Friday, 25 May 2012

Let Them Eat Crank! (Hey 7-Eleven, Inc. Apples and Bananas Not Slurpees!!!)

Posted 5/25/2012 by Gerald Long, some images by ViewFinder

It's a small thing, to be sure, (only 7.11 ounces) but small things add up to big things, like big people for example. To be fair 7-Eleven, Inc. created “SlurpFree” day to debut its new Slurpee Lite™ Fanta Sugar-Free Mango flavor drinks which will provide its customer base with a healthier alternative to its line of sugar based frozen drinks.

From this blogger's viewpoint however, 7-Eleven can and should do better. Let's look at the big picture:

The key word here is “obesity” which describes a condition hugely different from that of being “overweight”. As any Wii dweeb such as myself can tell you Obesity” is determined by your Body Mass Index (BMI). A BMI of 25-30 means you're overweight. A BMI greater than 30 means you're “obese”.

And if you think these numbers are painful to look at, wait until you see yourself in the mirror after your BMI tops 30.

As the above CDC map shows, rates of obesity and diabetes have increased dramatically since 1994 and have reached epidemic proportions in some parts of the country. Some will argue that this is a matter of “personal responsibility.” I, however, blame large corporations that manufacture and distribute foods that are high in sodium and sugar. Okay, I blame Facebook too. (If only typing on a keyboard or staring into a tiny smart phone were aerobic activities!) And the consequences of obesity are ginormous! Just check out this abstract on “The Medical Consequences of Obesity” from “The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism”:

Obesity is an epidemic disease that threatens to inundate health care resources by increasing the incidence of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and cancer. These effects of obesity result from two factors: the increased mass of adipose tissue and the increased secretion of pathogenetic products from enlarged fat cells. This concept of the pathogenesis of obesity as a disease allows an easy division of disadvantages of obesity into those produced by the mass of fat and those produced by the metabolic effects of fat cells. In the former category are the social disabilities resulting from the stigma associated with obesity, sleep apnea that results in part from increased parapharyngeal fat deposits, and osteoarthritis resulting from the wear and tear on joints from carrying an increased mass of fat. The second category includes the metabolic factors associated with distant effects of products released from enlarged fat cells. The insulin-resistant state that is so common in obesity probably reflects the effects of increased release of fatty acids from fat cells that are then stored in the liver or muscle. When the secretory capacity of the pancreas is overwhelmed by battling insulin resistance, diabetes develops. The strong association of increased fat, especially visceral fat, with diabetes makes this consequence particularly ominous for health care costs. The release of cytokines, particularly IL-6, from the fat cell may stimulate the proinflammatory state that characterizes obesity. The increased secretion of prothrombin activator inhibitor-1 from fat cells may play a role in the procoagulant state of obesity and, along with changes in endothelial function, may be responsible for the increased risk of cardiovascular disease and hypertension. For cancer, the production of estrogens by the enlarged stromal mass plays a role in the risk for breast cancer. Increased cytokine release may play a role in other forms of proliferative growth. The combined effect of these pathogenetic consequences of increased fat stores is an increased risk of shortened life expectancy.” (Emphasis added for the purpose of scaring the $h!t out of you.)

Not only that, but statistics shows being obese is not very patriotic either. (In other words it's not healthy for your country.) An article published in the August 2010 in the Dove Press Journal “Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy” entitled “The economic impact of obesity in the United States” reported:

“Estimated medical costs of obesity are as high as $147 billion a year for 2008, or almost 10% of all medical spending. This is a substantial increase from their 1998 estimate of $78.5 billion a year. The authors attribute the majority of this increase to higher prevalence of overweight. Private payers bear the majority of estimated costs, although public-sector spending is also substantial – Medicare spending would be an estimated 8.5% lower and Medicaid spending 11.8% lower in the absence of obesity. Across all payers, comparison of the obese to healthy-weight individuals shows 2006 medical spending that is 41.5% higher as a result of obesity.” (Emphasis added to piss you off!)

Let's consider this scenario, I'm out on the corner of your nice suburban neighborhood handing out free cocaine samples to the kiddies. Ohhhhhh does this get your blood in a boil? Let me guess, if I was sitting across the table from you asking this question with a big smart ass smile on my face you'd try to slap me silly eh? You'd be abhorred. You'd scream bloody hell at me and tell to get the hell out of your nice burby home and never come back...right? Right.

Inexpensive     -------------       Expensive

I mean, I see your point. After all 28 grams of cocaine will run your kid a cool grand whereas 28 grams of sugar will cost him or her only pennies. I can understand entirely the source of your outrage in these difficult and trying economic times. I'm not a monster after all! But did you know that those wild and wacky researchers at Princeton University have been feeding mice sugar and they report “that sugar-loving mice demonstrate all three criteria of addiction: increased intake, withdrawal, and cravings that lead to relapse.” [Picture] Did you also know that South African Teenagers Smoke HIV Drugs to get high? But I digress, though it is amazing what you find when you set out to research sugar junkies. The article in Discover Magazine “Move Over, Heroin: “SugarAddiction” May Be a Reality” also states:

“Previous work has shown that mice deprived of food for several hours and then allowed to binge on sugar water (with concentrations similar to that of soft drinks) soon developed addictive behaviors. Sugar intake causes the release of dopamine in the brain, a reward chemical. After a month of sugar binging and increased dopamine levels, the rats’ brains developed fewer dopamine receptors and more opioid receptors—changes similar to those observed in mice on cocaine and heroin.”  

Oh my god that is so cool! I'm never buying cocaine! The Discover article goes on to explain:

When their sugar supply was suddenly cut off, the mice exhibited signs of withdrawal, including teeth-chattering, anxiety, and refusing to leaving their tunnels. The latest research showed that when these mice were offered sugar once again, they worked harder to attain it and consumed more than ever.”

Holy Crap!! We have to make this stuff illegal – right after I blow my entire check at the food mart on 20 lb bags of C&H! The Discover article then concludes:

Cookies today, cocaine tomorrow? We hope not, but that leftover Halloween stash could act as a sort of gateway drug, the researchers say. The changes in brain chemistry made the mice more susceptible to other forms of addiction: When the sugar-addicted mice were cut off from their sugar supply, they binged on alcohol instead.”

Now if you are one of those parents who thinks this is all a bunch of hooey then while the local corner drug mart is cranking your kids out on Slurpees you're probably sitting at home so stoned on donuts you probably don't even know who your kids are. Yeah.

This is all a long way of saying it's time for corporations to step up and show some conscience (not “con science”), civic responsibility and good old patriotism. But you have to take that first step. C'mon repeat after me: “My name is "uhhhhh"> and I'm a sugar fiend” Then, get your ass off the sofa, put down the donuts, pick up the phone and get cracking! (No pun intended).  Hurry, before that sugar high wears off!