With non-communicable illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes growing in lethality so much so that they have become the top killers of humans in America, it is important to examine one of the key causes: sugar. I often argue that urban decay extends far beyond infrastructure and other forms of structural failure, and can begin within the people. Their attitudes and their health are two factors that lead to the inside out rotting of cities. These factors are how cities lose spirit, and become ugly, depressing cesspools of organic matter, rather than soulful homes.
Recently, Samantha Childs’s (Nutritious America) article titled “Sugar is Not Food, it is a Highly Addictive Drug” was published for Diets in Review. Beginning the article, she begins by explaining the seriousness of powdered sugar by comparing it cocaine. She writes, “It’s most common form is as a white powder. In the 1300’s it was recognized as a potent drug and handled under lock and key by apothecaries. It’s original name, bestowed by the French, is crack” (Childs). However, crystalline sugar is nothing we know of as a drug today. Yet, it should be.
When reading these characteristics and traits, what is the first thing that comes to mind? According to Childs, there is a loss of control, a continued use despite adverse consequences, withdrawal symptoms, and a high relapse rate. In addition, it can lead to sugar rushes, cavities, headaches, irritability, poor health, addiction, and it may also increase one’s chances of diabetes and heart disease (Childs). Given this sort of description, does this sound like something children and adults alike should be shoveling into their mouths in massive quantities? New York Times Magazine writer Gary Taubes has stated that “It’s not about the calories. It has nothing to do with the calories. It’s a poison by itself.”
Like with any other drug, an examination of impoverished areas shows that a heavy sugar reliance is common. For example, customers cannot even venture to McDonald’s restaurants and choose to buy an apple without its slices being coated in a sugar glaze.
This sort of scene is common in areas in and around the Rust Belt, as well as other poverty-stricken and financially devastated areas. Thanks to “tough times,” people turn to sugary foods to supplement their diets, and said foods destroy the people in return. In combination with depression and its negative effects on people’s waistlines, what results is a thick population, left saddened over their poor self image and their bleak environments.
Once more, like any drug, the process of addiction is the same. Sugary foods give the person ingesting them a short term rise in attitude, for sure, but the ever lessening rush leads to a heightening abuse of the chemical. Once the addict hits the point where sugar does not have a noticeable effect, they must maintain their diet for fear of withdrawal symptoms. The gravitational pull is complete, and the black hole has trapped yet another victim.