I missed the original airing of CBS-TV’s Sixty Minutes’ story, “Is Sugar Toxic?,” on Robert Dr. Lustig’s expose naming sugar as a toxin and the cause of America’s national health problems. Because finding the key to successful weight loss and healthy eating and living to be 100 is a personal mission of mine, I haven’t been able to stop watching the segment online. I even watched his original lecture on YouTube, “Sugar—the Bitter Truth,” which lasts an hour and 29 minutes.
I’m not a doctor, Ph.D., or an expert on biochemistry (although his lecture had a lot of fascinating scientific evidence and charts), but it struck me that if he was right, we are all eating way too much sugar and suffering the effects. In the Sixty Minutes segment and lecture he points out that sugar triggers some sort of pleasure indicators in the brain, having a similar effect as drugs would for an addict. The problem is that once you get hooked, you crave more of it. Since sugar gives you a high and then you crash, the more you eat the more resistant you are to its effects and have to eat more and more to get the same euphoric effect.
I don’t know if he’s right or wrong. But if he is right, he may have stumbled upon the reason why so many workplaces are described as “toxic” and bosses and co-workers can change personalities from happy in the morning staff meeting to miserable by 11 a.m. It’s the SUGAR!!! The Krispy Kreme donuts, fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt, fresh orange juice and bagels are making everyone feel happy and jovial and cooperative---for a couple of hours. By 11 a.m. the body is looking for more, and when the Boss crashes and finds someone took the last leftover Cinnabon roll, everyone is in trouble! Brains turn to mush and people start to doze off until they can get their hands on a 20 oz. Big Gulp and burger for lunch.
Curious to see what kinds of toxins (I mean food) were available in the fridge at the office, I did some research of my own. Here’s what I found people had brought in for lunches, snacks and drinks to carry them through the day:
Greek Yogurt with fruit: 19 grams of sugar, 6 oz. serving
Crème Soda: 70 grams of sugar, 8 oz. serving
Lite fruited yogurt: 14 grams of sugar, 6 oz. serving
Canned diced peaches: 12 grams of sugar, 4 oz. serving
Brewed iced tea: 21 grams of sugar, 8 oz. serving
Orange juice: 28 grams of sugar, 8 oz. serving
Cherry Coca-Cola: 70 grams of sugar, 20 oz. serving
Frozen “low fat” Parmesan Chicken meal: 10 grams of sugar
Frozen individual “low fat” Pizza: 6 grams of sugar
Wow! A glass of orange juice and a Greek yogurt totaled 47 grams of sugar. Add a lunch of pizza, glass of crème soda and some diced peaches, and you add another 92! Round that out with a cherry coke and “healthy” lite yogurt for an afternoon snack (84) and your total for the workday is a whopping 223 grams of sugar! The American Heart Association recommends no more than 24 grams for women and 36 grams for men per day. And you haven’t even finished off the day with dinner and dessert!
So the next time your boss complains that you seem like you’re asleep at your desk or made a mistake on the spreadsheet, don’t feel bad. It’s not you; it’s the sugar in the toxic Danish and orange juice you had for breakfast, or the hidden sugar in the hamburger bun, ketchup, mustard and dipping sauce for the McNuggets. It’s not your fault!
Is your sugar-laden breakfast turning you into Frankenstein or Sleeping Beauty at work? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.
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