Child and Candy

How do we reward our children and each other? Unfortunately we often do so with lollies chock full of sugar.

An image that won’t go away, even if I might wish that it would: a young boy, possibly 10 years of age, standing in the Kaitaia Hospital car park. A boy so fat his body jiggles like jelly. In his hand the possible cause of his obesity, a large plastic bottle of fizzy drink in one of those unnatural colours; a bottle containing upwards of 15 teaspoons of sugar.

I was heartened to read in a recent copy of The Northland Age of an initiative to exclude sweetened drinks from health facilities in the North.

Former New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg, one of the world’s richest men and arguably one of its most powerful, actually attempted to have fizzy drinks banned from his entire city. He saw the evidence of just how dangerous they are to the health and wellbeing of his constituents. But corporate interests were too difficult to overcome even for a man of Mayor Bloomberg’s stature and the idea went as flat as an uncovered fizzy drink..

One can hardly pick up a magazine the last while that doesn’t feature sugar in some way: how to kick the sugar habit, sugar and obesity, sugar and the diabetes epidemic, sugar the silent killer . . . .

How does sugar contribute to obesity?

One, fructose causes insulin resistance and raises insulin levels in the body, which increases the deposition of fat in the fat cells.

Two, fructose causes resistance to a hormone called leptin, which makes the brain not “see” that the fat cells are full of fat. This leads to increased food intake and decreased fat burning.

And three, fructose does not make you feel satiated after meals. It does not lower levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and it doesn’t reduce blood flow in the centers of the brain that control appetite. This increases overall food intake.

The average New Zealander consumes 64 kilograms of sugar annually. That equates to 37 teaspoons per day. No wonder New Zealand is the fourth most obese nation in the world with diabetes at epidemic levels.

Did you know that refined sugar was the drug of choice for royalty when it was first brought to Europe from West Indian plantations?

Did you know that ordinary white sugar is to sugar cane what heroine is to the opium poppy? They are both equally processed.. They are both highly refined drugs that play havoc on the human organism. One is an illegal drug and the other is so common we hardly think about it.

I’m asking you to think about it and how you use it and share it. Perhaps it’s time to consider other more wholesome ways to reward our children and each other.

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives andBeyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See And In Search of Simplicty is now available as an eBook here.

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit:

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101