Q: I think that I am the world’s worst sweet tooth. Walking past a doughnut shop is almost impossible for me and when I give in to my whims and duck into it, I emerge with the biggest and gaudiest piece of pastry you could ever well imagine.
I have not yet hit the obesity scale but I am really overweight and my physician is warning me that I may have crossed the magic line, putting me at risk for cardiovascular problems.
I know the problem: it is my sweet tooth. But I don’t know how to get rid of it.
Do you have any suggestions for me that will help me obliterate the magnetic icon behind which is hiding my sweet tooth?
A: As you know I am not a nutritionist. I cannot advise you on what or what not you might include in your daily diet. Your health district has a lot of good information directing you to both appropriate and appealing nutrition. You should have a chat with someone in that office.
But I can talk about your sweet tooth. What you need to realize is that your sweet tooth is part and parcel of your evolutionary survival mechanism. You need that tooth.
Years and years ago, when our ancestors were sharing banana bunches with rhesus monkeys they needed to indulge in whatever it was that fresh fruit and vegetables had to offer them.
Compared to whatever else was included in their diets such as meat from the kill or eggs yet to be hatched, fresh fruits tasted sweet.
At least that is what our ancestors thought and it was there that their sweet teeth directed them.
In that sense it was good and the sweet tooth added to the probability that our ancestors would live one day to the next. But the sweetness was also like an addiction, and just like all addictions, the more you get, the more you need, and the more you need, the more you intensify the verbosity of the sweet to be enjoyed. What could be sweeter than a fresh doughnut glazed in powdered sugar, and what could be further away from the nutritional value of a fresh grape than a fresh doughnut glazed in powdered sugar.
You are not going to lose weight by decimating your sweet tooth. But you might get out of that cardio danger zone in which your body is hovering by replacing doughnuts with grapes and apples and bananas and whatever else your nutritionist is going to advise you.
Let’s not kid ourselves. It is not that easy. A simple little grape pales by comparison to the hit you get from a doughnut glazed in powdered sugar but if you stick with it, over time, the grape will ultimately emerge as the favoured target for your sweet tooth.
I can only imagine the celebration when you get onto a better target for your sweet tooth and those extra pounds start slipping away from your waistline.
Jacklin Andrews is a family counsellor from Saskatchewan. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.