why i try to avoid sugar as much as i can: part one

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in an attempt to move past the eating disorder i experimented with everything--took every sort of healthy lifestyle into the dressing room and tried it on for size. i wanted to feed myself with as much information. i wanted to know what would sit well with me--what would feel right. and by feel right, i mean feel right in the everyday-for-the-rest-of-my-life-kind-of-way (FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE--i can't emphasize that enough).

and about a year ago i began reading about and researching sugar and its ills.

and if you're interested what follows is a really good place to start:

60 Minutes video on the dangers of sugar

NPR's On Point: regulating sugar

and holy heck if the information isn't terrifying and unnerving. but also, really, really comforting.

because it's an easy fix.

look around. people are fat. they are.

and i don't think fat is bad word. it is not a cruel word. it is a descriptive word. what is unkind or unfair is our emotional attachment to the word--or rather, all of the unkindness we empty into it. fat simply is. and if we're going to address the health issue we can't be afraid to use this word and we can't be afraid to acknowledge when someone is.

i truly believe if everyone cut out sugar (added and otherwise)--or at least drastically reduced it--we would see a tremendous shift in weight and all of its associated ills.

fat is not bad for us. sugar is.

and what happened is (keep in mind this is my very cursory understanding) that in the 1970's heart disease was on the rise and doctors were trying to figure it out and two schools of thought came about. 1. fat was to blame. and 2. sugar was to blame.

but there wasn't enough information to know which and essentially the health community decided to put all of their eggs in one basket and invest in the notion that fat was to blame. it was a grand experiment, one that has seen a rise in obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. (its also a fascinating political study because the man behind the notion that sugar was to blame was then cast as a fool and a sort of subversive campaign to undermine him took place).

ah, politics.

fat-free is a huge industry. it makes a lot of money. it employs a lot of people. but fat-free usually almost always means added sugar. when the fat is removed the food tastes terrible (like cardboard!) so sugar is injected to make it palatable.

and an interesting story begins to take shape...one with a widening waistline.

when i began to invest in the notion that i could no longer diet--that i wanted to move past the eating disorder stage of my life--i began to avoid all of the foods i had eaten during that period of time. and most of those foods were fat-free.

but that was years ago.

it was last year that i began eating full fat foods and avoiding sugar as much as possible. and in this last year i've stopped binging in full. and i'm very close to having gotten rid of my belly-fat--fat in that place that is so very bad for the health of the heart. as it turns out, and i know this from experience, when you put on quite a bit of fat (in an unnatural way, which is to say by eating a heck of a lot of food--and most of it processed) much of that goes to your belly--and damn if that isn't hard to lose).

this is such a big and important issue (on a personal level and a global one) that i want to write about it without throwing out too much information at once. so with just this very simple idea planted: that fat isn't the culprit, sugar is, i'm going to step away from the computer and return with more science and personal anecdote tomorrow.