I get this question a lot, “why did you name your book Sugarettes?”
Here is the story:
I was talking to a group of people about health and we were discussing the nature of sugar and how, when you try to avoid it, it acts like a magnet. As soon as you put a piece of something sweet in your mouth, more wants to follow. It is as if the first piece of sugar was a magnet, pulling more sugar into your body. I was struggling with a way to suggest that sugar this sugar magnet meant that sugar had addictive qualities. But it wasn’t enough to stop there, because consuming sugar in the amount that we all do has health consequences. The problem with the health consequences of sugar is that they don’t happen soon, but slowly over time.
Then it came to me: sugar is exactly like cigarettes.
Let’s take a look and see how similar sugar and cigarettes are:
- Cigarettes are addictive… so is sugar
- Cigarettes cause harm… so does sugar
- Cigarettes give you a boost of energy… so does sugar
- The harm that cigarettes does happens slowly over time… exactly the same as sugar
The more that I looked into the addictive qualities and the harm that sugar does, the more it became apparent to me that cigarettes and sugar are almost identical. Like twins separated at birth, these two non-foods have strong addictive grips on us that won’t let us go (ask anyone who has ever tried to stop smoking or eating carbohydrates) and are they both do damage to our health that is subtle, but end up being profound.
You may well know that cigarettes are very harmful to your lungs, but you may not know how harmful sugar is to your blood vessels. While I cover this topic with other blog posts, let me briefly let you know what scientists are discovering about what harm sugar can do:
- Sugar causes you to gain weight
- Sugar, despite what many doctors will tell you, is responsible for diabetes
- Sugar may also be responsible for much of the heart disease we see
- Sugar is toxic to blood vessels it will destroy them (you can especially see this in diabetics)
- Sugar is just as addictive as cigarettes, alcohol and other hard drugs
Sugarettes is the perfect name to give you the mental picture of why sugar is such a problem in our diets. You don’t notice the destruction because it happens slowly over time. Your health can be greatly improved by avoiding both sugar and foods that act like sugar in your body.
Hi Dr Scott,
Sugarettes – great name – I wish I had thought of that! I totally agee with your assessment about these parallels. In fact I wrote a post in July in which I considered whether our ancestral past ill-equips us to consider the implications of the slow-burn damage from things like sugar and tobacco – I’d be really interested in your views:
Cigarettes, Sugar and our Innate Short-Termism
Keep up the good work – looking forward to reading your book.
I wrote a post in August