May 082010

Diet is a touchy subject; possibly more controversial than religion or politics. In fact, I think most people are more tolerant of challenges to their faith or voting patterns than they are to their diet. What we eat is a very personal thing. We are particularly protective of our comfort foods.

Food is also the centerpiece of community and family activity. Virtually every social event or holiday focuses on food. Every meeting has its cookie. Sweets are often the high point of any special event or our self-administered personal reward after a long day.

I read William Duffy’s book Sugar Blues back in the 80’s. I tried to give up sugar then but it is so ubiquitous it is very difficult to avoid, especially now that corn fructose syrup appears on every processed food that you can buy. Duffy makes the case that refined sugar is poisonous and addictive. It’s easy to test his thesis scientifically. But to do it, one must give up sugar. Not reduce the amount of sugar you eat, but go cold turkey. Drop it. No chocolate, no cookies, no cakes, no bread with sugar, no soup with sugar, no canned veggies with sugar, no sugar in your coffee. (Reading glasses are required. Check those ingredients. They put sugar in everything).

I’ve gone cold turkey on sugar twice. Once for an entire year when we ate only raw foods. I decided to give up sugar again a month ago after tipping the bathroom scales at a record weight.
Results during my entire year off sugar were great. Weight loss, increased energy, good health. Results after just a month are great: some weight loss, increased energy, more endurance, reduced appetite.

So, how does this relate to Transition and Peak Everything? The argument is that we are going to have to make some drastic changes to cope with energy descent. Having less available petroleum energy means we will need more personal energy.

We will need to be in top shape and good health. We will have to be able to do more work. Giving up sugar is a good practical exercise to determine how equipped you are to make changes. It’s not a very easy thing to do but it’s so practical and the benefits so quickly noticeable that it’s worth running the experiment. Just a month or two of absolutely no sugar, or no foods containing sugar will prove or disprove the Sugar Blues.

Mr. Duffy’s book is a good read; possibly a life changing one. Clearly Americans are sugar addicted and mostly in denial about it. This website gives you the gist of the book in about five minutes of reading.


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