Diet Coke with lemon…didn’t that used to be called Pledge?
Not long ago I was at a friend’s house. My friends are pretty typical Americans. They have a large kitchen with two long counters, a normal American-sized fridge and freezer, above- and below-counter cabinets, and a pantry. Here’s what was in them:
First and longest counter:
- Bag of Snackimals
- Tray of Cadbury Creme Eggs
- Tray of random candies, mostly Smarties
- Bag of chocolate Easter eggs
- Bag of chocolate chip cookies
- Box of sugar cookies
- Box of Ritz crackers
- Bag of random candy from Easter eggs
- Dove chocolate bar
In the food cabinet above this:
- 10 different types of chips and crackers
- Two bags of chocolate chips
- A large container of Dove bars
On the other counter, on the opposite side:
- Fourteen different types of hot chocolate mix
- More Smarties
- Two Godiva chocolate bars
In the cabinet under this counter:
- Three boxes of Little Debbie snack cakes
- Two bags of colored marshmallows
- Several boxes of Oreos
- Two more bags of Snackimals
- Three kinds of cookies that weren’t Oreos
- Five kinds of crackers that weren’t Snackimals
In the cabinet next to that one, which was for storing plastic containers:
- Two jumbo bags of Reese peanut butter cups
In the freezer:
- Two Marie Callinder pies
- Five chocolate bars
- Two large bags of various Reese products
- Bag of Hershey Kisses
In the fridge:
- Canned icing
- Homemade peanut butter chocolate bars
- Several kinds of fruit juice
- Chocolate sauce
In the pantry:
- At least twenty box mixes for cakes and brownies
- Seven bags of caramels and chocolates
- Many more boxes of Little Debbie snack cakes
- An uncountable amount of sugar cereals, chips, and mac & cheese mixes
I know, I know. How could I go poking around like that? Well, for one thing I had their permission to be in there. For another people, this is for science. Just don’t anyone tell them I posted this all on here…
The point is…well, I don’t even know what the point is anymore. It’s horrifying. Their family isn’t fat. But they are sick ALL the time. I mean, if a week goes by that someone isn’t sick, it’s a miracle; but somehow no connection with diet is made.
One parent is in a constant battle with weight, waged through very carefully watching calories. The other parent eats sugar nonstop with no reference to calories and looks like a concentration camp victim. Their children are divided, and I shall here give my totally personal predictions as to their future.
The oldest is “normal.” By normal, I mean now thin and active, but if these things remain unchanged will likely start to mysteriously fatten sometime after age 30, even though diet will probably be better than it is during the 20s.
The next two children are like the thin parent: thin almost to the point of looking emaciated despite plenty of food–nearly all of it sugar.
The last child…we’ll that’s the kicker. The last child is quite pudgy already and clearly completely and deeply addicted to carbohydrates. This child’s body is already in metabolic rebellion. The others have regular sugar crashes, but this child has sugar nuclear meltdowns. Full on destruction can be instantly avoided by the rapid intake of…. more sugar. Denial of sugar, even for a short period, brings on complete loss of control.
At one point I saw this child–after eating dinner, but before having had dessert-jump down and attack a sibling three years older and wrestle that sibling to the ground over one tiny crumb of cookie that the older sibling still had left from its own dessert. The child in question is not yet two.
What’s most sad to contemplate is that this child will almost certainly be fatter than its siblings throughout childhood, and it will be slower and inclined to sit, not because of character but because of biology. It is already suffering metabolically, and as that metabolic disorder gets worse–as constant influx of a largely glucose-based diet make its cells more resistant to insulin, resulting in more and more insulin, which in turn keeps fat stores locked up, and the body stops producing enzymes for using fat for fuel since it never has the opportunity to use it–the child will never have any energy except immediately after a meal. It will always be starving on the metabolic level; and chances are it will therefore be teased and scolded for being lazy, fat, and greedy.
Most of the “food” I listed above shouldn’t even be considered food. But this was the food that filled the house. Almost nothing else was available. As we saw with our post about SAD Sally and Primal Patty, these kids would be dead if it weren’t for the fortification of grains.
What’s horrifying is that these people aren’t doing anything wrong. They aren’t neglecting their children. They aren’t overfeeding them sweets by the standards of our day and their home culture.
In the morning, the kids get breakfast cereal, plain with no milk. How healthy! The cereals are fortified with all kinds of vitamins and minerals, and since whole milk is bad and low-fat milk is good and skim milk is better: then no milk must be best!
Then, of course, they need a mid-morning snack. All kids need a mid-morning snack. You remember how great-great-great grandma used to tell stories of not being able to wander more than 100 feet from the house to help on the farm because she needed to get back for some animal crackers every hour or so.
For lunch, they get mac and cheese, which is super healthy too. Whole grains and all! And they get some carrot and cucumber sticks raw. And sometimes they eat fruit, and then there’s something sweet after lunch, because everyone has something sweet after lunch, and then you have afternoon snack because everyone has afternoon snack.
Besides, if you didn’t give kids afternoon snack, they’d have a complete breakdown by dinner. “Everyone” knows that. And everyone is right. The kids only ever get sugar for their primary fuel source. By dinner, their cells are starving, their hormones have no cholesterol left to build them and are swinging wildly, their brains are in danger of glucose deprivation, which sends the body into a full-on panic, and the children’s physiological imperatives are overriding all training, all discipline, all motivations, all knowledge, and nearly everything the parents can do. The only thing that might work is to plant them in front of the TV and let them veg out. That way their body can shut down all non-essential fuel usage and buy them a few more minutes.
As the kids get older, they’ll probably go from whining annoyingly at mom’s knee about ninety minutes out from dinner to learning to steal candy, crackers, or other carbohydrate rich food not long before dinner. If mom finds out, it’ll be treated as a punishable offense when what it really is is a biological imperative. (For me it was raisins–no surprise now. Little sugar bombs.) Thus is solved the little mystery every parent complains of: why that hour or so before dinner is served is the most stress-filled time in the house. Everyone is crashing, starving, cranky, and miserable.
And then you have dinner. Maybe a little chicken or ground beef, and then some more vegetable sticks, and bread, pasta, or french fries (sometimes several of those), which always get eaten first. Of course they get eaten first. The body knows what it needs. Glucose is a quick-fix to all the emergency conditions. Give me glucose NOW, it screams at the unconscious child stuffing rolls into its mouth with both hands. Then there’s dessert. And maybe a bedtime snack. And all day long juice.
What parent has time to research their child’s nutritional needs in all their biological depth? None. You trust the “experts.” And the experts are responsible for this.
I blame the government.
That’s right. I said it.
Most people want to blame Big Agriculture, or mean old businesses with all their evil advertising. You know what? They got where they are because of the government.
If the government hadn’t stuck its big, fat nose into the business of what we should be eating in the first place, none of this would have happened. If that idiot George McGovern hadn’t told doctors that government doesn’t have the luxury of waiting to actually find out if their grandiose ideas will work before they start recommending them wholesale to everyone, we wouldn’t have all been told to stop eating healthy animal fat and double down on empty grains. People might have kept the ancient wisdom of their great-grandparents: starches and sugars are fattening.
If the government hadn’t invented a heart disease crisis and then picked sides in the nutrition/heart disease/obesity debate, scientists and doctors could have duked it out on an even playing field, where the winner would have been the one who could show proven, consistent results, instead of it being the one who towed the party line and thus got the grant.
If the government hadn’t decided to throw all kinds of money at the grain industry, worthless, nutrition-less grain wouldn’t be so cheap. People would have kept eating what they wanted, which back before all this happened was something quite different. Corn syrup wouldn’t be in every single thing you buy because no other sweetener is anything like as cheap as corn syrup.
If the government hadn’t swooped in and told us, on the basis of no particularly rigorous research and its own vast lack of experience in nutrition, that eating a food we’d been happily and healthily eating for centuries beyond number–lard–was bad for us, we wouldn’t be in a trans-fat mess.
But the government did all those things, and in just two generations they’ve been able to bring us to the brink of complete national destruction. No one cares what great-grandma ate nor learns anything at their parent’s knees. Instead they look for their parent substitute–government–to tell them what they should eat and exactly how many minutes a day they should exercise. Never mind how you feel. Just do what you’re told. Never mind that “what” changes every two to three years.
And when people are so sick it has become a national crisis, we look to them again. This time, they will give us all the healthcare we need and cannot afford because everyone is so desperately ill.
Plato says he’s hungry
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