I’m one of the resident candymen in my office. Many offices have a candyman (or candywoman) who has a bowl of candy on his or her desk to share with other employees. I started bringing candy to work a few years ago to share it with other people as an expression of enthusiasm and camaraderie. Now there are multiple people who share candy at my workplace. I wanted to share candy with others because it had brought so much joy to me. Candy was a big part of my youth, as it was used to signify love and friendship. Unfortunately, I also had childhood obesity and mood problems, which were mostly due to a high intake of sugar and high fructose corn syrup.
I knew very little about nutrition when I was a child, and still not very much even a year ago. I’m frequently learning new things about nutrition and challenging my longstanding assumptions. I used to think sugar was mostly harmless. Then I realized it was bad. Now I realize that it’s absolutely terrible. There are still some studies that show mild health improvements from chocolate consumption. Those benefits are due to the cocoa and not the sugar. Small amounts of dark chocolate may lower high blood pressure and deliver antioxidant benefits, just as small amounts of alcohol may promote longevity. Some people may still be allergic to chocolate, and even small amounts of dark chocolate can still cause problems for some people.
Sucrose and fructose still aren’t benign. These substances have toxic effects. They damage DNA, promote aging, and cause heart disease. That barely scratches the surface. Dr. Robert Lustig’s video presentation on sugar (Sugar: The Bitter Truth) has become an internet phenomenon for good reason. He uses his extensive knowledge of endocrinology to describe the dangers of sugar in detail.
I’m still not sure how to help people taper off. Giving people something for a while (like candy) and then abruptly taking it away is a fast way to generate animosity. I’m open to suggestions regarding the best ways of helping people detox from sugar.