In a recent post, I discussed the history of sugar and how over-consumption of the sweet, white substance can lead to disease and may even help promote cancer cell growth. Many people commented…it was a hot topic. The comments that I thought were the most intriguing, were when people argued that sugar is perfectly fine for us and that it can’t possibly be a factor in disease or cancer. They specifically pointed to the fact that if sugar consumption was so much lower in the 1800s, but so was life expectancy, that the higher rates of sugar consumption today, obviously have very little impact on our health…after all, our life expectancy is almost double of that in the late 1800s. Their point: Eat up.
Really. Come on people…I’m all for logic, but this argument has a major hole in it: Life expectancy was much lower in the late 1800s because of the fact that health care was nothing of what it is today, NOT because people ate less sugar. For instance: Although there was documentation of cancer’s existence all the way back to 1600 B.C. in ancient Egypt, it was only in the mid to late 20th century that we started to see real, longer-term and effective treatment that could help extend our lives.* Conclusion? We can thank advances in medicine for our higher life expectancy.
Medicine is wonderful…in many ways. It allows us to address health issues early enough so that we can prolong our lives in a healthier way. It allows us to treat disease that may prevent our ability to live a full life. It can give us a second chance. At the same time, however, medicine enables people to take less care of themselves because it can come in and kick disease in the _ss. It is capable of swooping in and correcting a lifetime of bad lifestyle choices. And, it allows people to abuse their bodies with drugs, alcohol, excessive eating, you name it, because it can come in and ‘fix’ them.
This is when I have issues. Medicine should be a way to help people live a longer, higher quality of life. It should not be a safety net, or for that matter, an excuse to allow people to treat themselves poorly. The latter suggests that many people take the privilege of having good health care and medical attention for granted…and not only abuse their own bodies, but end up abusing the medical system as well.
What do you think? Do you think quality medicine and research has given people the excuse to make unhealthy choices in their lifestyle?
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- Overcoming Disease through Exercise and Diet
- 8 Shocking Facts about Sugar