Friday, November 19, 2010

DAY 45 – Sugar Makes for a Lousy Gift

I just wanted to dash this off to you cuz I know that we are already deep into the “Holiday Season”.

Don’t think it is lost on me that the word “holiday” comes from “holy”, and that “holy” means “sacred”; but it is more than apparent that in America, holidays are mostly about gifts. You didn’t ask for my advice, but you don’t have to read this either, and I am speaking to the universal “you” anyway; so here goes. Sugar is a lousy gift.

Let me count the ways:

First off, don’t you want to give something unique and possibly personalized? Sugar is not unique; it is ubiquitous! No matter the form or the flavor, it is still just sugar; and folks eat that every single day; hardly special.

Many people admit to being addicted to sugar. Many of those same people say that they really want to stay away from the stuff. Do you give booze to your alcoholic family and friends? Me neither.

Sugar makes people sick; that’s not a hypothesis, it’s a fact. Consider a few of the major diseases that disable and kill Americans and that are known to be fueled by excessive sugar: heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression, obesity, and dementia. Obviously you aren’t wishing any of those on your loved-ones. But, are you facilitating them?

Obesity and overweight are talked about so much in our culture, that most of us are numb to the real meaning. The real meaning is that 2/3 of American adults (age 20-74) are either overweight or obese and are therefore seriously, or significantly unwell. Sugar plays a powerful role in this dangerous condition of our citizenry and of our Country. Disease and danger are not gifts.

It is both common, and understandable, that many people feel that to give sugar on a “special occasion” is perfectly reasonable. In fact, to question sugar gifts on “special occasions”, while historically would have been considered un-American, in today’s social climate, might now be considered terrorism. But back to the point; given that adults stop for sugared drinks each day on their way to work, and kids start their days with Pop Tarts, there is no way to imagine sugar being consumed just on “special occasions”. We are actually not far from a continuous IV drip (intravenous).

Your one little sugar gift does make a difference. Millions are giving one or more little sugar gifts.

It is not my intent to make your “holidays” more difficult than they may already be. I sincerely hope that the opportunity to consider the clear and present danger of sugar is a gift for you during this beautiful time of year.

PS – My wonderful wife suggests that I include the disclaimer/clarifier that I eat sugar. She’s right!   

Additionally, I am not judging those who give or eat sugar gifts. I am simply trying to address critical issues of our time in the hope of reducing suffering. It’s a tricky, if not scary job for me.


  1. Sugar is a real addiction... one that I deal with everyday! I'm in the middle of a no sweets period and I needed this reminder! Thank you!

  2. Michelle,
    Thank you for being you!
    Thank you for being public!
    Thank you for posting here, which helps to spread the word.
    Let's consider a monthly dinner meeting (potluck?) once a month to give us additional connection and support.
    In health and friendship,
    Dr. Young

  3. Kris, I agree it's important to limit our sugar intake. One way I do this is by making desserts that are as low in sugar as possible. For example, when I make pumpkin pie that only my husband and I are going to eat, I put in just 1/4 cup sugar (about 1/4 the amount in a typical pumpkin pie). Another way I reduce my sugar intake is by choosing not to mindlessly eat "treats" that I'm not particularly fond of and eating only those that I especially like. AND not eating ANY store-bought sugary food products.

  4. Right on!
    Consciousness and change are key.
    Annual lab testing to evaluate blood sugar, is also important. Hemoglobin A1c.
    Dr. Young