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Archive for February 3rd, 2011

  • Day 350: Sugar = Gangrenous Toes!

    Date: 2011.02.03 | Category: Uncategorized | Response: 1

    Do You Drink 93 Packets of Sugar A Day?

    That’s the title of a fantastically explicit, new anti-sugar diabetes PSA that began running this week.  Explicit is good if you’re like me and need to be scared straight.

    So watch the below video and read the article from AOL Health below.

    And toe the line!

    By Catherine Donaldson-Evans

    An overweight man is shown drinking a bottle of soda in the morning, a sweet tea at lunch, a giant frothy iced latte in the afternoon and more soda with dinner. The number of packets of sugar in each heavily sweetened drink appears, ending with the staggering total of 93 packets gulped down that day.

    But then the PSA abruptly shifts gears, going into shocker mode. An obese man, presumably the same person later in life after he has gotten diabetes, is seen riding down the street in a motorized wheelchair. Images of blackened, gangrene-infested toes and the man being resuscitated after a heart attack flash across the screen.

    The jarring ad ends with the warning: “Don’t drink yourself sick” and asks, “Are you pouring on the pounds?”

    Is this what it takes to get through to people about the dangers of sugar-laden drinks? The New York City Health Department thinks it is.

    “Too many sugar-sweetened drinks are fueling the obesity epidemic,” Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said in a statement. “Obesity and the serious health consequences that result are making hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers sick or disabled. This new campaign shows how easy it is to drink a staggering amount of sugar in one day without realizing it.”

    The Health Department says the graphic ad intentionally tries to frighten people into curbing their consumption of over-sweetened drinks and adopting better eating habits.

    Nutritionist Megan Fendt of the Gerald J. Friedman Diabetes Institute at Beth Israel Medical Center said such shock ads can have mixed results.

    “Scare tactics are going to work for some people,” she told AOL Health. “Other people are going to totally ignore it and shut it off.”

    Fendt believes the Health Department does have the right idea when it comes to raising awareness about the health hazards of overly sweetened drinks.

    “It does make sense to target sugary drinks as a behavior modification and encourage people to have something else instead,” she said. “It seems to be one of the easiest changes people can make in terms of the overall calories they’re taking in.”

    But the PSA’s depiction of blackened, gangrenous toes as a consequence ofdiabetes is questionable, since the condition is so rare.

    “Those [effects] are not that common. They’re usually very end-stage,” Fendt said. “Those are generally in people with very, very poor control and not a lot of follow-up. It’s not like you get diabetes and you wake up a day later and your toes fall off.”

    Heart attacks like the ones shown in the ad more frequently befall those with the disease, she said.

    More than 700,000 New Yorkers currently have diabetes and more than a million suffer from a condition known as pre-diabetes, according to the Health Department. The blood-sugar illness — which has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers — leads to about 1,700 deaths, 2,800 amputations and 22,000 hospitalizations just in New York City alone, the news release said.

    It isn’t the first time the city’s health officials caused a stir with a public service announcement. Last month, an AIDS ad showing explicit photos of anal cancer sparked controversy.

    The diabetes campaign was launched on Monday and will run through February 22.

    Read story in full at AOL Health here.
  • Day 349: Dreaming of Thailand

    Date: 2011.02.03 | Category: Uncategorized | Response: 7

    Heading into my second day of  my zero sugar month meant a slight headache this morning – and the sense that I couldn’t go another 27 days without even so much as a spoonful of peanut butter or raspberry jam.

    Then again, I was tired today for the first time in ages and fatigue weakens my resolve and makes me crave chocolate.

    Feeling tired is unusual these days. Giving up candy and sugar-based desserts has given me more energy than I realized over the past year.

    Im fact, it occurred to me that I rarely need more than five hours of sleep a night now.  That must be the result of my year off junk sweets.

    So as the day wore I began feeling better and more inspired to go zero sugar.

    Tonight got busy, though, and there was no food for dinner in the house. I slipped outside into my ‘hood in the Vieux Nice (see illustration above from La Vie Soleil) for some streetside pizza.

    Pizza, with its sharp, tangy flavors and gooey, doughy texture is the perfect antidote for a day, week, month, or year without candy.

    But is it truly sugar-free?

    I was on the phone tonight with my friend Mathias of Florence, Italy who was detailing his upcoming month vacation in Thailand.

    Mathias pointed out that if you are really serious about going without sugar, you can’t eat pizza because there is a little sugar in the dough and the tomato sauce.  For chrissakes, as Kathy Griffin’s mother would say.

    Mathias will be spending two weeks at one of those luxe but inexpensive Thai spas where you can fast or do detox cleanses.

    If I had the time to go now, I’d jump right on a plane and do the 7-day liver cleanse. Fun!  I’ve got a few friends like Mathias who understand but most people don’t get how invigorating it can be to challenge yourself to a fast or very tough mountain hike or other physical tests.

    You feel amazing when you go to one of Thailand’s all organic fasting and cleansing spas.

    You could try it at home too, if you were as strange and obsessed as Gwyneth Paltrow.

    Mathias said he once did a month totally sugar-free and it meant “pretty much just eating vegetables.”

    I’m suddenly exhausted at the very thought.


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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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