Starch and sugar

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Starch and sugar

Postby Terry on September 7th, 2015, 7:46 am 

What is the difference between eating a bowl of rice and an equal weight of sugar if the starch in rice is just glucose polymer? If eating too much sugar is unhealthy, do we have to limit our intake of starch too??
Last edited by Terry on September 7th, 2015, 9:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby CanadysPeak on September 7th, 2015, 9:20 am 

Terry » Mon Sep 07, 2015 7:46 am wrote:What is the difference between eating a bowl of rice and an equal weight of sugar if the starch in rice is just gluose polymer? If eating too much sugar is unhealthy, do we have to limit our intake of starch too??


You should limit starches, but the simple partial answer to your question can be seen by taking any five year old kid and giving him/her four tablespoons of rice, then next day four tablespoons of sugar. It's best if you do this in a crowded public place where there's nothing for the kid to do.
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby Terry on September 7th, 2015, 9:40 am 

I can easily take a bowl of rice but I can't bear an equal amount of sugar. Does anyone intrigued by this seemingly trivial question?
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby BioWizard on September 7th, 2015, 11:09 am 

Terry, I'll try to come back later and say more (especially if you have follow up questions), assuming nobody beats me to it. But for a quick answer, starch is a polymer of simple sugars. Your intestines will readily absorb glucose and fructose, but starch will have to be broken down by amylases before it can be absorbed. So the difference is in the speed of absorption, and therefor the peak amount of sugar in your blood stream. Ingesting refined simple sugars will cause a spike in blood glucose, followed by an insulin spike (body trying to counteract the surge of sugar). Since carbs will have to be broken down before the full amount is absorbed, the body has more time to more gently respond to the rise in blood sugar and secrete insulin into the blood stream, thereby initiating the uptake of glucose (by tissues and organs) well before it can peak in the blood, and then keep it from staying too elevated for long. Additionally, when the carbs and sugars are in more wholefood state, they tend to packaged with other components (such as fiber) which can also slow down absorption. The glycemic index tries to account for these two phenomena (peak and duration of elevated blood glucose). Since sustained elevated blood glucose and blood insulin can have adverse health effects, you're advised to avoid eating a lot of refined simple sugars.
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby BioWizard on September 7th, 2015, 11:17 am 

If you know someone diabetic and can lend you their glucose meter (or if you're willing to purchase one - some are relatively cheap), you can do an experiment yourself. Fast overnight, measure your blood glucose in the morning, then eat 50 g of glucose or sucrose and measure your blood glucose every 10 mins until you return to baseline. Then do the same next morning with 50 grams of a complex carb. Put the two graphs next to each other and you'll see that the one for sugar has a very big and narrow peak followed by a sharp drop (this is what causes the rush followed by the crash). The carb should have a much flatter curve.
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby vivian maxine on September 7th, 2015, 11:50 am 

Biowizard put it all well in a nutshell. Just one addition if I may. Nutritionists tell diabetics to watch not the sugar level but the carbohydrates level when trying to keep the total down. Carbohydrates include both sugar and starch. Personally, I watch both. it is an education in itself to see how much sugar is in some processed foods we buy. I forget what I showed my neighbor the other day but it amounted to six teaspoonsful of sugar in a single serving of some beverage I'd bought. A single cookie can show up with two or even three teaspoonsful of sugar.

And P.S. - those starches can add up faster than you'd believe. Yes it is a healthier way to get your carbs but it is also a very fast way to get far too many carbs. I sometimes despair of staying within the recommended limit.

Watch the labels. You'll be amazed. Thank you, Bio for the summary. Always good to review.
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby CanadysPeak on September 7th, 2015, 12:07 pm 

vivian maxine » Mon Sep 07, 2015 11:50 am wrote:Biowizard put it all well in a nutshell. Just one addition if I may. Nutritionists tell diabetics to watch not the sugar level but the carbohydrates level when trying to keep the total down. Carbohydrates include both sugar and starch. Personally, I watch both. it is an education in itself to see how much sugar is in some processed foods we buy. I forget what I showed my neighbor the other day but it amounted to six teaspoonsful of sugar in a single serving of some beverage I'd bought. A single cookie can show up with two or even three teaspoonsful of sugar.

And P.S. - those starches can add up faster than you'd believe. Yes it is a healthier way to get your carbs but it is also a very fast way to get far too many carbs. I sometimes despair of staying within the recommended limit.

Watch the labels. You'll be amazed. Thank you, Bio for the summary. Always good to review.


Generally speaking, you can count 1 sugar cube per ounce of sweetened sodas. 48 cubes equal one cup, so a 32 oz drink has 2/3 a cup of sugar. Pour that out sometime and ask if you'd really eat that.
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby vivian maxine on September 7th, 2015, 12:10 pm 

I gave up Pepsi years ago - not because of the sugar but you are right. It is probably the sweetest cola drink I ever had. Loved it, though! :-)
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby CanadysPeak on September 7th, 2015, 1:36 pm 

I like the sweetness of sugar sometimes, so I keep a 1/4 oz measuring spoon in the sugar bowl. If I want a little sweetness in my coffee, I put one in. Two helpings would seem extreme. It keeps me conscious. I did the same with salt by replacing the salt shaker with a grinder; I have to think about it before using it.
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby BioWizard on September 7th, 2015, 1:46 pm 

Making yourself consciously aware of how much of these substances you're consuming can certainly be a very helpful strategy. Part of the reason people consume incredibly excessive amounts is that they're often "hidden". The acidity of soda hides the fact that it's close to being a sugar syrup. Same with salt. Unforunately, consuming large amounts can also densesitize your taste, creating a vicous cycle that literally addicts you. There will be a "weaning" phase. And it's not easy.
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby vivian maxine on September 7th, 2015, 1:48 pm 

Some people forget that the body - or should I say the mind - does need some sugar. Not as much as most of us get but some. Same with salt. Our cell walls need sodium to hold together. I knew a woman who went to extremes about washing sodium out of all her foods. A can of green beans got a good soaking under running water, for instance. Then she began to feel so totally exhausted. Doctor ran blood tests and told her to put some salt on her food. Her cells were falling apart, he said.

There's a happy medium for everything, isn't there?
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby BioWizard on September 7th, 2015, 1:57 pm 

vivian maxine » 07 Sep 2015 12:48 pm wrote:Some people forget that the body - or should I say the mind - does need some sugar. Not as much as most of us get but some. Same with salt. Our cell walls need sodium to hold together. I knew a woman who went to extremes about washing sodium out of all her foods. A can of green beans got a good soaking under running water, for instance. Then she began to feel so totally exhausted. Doctor ran blood tests and told her to put some salt on her food. Her cells were falling apart, he said.


That's silly.
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby CanadysPeak on September 7th, 2015, 2:53 pm 

BioWizard » Mon Sep 07, 2015 1:46 pm wrote:Making yourself consciously aware of how much of these substances you're consuming can certainly be a very helpful strategy. Part of the reason people consume incredibly excessive amounts is that they're often "hidden". The acidity of soda hides the fact that it's close to being a sugar syrup. Same with salt. Unforunately, consuming large amounts can also densesitize your taste, creating a vicous cycle that literally addicts you. There will be a "weaning" phase. And it's not easy.


Yeah, I feed hummingbirds with homemade "nectar." It's scary how close a soda is to that nectar.
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby Terry on September 8th, 2015, 7:58 am 

For the bulk of our diet is carbohydrate, the uptake of glucose from refined sugar is quickly overwhelmed by that from the digestion of carbohydrate. I just wonder why people care much more about the sugar they take but never worry about the amount of carbohydrate. Isn't it carbohydrate and sugar are ultimately the same thing?
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby vivian maxine on September 8th, 2015, 8:10 am 

Terry » September 8th, 2015, 6:58 am wrote:For the bulk of our diet is carbohydrate, the uptake of glucose from refined sugar is quickly overwhelmed by that from the digestion of carbohydrate. I just wonder why people care much more about the sugar they take but never worry about the amount of carbohydrate. Isn't it carbohydrate and sugar are ultimately the same thing?


Terry, as pointed out earlier, nutritionists do tell us to watch the total carbs, not the sugar. As you say, they are one and the same - the big difference being that sugar is more immediately available. You can test this by observing what a candy bar does for you - how fast it helps overcome extreme tiredness as compared to a potato - to see that. At the same time, it is less wise an antidote because it spikes too fast for the body to handle it.

Nevertheless, as you and the nutritionists say, watch the total carbs. It is recommended that they be between 45% and 65% of our diet.

And, yes, sugars are carbs. So are starches. Carbs are a total of both. That's why we watch that number.
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby BioWizard on September 8th, 2015, 8:18 am 

Terry » 08 Sep 2015 06:58 am wrote:For the bulk of our diet is carbohydrate, the uptake of glucose from refined sugar is quickly overwhelmed by that from the digestion of carbohydrate. I just wonder why people care much more about the sugar they take but never worry about the amount of carbohydrate. Isn't it carbohydrate and sugar are ultimately the same thing?


Terry, did you read my post where I differentiated between the total amount absorbed and the mode of absorption? The difference is in the mode of absorption, not in the total amount absorbed. Or bodies can be affected by both, as I already explained. If anything wasn't clear let me know and I'll try to elaborate.
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby Terry on September 8th, 2015, 8:19 am 

vivian maxine wrote:And, yes, sugars are carbs. So are starches. Carbs are a total of both. That's why we watch that number.

I think so. Thanks Vivian and Bio.
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby CanadysPeak on September 8th, 2015, 11:48 am 

Terry » Tue Sep 08, 2015 7:58 am wrote:For the bulk of our diet is carbohydrate, the uptake of glucose from refined sugar is quickly overwhelmed by that from the digestion of carbohydrate. I just wonder why people care much more about the sugar they take but never worry about the amount of carbohydrate. Isn't it carbohydrate and sugar are ultimately the same thing?


Terry,
People do care about sucrose, for the reasons given, but most of the concern is about fructose, especially high fructose corn syrup. You can see some of this by Googling "fructose risk NIH,"
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby Braininvat on September 9th, 2015, 5:52 pm 

Don't believe any of these killjoys. Sweets are awesome. I eat loads of them at every meal and am very healthy. Belgian waffles with lots of maple syrup and heavy whipped cream for breakfast, a big slab of cherry cheesecake for snack, then pecan pie and a couple chocolate bars for lunch, then a quart of eggnog with brandy for afternoon break, then around five I usually stop running on the treadmill long enough to kill a 2 liter bottle of cola and a selection of pastries, bon bons, hostess fruit pies, peanut butter cups, oreos, snickers bars dipped in cake frosting, then spread the rest of the can of frosting on a casserole filled with layers of jam, custard and jello. Forget all those pious health freaks and their kale-broccoli-tofu sandwiches. Your body will get used to my diet in a week and then you will feel amazing!
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby CanadysPeak on September 9th, 2015, 9:24 pm 

Braininvat » Wed Sep 09, 2015 5:52 pm wrote:Don't believe any of these killjoys. Sweets are awesome. I eat loads of them at every meal and am very healthy. Belgian waffles with lots of maple syrup and heavy whipped cream for breakfast, a big slab of cherry cheesecake for snack, then pecan pie and a couple chocolate bars for lunch, then a quart of eggnog with brandy for afternoon break, then around five I usually stop running on the treadmill long enough to kill a 2 liter bottle of cola and a selection of pastries, bon bons, hostess fruit pies, peanut butter cups, oreos, snickers bars dipped in cake frosting, then spread the rest of the can of frosting on a casserole filled with layers of jam, custard and jello. Forget all those pious health freaks and their kale-broccoli-tofu sandwiches. Your body will get used to my diet in a week and then you will feel amazing!


Sounds like you went up to that state fair in Minot and sampled all their goodies.
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby zetreque on September 10th, 2015, 1:46 am 

I just have to back up Biowizard's post 100%. It was an excellent brief answer. Sugar is no joking matter. I take it very serious. It has cause an incredible amount of suffering and heartbreak in the world. I know first hand.

Out of many books I have read on the topic, here is just some suggested reading I can list easily that specifically deals with sugar.
Sugar and Slaves - Richard Dunn
Sugar Nation - Jeff O'connell
Suicide by Sugar - Nancy Appleton
Sugar Water - Carol Wilcox
Poverty and Obesity - Adam Drewnowski
Pure White and Deadly - John Yudkin

Some of those are more than just health impacts of sugar or breaking down the metabolism of sugar and starches. I heavily researched this for a while which included the creation, rise and evolution of the sugar industry. I even created a timeline tracing it back as far as we can go in documented history. I also assembled and binded my own book on the topic containing a lot of my research. For the cover I recycled a cardboard box that once held sugar. hehe

You should also look up Robert H. Lustig as part of your research. He has put a lot of effort into researching the differences of metabolism of fructose vs glucose. Youtube has a few lectures by him.

You may think it a joke, but some people even argue that we should legalize cocaine because it's not as harmful to society as processed sugar. Sugar is a really interesting topic to research on a deep level both as a health topic and socioeconomic topic. As well as many other topics like culture, and oppression. People don't realize the extent it has shaped the modern world. Some argue (with a very good case) that sugar plantations were the stepping stone to capitalism (which is a very horrid topic in itself) and the industrial age. I could go on all night about it, but I'll leave it at that.

Read Bio's post again. I'll just add to his post that blood sugar levels are very important to maintain correctly and understanding the insulin cycle is extremely important. That's not even the whole story though because as always things can get even more complicated and you can bring up things like the leptin cycle. Good luck :)

PS: In case I wasn't clear, sugar was also behind the majority of slavery in the world and what originally brought slavery and African Americans to the US and beyond (not to leave out South America). Added sugar in human diets didn't exist before slavery, and it's what we owe to the vast majority of slavery in our entire history. Slavery is also what we owe our sugar industry to and rise in population thanks to compact empty calories. When you look at the numbers of the slave trade and sugar shipments around the world from the Caribbean over time, it's mind blowing.
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby wolfhnd on September 10th, 2015, 2:40 am 

International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/76/1/5.full.pdf
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby wolfhnd on September 10th, 2015, 3:32 am 

One of the things that I always find interesting is the assumption that "natural" product are safer than man made ones. A prejudice perhaps responsible for the rejection of GM foods.

LSD is an example of how small the amount of a natural toxin may be required to have significant effects and it was first derived from a relatively harmless fungus.

Here is an example of how food can be contaminated with very small amounts of chemicals with interesting consequences.

Claviceps purpurea, cause of ergotism

"However as recently as 1951, in Pont-St. Esprit, a small town in France, there was an outbreak of the disease. First a bit of background-- in Europe it is the custom to buy fresh bread nearly every day. Much more civilized than our American custom of buying bread with preservatives in it that allow it to last several weeks. In this small town there was only one bakery and everyone bought bread from it. Strange things started happening. People developed a burning sensation in their limbs, began to hallucinate that they could fly, did strange things to their dogs with forks and in general acted weirdly. This outbreak is chronicled in a marvelous (but out of print) book called "The day of St Anthony's Fire" by John Grant Fuller. "

"There have been various attempts to explain those witch trials. None of them are more logical and interesting than the hypothesis of ergot poisoning, caused by Claviceps purpurea. The behavior was not identified as witchcraft until 1691, and this was just the beginning of the problem. Many people were sent to trial and often convicted and imprisoned. By September 1692 twenty men and women had been put to death for their crimes. All of the accused had similar symptoms: manic melancholia, psychosis, delirium, crawling sensations of the skin, vertigo, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea. All of these are symptoms of ergot poisoning, and it is likely that at list the initial hysteria was started by Claviceps purpurea infecting the grains of rye. This was chronicled in an article (Science 192:21-26, 1976) by Linnda R. Caporael called "Ergotism: The Satan Loosed in Salem?" She provides compelling, although circumstantial, evidence that the Salem witch trials coincided with a weather period that would have produced large quantities of ergot on rye, which was grown in the lowlands in that area. Here are some other links to learn more about the Salem Witch trials:"

http://botit.botany.wisc.edu/toms_fungi/oct99.html


One more thing to consider is how complex nutrition is and how small changes in foods may effect people. We all know that some people react to various common foods such as peanuts, see food etc. causing severe illness. What may be safe for one person may not be for other including the way refined sugars and other common foods are processed by individuals. There is anecdotal evidence that some people are sensitive to the tiny amounts of BPA released from plastic bottles while other people are not effected at all. The list of possibly harmful items in our diets is endless and specific to your own system and could not possibly be tested for. Everyone needs to be aware of how their body reacts to various foods and not take other peoples experience as an absolute guide.
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby zetreque on September 10th, 2015, 3:51 am 

wolfhnd: That's why I try to study evolution with diet. Species adapt to niches to thrive. Part of this is in finding a food. If you can eat a food that your competitor can't you have a better shot. There are lots of examples of animals eating foods that are great for them, but toxic to others. I think the koala is a good example if I remember correctly. No diet is perfect because it's a continual evolutionary battle, but take just about any animal off it's normal diet that it evolved to live on and it will suffer. By take, that includes for an animal to migrate to somewhere faster than it evolved to that new environment. We end up with "bottle necks" in evolution at those times.

Humans have jumped out of this evolution with the ability to by far control their environment.
Sugar is "natural" so is "lead". That means nothing. It's also not about being "man made" but about quantity of a substance.

Truth is, humans never consumed as much sugar as they do now. Not even close. Starches might have a case, but not processed sugar. As you point out, we can also process sugar in many different ways to various refinements. Heat it to specific temperatures in candy making. Go back to (I have to look up the years in my time line) it was like 1500 or 1700 and no one anywhere in Europe even knew what sugar was. For any beer drinkers there are even several vocabulary words and sayings we owe to sugar. Beer makers that would "adulterate" their beer with sugar were run out of town... Dammit I hate my memory. I learned so much but I'd have to look all back through my notes to remember specifics. I really didn't want to get into this topic debate. I'll leave you all to it. Again, I suggest researching this topic in depth because it's very interesting about society, science, and health. G'day.

PS: you are very correct that diet is a personal topic. There are good rules of thumb that go for the species as a whole, but a ton of factors go into it from what your mother ate and was exposed to while you were in the womb, to what you have been exposed to growing up to where your ancestors were from and their own small population bottlenecks.

coincidentally, I just ordered this book off of ebay yesterday for <4$ including shipping (sometimes prices are so low on ebay it's unbelievable).
Food and Western Disease: Health and Nutrition from an Evolutionary Perspective - Staffan Lindeberg
http://www.amazon.com/Food-Western-Dise ... 1405197714
I have been watching ebay for about 2-3 years for that book because it's usually listed for 70-120$ and not in my local library but I wanted to buy it if it ever came up cheap.
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby wolfhnd on September 10th, 2015, 4:07 am 

zetreque » Thu Sep 10, 2015 7:51 am wrote: where your ancestors were from and their own small population bottlenecks.


That is an interesting topic I will try and post on as the ability to digest milk is suggested to be an important explanation for some historical patterns.
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby vivian maxine on September 10th, 2015, 7:59 am 

Braininvat » September 9th, 2015, 4:52 pm wrote:Don't believe any of these killjoys. Sweets are awesome. I eat loads of them at every meal and am very healthy. Belgian waffles with lots of maple syrup and heavy whipped cream for breakfast, a big slab of cherry cheesecake for snack, then pecan pie and a couple chocolate bars for lunch, then a quart of eggnog with brandy for afternoon break, then around five I usually stop running on the treadmill long enough to kill a 2 liter bottle of cola and a selection of pastries, bon bons, hostess fruit pies, peanut butter cups, oreos, snickers bars dipped in cake frosting, then spread the rest of the can of frosting on a casserole filled with layers of jam, custard and jello. Forget all those pious health freaks and their kale-broccoli-tofu sandwiches. Your body will get used to my diet in a week and then you will feel amazing!


Isn't there a "don't like" button here? Just kidding. I heartily approve of your diet but, that said, I can only say from experience that it will catch up with you some day. I hope not but I fear it will.

You can do what I do when people protest. Any criticisms (like mine) gets squelched with "the brain needs sugar". And that is a scientific fact. Have a cherry pie flooded with vanilla ice cream for me. :-(
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby Braininvat on September 10th, 2015, 10:01 am 

Haha. And of course I agree that sugar is not healthful - I think the word is out. But...worse than cocaine? I think anti-sugar zealots lose credibility when they say things like that. Also, cotton was a major player in slavery, so it wasn't all the fault of sugar cane.
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby vivian maxine on September 10th, 2015, 10:11 am 

My favorite quote (invented by me): Chocolate is the only food that the FDA has not said causes cancer. So, you eat three Hershey Big Blocks a day and buy lots of Hershey stock.

And, do skip the broccoli, for heaven's sake!!!!!
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby neuro on September 10th, 2015, 2:24 pm 

Braininvat » September 9th, 2015, 10:52 pm wrote:Don't believe any of these killjoys. Sweets are awesome. I eat loads of them at every meal and am very healthy. Belgian waffles with lots of maple syrup and heavy whipped cream for breakfast, a big slab of cherry cheesecake for snack, then pecan pie and a couple chocolate bars for lunch, then a quart of eggnog with brandy for afternoon break, then around five I usually stop running on the treadmill long enough to kill a 2 liter bottle of cola and a selection of pastries, bon bons, hostess fruit pies, peanut butter cups, oreos, snickers bars dipped in cake frosting, then spread the rest of the can of frosting on a casserole filled with layers of jam, custard and jello. Forget all those pious health freaks and their kale-broccoli-tofu sandwiches. Your body will get used to my diet in a week and then you will feel amazing!

BiV, I think I got you once more in a fallacy: don't take association for a causation.

It may be that you eat so much sweets because you're healthy rather than the other way around.

Although I must admit that if you eat a lot of sweets you are going to feel happier and mood certainly does affect health!
For one your immune system works better if you're happy.
And you have lower risk of traumas due to other people hating your bad character.
(although aggressive people often get particularly annoyed by happy people: difficult question to solve!)
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Re: Starch and sugar

Postby BioWizard on September 10th, 2015, 3:09 pm 

neuro » 10 Sep 2015 01:24 pm wrote:
Braininvat » September 9th, 2015, 10:52 pm wrote:Don't believe any of these killjoys. Sweets are awesome. I eat loads of them at every meal and am very healthy. Belgian waffles with lots of maple syrup and heavy whipped cream for breakfast, a big slab of cherry cheesecake for snack, then pecan pie and a couple chocolate bars for lunch, then a quart of eggnog with brandy for afternoon break, then around five I usually stop running on the treadmill long enough to kill a 2 liter bottle of cola and a selection of pastries, bon bons, hostess fruit pies, peanut butter cups, oreos, snickers bars dipped in cake frosting, then spread the rest of the can of frosting on a casserole filled with layers of jam, custard and jello. Forget all those pious health freaks and their kale-broccoli-tofu sandwiches. Your body will get used to my diet in a week and then you will feel amazing!

BiV, I think I got you once more in a fallacy: don't take association for a causation.

It may be that you eat so much sweets because you're healthy rather than the other way around.

Although I must admit that if you eat a lot of sweets you are going to feel happier and mood certainly does affect health!
For one your immune system works better if you're happy.
And you have lower risk of traumas due to other people hating your bad character.
(although aggressive people often get particularly annoyed by happy people: difficult question to solve!)


Also, health "trends" aren't described by individual cases. Imagine if BiV were pre-diabetic, for an extreme example.

Although knowing BiV's wits and humor, I assumed he was just fun-trolling us :]
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