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Archive for March 7th, 2010

  • Why I'm Giving Up Candy For a Year

    Date: 2010.03.07 | Category: Uncategorized | Response: 0

    Reprinted from the Huffington Post one week ago

    Is there a less-sexy addiction on the planet? Or a more infantile one?

    Doubtful. I live in one of the most sophisticated places on earth — France — but my vice is more suited to Sesame Street.

    I’m a candy addict. And even though I live in France, I’m still as hooked on cheap and delicious American candy like Hershey bars, Junior Mints and candy corn (bite it, dessert snobs) as I am on creme brulee, moelleux au chocolat and tarte tatin.

    I’m also partial to to a chewy French caramel called a Carambar and the German Haribo candies.

    I’m guessing I’m not alone. Statistics vary but the average American consumes about 130 pounds of sugar a year — an increase of about ten zillion percent since before the 18th century. Our bodies are not designed to process such a load of sugar — there were no Snickers bars on the savanna, remember?

    There are no 12-step groups just for candy and dessert addicts. Maybe the boredom factor? At least in AA you get the rollicking drunkalogues — like the time George from Scottsdale woke up in Berlin with Hector and Heidi and had no idea how he got there.

    But you don’t swing from chandeliers or run naked down the Champs-Elysees when under the influence of a York Peppermint Patty.

    Still, we’ve got that monkey on our back. How to get it off?

    Don’t even suggest “moderation” — like my well-meaning friends and even worse, family members, who don’t share the same sugar jones gene. They’re probably like the same people who kept mouldering bags of stale Halloween candy under their beds for days as kids (see my cousin Catherine) and display dishes of the same untouched candy in their homes today (see my cousin Kathleen.)

    If I had enough self-control to allow myself just one dainty piece of dark chocolate per day — like Audrey Hepburn – I wouldn’t be writing this.

    Moderation is also a difficult option for the 23.6 million American adults and children who have diabetes. For them, candy and desserts are potentially fatal.

    I don’t have diabetes but I was recently tested for it because two relatives have it. I’ve lived abroad for almost five years and just two years ago noticed what an epidemic diabetes has become in the U.S.

    When I was back in New York City one day in 2007, I walked into a Duane Reade drugstore near Columbus Circle. For the first time, I saw signs pointing to special “Diabetes Management” areas. They were usually located right near the endless shelves containing jumbo-sized candy bars.

    Coincidence? I think not.

    Diabetes is on the rise in many places around the world, but it doesn’t get much worse than in the U.S.

    Have you heard of the corn connection? Check out Michael Pollan’s entertaining and exhaustively-researched book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma. It details how the American industrial food chain is largely based on corn — whether placed in foods directly as corn syrup, one of the most evil “foods” invented, or force-fed to animals like cattle who aren’t even designed to eat it, or processed into chemicals like glucose and ethanol.

    According to USDA statistics, annual corn sweetener consumption increased to 79 pounds in 2003, up 400 percent from 1970. Just sayin’.

    So what’s a candy addict to do? I have a friend who has been sober for 29 years with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous. “Never give an alcoholic a choice,” he says.

    I’d argue that’s true of sugarholics too. Meaning abstinence is usually all that works for real addicts.

    So I’m attempting to give up candy — and desserts — for at least one year. I’m not giving up everything that has sugar in it — like, say, peanut butter, ketchup, yogurt and pretty much everything except detergent. I’m giving up what I’m addicted to: sweet treats.

    And yes, I’m chronicling my effort. You’re free to join me. Candy-free misery loves company.

    Check out my site: A Year Without Candy.

    I began A Year Without Candy on February 28, the day after my birthday. I’ve chosen similar special days to start afresh and candy-free many times — and failed.

    I did give up sugar once, for almost two years, from the beginning of 2002 to the end of 2003. My Candyloo came when I was climbing Mount Roraima at Christmas in 2003. Our Indian guide offered us a big yellow box of Brazilian chocolate to help us up the last three-hour slog through big boulders.

    I reached the summit, no problem, but I was emotionally already back down the slippery slope of candy addiction.

    My body didn’t like returning to sugar. I’d never had a weight problem before. But going back on sweets after a two-year absence screwed up my metabolism. I put on 15 pounds in 2004. Fifteen pounds that’s been impossible to get off with my renewed candy habit.

    Self-help gurus abound these days, but I like to turn to one of the originals when I need motivation to kick candy.

    Jack LaLanne was preaching no sweets when Arnold Schwarzenegger was still in short pants in Austria. Jack, by the way, is going strong at age 95. He calls sugarholics like me “soft and weak.”

    Check out the this video of Jack exhorting us to get off sugar but don’t miss this fantastic interview with LaLanne in Outside magazine. I love him because he admits he’s just as bad as any of us – he just has ferocious discipline. Here’s how Jack responded to the interviewer asking him if he ever, God forbid, snacked before bedtime.

    “Never!” he snarled. “You don’t get it. I am one runaway son of a bitch! I am an animal! I want to eat everything! I want to get drunk every single night! I want to screw every woman there is! We are all wild animals. But we must learn to use our minds. We must learn to control the bestial and sensual sides of ourselves!”

    I don’t know if I have enough Jack in me to last without candy, ice cream, cakes and cookies for a year. Am I soft and weak or can I be strong like Jack Lanne.

    I’ll know a year from now.

  • Day 8: How to be a Hard-Core Candy Addict: Lamar Odom

    Date: 2010.03.07 | Category: Celebrities | Response: 1

    LA Laker star Lamar Odom is known as the “Candy Man” on his team. He’s an open and unrepentant candy addict. No Year Without Candy for him — yet.

    See his new Power Bar (sugar filled) TV commercial on his website.

    Watch hilarious video of Lamar, his teammates and his personal assistant (who has to make sure the boss has a sweet stash available at all times) talk about his massive sweet tooth.

    By the way, Lamar’s father was a heroin addict.

  • Day 8: How to Commit "Suicide by Sugar"

    Date: 2010.03.07 | Category: Scary Motivation! | Response: 0

    Bonjour! I love starting Week Two with the scary stuff!
    (When I was a kid, my dentist showed me a model of a person’s mouth and teeth who never flossed. The teeth had all grown apart and deformed in the mouth. I have flossed almost every night since!)

    Nancy Appleton is an anti-sugar pioneer.
    You can check out her website here.

    Her latest book is called Suicide by Sugar and the you can see the accompanying video, “Sweet Suicide,” below:

    146 Reasons Why Sugar Is Ruining Your Health
    Nancy Appleton, Ph.D.

    1. Sugar can suppress the immune system.
    2. Sugar upsets the mineral relationships in the body.
    3. Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children.
    4. Sugar can produce a significant rise in triglycerides.
    5. Sugar contributes to the reduction in defense against bacterial infection (infectious diseases).
    6. Sugar causes a loss of tissue elasticity and function, the more sugar you eat the more elasticity and function you lose.
    7. Sugar reduces high-density lipoproteins.
    8. Sugar leads to chromium deficiency.
    9. Sugar leads to cancer of the ovaries.
    10. Sugar can increase fasting levels of glucose.
    11. Sugar causes copper deficiency.
    12. Sugar interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium.
    13. Sugar may make eyes more vulnerable to age-related macular degeneration.
    14. Sugar raises the level of a neurotransmitters: dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.
    15. Sugar can cause hypoglycemia.
    16. Sugar can produce an acidic digestive tract.
    17. Sugar can cause a rapid rise of adrenaline levels in children.
    18. Sugar malabsorption is frequent in patients with functional bowel disease.
    19. Sugar can cause premature aging.
    20. Sugar can lead to alcoholism.
    21. Sugar can cause tooth decay.
    22. Sugar contributes to obesity
    23. High intake of sugar increases the risk of Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.
    24. Sugar can cause changes frequently found in person with gastric or duodenal ulcers.
    25. Sugar can cause arthritis.
    26. Sugar can cause asthma.
    27. Sugar greatly assists the uncontrolled growth of Candida Albicans (yeast infections).
    28. Sugar can cause gallstones.
    29. Sugar can cause heart disease.
    30. Sugar can cause appendicitis.
    31. Sugar can cause hemorrhoids.
    32. Sugar can cause varicose veins.
    33. Sugar can elevate glucose and insulin responses in oral contraceptive users.
    34. Sugar can lead to periodontal disease.
    35. Sugar can contribute to osteoporosis.
    36. Sugar contributes to saliva acidity.
    37. Sugar can cause a decrease in insulin sensitivity.
    38. Sugar can lower the amount of Vitamin E (alpha-Tocopherol) in the blood.
    39. Sugar can decrease growth hormone.
    40. Sugar can increase cholesterol.
    41. Sugar can increase the systolic blood pressure.
    42. High sugar intake increases advanced glycation end products (AGEs)(Sugar bound non-enzymatically to protein)
    43. Sugar can interfere with the absorption of protein.
    44. Sugar causes food allergies.
    45. Sugar can contribute to diabetes.
    46. Sugar can cause toxemia during pregnancy.
    47. Sugar can contribute to eczema in children.
    48. Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease.
    49. Sugar can impair the structure of DNA
    50. Sugar can change the structure of protein.
    51. Sugar can make our skin age by changing the structure of collagen.
    52. Sugar can cause cataracts.
    53. Sugar can cause emphysema.
    54. Sugar can cause atherosclerosis.
    55. Sugar can promote an elevation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL).
    56. High sugar intake can impair the physiological homeostasis of many systems in the body.
    57. Sugar lowers the enzymes ability to function.
    58. Sugar intake is higher in people with Parkinson’s disease.
    59. Sugar can increase the size of the liver by making the liver cells divide.
    60. Sugar can increase the amount of liver fat.
    61. Sugar can increase kidney size and produce pathological changes in the kidney.
    62. Sugar can damage the pancreas.
    63. Sugar can increase the body’s fluid retention.
    64. Sugar is enemy #1 of the bowel movement.
    65. Sugar can cause myopia (nearsightedness).
    66. Sugar can compromise the lining of the capillaries.
    67. Sugar can make the tendons more brittle.
    68. Sugar can cause headaches, including migraine.
    69. Sugar plays a role in pancreatic cancer in women.
    70. Sugar can adversely affect school children’s grades and cause learning disorders.
    71. Sugar can cause depression.
    72. Sugar increases the risk of gastric cancer.
    73. Sugar and cause dyspepsia (indigestion).
    74. Sugar can increase your risk of getting gout.
    75. Sugar can increase the levels of glucose in an oral glucose tolerance test over the ingestion of complex carbohydrates.
    76. Sugar can increase the insulin responses in humans consuming high-sugar diets compared to low-sugar diets.
    77. A diet high in refined sugar reduces learning capacity.
    78. Sugar can cause less effective functioning of two blood proteins, albumin, and lipoproteins, which may reduce the body’s ability to handle fat and cholesterol.
    79. Sugar can contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.
    80. Sugar can cause platelet adhesiveness.
    81. Sugar can cause hormonal imbalance; some hormones become under active and others become overactive.
    82. Sugar can lead to the formation of kidney stones.
    83. Diets high in sugar can cause free radicals and oxidative stress.
    84. High sugar diet can lead to biliary tract cancer.
    85. High sugar consumption of pregnant adolescents is associated with a twofold-increased risk for delivering a small-for-gestational-age (SGA) infant.
    86. High sugar consumption can lead to substantial decrease in gestation duration among adolescents.
    87. Sugar slows food’s travel time through the gastrointestinal tract.
    88. Sugar increases the concentration of bile acids in stools and bacterial enzymes in the colon. This can modify bile to produce cancer-causing compounds and colon cancer.
    89. Sugar increases estradiol (the most potent form of naturally occurring estrogen) in men.
    90. Sugar combines with and destroys phosphatase, an enzyme, which makes the process of digestion more difficult.
    91. Sugar can be a risk factor of gallbladder cancer.
    92. Sugar is an addictive substance.
    93. Sugar can be intoxicating, similar to alcohol.
    94. Sugar can exacerbate PMS.
    95. Sugar given to premature babies can affect the amount of carbon dioxide they produce.
    96. Decrease in sugar intake can increase emotional stability.
    97. The rapid absorption of sugar promotes excessive food intake in obese subjects.
    98. Sugar can worsen the symptoms of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
    99. Sugar adversely affects urinary electrolyte composition.
    100. Sugar can slow down the ability of the adrenal glands to function.
    101.. I.Vs (intravenous feedings) of sugar water can cut off oxygen to the brain.
    102. High sucrose intake could be an important risk factor in lung cancer.
    103. Sugar increases the risk of polio.
    104. High sugar intake can cause epileptic seizures.
    105. Sugar causes high blood pressure in obese people.
    106. In Intensive Care Units, limiting sugar saves lives.
    107. Sugar may induce cell death.
    108. Sugar can increase the amount of food that you eat.
    109. In juvenile rehabilitation camps, when children were put on a low sugar diet, there was a 44% drop in antisocial behavior.
    110. Sugar can lead to prostrate cancer.
    111. Sugar dehydrates newborns.
    112. Sugar can cause low birth weight babies.
    113. Greater consumption of refined sugar is associated with a worse outcome of schizophrenia
    114. Sugar can raise homocysteine levels in the blood stream.
    115. Sweet food items increase the risk of breast cancer.
    116. Sugar is a risk factor in cancer of the small intestine.
    117. Sugar may cause laryngeal cancer.
    118. Sugar induces salt and water retention.
    119. Sugar may contribute to mild memory loss.
    120. The more sodas a 10 year old child consumes, the less milk.
    121. Sugar can increase the total amount of food consumed.
    122. Exposing a newborn to sugar results in a heightened preference for sucrose relative to water at 6 months and 2 years of age.
    123. Sugar causes constipation.
    124. Sugar causes varicose veins.
    125. Sugar can cause brain decay in prediabetic and diabetic women.
    126. Sugar can increase the risk of stomach cancer.
    127. Sugar can cause metabolic syndrome.
    128. Sugar ingestion by pregnant women increases neural tube defects in embryos.
    129. Sugar can be a factor in asthma.
    130. The higher the sugar consumption the more chances of getting irritable bowel syndrome.
    131. Sugar can affect the brain’s ability to deal with rewards and consequences.
    132. Sugar can cause cancer of the rectum.
    133. Sugar can cause endometrial cancer.
    134. Sugar can cause renal (kidney) cell carcinoma.
    135. Sugar can cause liver tumors.
    136. Sugar can increase inflammatory markers in the blood stream of overweight people.

    137. Sugar can lower Vitamin E levels in the blood stream.

    138. Sugar can increase your appetite for all food.

    139. Sugar plays a role in the etiology and the continuation of acne.

    140. Too much sugar can kill your sex life.

    141. Sugar saps school performance in children.

    142. Sugar can cause fatigue, moodiness, nervousness and depression.

    143. Sugar is common choice of obese individuals.
    144. A linear decrease in the intake of many essential nutrients is associated with increasing total sugar intake.

    145. High fructose consumption has been linked to liver disease.

    146. Sugar adds to the risk of bladder cancer.

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This American candy addict/journalist in France writes about quitting candy – and all desserts – for at least one year beginning Feb. 28, 2010. Follow my progress – or relapses – as I delete candy corn, moelleux au chocolat, peppermint patties, Carambars, tarte tatin, After Eights, crème brûlée, Nutella, tapioca pudding, mint chocolate chip ice cream, Haribo Polkas, M & Ms and more from my life. Learn about the evils of white sugar and its effects on mood and health from my interviews with experts and friends! Let the sugar fog lift!

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