I should be dead or at least severely incapacitated by illness.
That’s what a group of fine folks at the University of California at San Francisco headed up by Dr. Robert Lutsig would contend based on the first 30 years of my life.
Lutsig’s clarion call to have the government treat sugar as a controlled substance and to limit access by essentially prohibiting minors to have products made from it was outlined in an article in Nature magazine last month. He also wants sugar products heavily taxed and its use regulated by bureaucrats. Lutsig and his colleagues claim that their studies show the increased consumption of sugar - and not obesity per se - is the culprit for a rise in a whole repertoire of chronic diseases.
They point to research that shows the average consumption of sugar among Americans is up to 22 teaspoons a day. They believe that what habits one establishes as a kid sticks with you as an adult eventually will make you extremely sick and kill you.
Here’s what a typical Saturday morning was for me growing up: Two bowls of cereal already processed with sugar - think Frosted Flakes and Sugar Pops - with each having three heaping teaspoons of sugar then sprinkled on top. I followed that by “straight-lining” three or four tablespoons of sugar direct from the sugar bowl. I also drank three or four sodas a day. Add the other stuff with sugar in it and I’m sure I was easily taking in 22 teaspoons of sugar a day if not more as a kid.
It didn’t get better when I got out of high school. I’d knock down probably a good six 16-ounce Pepsi drinks a day along with other sweets.
Then after I lost a substantial amount of weight after I turned 30 and started exercising my sugar consumption didn’t really slow down. For over a decade I’d eat two giant size bags of plain M&Ms although I replaced the six sodas with six diet sodas which, if you listen to other researchers, should have killed me off by now as well.
My biggest source of sugar now are cookies and Lifesavers mid-day from a vending machine and a once-a-week 1,100-calorie Banana Cream Pie Blizzard.
I’m sure if you gave Lutsig and his colleagues enough taxpayer dollars to study my diet for the past seven years they would probably recommend the government prevent me in some way from pursuing it whether it is controlling access or taxing it to kingdom come and back.
I’d be more than happy to see how well my cholesterol, resting heart rate, blood pressure, and overall health matches up with Lutsig’s stats.
My seven-day diet, by the way consists of two apples, a banana, two oranges, five ounces of almonds, nine low-fat yogurts, 16 ounces of cottage cheese, salad, two plain Boca Burgers, and 30 ounces of V8 Fusion.
Let’s see, according to past studies by tax-dollar funded researchers the apples should be making me sick, the oranges are toxic, the salad probably is laced with deadly chemicals, and heaven knows what Bessie & Co. were fed or pumped with to make the yogurt and cottage cheese. And since I like my almonds au natural that is supposed to make me deftly ill as well.
I almost forgot. I drink about 100 ounces of tap water daily that I chug out of a plastic bottle.
Based on research by Lutsig and his brethren I should have been dead 10 years ago or at least in an intensive care unit.
But perhaps the most frightening thing in Lutsig’s pitch for government control of sugar products is his assertion we can’t be trusted as individuals to make good health decisions.
Hello, we’re not cattle. We’re humans. And unless someone really wants to resurrect the wonderfully successful Soviet model for dictating what you can do with your lives including the food you’re allowed to eat, perhaps we should be allowed to be human, make our own mistakes, and figure things out.
Besides, give Lutsig’s ilk enough money and they’ll determine everything we consume will make us ill.
Frankly, I’d rather be dead man walking than to have some self-anointed bureaucrat tell me what I should do with my life right down to what I eat.
This column is the opinion of managing editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209-249-3519.