more of it than our ancestors who, incidentally, had pretty miserable lives compared to us on top of being deprived of the joys of a McFlurry.
For more than 400 years, sugar remained a luxury in Europe—an exotic spice—until manufacturing became efficient enough to make “white gold” much more affordable. Christopher Columbus brought sugarcane to the New World in 1493 and in the 16th and 17th centuries European powers established sugarcane plantations in the West Indies and South America. Sugar consumption in England increased by 1,500 percent between the 18th and 19th centuries. By the mid 19th century, Europeans and Americans had come to regard refined sugar as a necessity. Today, we add sugar in one form or another to the majority of processed foods we eat—everything from bread, cereals, crunchy snacks and desserts to soft drinks, juices, salad dressings and sauces—and we are not too stingy about using it to sweeten many raw and whole foods as well.
By consuming so much sugar we are not just demonstrating weak willpower and indulging our sweet tooth—we are in fact poisoning ourselves according to a group of doctors, nutritionists and biologists, one of the most prominent members of which is Robert Lustig of the University of California, San Francisco, famous for his viral YouTube video “Sugar: The Bitter Truth.” A few journalists, such as Gary Taubes and Mark Bittman, have reached similar conclusions. Sugar, they argue, poses far greater dangers than cavities and love handles; it is a toxin that harms our organs and disrupts the body’s usual hormonal cycles. Excessive consumption of sugar, they say, is one of the primary causes of the obesity epidemic and metabolic disorders like diabetes, as well as a culprit of cardiovascular disease. More than one-third of American adults and approximately 12.5 million children and adolescents in the U.S. are obese. In 1980, 5.6 million Americans were diagnosed with diabetes; in 2011 more than 20 million Americans had the illness.
So, there’s an argument for sugar being the devil’s excrement, right? Well, it depends on a lot of things like, the type of sugar we consume and the quantity that’s quaffed regularly. However, avoiding sugar is not the cure. It’s about cutting back. It seems that we are inundating the body with more sugar than it can effectively metabolize. However, you’ve still got the overindulgence in fatty, and carb rich foods. You can’t just keep cutting everything down. You need to moderate because, as a race, we have tended to become exaggerated eaters, consuming more stuff than we really need, in forms that are just not that good for you. You hear me you McFlurry bastard, you?!
It’s not that sugar is the devil’s excrement; it’s just that we need to take it down a notch or two when it comes to eating our way through life.