By Jan Jackson
How Sweet it Is
Jackie Gleason made that phrase “How Sweet It Is,” famous in 1963, in a TV sitcom called the Honeymooners. When said it, he was talking about the get-rich-quick schemes he was always coming up with. However, when I say, “How Sweet It Is,” I’m talking about sugar.
I’ve spent most of my life addicted to sugar, but now I know about all of the studies that show sugar is more addicting than heroin. Sugar – the stuff food processors put in 80% of the food sold in your supermarket – from baby food to frozen vegetables.
No one ever detected a sugar addiction in me however, even when I brought the subject up.
Like fifteen years ago, I said to my new-to-me doctor. I said, “I can’t have candy in the house because I am obsessed with it until I’ve eaten it all.” He didn’t say, “Do you think you might be addicted to it?”. Instead, he said, “Are you talking about sugar or chocolate?” I said, “Well, what do you call candy corn” He said, “Sugar,” and then changed the subject.
Turns out my mother was addicted to sugar. We didn’t know it at the time, but I realize it now. She had candy stowed everywhere. My dad, who was not addicted to sugar, was glycemic and when he needed candy, he had to have it and fast. Because he had to have it around, he had to hide it from my mother and trust me that was hard to do. One time she was changing the sheets on his bed and found it between the mattress and the box springs. Ruined that hiding place.
Turns out my maternal aunt was addicted to sugar. My dad accidently left his work jacket at her house one time, and she could see there was a candy bar in the pocket. She didn’t want to eat it because it wasn’t hers. But after a couple of days, she succumbed. My dad was a smoker and a chewer – as many longshoreman do. That candy bar had been in the pocket with his cigarettes and his can of snuff for months. She took one bite and gagged. Karma.
Food Proccessors and Snake Oil Salesmen
We laugh and go tut-tut-tut about the old snake-oil salesmen rolling into town selling cough medicine laced with opium, morphine, and heroin. But very few seem to be bothered that food processors have added sugar to everything.
As a matter of health, the American Heart Association recommends limiting sugar to six teaspoons a day for women and no more than nine teaspoons a day for men. If you are reading labels, there are four grams of sugar in a teaspoon.
Now let me show you the amount of sugar that is in what I – until four years ago – would have considered a perfectly healthy breakfast.
One small onion bagel – I love them, one 6-oz container of blueberry yogurt – my favorite, and a small bottle of orange juice. Any guesses? Hold on to your hat.
15 teaspoon of sugar and you still have lunch and dinner to eat.
I think today’s food processers have made the old snake oil salesmen look good.
Today I say, “Lips that taste sugar shall never taste mine.” If Jackie Gleason were still alive, I’m sure he would say, “How Sweet it Is.”