Sugar High

There is a great line from the legendary sitcom Cheers, where Ted Danson is chiding Kirstie Alley for the way she devoured some kind of dessert: “A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.”

That sugar is irresistible, addictive, and impacts the brain like a drug has again been confirmed for me after a couple weeks at Spain’s tourist attractions. I have found sugar here in the most incongruous of places, but obviously there must be customer demand.

Some examples:

  • As you finish up a hot and sweaty tour of the home stadium for the FC Barcelona soccer team, you’ll pass a snack bar deep inside the stadium selling three-inch tall pieces of chocolate cake.
  • After viewing some interesting fish at L’Aquàrium de Barcelona, you can reach the exit only by walking past a broad selection of gelato.
  • In Madrid, the collection of confections available in the cafeteria of the Prado art museum rivals the quality of the artwork itself.

A few bites of any of this stuff causes me stomach pain for days. I ordered a gelato at a famous heladería in Barcelona, but the aftermath wasn’t worth it. For me, it’s a moment on the lips, several days to take a shit.

I can only imagine how people who regularly eat this way must feel.          

This experience supports my theory about why people ignore their health—they don’t know what it feels like to be healthy. Quoting myself:

People have been (deliberately) misinformed about everything from nutrition to exercise to blue light exposure, and as a result, their only frame of reference is feeling like crap. The vast majority of people have never experienced the kind of existence that’s possible so they have no incentive to change.

One silver lining to all this is that the vending machine at the Barcelona stadium was still filled with soda and juice while the water was sold out. Maybe long term, pain can be a great teacher after all.

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