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Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Goose is Fat


A One Act Almost Christmas Play

Scene: The reception area of a small hotel in Antigua.

Jonathan: Here comes Santa Claus.

Mizpah: You shouldn’t mock Joseph. He is doing a fine job. He is a good chef.

Jonathan: I cannot understand why men can’t cook at home and all the top chefs in all the hotels are men.

Joseph: It’s not that men can’t cook at home. Their mother and women spoil them; like you.

Jonathan: Always remember this: I refused the job that you have.

Mizpah: Women do not get the top chef’s job because of gender discrimination, and talk about women’s domestic life. From now on, any more advice from me about food will cost you two.

Jonathan: You should have applied for the chef’s job. What new advice do you have for Christmas?

Mizpah: I am looking at what is cooked and how it is cooked in this hotel compared to what is cooked outside because I want to understand why there is an epidemic of obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease just outside this hotel’s door. Food is killing us.

Jonathan: Inside the hotel too. Some tourists are so big and fat, they can’t pass through the doors.

Joseph: That’s the reason for the downturn. Some tourists are so fat they can’t enter this small country.

Jonathan: Too much fat, too much salt, too much meat, too much booze.

Mizpah: It’s the sugar, baby. Too much sugar.

Jonathan: Well tell me this, Miss Mizpah: If too much sugar is bad, how can plenty of fruits be good?

Mizpah: A really good man would understand why. In a nutshell (and nuts are good for you too), all of something, or someone, might be good for you but concentrations of some of the parts might kill you.

Joseph: There is coded message there but let’s stick to real sugar, not imaginary ones.

Mizpah: All sugars are not equal. Table sugar is sucrose. Sucrose itself is made from two other types of sugars: glucose and fructose. The key sources of fructose are fruits, vegetables, and honey. Fructose is the sweetest of all naturally occurring carbohydrates. It is about 1.73 times sweeter than sucrose, the common table sugar. Excess of any sugar is bad but excess fructose is so bad, it’s almost like a poison.

Jonathan: So, again, why are fruits, containing fructose, the sweetest of all natural sugars, so good, and sugars, including fructose, are so bad?

Joseph: I suspect we need another lesson in biochemistry.

Mizpah: Simply put, glucose is used by all cells of the body for energy and some of it is changed into fat or stored as glycogen in the liver. However, fructose is not used by any part of the body except the liver, where it is changed into fat and some other bad things.

Joseph: It’s complicated. Glucose causes insulin to decrease appetite. Fructose increases appetite. But excess glucose and excess insulin can also increase appetite. Too much of any sugar is bad.

Jonathan: Too much of anything. What is all the fuss about high fructose corn syrup?

Mizpah: High fructose corn syrup is in almost everything, from baby foods to soft drinks. It’s cheap and it is a good preservative for processed foods. But it’s not just high fructose corn syrup, since it actually has in fructose and glucose, almost like sucrose, the table sugar. It’s that we are using too much sugar.

Jonathan: I hear that fructose is almost like alcohol.

Mizpah: The liver handles them almost the same way, just that you don’t get a buzz from fructose.
Joseph: The way some children drink soft drinks you would think they get the buzz and are addicted to the fructose. Plus, fructose opens their appetite.

Mizpah: It’s not just soft drinks. Almost all sugary drinks, including fruit drinks, have added sugars.

Jonathan: So, again, why are fruits so good and the fructose in them is so bad?

Mizpah: You must eat the entire, natural fruit. When the fiber from the fruit is in your gut, it cuts down on the amount of fructose you absorb from your gut into your bloodstream and body.

Jonathan: So what happens to the remaining fructose in the gut?
Joseph: The bacteria in the gut act on it and change it into gas.

Mizpah: You have to know how and when to take your fructose or any kind of sugar. Take it in high doses in drinks and you get fat. Eat wholesome fruits and vegetables so that the fiber decreases the absorption of fructose. Be moderate. Eat too much fiber and sugar and you will make plenty gas and fart. That is why Dr. Robert H. Lustig, said that when God made the poison, fructose, it was packaged with the antidote, fiber. Fiber, unlike fructose, suppresses appetite. But again too much fiber with too much sugar will make you fart.

Joseph: Excess sugar makes you fat or fart. Stop drinking all those soft drinks and all those fruit juices too.

Jonathan: So I should eat an entire orange or local fruits, fiber and all, and drink water, for Christmas.

Mizpah: All the time. Eat properly or repair you body from fatness or excessive farting. Reparations again.

Jonathan: Why does everything with you always lead to reparations?
Joseph: Yes Mizpah, you pushing reparations too far. Reparations and food?

Mizpah: Food is all about choice and control. You have to look back and see the good, natural foods we used to eat in Africa before the European arrived, mainly vegetables and grains; very little meat, used mostly for flavouring. We had to change our diet by adding large amounts of salt, sugar and fat to make the junk food we ate during slavery more palatable for all the energy we had to put out. After slavery, some of us are trying to get back to good, natural foods, like the nutritious one-pot meal; like pepperpot.

Joseph: But the salt, sugar and fat remain along with salted pig tail, salted beef and salted fish.

Mizpah: Precisely. Until we refocus on our journey from Africa to here, how we survived, and regain control of our food, we are dead. Reparations are lined to food. Reparations will assist us at arriving at food security. We would eat more of our natural foods, stop importing so much junk, so much processed food with high fructose corn syrup, and stop financing the rich countries. The goose in not getting fat. It is fat.

Jonathan: The next thing I will hear about is reparations and Christmas.

Mizpah: Christmas, the celebration of the coming of Christ, not the comical, commercial celebration we practice, is all about reparations. But that is another story. I wish you a healthier 2010.

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