Heroin and the Sugar Added

We have spent too long demanding that doctors fix our pain.

As Americans, too often we’re angered when they don’t – or, more likely, can’t – as if we’re entitled to solutions.

That wouldn’t be so disturbing were it not that at the same time it seems a national malaise that we don’t feel much accountability for our own wellness.

This combination has given rise to the overuse and overprescribing of pain pills. They are the solutions that doctors have for a country that doesn’t (won’t) address its pain in a more holistic way.

But those pills are also the reason why across America we have so much addiction to opiates and to heroin.

I’m a layman, but it’s my understanding that a lot of the pill prescribing is for pain problems that could be better addressed or reduced by better wellness: more exercise, healthier diets, less sitting, more walking, etc.

In that regard, a new National Institute of Health study in the journal Obesity suggests that consuming fewer sugar-added foods and drinks results in very quick changes to a kid’s health. Researchers studied 43 obese children and found that when they replaced foods that had sugar added (sweet teas, pastries, even – who knew? – chicken teriyaki, which is apparently very sugary) with foods with no sugar added, while keeping the calorie consumption the same, the kids’ problems with hypertension, blood sugar, cholesterol improved within 10 days.

The research suggests that calories that come from sugar added to foods are harmful.

All the more reason to cut down substantially on (very unhealthy) sodas, sugary drinks and foods where sugar is added.

Of course, that does not include food in which sugar comes naturally – primarily fruit.

Now we also all need to get up and walk a mile. I’ll go first.

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