In case you missed it in the June edition of The Overcast…
Sugar doesn’t just look like crack. It is crack. Or, at least, it’s highly addictive and totally killing us, which is close enough. In fact, we might be better off putting crack on our corn flakes where we can see it, because almost everything we eat is laced with perfectly legal but totally deadly processed sugar.
The biggest junkies of all? Oh, nobody special, just OUR PRECIOUS OFFSPRING. They open their beaks and we throw in the gummy worms. Because every child needs a little love, tenderness, and diabetes.
The scariest part: sugar isn’t just in candy. It’s added to EV-REE-THING: bread, pasta, cereal, sauces, bagels, crackers, even peanut butter. Kids avoid vegetables like the plague and beg for sugar-jacked snacks, like junkies seeking their next hit. They’re not hungry, they’re hooked. And they’ve tricked us into being their dealers, doling out way more than the recommended 4-6 teaspoons of sugar a day.
Our kids naturally crave it, and the world freely caters to (and cashes in on) that craving. Look at yogurt. Max would rather eat turds than plain yogurt, because he has tasted the bliss that is vanilla yogurt, which is basically yogurt chock-full with sugar with a pretty flower on the label. Plain yogurt tastes like socks to him now. And so they stack the shelves with the flavoured stuff, because that’s what our sugar savages want, and that’s what their stupid parents buy.
It’s not hard to see how we got here. More and more packaged foods giving busy families convenient meal solutions – and enough sugar and salt to pickle our pets. Cereal ads during Saturday morning cartoons selling “whole grain oats” but failing to mention that everything else in the box will bury you. (It’s no coincidence Lucky Charms has the word “harm” in it.) The ongoing cupcake craze. The heaps of treats at Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, and everybody’s damn birthday party every damn weekend. WTF GUYS. No wonder our poor kids have severe cases of gotta-get-me-glucose. We’ve been injecting it directly into their veins since they got here.
We’ve created monsters, and frankly we’re too weak to reverse the curse. After a long day, the last thing we want is to argue over some peas. We just want our kids to be happy, and you know what makes them happy? Fucking ice cream. We’re also too exhausted to decipher those nutrition labels. A few quick tips: Most cereals and yogurts should be in the candy aisle. Ketchup is a bottle of sugar, salt and red dye (nice try with the tomato pic, guys.) Juice is basically the bile of Satan. (Even Canada’s Food Guide will soon give juice the axe.) If sugar is in the first four ingredients, keep moving. And just because it’s in the tot food section does not mean it’s good for you.
Many experts agree this generation will not outlive their parents. Dudes, that’s our children’s lives they’re talking about. In case you didn’t quite get that: SUGAR IS KILLING OUR KIDS. So why aren’t we outraged? Why are we patiently waiting for Health Canada to enforce stronger regulations? Why are we still talking about the vaccine/autism bullshit when there’s a REAL crisis happening? My god, if people can get a Playboy bunny to create global panic on the theory that vaccines cause autism, surely we can get someone to start a war against sugar, a crisis that actually exists, based on actual science. Of course, the sugar industry would have us believe the science is flawed, which was also the tobacco industry’s response to lung cancer.
We must tell manufacturers to shag off with the sugar, especially in our kids’ snacks. And make the sugar content clearer and more visible. Frig off with the grams; tell us how many teaspoons of sugar are in there – a measurement we can visualize (FYI, 4 grams = 1 tsp). Tell us how much of that is natural sugar and how much is added, and what percentage of the recommended daily intake it constitutes. And enough with the fancy chemistry too – glucose fructose fucktose – it’s all sugar and you know it.
But c’mon, big brands care about their bottom lines more than our kids. Not even that cuddly old guy from the Quaker Oats ads will save us. We have to make sure our kids’ futures don’t go facedown in the Fruit Loops, even if nobody answers our calls for help. The same way we’d make damn sure our kids got off the crack if we were talking about that instead.