Letters to the Editor

Sugar doesn't poison...

Monday, December 11, 2017

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Dear Editor,

The attempts to make Jamaicans more health conscious about what we consume in food and drink, as seen in the print and televised media ads, are well intentioned, but seem unbalanced and can be possibly deleterious to one's overall well-being, if not followed carefully.

These ads, which convert the amount of sugar in selected foods and drinks to its teaspoonful equivalent, are biased, in that they ignore the nutritional value of sugar, the total nutritional value of the “sweetened” product and, importantly, the need for professional medical advice on an individualised basis.

Sugar(s), being a human's quickest and most direct source of energy, gives it significance in the short- to long-term evolution of our physiologies, as in how we adapt to our physical, economic or psycho-social environment. Our need for this important nutrient may vary from one person to the other, as well as from one moment to the other, that there is no minimum or maximum daily intake that is suggested for it.

Furthermore, the human body prizes sugar so much that even when the body is exposed to too much of it, the guts will actively absorb it into the blood stream.

Sugar had found its way even to be a food only had by the royal family and aristocrats in Britain in the 19th century and one needs only to ponder why children like it so much.

Although there's no denying that obesity is a murderer, and that excessive consumption of sugar is one of the most proven means to becoming obese, we must never forget that sugar is not a poison. On the contrary, it effectively provides the energy which every single physiological process in our bodies requires, whether routine or non-routine.

So when a child is restless or experiencing insomnia, or has unexplained ruptures of the skin, or has poor bowel action, or poor concentration, or pains such as headaches, we need to, among other things, consider inappropriate or insufficient consumption of sugar-containing foods.

In these demanding times, with all the stresses and deaths, and all that goes on in-between, we need to treat our bodies as royalty, and not deprive them of sugar and, more importantly, exercise. So let's eat it, drink it and move it!

Andre O Sheppy

Norwood, St James





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