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A Sugary Debate Essay

1087 words - 4 pages

In 2004, at the age of 49, my uncle was diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes, or late onset diabetes. He had been an unhealthy eater much of his life. At the time of his diagnosis, he weighed two-hundred forty-seven pounds. That may not sound like a lot, but at five-foot two-inches tall, he was ninety pounds heavier than average male of his height should be. Although, possible in the future, he was spared from daily injections of insulin. However, his battle with a new enemy was only beginning. In lecturing him on better eating habits, his doctor indirectly blamed sugary foods such as soda for his weight and overall health. Not knowing any better, my uncle took what he was told as grave warning. For the first time, he was forced to change what he eats. His life-long relationship with fast food and casino buffets were over, and in their place came a new and healthier diet. He is not alone, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are over twenty-six million people living with diabetes, seven million of that the CDC believes are undiagnosed cases. For my uncle’s age group, 40-49, the percentage of people with diabetes increased by fifty-five percent between 1990 and 1999. Furthermore, there were over one-million new cases of diagnosed cases for his age group, in 2010. (National Database 1-12). Does eliminating sugar intake and eating fresh foods equate to better health?
Learning to eat differently is no easy task for, especially when someone has eaten the same foods their whole life. It is even harder when the food you are transitioning to is not that appetizing. My uncle was now part of what author Michael Pollan calls the “omnivore’s dilemma.” My uncle knew he needed to eat healthy, but was left with the question “what is healthy?” Pollan describes the dilemma as being a time when “what you eat will inevitably stir anxiety, especially when some of the potential foods on offer are liable to sicken or kill you” (3). The unfortunate part for my uncle is he did not have the ability to take chances with what he ate the way he could before. Exercise and the elimination of processed foods made choosing what to eat easier but not by much.
He discovered that browsing local markets and organic farms provided many benefits. The first was the ability to find foods that were “fresh” and “raw.” These were garden grown foods that were planted in the simplest way, with no chemicals. Water and Sunlight were all they had. He was also able to see what farmers fed their animals In the process of all this activity; he began losing weight, which encouraged him even more. There are things a person can do to “eat more responsibly.” They include growing and preparing their own food, learning where it comes from and dealing directly with the growers they buy from (Berry). That is precisely what my uncle began to do. Although he never ventured into growing his foods, he took the opportunity to become familiar with local growers and...

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