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I Eat Sugar, They Eat Sugar, Why Can't You?

The polite brush-off answer: because I'm not you or them.

Answers that require more thought:

Metabolism doesn't improve with age. I could eat crap, or have nothing but a bun or soda for lunch, when I was nineteen and it didn't bother me. Much. Most people that age can say the same. Now that I'm 44, I usually can't fast and more than a little carb makes me tired and hungry and gives me a stomach ache. A high-nutrient, low-carb diet and three meals/snacks a day is my way of dealing with it.

Genes. I'm from a family full of diabetes and hypoglycemia and used to have most of the symptoms of hypoglycemia listed in Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution. Expecting someone like me to do well on a "balanced diet" (i.e., lots of starch, little meat) of three meals a day is like putting gasoline in a diesel truck and wondering what's wrong.

Natural and Artificial Selection. Richard Dawkins has written about animal species undergoing natural selection within a few generations of living in new conditions. Why would humans be different? In isolated places where a high-carb diet is all that's available, people who can't tolerate such a diet from a young age are winnowed out.

Culture. If you're hunting antelope or digging up and carrying thirty pounds of roots all day, every day, like the Hadza (see Catching Fire by Richard Wrangham), you can probably get away with more starch and sugar in your diet than a suburban desk jockey. If you have to walk half a mile to the train station, pay dearly for food, and pack groceries and everything else up three flights of stairs to an expensive little apartment, you can probably get away with more Big Gulps than a New Jersey housewife, and might not be eating as much food.

Some people care more than others. Yes, I know diabetics who eat "normally" and enjoy crap in "moderation." They don't have any tricks--they're covering the carbs with medication, burning some excess blood sugar off with exercise, or having high blood sugar. Some of us know people who get drunk every night but go to work every morning. But just because you can doesn't mean you should.

Comments

tess said…
ALL very good responses (depending upon the recipient)! One more that occurs to me more and more as time goes by: i just don't LIKE it anymore! Other people's treats are usually not TREATS to those of us who use butter and cream and good-quality chocolate.
Lori Miller said…
Sad to say, I'd be face down in the chocolate cake if I could get away with it. But I never even think about Coke anymore (quit twice in 2007) and never liked most pastries that much. A lot of what passes for candy is just gross.
Anonymous said…
I've learned over the years to never discuss diet with anyone! A response that will shut most people up is 'it gives me gas'.
Which is actually true anyway.
(TMI?)
Lori Miller said…
Ha! At least you're warning them.

Too much carb gives my dog enough gas to wake me up.
I find now that if I do eat more carbs than normal the result can be a bad head and feeling grotty, I can do without it.

All the best Jan
Lori Miller said…
And yet some people call carbage "fun food." Too much of it is about as much fun as an endoscopy in my book.
Galina L. said…
Conveniently for explanations purposes, I have migraines as an excuse for my sometimes socially awkward diet. I indeed feel wrong in my head after eating sugar or even "safe starches".
Lori Miller said…
Suffering with a migraine is a high price to pay for following the crowd.

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