Cake to coke?
My antennae are always up for information on diet and nutrition. This has been a lifelong avocation of mine, probably because I hate to go to physicians and yet am a bit of a hypochondriac. The closest I can come to describing this dilemma is to point you to Woody Allen’s movies, including Hannah and her Sisters. Woody Allen has my exact type of hypochondria – we are always convincing ourselves that we have some terrible condition developing, but only head to the doctor’s when we are truly desperate.
Early on, I bought myself both the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy and the Physician’s Desk Reference, back when information on physical diseases and disorders were hard to come by for the layman. Now of course, I subscribe to all sorts of websites. My favorite is Real Age, mostly because you can take a questionnaire and get an idea of how you are doing, health wise.
Anyway, in the past week or two, I saw the next two items:
And they reminded me of these two, from years back:
In sum, there is evidence that a high carb diet can trigger dementia/Alzheimers in people who are genetically predisposed, and oreos have been shown to be as addictive as cocaine in laboratory rats. Those two articles then made me think about an Andrew Weil book I had read a long time ago about the many addictive substances humans ingest and what their physical effects are. I posted the link to a free download of the PDF but there is also a book available on Amazon, with recent updates by Weil and Rosen (co-authors).
Finally, I thought of my old guru Dr. Abravanel, who has written what I consider to be the best explanation for body types and personality that has ever been written. I am a classic “T” type, whose thyroid is overworked and who craves the very things that exacerbate the problem, namely carbs. You can get an idea of how to find your type with the short questionnaire in one of the older of Abravanel’s books. Once you figure it out, everything falls into place so perfectly, you will wonder how you lived without this information.
When I am stressed, I go for carbs for a quick fix. T-types often become vegetarians because we really don’t like fatty, sinewy foods. The body types explain why some people actually love meat and others don’t, or why someone would reach for yogurt when it would be the last thing on someone else’s list. Following Abravanel’s advice, you can often lose a lot of weight and feel more energized.
That said, it doesn’t mean we will do it and I have a tendency to reach for all the wrong things as snacks. I should not be drinking coffee either but I hate to give it up.
Anyway, one of the interesting things I had taken away from Weil’s first book on this general topic of sweets and drugs affecting the brain, was the notion that, we can start out quite innocently feasting on sugar and end up later needing a bigger and more dramatic hit that may only come from drugs. Luckily, I can report that did not happen to me — I have to think long and hard before even taking a baby aspirin, so thoroughly indoctrinated against pharmaceuticals have I made myself. But, for someone who is not a hypochondriac, this progression or continuum may be a threat. Something worth considering before you start your children down that road to sugar addictions.
I advise parents to give children fruit, not fruit juice, and to hold back cake, cookies, candy and the like as long as possible. Usually it will be harder and harder to do as children interact with other families who allow their kids to eat anything. I remember seeing my husband’s sister calling her two year old over to her at a picnic and handing her a huge piece of sugary coffee cake. I was appalled. My brother-in-law with the pediatrician wife threw a birthday party for their first child when he turned one and had a sheet cake made with bright blue icing. OMG, I know my SIL thinks she is the ultimate authority on children by virtue of her medical degree but to me both these instances are akin to child abuse, however unintentional.
When I was in high school, I lived within an easy walk of school. Both my parents had careers and were out of the house all day, so I would walk home from school with my friends, on my own recognizance. The route passed by a market. My entire sophomore year, I would stop at the market periodically on the way home from school and pick up a one pound bag of frozen french fries (that I would put on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven) and a one pound bag of M&Ms. Once I got home, I would sit in front of the TV, before starting my homework, and eat French Fries with an M&M chaser, and wash it all done with Dr. Pepper. By the end of that year, I was breaking out in a rash, because I had developed hypoglycemia as my overstressed thyroid started to go into overdrive dealing with this bombardment of simple sugars. The antidote was a strict no-carb program and a lot of dairy, which I loathed. It stabilized my condition but it was an ordeal.
Now, of course, I know enough to balance what I eat, for the most part. For T-type’s Abravanel recommends eggs which are high in adrenal stimulating substances, that help the thyroid cope with metabolizing sugars. Luckily, all of this has contributed to my managing my delicate endocrine system without resorting to drugs or more dire measures.
It is something for all of us to think about because we are constantly being pushed toward the SOS diet (salt-oil-sugar). In any case, these links are useful for anyone interested in knowing more about sugars and their almost narcotic effects on our minds and bodies. Not only do we have to worry about obesity (something that has never been my problem, luckily) but premature aging of the brain and, of course, diabetes, all three of which are on the rise.
Images: Amazon, bodytypes.com,medicalnewstoday.com