Sugar is a sneaky thing. It is hidden in practically every food we eat, disguised behind healthy ingredients or chemically substituted by an alternative, potentially even more dangerous combination to trick our taste buds. I used to be the queen of sugar, and interestingly enough, I was also the queen of diets. Not a correlation by chance if you ask me. In boarding school and college I drank 10-12 cans of diet coke per day, restricted myself severely on food intake, and would secretly splurge on sweets leading me to a cycle of deprivation and guilt.
The other day while at Starbucks, I noticed a college-aged girl out to Saturday brunch with her dad. She had purchased a Naked Green Machine drink ,took one sip, squealed, and then told her dad that it had too much sugar in it for her to eat. A small discussion subsequently ensued entailing his questioning of why she choose the drink in the first place and his loving efforts to convince her that the drink in fact didn’t have too much sugar and that she was just fine how she was.
Their father-daughter conversation struck a heart chord of mine for it reminded me of many conversations that I myself have had in the past with family members of mine during their efforts to help me heal from my eating disorder and to learn how to stop obsessing about food.
While I do believe that we need to read food labels, avoid chemically processed “foods,” and be aware of how much sugar we are actually consuming, it is an easy thing to get obsessive or addicted to. At the end of the day, after my years of dieting (or dying) and obsessing, I much prefer the French model of eating everything in moderation. The French know that in eating small amount of sugar that they won’t crave much more of it, and so they have refined their ability to listen to their body’s needs.
Can you imagine a world without the word “diet” and how much happier of a place that would be?