I used to think McDonald’s was the devil. Scratch that, I still do.
The golden arches have a new partner in crime though, and since it’s in just about all of their menu items (notice I didn’t say food; that’s deliberate), partner is a fair term.
The culprit is Sugar and let me just say (not that you have a choice), sugar is a real son of a bitch. I know some people give it up cold turkey, and while they are to be commended, it’s not something I could ever maintain. You see I have a real sweet tooth, and I don’t mean for chocolate (although I wouldn’t turn it down), I mean for straight up sugar. The real reason I like cake is to eat the frosting on top. As a kid if I had to pick between a candy bar or some Gobstoppers, Sweet Tarts, Runts, Nerds (the list in endless), I’d opt for the sugar candy Every Single Time. I used to put down lemon heads like they were going out of style. I’d also color code the candy before eating it; rainbow nerds were my nemesis. Can you say OCD much?
Now, the truth of the matter is my taste buds have significantly changed in the past two years. The thought of eating McDonald’s makes me sick, I’m ok with passing on bacon, I can now skip the box candy and I generally avoid all things processed. But I still love sugar, and I’m pretty sure I’ll always love sugar. So I’ve adapted and learned to do things in moderation, which means I eat sweet treats or desserts only occasionally, and I find the less I eat them, the less I crave them. When I do indulge, I try to make sure it’s real sugar or a natural sweetener (maple syrup, honey, agave, etc), which works great for me, my mental health (ADD and sugar don’t play well together) and my waistline.
The problem and the real reason sugar is an evil, evil (yes, it bears repeating) substance is because it’s highly addictive. For the last eight days or so we’ve had family in town which meant lots of eating out, lots of desserts, and lots of sugar. Not only was I starting to get irritable for no rational reason, but on Wednesday night, when I was home alone and experiencing my first day in four without a sweet treat, I was hard-core jonesing for sugar. I tore the kitchen apart looking for something, anything sugary. Thankfully I don’t keep sweets in the house, and I’m grateful we were out of chocolate chips (the back up to real candy). I would have even settled for a soda just to get that fix. Needless to say, there was no sugar to be had, but I felt kind of like a crack head.
Thursday night rolls around and shortly after dinner, I hear the Hubby rooting around in the kitchen. After a couple of minutes, with no success, he calls out to me, “Do we have any chocolate chips?” He was in full on junkie mode, and when we talked about it later (c’mon you don’t talk to a junkie in the throes of withdrawal), we both realized sugar is a slippery slope, a gate way drug if you will and yes a real son of a bitch. It’s also why it’s added to pretty much everything processed, especially beverages.
Let’s ignore the obvious culprits like soda pop (satisfying both eastern and western audiences) and call out a few lesser known, but equally dirty sons of bitches: Vitamin Water and Gatorade. There’s actually eight (yes eight) teaspoons of sugar in Vitamin Water and just over four teaspoons in Gatorade. So not only is it a son of a bitch, it’s a real sneaky bastard too. Read your labels and remember one teaspoon of sugar is equivalent to four grams, so just divide the number on the label by four and you’ll know how many teaspoons you’re dealing with.
Another reason (not that we need one) sugar is a dirty hoe is because it actually makes you stupid. Yep, I said it, but I’m not the one who researched it or did a study on how it affects your cognitive abilities like memory, learning and problem solving. Don’t take my word for it, instead read about it here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/16/sugar-makes-you-stupid-ucla_n_1521812.html
So I’m off sugar, not for good mind you, but at least for the next few days until I can get rid of the addict feeling of having to have it now. When I feel like less of a junkie, I’ll dip my toe back in the pond.
And just because I don’t want McDonald’s to feel left out…..
What do sugar and McDonald’s have in common? They’ll both transform you from David on the left to David on the right.
Do you ever find yourself jonesing for sugar? Have you ever cut it out of your diet, and if so, were you successful?