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Teen Essay: Salt, sugar, fat and the wrath of food addiction

  • (Akron Beacon Journal)

Nothing is more American than apple pie — or, for that matter, one can say that nothing is more American than baked goods, candy, soda and other such sweets. In fact, it seems that every birthday, holiday, and special occasion is adorned with a homemade cake or a plate of cookies.

Yes, Americans have a special place in their heart for sugar, but sugar — as sweet as it may seem — is poisoning our bodies.

Western culture has come to associate sugar with love. We take medicine with a spoonful of sugar and cure heartache with a tub of ice cream. Although grandma’s double chocolate chip cookies arouse a sense of warmth and nostalgia, the excessive consumption of such treats has led to an epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and possibly other ailments such as hypertension and some cancers, in America.

Much of our unbalanced diet is due to muddled facts and misinformation surrounding sugar and general health. Despite popular belief, a calorie is not just a calorie.

For instance, consuming 1,000 calories worth of sugar- filled chocolate would have a much worse effect on your body than consuming 1,000 calories worth of glucose-rich potatoes.

The difference, although both products contain sugar, is in the metabolization. While glucose is metabolized throughout the body, fructose is metabolized primarily in the liver. Thus, ingesting the chocolate would create much more work for your liver than the potatoes. What’s more, as sugar is consumed at a faster rate, the toll on the liver increases, so liquids — primarily the sweetheart of American beverages, soda — are especially destructive to the liver and the body in general.

Companies have learned to disguise refined sugar with names like sucrose, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, natural cane sugar — the list goes on — but the fact of the matter is that all these sugars are equally harmful and all will produce relatively the same physiological effects on the body.

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