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Would you let your kids smoke cigarettes?

Ok, now that I’ve got your attention with that subject line let me explain. You see, Mikah and I were able to rest and recover last week while on vacation and during that time I dove into a new book by Gary Taubes (The Case Against Sugar) wherein he discloses the correlation between our high sugar diet and the obesity trend that is continuing to rise and sweep across our nation.

Here’s the analogy behind the book: Say your child petitioned for permission to smoke a pack of cigarettes a week. Say his or her logic was that a pack a week is better than a pack a day. No dice, right?

O.K., now substitute sugar for cigarettes.

Comparing the dangers of inhaling cigarettes with chowing down on candy bars may sound like false equivalence, but Gary Taubes’ “The Case Against Sugar” will persuade you otherwise. In his book and through his exacerbating research on sugar (and what he calls “Big Sugar”) Taubes concludes one thing… The stuff kills.

Taubes begins with a kick in the teeth. Sugar is not only the root cause of today’s diabetes and obesity epidemics (had these been infectious diseases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would have long ago declared an emergency), but also, according to Taubes, is probably related to heart disease, hypertension, many common cancers and Alzheimer’s.

I’m not going to blow you up with the entire synopsis of this tale against sweets, however if you’re like me, you’ve read this review just as I read Taubes’s book — respectfully interested in the history and the facts, but really wanting to be told how much sugar is too much. Taubes anticipates our self-interest, ending the book with a chapter just for us: “How Little Is Still Too Much?” But like some cryptic oracle, he answers the question with still more questions: How many cigarettes are too many cigarettes? What if the person who smoked a pack a week outlived the person who smoked a pack a day? Would we conclude that inhaling a pack of cigarettes a week is safe?

The problem lies therein is with our society’s eating and excess mindset. While I completely agree with Taubes that “Big Sugar” has much to answer for, just like it is this author’s opinion that “Big Pharma” needs to be held in check too, I unequivocally believe that personal responsibility and accountability must be laid on us as the consumers as well. In an economy driven by supply and demand, if we continue to demand the products that are shown to make us sick and fat, our suppliers will continue to fill their pockets.

Michael

PS. Ready to dive in? Click the link below to grab your copy of Taubes’ book:

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