I've just spent most of the morning dealing with my dental woes—second appointment this week. It was long, but lots better than my appointment two weeks ago, when I got strangely woozy and nearly passed out in the chair. I have no idea what was wrong with me on that visit, but something sure was.
Ya hate it when that happens.
So you know what's driving me crazy today? Fruit juice.
My son wanted some cherry juice, so I made a detour to the seldom-visited juice aisle at the supermarket on the way home from the dentist.
Fruit juice is basically just sugar water, no better for you than soda pop, so it drives me a little crazy when people constantly push it as a "health" drink. [Buzzer noise.] False. It's not.
Parents, especially, who are continually foisting juice on their kids as the moral equivalent of sugary soda are kidding themselves. Hydrate with water. Teach your kids to hydrate with water. If you use them at all, use sugary drinks strictly in moderation as occasional treats. Wasn't there a Flannery O'Connor character who would treat herself to a 7-oz. Coke every three weeks—in the summer?
But what's bugging me today isn't that. It's all those labels that say "100% Juice!" They're all over the place in the juice aisle.
Know what that means? Apple juice. Most fruit juices of any flavor you can buy at the local grocery story are mainly apple juice. Flavored, colored, with a little real juice of whatever the label says it is thrown in to keep the lie from being too blatant. Just because it says "100% juice" on the label doesn't mean it's 100% kiwifruit or grape or cranberry or pomegranate or cherry or whatever the label says you're buying. If you went down the juice aisle at the supermarket and removed all the juices that contain apple juice, there'd be precious little left. Look at the labels next time.
Dr. Charlie says the most perfectly unhealthy food is the iced doughnut. It's pure starch, fried in pure fat, slathered with pure sugar. If you must eat doughnuts, don't eat more in a week than you would eat in one trip to the doughnut store. (That's one trip when you go inside and sit down where other people can see you, not one trip when you buy a bag full and pig out in the car or back at home.)
Wish I didn't like 'em so much.
If you have a sweet tooth and a weight problem, I've got the perfect diet for you. It's essentially a lazy man's low-glycemic-index diet. All you do is cut three things out of your diet:
- Grains and grasses, and
- Fatty dairy.
And don't go absolutely nuts with portions or fatty foods.
That's it. That'll do it. Want an even easier version of the same diet? Avoid white and yellow foods, or food with white or yellow foods as an ingredient. No corn, no white bread, no pasta, no breakfast cereal, no chips, no whole milk, etc.
There are a few exceptions to the white-and-yellow rule. Flaky white baked fish, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, skim milk, and Egg Beaters are all okay.
So you know what's really driving me crazy? The fact that I can't do it. I've tried and tried to follow the above diet, and it's really hard. I start and stop, start and stop. What's wrong with me? I feel like some sort of cretin who's congenitally deficient in willpower.
Granted, avoiding sugar is a tough one. The American food supply is nearly hopelessly polluted—adulterated would be a better word—with sugar. Sugar is the perfect industrial food: it's easy and cheap to produce, it's mildly addictive, it doesn't spoil, it makes all sorts of things taste better, and it can be added to nearly everything.
And it has been. It's in ketchup, canned soups, packaged bread, frozen dinners, even barbeque sauce. Next time you go to the supermarket, try to find things to buy that don't have sugar in them. Apart from a few staple ingredient foods like cuts of meat and leafy vegetables, and a very few things that are laden with fat and salt, you won't find a whole lot. Just try.
Or, on second though, maybe you shouldn't.
It will just drive you crazy.
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Sal Santamaura: "It appears you've got oodles of willpower Mike. What you lack is won't power."
Mike replies: Oww....
Featured Comment by Patrick Perez: "I've been having good luck in trying to follow the principles in the Primal Blueprint, which is substantially similar to the principle Gary Taubes espouses (which I'll wager is the source of your diet plan strategy). I've lost ~20 pounds in the months I've been doing it. Certainly I'm not following to the letter (far from it) but I'm much more cognizant of how different foods are made up, and how that affects my health. The easiest way to keep the bad stuff out of the diet is a two-parter: Prepare your food from scratch, and use actual food as the ingredients. The more you can eliminate all prepared food, the better your success.
"It seems odd that we have gotten to the point that the concept of food containing food is novel, but that's the result of our first world lifestyle."
Featured Comment by Adrian: "A few months back I visited the dentist to have a rear molar removed. So badly decayed (sugar and all that), it crumbled in the dentist's tongs. After an hour or so battling to get all of it out, the dentist took a break. I passed out. Cold. Woke up to him shouting my name repeatedly. He and the nurse seemed quite freaked out. Know what they gave me to feel better? Juice."
Featured Comment by Amin: "As an endocrinologist (hormone and metabolism doctor), I am sensitive to the massive amount of false information on the web and in the media about what kind of diet is healthy or will lead to weight loss. Your simple diet prescription is right on target and similar to what I tell my patients every day. How refreshing to read that online. Re 'So you know what's really driving me crazy? The fact that I can't do it': You, me, and most everybody. I can say based on personal experience that losing weight and keeping it off is like quitting smoking except it doesn't get easier with time. In fact, it gets harder as the body undergoes metabolic adaptation to defend against weight loss. As many times as we fall back, it's important to keep trying. Without that, things get all the more out of hand."
Featured Comment by Simon Gledhill: "I visited L.A. from Australia a few years back, and got a rude shock on tasting the milk—it's sweetened...."
Featured Comment by Eve Schaub: "Our family—myself, my husband, and our ten- and six-year-old daughters—is four months into an experiment in which we are eating no added sugar in our diet for the entire year: no table sugar, no cane sugar, no honey, molasses, maple syrup, artificial or fruit juice sweeteners. I blog about our Year of No Sugar.
"BOY is it hard! And not just in the ways you expect—even when you get past the cravings—which do diminish—the social pressure and the supermarket's insidious ingredients are everywhere...bread, mayo, chicken broth, bacon, smoked salmon, tortellini...our family has begun to joke that if it has ingredients, we can't eat it. I highly recommend Dr. Robert Lustig's YouTube video "Sugar: the Bitter Truth" and the very recent New York Times Magazine article "Is Sugar Toxic?" Also the book Sweet Poison by Australian author David Gillespie."