The Sugar Drug and my missing Six Pack

After the dreaded Eating Season of last December, I stood on the scales and was mightily impressed with myself and my self-restraint: up only a few pounds. Ahh, now I could relax, having slayed the dragon of Christmas Eating. I didn’t step on the scale again until mid-March and found that I had been dabbling in hubris……the scale was telling me that I had touched a new lifetime high. My reaction was horror. Now, being 6 feet tall, hitting 215lbs might not seem horrific to many men, but hey, I’m neither a big boned person nor have my muscles ever rippled anymore than what a 1/4” pebble does to a prairie slough in a snow storm. I’m not all that concerned that my six pack abs became a one-pack a long time ago but now my curiosity rose to figure out where it went.

So who stole my six-pack abs?

Well, I’m pretty sure my wife got a couple of them. Her awesome culinary skills have been far too tempting over the years and I have been like butter in a hot dish over them. Her sister Carol probably got another one of them as she has, over the years, destroyed my ability to resist in our frequent and enjoyable times with her and Larry.

Always looking for an easy fix to a problem and wondering about recovering the old six pack abs, I remembered the big headlines of the fall of 2013: SUGAR IS A DRUG. So how does that affect your weight control efforts? That yielded an interesting answer. Here is how it works: sugar produces a pleasure feeling in your brain and when subtly mixed with other food, your brain tells you “mmmm, GOOD” and you want to eat more.

That’s why we see so much advice to avoid processed foods. Those sneaky food processors put things like sugar in their prepared foods so that you will like it better and keep buying it to chow down big time. The end result: you eat too much of it. They gotcha.

“This may seem exaggerated and far-fetched, but sugar is the most dangerous drug of this time and can still be easily acquired everywhere,” according to Paul van der Velpen, the head of Amsterdam’s health service. Mr Van der Velpen cites research claiming that sugar, unlike fat or other foods, interferes with the body’s appetite creating an insatiable desire to carry on eating, an effect he accuses the food industry of using to increase consumption of their products.
“Sugar upsets that mechanism. Whoever uses sugar wants more and more, even when they are no longer hungry. Give someone eggs and he’ll stop eating at any given time. Give him cookies and he eats on even though his stomach is painful,” he argued.

Classifying sugar as a drug sounds a bit extreme to me, but I’m going to call it a “dangerous drug” regardless. It makes sense. It’s a lot like the adage that “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true”.

Similarly, if it tastes too good, it may not be too good.

So did I find the missing six pack? Well not really and my self-esteem is none the worse for wear. I have made a conscious effort to reduce “deliberate” sugar (ie sugar deliberately added to something) and I think I have found at least one of those missing six packs: I have quickly whipped down to 203lbs…..a low of recent years. I think I found one of the missing five!


4 thoughts on “The Sugar Drug and my missing Six Pack

  1. Good for you to cut out a good deal of sugar in your diet, Bruce. It makes a big difference. While I’ve only recently started the middle age Battle of the Bulge, I’ve known for years some of the other ill effects of too much sweet stuff, including for me, fatigue and lethargy, irritability, and headaches. My mom caught on to this over thirty years ago so I grew up knowing all about the “evils” of sugar. And it’s been known as a “drug” by many for at least that long too. You should find a copy of the book “Sugar Blues” by Bill Dufty, it’s quite an eye opener. Many libraries have a copy.

    • Thanks for the reading recommend Randy!

      I implemented the sugar cutback this spring as well as a cut back in other “savories” such as salt and butter. The idea wasn’t so much to cut back in those items, but to cut them back meant it became much easier to cut back in the volume of consumption. The result? Down 20 lbs since March.

      I’m convinced that the battle of the bulge, as you phrase it, is really simple: consume less volume of food. By cutting down on sugar and other taste-enhancers, one’s brain becomes less interested in volume. Then the only other major challenge is hunger management and if a person beats that, weight control is assured.

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