« Digital Dreams | Main | Around the Web on a Friday* »

Wednesday, 03 March 2021


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

OT comment: First, don't get me wrong. I found your post on addiction insightful and interesting. And count me among those who owe you a big "thanks" for pointing them to plant based healthy eating, loss of weight, and better health. I'm always amazed when I think that I got an improvement in health from my photography! Which brings me to my point: I posted a comment on your 'Zeiss clip on viewfinder' post a few days back to the effect that I owned a 21mm Zeiss and a 28mm Voigtlander at only half the cost, which was nearly as good. I though I better check so I dug out my external viewfinders and lo... the Voigtlander was nowhere near the quality of the Zeiss! (It was even tilted inside so than my shots were out of level! Probably from a fall.) So I did the only honourable thing: I ordered the Zeiss 25/28 through your links to B&H, and will throw the Voigtlander out!

Touch typing is worth the effort. Keep at it.

Food also can't be dealt with the way most recovering addicts deal with what they're addicted to—one can't completely give food up! (One can give up particularly categories of food, of course, which is what you describe, and what most people dealing with it do I think).

Let's see; the seriously obese people I know mostly don't consume much sugar regularly; they're all drinking diet soda out of those cups. I watched one friend move from regular soda to diet soda, and get no effect on their weight, and no apparent change in other parts of their diet.

As to running out to get a candy bar, that seems extreme. But having it happen once every few years wouldn't worry me. Having it happen more and more frequently would worry me—as would getting very careful about keeping them in stock so one didn't have to run out.

I'm pretty sure our scientific / medical understanding of addiction is poor (or at least not at all reflected in societal dialog), and our societal obsession around weight is killing a lot of people (from doctors not paying attention to symptoms of anything else in an obese person).

I'm still vegan, mostly whole foods, but made the mistake of buying some vegan "butter" for a recipe that called for it last week. You know the kind, a palm oil mix. A few days later it was all gone, and so was a whole lot of bread. It was a great bread delivery product, and the bread was a great palm oil delivery product. Harmony,.

Hi Mike

Does the word "addiction" necessarily always carry negative connotations? I guess it depends on whether whatever addiction you have causes suffering to you or others. Your enthusiasm to, say, the pool table could easily seem like an addiction to outsiders. I've played the odd game of pool and snooker but I could never imagine spending a significant amount of time practising! I guess though it is completely harmless, as well as rewarding.

With regard to food, there is too much moralising in my book. Food is fuel and building resources for animals. For most animals it is often in short supply. We are evolutionarily programmed to seek and consume, it's literally in our genes. What is remarkable to me about first world countries, isn't that there are overweight people, but that there are thin people. What can they possibly be doing to overcome nature?

Processed food vendors know this, so of course they pack their foods with the most energy dense (thus, desirable) substances such as sugar and fat. We don't like sugar and fat because they taste nice, rather they taste nice because all those joules are what our body wants to survive. It just doesn't know that there is an unending supply coming its way because there haven't yet been enough generations to evolve resistance.

The real question is that given the health damage done by these attractive foods, when are governments going to stop lecturing us and start penalising the manufacturers. Maybe a sugar tax would be helpful?

I don't get how states of mind like hunger, craving, satiety and sensual pleasure could be considered anything but consciousness-altering. Like most all animals, we are motivated by sustenance, our senses and sensibilities hard-wired to identify sources of nutrition or just plain calories. And it's no secret that food marketing, packaging and retailing is devoted to hijacking that wiring. And anyone who has participated in any of our many food-sharing rituals understands the power of food to affect moods, minds, attitudes and relationships.

I too go through bouts of addiction and recovery, not only with sugar but with salt, and with carbs in general. They're a piece of cake (pun unintended) compared to cigarettes, which took me years of trying to quit. I was making progress on coffee, but pandemic measures seem to have set me back.

Of course food is addictive and alters consciousness, for example, carbohydrates are a rapid acting antidepressant that increases serotonin.

Anyone who believes sugar can not lead to altered state of consciousness has not been a child, nor stayed up all night relying on vast intake of sugar.

I have consumed many stimulants sometimes in large quantities both legal and not so much (am musician interested in jazz (but not heroin), mathematical physicist and hacker (old definition), all groups of people who use many stimulants): sugar is one of the most effective and leaves you just as f*cked up as speed: trust me on this, I know.

The book “The Sugar Blues”, O my gosh, that brought back memories! In the late 1970’s, my father bought that book and proceeded to throw out everything in the kitchen which had sugar in it, much to the horror of my younger sister and I. That Easter was really hard. Instead of chocolate, the easter bunny got us carob. Decades later, I can still recall the taste of carob. It’s truly awful.
However, I have come to realize in the last number of years the incredible hold sugar has over me. I appreciate the effort which my father made (of course it didn’t last). I have managed to give up gluten ( I had a gluten allergy) and dairy, but sugar is such a big one. For me, it’s really an emotional thing. If I’m feeling down, I want a treat. If I’m up, I want to celebrate. It goes back to my childhood, my mother has admitted that when I was having a bad day she would make me cookies. I think the trick is finding healthier ways of making yourself feel better or rewarding yourself. Anyways, thanks for this article Mike. It’s an ongoing issue for me and for many I’m sure.


Slightly off-topic, but topical, The Guardian today reports that WHO finds a correlation between countries with obese populations and COVID deaths:

The issue is not just obesity, but levels of weight that many assume are now normal in many countries. Death rates are 10 times higher in those where more than half the adults had a body mass index (BMI) of more than 25kg/m2 – the point at which normal weight tips into overweight.


My current downfall...Girl Scout Cookies!

Following up on Dave's comment, I don't think addiction has be be a dirty word. As William James said, "the fact is that our virtues are habits as much as our vices." The brain is a bit harder to meld into those positive behaviors because the reward is a bit far in the future for our immediate-gratification conditioned brains, but true joy in life comes from doing something hard or unpleasant with the knowledge that even that action is in itself joyous.

Thinking about sugar as an addictive additive prompted me to recall this bit of information, that I acquired just coincidentally while working on an IT consulting contract about 20 years ago.

The client company processed and refined licorice from the dry raw root. Much of the product's final form was in the shape of a dark brick, made from the licorice liquor and molasses, plus some flour. The largest customer base, comprising some 80+% of sales ? Tobacco companies.

They coated the shredded tobacco with the licorice product. Doing that accomplished two things: 1- the company could use a cheaper lower grade and harsher tobacco, and 2- the sugar coating added to the addictive quality.

Evil, no?

I used to pay scant attention to such issues, and woke up at 65 to Drs warning about diabetes. Went on massive diet restructuring, lost a bunch of weight, and changed what's in the house. The usual - no more white stuff - pasta, bread, cheeses (most, not all), potatoes - gone. As to the sugars? Can't fully shake that, but now the urge is met with grapes, some prunes, even for dessert - the 4 dates. Its not perfect, but its a heck of a lot better. The body and head feel better, and the moods are much more manageable. Wish I'd pay attention earlier, but better late than never.

One more vote: I appreciate the food/health related OT posts.

For what it's worth, I felt that the documentary "Fasting" on Amazon Prime Video was a mixed bag overall, but did find the commentary by James Fung of particular note, in which he advocates nothing more drastic than eating regular meals within a certain span of time each day. Anecdotally the idea resonates with me because the in the past that I recall, there were simply fewer opportunities to eat any sort of food outside of family mealtimes: In this past if you had a late night craving for pizza, what were you going to do when microwave ovens weren't common household fixtures, frozen pizza didn't exist, and the only local pizza parlor was closed for the night?

Podcasts at "Innovation Hub"

"Fat and Fiction (and Sugar)"


"Put down that low-fat yogurt! Dr. Robert Lustig says that sugar - not fat - may be the real culprit behind America's obesity epidemic. In the 1970s, America found itself embroiled in a full-on war: on fats, that is. Low-fat foods became all the rage, and supermarket shelves stocked up on a smorgasbord of low-fat yogurts, pastries, you name it. But, in the name of going low-fat, food manufacturing companies began putting their products through quite a transformation. 'When you take the fat out of the food, it tastes like cardboard. It tastes nasty!' Lustig says. 'The food industry knew that. They said, 'What are we going to do to make the food palatable?' The answer: add the sugar."

"The Science Behind Obesity"

"We’ve got a growing problem in the US: almost 35 percent of American adults are obese. Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and Dr. Bruce Lee, director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center at Johns Hopkins, think that these stats constitute a national emergency. According to Mozaffarian, the high obesity rates stem more from poor diet than lack of exercise. Americans increasingly eat liquid calories, starch, and sugar."

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007