Monday, March 18, 2013

Many Americans do a Glucose Tolerance Test Every Day

A neighbor of mine, who is pregnant, is going to the doctor soon for her Glucose Tolerance Test --
(this is a test given to detect gestational diabetes --  a sugar solution is given to drink and then blood sugar testing is done to make sure the body is handling the glucose load and clearing it appropriately from the blood.)  It can be kind of a yucky solution -- it's concentrated and you have to drink it fairly quickly -- and typically contains 75gm of glucose.  

It occurred to me that you could get about the same dose by chugging 2 to 2 1/2 cans of a typical
non-diet soda.  Not a problem for many folks -- in fact, skip the cans and go right for the 16 or 20 oz. container.   This helps me understand the attention being paid to 'sugary sodas' and the attempt to limit portion size in some restaurant outlets (aka the New York "Bloomberg soda ban.")  And by the way, the maximum allowed size under this 'ban' (16oz.) is still a pretty damn big cup of soda.

Whether you think this will have any effect at all, or is even worth doing, is up to you.... but it irritates the crap out of me to see a certain conservative starlet waving a Big Gulp at her recent speech and labeling this effort an assault on her freedoms.

Americans are free to kill themselves any way they want.  They are free to live the most unhealthy lifestyle they can come up with --  sit on the couch, drink a couple cases of Mountain Dew and smoke a carton of cigarettes a day -- whatever.    But ask any pharmacist or physician what proportion of their patients' multiple health problems can be linked to simple obesity and you'll see some pretty significant numbers.  I'm so used to seeing people struggle up to the counter in various states of obesity that I really don't  notice it anymore unless I stop to think about it.   The COST of all this treatment  -- drugs, insulin, diabetic testing supplies, diabetic teaching, doctor appointments, lab visits, -- is really staggering.

I know losing weight is tough, and it gets harder the older you get.  Even if the 'soda ban' doesn't hold up at least people may become aware, little by little, of the destructive effects of many of the things we consume.

Disclaimer:  I truly enjoy an ice cold Coca-Cola (NON-diet) every once in awhile.

1 comment:

Ara said...

The ban may well have some effect provided the idea that led to the multiple sizes in the first place is still in effect: it looks much more greedy to order two of a small fast food item than it does to order one large one, regardless of which is objectively more food. It was observing that people wanted more but didn't want to look greedy that led to Ray Kroc introducing a larger size in the first place way back in the first McDonald's franchises.

My standpoint for realizing just how big the giant sizes are is observing that my mother will buy a giant iced tea in the morning and often I will find it in the fridge at home because there's still some left at the end of the workday. And then I couple that behavior with the fact that you can't do that with a giant soda because it goes flat.

What puzzles me is that people seem to take pride in the unhealthiness. I discovered Whole Foods soda a long time ago, and excitedly pointed out to a friend that it had no sodium, no caffeine, no artificial colors, no artificial flavors, and pure cane sugar. The response I got was "Then what's the point?" Sure, it's still not *healthy*, but not only is it better for you, it tastes a lot better. He seemed to think there was no purpose to drinking soda if it wasn't bad for you. (These days I can't digest carbonation anymore, so it's a moot point.)