Fat Chancery

by cheri sabraw

While we were walking down Liverpool Street in London last month,  Glenys, my new friend, asked me if I was familiar with the scientific work of Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist from UCSF. Had I seen his lecture on YouTube? Had I read his book, Fat Chance?

“No, I haven’t,” I replied, trying to keep up with her long stride, “…should I, and if so, why?”

You have all seen a shuttle launch into the atmosphere with smoke and fire from Cape Canaveral, the burst and then energy thrust of Thoroughbred horses from their Kentucky Derby gate, the pump and then red and gold flash of fireworks into a Fourth of July night, right?

Such was the energy behind Glenys’ answer.

Well! Cheri! Dr. Lustig’s thesis is simple: sugar is poison!!

I tripped over a slight bump in the sidewalk, regaining my balance without Glenys’ knowing. My glasses clouded from my breath. My hair, usually straight, began to frizz a bit in the London humidity. While trying to catch up with her (the men were far behind), my taste buds—one in particular—reacted bitterly to her statement.

And then the silky images of my favorite foods and drinks swirled into the part of my brain where I bake and serve my dopamine. Apple cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream, soft deep-chocolate brownies, Mojitos, buttery Chardonnays, oatmeal raisin cookies. It surely was a mind-trip from Clockwork Orange.

That night Glenys and Richard and Ron and I ate dinner in the bar of our hotel. I ordered my customary buttery Chardonnay and was just about to order the fish and chips (smothered in ketchup) when I looked over at sweet (and fit) Glenys who gazed at me with a pleasant and loving smile, like that of a therapist I once saw.

“ I’ll have the salad with the dressing on the side, “ I told the server robotically, who looked at me sadly, with sympathy. Out of some projection and perhaps defiance, I chugged my Chardonnay.

Two weeks ago, in my post office box, I found a book shipped to me from across the Pond.

I am reading it. And shall report to you all. By the way, I have just added a link to his You Tube lecture, sponsored by the University of California, San Francisco.

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About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Education, Life, People and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Fat Chancery

  1. shoreacres says:

    Everybody’s got a schtick. In my almost-70 years, I’ve been warned off coffee, wine, butter, margarine, eggs, whole milk, sugar, wheat, beef, etc., ad nauseum.

    Yes, I need to lose another ten pounds, but portion control, a reasonable number of calories per day, and no more snacks before bedtime will do it. Beyond that, I am with a dear friend, whose philosophy led him to proclaim this: “If a chicken-fried steak, mashed potatoes, cream gravy, and peach cobbler for dessert is going to take fifteen minutes off my life — well, I can have a lot of chicken-fried and cobbler before I lose a day.”

    I eat moderately well, stay out of fast food joints, avoid processed food, and eat my spinach. That’ll do it for me. But I’ll look forward to your report on what the guru has to say.

    • Cheri says:

      All good, Shoreacres.You are doing just the right things.

      What this book has to say is so important and so atypical of the usual books in this genre. How he came to his conclusions is as unexpected as the results that support his thesis. I am mesmerized. No wonder Glenys is so strident. I will write a summary when this blog post marinates (in a sugar-free marinade, of course.)

  2. Brig says:

    I’m in agreement with Shoreacres, but open to a different path.
    My Fascia Blaster is winging it’s way to me, as I type. Cellulite, turkey wattle neck, belly lap, muffin top, bat wings, spider veins, all will be gone… Have I fallen prey to another scam, or am I just hopeful that a hot tub, some massage oil, and a funny looking wand will be the answer… time will tell.

  3. Cheri says:

    This comment made me laugh out loud! Let me know about the fascia blaster. Really.

    Well, spider veins and turkey waddle can be fixed through surgery but that is expensive.Bat wings…only can be tightened through weight lifting. Let me know if you find a solution to cellulite (although a woman from Central America told me that lecithen (sp) helps cellulite…muffin top can be reduced through sugar restriction FOR SURE. This book is worth the read.

    Do men worry about these types of things?

    • Brig says:

      We have been indoctrinated in the way of the fascia blaster by our yoga instructor. She is getting no remuneration for this, and is a “firm” believer. I await the magic wand…

      • Brig says:

        Some men worry about these things, more for fitness than looks I think. When I was dating Flash the pilot he was certainly into that sort of thing. A real twigs & berries type…

  4. JFB says:

    Sugar IS poison AND it’s in just about everything. Karin and I are label reading finatics. Maybe even a little OCD when it comes to ingredients. Our quick inspection has to do with the shear number of ingredients. The less, the better. However, at the top of the list us sugar in most forms. Obviously high fructose corn syrup (that cheap sweetener for those producing the product) CANNOT be there!!

  5. This post is food for thought, and thought is one thing which has no sugar. I have always loved to eat rather eat to live, and really never worried about the amount of sugar. However, I did caution all grandsons that candy was poison, My weight stays between 100# and 106# which is good for my 5 foot height. I think we all need to be label readers today when so many additives are in our food, and obviously we don’t need all the extra sugar and salt. Just monitor the servings and exercise. We eat fresh and homemade and I have just resumed my Tai Chi program to help my balance.

    • Cheri says:

      Witty opening sentence AK. Extra sugar and salt are bad. I wonder how many of my readers know how many grams of sugar and salt are recommended for healthy humans.

  6. Over the years, almost anything good tasting has been, at one time or another, deemed bad for our health until another scientist, financed by God knows who, provided irrefutable proof that the previous scientist was wrong, and so on and so on every few years since Noah.
    My nuttrition philosophy is: You like it, eat it, moderately, of course. Binging is bad whatever you eat or drink.
    Carpe diem, my friend and be happy, buttery Chardonnay included.

    • Cheri says:

      Of course, Paul, you are right about fad diets. And yes, any binging is bad. I am seizing the day, Paul, my friend, with less sugar! Cheers!

  7. I wouldn’t call it poison, but if you treated it as if it were, you would certainly lose weight. Sugar is a drug, an extremely mild version of those other white crystal ones. We could live without it and gain added benefits. Cancer and bugs love sugar. However since I have had sugar pumped into my body since before birth – I would hate to go cold turkey. But if you drastically reduce your intake your body will start to taste the natural sweetness of foods. But often my body just craves for that magic mix of sugar and fat together – women can’t be happy without a bit of chocolate…

  8. Christopher says:

    It’s currently the in-thing to say sugar is bad for you. So, if you yourself think sugar is bad, it may be because you are a conformist.

    There are in fact many benefits to eating sugar. For instance, sugar is a source of instant energy. Once in your bloodstream, it converts into glucose – which is the simplest form of sugar. Then the glucose is absorbed by the cells of the body and produces energy. If you are exhausted after a long day of physical labour, sugar cubes are as good a way as any to restore your energy. Hence many sportsmen eat sugar cubes regularly.

    If you have low blood pressure and keep fainting as a result, you should always carry sugar cubes with you to eat each time you feel faint, for sugar raises your blood pressure immediately.

    Your brain can’t function without sugar, As soon as your brain’s sugar supply is cut off, you faint. Not a good thing, this.

    Sugar contains glycolic acid, that is good for maintaining the health and look of your skin. It helps rid it of blemishes, and restores the balance in the skin’s oils. So, if you want to look beautiful, the better to attract men, eat sugar.

    Sugar is an instant cure for depression. That is why chocolate helps you heighten your mood. Sugar therefore makes you feel good about yourself, thus enhancing your self-esteem.

    Many medical men believe sugar can heal wounds much faster than medicines. Eating granulated sugar can heal nasty wounds faster than antibiotics.

    Sugar is created from natural resources without the use of pesticides and other harmful products. By eating sugar, and thus encouraging its production, you join the ranks of those who are fighting environmental spoliation.

    These are just some of sugar’s benefits. I’ll venture to say that – for reasons of health, the environment, and humanitarianism – eating meat is much worse than eating sugar.

    And from the viewpoint of colonial history, you’ll doubtless know if you’re English, that many of England’s current great institutions of learning were originally founded upon the profits yielded from slave-worked sugar plantations in the Caribbean. This is good to remember if you’re a toff with a university degree from one of these venerable institutions.

    • Richard says:

      I hesitate to get too technical but I have to come in here. There are many fads and fancies, I agree, but this is not one of them.

      Sucrose is broken down into glucose and fructose.Glucose gets into the blood directly while fructose is converted to glycogen.

      The sugar balance is regulated by insulin, but too much and you become insulin resistant.

      That means the liver converts it into fat for storage, but it is never used up. The result is diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and much else.

      Sugar sends the wrong messages to the brain, which then doesn’t tell you to stop eating when you’ve had enough. That’s because the system evolved when sugar was rare and we were on starvation diets, so had to store the energy. The difference was we burnt it up.

      I sent Cheri this book not for herself, obviously, but to discuss the public health implications. Something’s got to give with the massive increase in obesity and diabetes 2 in the UK and the US, a huge and increasing burden on our NHS and waste of public money. Imagine all that fat round your heart, liver and other vital organs and in your arteries. You can’t always see it!

      Read the book and watch Dr Lustig on You Tube and let me know if you change your mind.

      • Cheri says:

        Well, Glenys. You know you have converted me. Instead of making my latte every afternoon, which contains 15g of sugar in 8oz. of 1% low fat milk, I am now reheating my sugarless coffee each afternoon. In it I put 1 tsp of vanilla natural coffee creamer. That 1 tsp had 1.5 grams of sugar. I have lost 3 pounds since I came home from London. I wasn’t trying to lose weight because I didn’t need to but now my muscles are showing more in my arms. I have three doctors and one medical student who read my blog. They have yet to weigh in (and might not…) I’m sure they are sick of trying to convince their patients with lots of belly fat to cut the sugar.

    • Cheri says:

      Well, Christopher, I’m not sure you really believe all of this but you have certainly provided a tidy list of the excuses that many people give for over-consumption of sugar. Perhaps the most startling piece of information in Fat Chance is that Dr. Lusting does not believe most obese people to be lazy or slothful. You must watch the video. I guarantee you that what he has to say is not what you will be expecting.

  9. JW says:

    Completely speechless at this moment as I stare and salivate at the chocolate frosted cupcake on my cute Kate Spade dessert dish. What should I do? (insert smile emoji with a wink!)

  10. Cheri says:

    Well, hello JW! Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such a funny comment!. I’d go for the cupcake without the frosting but I’d keep the Kate Spade dessert plate….(insert silly emoji with a crumb on her face)

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