I was flipping through the channels over the weekend and I came across this horrific show called Toddlers and Tiaras. Because I am so generally curious and often an abject glutton for observing the sublime beauty and insanity of people, my flipping thumb froze and there I was watching this thing. The show reveals the world of Beauty Contests for children, ranging in age from a few months old to preteen age. Beside the plethora of social commentary I could make about this ridiculous show and the practical abuse these kids are either committing themselves through horrible behavior or subject to from the parents and whole environment, I will focus on one massively relevant aspect.

Apparently the overindulgence of the environment itself is not enough to lure these children into staying focused long enough to compete on stage, so the parents literally drug these children with one of the most potent and addictive drugs known to humanity. Sugar. Among the organized but confused insanity of the “contest”, children made up like human dolls (a phrase the parents use and are aspiring to) are inhaling garden hose sized tubes of pure crystalline sugar with the speed and efficiency of a Hoover vacuum. It was an intense fervor! Off in the corners, out in the open, laying down, sitting up, on their heads, double-fisted, on camera, off camera, they inhaled the sugar shanks with dilated pupils and a helpless hopeless grin. It was a circus of sugar that would make P.T. Barnum jealous. It was like a Dr. Seuss book where the characters are defying the laws of physics with insane postures and movements. I have never seen anything like it. Or have I…

Sugar is addictive. We are literally programed at a biochemical level to hoard and covet the tastes of fat, salt, and sugar. We are not programed that way because it is a design failure, but based on personal choice we can exploit this programming with massively negative consequences. Sugar, in its pure form, is not something we can easily find in nature, coming in limited amounts generally and always packaged among helpful nutrients. Sugar has been shown to be as addictive as cocaine and other drugs, and it directly influences pleasure centers in the brain. Sugar of course increases the risk for diabetes among other diseases and I posted a recent blog article discussing the association of carbohydrates and cancer risk. The science is very clear about the detriments of sugar and its affects on human physiology. No need to go through all of that here. But there is more to the story.

I revealed a little about my fervor for ice cream in my last post, having both an emotional, intellectual, and inevitable physiological association with it. We are star-crossed lovers who know how to keep a “healthy” distance, however. This is the key. I do not leave ice cream completely because that would be missing the point. I am not militant about it. We must learn to keep our vices and our pains and our joys among us but not of us. We must neither neglect nor worship any emotion or state of being, because the moment we attempt to grasp or control it, it slips away to manifest at some other time, with a different face, but always the same thing. “Mother nature will always be heard”, I say. She will come to you eventually, in a strange emotion, a desire, a movement, a symptom, a disease, or a strong craving for ice cream. It is just up to you to listen…to the whole story, the story behind the story. Delve in. Put a mirror up in front of you. Examine. Think. And be brave. Look into new things about yourself and “add” something new and real versus just taking something away and forsaking it. The more good you add, the more it naturally provides options to your brain and behavior and the rest tends to take care of itself.

But what are the emotions or thoughts that drive us to do the things we should or should not do? Is it simply a physiological addiction? Maybe it is the new scape-goat, “genetics.” Let’s look at that soon.

To Your (New) Health,

Dr. Robinson

ps I would be remiss if I did not mention the Toddlers and Tiaras phenom Hunny Boo Boo and her cocktail of choice Go Go Juice, equal parts of Mountain Dew and Red Bull!