Yesterday I went to the Verve in Bangor, Maine to purchase my uncle Tim a gift card for his birthday. The Verve provides convenience combined with some moderately healthy vegan options. Billed as a healthy alternative, one walks into an upbeat atmosphere filled with walls adorned with local athletes and their storied accomplishments, presumably fueled by burritos. Walk to the counter and they’ll ask if you want white or wheat, fill you a burrito with beans, fajita veggies, and salsa. Maybe you’d like a smoothie with your burrito, but what happens when you ask for that smoothie with no sugar?
The woman working the counter was young and kind. She wanted to accommodate, maybe just to get the line moving, but kept shaking her head no, checking the silk for sugar (which it has) and exerted some subtle pressure to just eat it or shut up. When asked about the possibility of a smoothie without sugar, she looked patiently annoyed. When asked about the possibility of the Verve carrying a relatively healthy smoothie option she was openly dismissive.
On the surface this is perfectly understandable. Likely in the last few hours she herself had consumed some form of sugar causing an opiod response in her brain. Sugar often starts out as a silent killer, subtle in its effects. Many simply notice some snugness of the jeans and an otherwise harmless addiction in its infant stages. Now here comes a customer, causing her grief, an outlier making demands. Sugar has become so prevalent that many that refuse sugar simply don’t eat in public, increasing her perception of sugar avoidance as abnormal.
Why is handing somebody a sugar laden smoothie the norm? The facts regarding sugar are beyond conclusive. It’s been linked to obesity and cancer, rots your teeth, contains zero nutrients, causes insulin-related disease including diabetes and heart disease, AND it’s addictive. Sugar releases huge amounts of dopamine into the blood stream, affecting you in similar ways as highly addictive opiates. Where along this road did this become socially acceptable to trade people’s health and well being to make a buck? It makes one think of
those terrible lemming videos Disney faked. Have a great day and feel free to comment.
P.S. – I don’t dislike the girl working the Verve counter. I simply used her to make a point about the larger problem.
Below is a wonderful TED talk regarding sugar: