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Excerpt of Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure by Samira Kawash

Excerpt of Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure by Samira Kawash

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Published by scprweb
Excerpted from CANDY: A Century of Panic and Pleasure by Samira Kawash, published in October 2013 by Faber and Faber, Inc., an affiliate of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. Copyright © 2013 by Samira Kawash. All rights reserved.
Excerpted from CANDY: A Century of Panic and Pleasure by Samira Kawash, published in October 2013 by Faber and Faber, Inc., an affiliate of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. Copyright © 2013 by Samira Kawash. All rights reserved.

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Published by: scprweb on Oct 28, 2013
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11/04/2013

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It all started with the Jelly Bean Incident.My daughter was three years old, and she loved jelly beans. Ababy fstul o the brightly colored morsels was just about thebiggest prize she could imagine, and at one tiny gram o sugarper bean, it seemed to me—her caring, reasonably attentivemother—to be a pretty harmless treat. So it was with the best o intentions that we decided one day to bring some jelly beans toshare or her playdate at Noah’s house.Noah’s mom, Laura, stocked their pantry with normal kidstu—Popsicles and juice boxes and eddy Grahams—so I didn’tthink much about oering the jelly beans. But Laura seemedtaken aback: “Well, he’s never really had that beore . . . I supposeit couldn’t hurt.” Couldn’t hurt? Could she really believe I was harming my child, and threatening to harm hers, by holding out a ew tiny pieces o candy? But greater condemnation was to ollow. Herhusband, Gary, had been listening to the exchange and with adark glare in my direction he hissed at Laura, “Oh, so I guessyou’ll start giving him crack now too?”
1
Evil or Just Misunderstood?
 
4 Candy
He might as well have shouted in my ace, “Bad mother!” Iwas stunned—it was just a ew jelly beans, aer all.I had already promised my daughter she could have somecandy—and to be honest, I like jelly beans too—so we snuck outto the patio to enjoy our illicit treat. As we ate, though, I couldn’thelp but think,
What i I’m wrong? 
Candy is certainly not a“healthy” snack. But there I was, letting my three-year-old eatthe jelly beans, encouraging her, even. My own mother wouldn’thave let me have them, that’s or sure—my childhood home wasa no-candy zone. Maybe I
was
a bad mother.Tis moment was when I frst started paying attention tocandy, and especially to the ways people talk about eating or noteating it. Just about everyone agrees that candy is a “junk ood”devoid o real nutrition, a source o “empty calories” that ruinyour appetite or better things like apples and chicken. But empty calories alone couldn’t account or a reaction like Gary’s, whichmade it seem like it was just a skip and a hop rom the innocenceo Pixy Stix to the dangerous and criminal world o street junkies.And it isn’t just Gary who sees candy as some kind o juvenile vice. Once I started paying attention, I noticed that a lot o storiesout there suggested disturbing connections between candy andcontrolled substances. In 2009,
Te Wall Street Journal 
broke thenews that middle school kids were reaking out their parents by inhaling and snorting the dust rom Smarties candies; Youube“how to” videos were all the rage or a ew months.
1
Even moreworrisome were exposés in 2010 on Detroit tele vision stationsabout proto-alcoholic teens sneaking “drunken gummy bears”into homerooms and movie theaters.
2
And it can’t be an accidentthat “rock” can be either candy or crack; “candy” was used as aeuphemism or cocaine as early as 1931.
3
In the spring o 2012,actor Bryan Cranston oered talk-show host David Letterman ataste o “blue meth,” the superpotent methamphetamine thatdrives the action in the AMC hit drama
Breaking Bad 
. It wasn’t
 
Evil or Just Misunderstood? 5
real methamphetamine, o course, just a sugar prop, but candy maker Debbie Hall, who created the V version, quickly startedselling the ice-blue rocks in little drug baggies to ans at herAlbuquerque shop the Candy Lady.
4
Halls creation is just a novelty gag, but there are some peoplewho think that the sugar it’s made rom is as harmul as the methit’s imitating. Addiction researchers warn that the tasty plea-sures o candy, cakes, potato chips, and the rest o the sweet, atty indulgences we ondly know as “junk ood” light up the samebrain receptors as heroin and cocaine. A team at Yale showed pic-tures o ice cream to women with symptoms o “ood addiction”and ound that their brains resembled the brains o heroin ad-dicts looking at drug paraphernalia.
5
Te idea o ood addictionhas become part o the national anti-obesity conversation; evenKathleen Sebelius, U.S. secretary o health and human ser vices,announced in May 2012 that or some people, obesity is the re-sult o “an addiction like smoking.”
6
Te belie that craving a sugar fx is the same thing as jonesingor a hit o something stronger depends in large part on one’s def-nition o “addiction.” Representatives o the ood industry tend toavor a more narrow designation. A study unded by the WorldSugar Research Organization concluded in 2010 that although humans defnitely like to eat sugar, the way we eat it doesn’tstrictly qualiy as addiction.
7
On the other hand, Dr. Nora D.Volkow o the National Institute on Drug Abuse warns that “pro-cessed sugar in certain individuals can produce . . . compulsivepatterns o intake.”
8
Compulsion isn’t quite addiction, but thereare even more alarming reports o research at Princeton and theUniversity o Florida, where “sugar-binging rats show signs o opiatelike withdrawal when their sugar is taken awayincludingchattering teeth, tremoring orepaws and the shakes.”
9
Rats pliedwith a atty processed diet o Ho Hos, cheesecake, bacon, andsausage at the Scripps Institute didn’t do too well either; the rats

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