Sweets prove challenging to give up

December 12, 2019


Vanya Arakelian

Clark offers many reduced fat and baked chips, as well as whole grain rice krispies.

“There is no way that you could be able to do that. If I couldn’t do it, there is no way that you could,” said freshman Nyra Tatoulian when I told her about my newest endeavour to avoid sweets for a week. 

Having a huge sweet tooth makes it very hard to resist any type of sweet. From cheesecakes to chocolates, sweets are my ultimate kryptonite. Upon realizing the amount of sugar I consume on a daily basis, especially on my volleyball game days, I realized I needed a break from all sweets. Stepping away from the strong desire within me, last month I challenged myself to avoid any kind of sweets whether candy, chocolates or Krispy Kreme donuts. 

On the first day, I almost ate a Krispy Kreme donut. The sweet, shiny glaze made me salivate and confirmed my suspicions that this challenge was going to be a lot harder than I originally thought it was going to be. It was a heartbreaking attempt to avoid eating the donuts I knew I had a weakness for.

The fluffy, soft, warm donut takes me back to my childhood. That week was honestly very hard for me because of my sweet tooth, but I managed to avoid the sweetest of caramels. However, it might have been for the best. 

Being accustomed to a chocolate bar, or a few peach rings when coming home, or for dessert after dinner, my sugar consumption could be reduced. In a week, my sweet tooth was put to the test, but I know that getting used to less sugar builds up to healthier habits in the future. 

“Teens find sweets as their go-to. It is easily accessible, so they tend to consume so much without control,” said Nora Witt, a certified nurse practitioner in Orange County for 19 years. 

Witt said that teens consume so much sugar because it makes them feel good, it is easily accessible, and it seems to provide energy. 

According to Witt, too much of the same stimulation overproduces insulin and hurts the body. However, chronic consumption of high amounts of sugar clogs the arteries and eventually leads to high blood pressure. 

Witt said that even though sugar consumption in teens has to be chronic for it to become problematic, the consumption has to start from somewhere, and starting early builds good habits.  

Today, the average American consumes a total of 152 pounds of sugar per year. That is equivalent to three pounds of sugar per week. Teens, however, consume 57 pounds of sugar each year. 

Due to the federal law that was passed in 2007, public middle and high schools are allowed to serve snacks that contain up to 35 percent of their calories from fat as well as from sugar. This same calorie count affected lunch items as well. Prior to the law, schools were able to sell soft drinks in their vending machines.   

I have seen some of the negative effects in my physical education class, especially my classes that are after snack and lunch,” said Steve Frazier, a first-year physical education teacher at Clark.  

Frazier said that after loading up on a bunch of sugar, his students’ performance decreases as their stomach starts to cramp as they exercise and have a lot of energy at the beginning, making it hard for them to focus and they crash towards the end of the class, no longer having the same energy to participate. 

At the end of the day, I think we need to do better as educators, guardians, coaches, parents and community members at educating the youth on the negative effects that last a lifetime of eating unhealthy and provide them with healthier choices,” Frazier said.

Nowadays, California students will find healthier alternatives in their vending machines such as baked chips and whole grain rice krispies. A vending machine in New York sells a healthier alternative: baby carrots instead of chips. 

Being one of the California students who were being affected by the ban, it did not really matter to me. I like the baked chips more than the normal chips anyway. 

It was truly hard to resist sweets for a week, but weirdly enough it eventually felt good. 

As I got accustomed to avoiding sweets and turning the other way from those sugary temptations, I realized that skipping desserts or anything with sugar could be a doable thing. I was proud of myself for having willpower to avoid sweets for that week and I understand how hard it is for anyone to try to avoid sweets for an even longer period of time. However, I cannot imagine going for a much longer period of time without the sweets I crave. 

On the other hand, various people both in my family and friend group tried to break me because they didn’t understand why people should cut down on sweets. My mother had a very different reaction to the challenge. “I was very impressed  because she loves sweets, and it is often hard for her to resist them,” she said. She was very proud and impressed that I did not give in to my temptations. It also showed my will power. 

My dad, however, tried to tempt me with white chocolate covered wafers, the fancy and expensive ice cream I rarely get. He messed with my nerves as well as my patience, but I refused to give in and to achieve the goal that I was working so hard towards. 

My best friend messed with me more than any of my other family members. She brought a chocolate muffin to school for me, and basically shoved it in my face. I had to force it down her throat to prevent me from eating it. 

My sister brought home a mug cake from her cooking class, in my favorite flavor: cinnamon roll. She was urging me to try some, but I had to give her the classic stink eye-go away combo. 

She ignored me for the rest of the week, which I felt awful, but at least she did not try to shove more cake down my throat. 

In the Armenian culture, 40 days before Easter, adults tend to avoid eating anything made by an animal. Children tend to avoid their own choice of sweets. Another friend of mine, Inesa Hakhnazaryan, attempted to avoid sweets for that 40 day period of time. She got through only about 20 days. Still, impressive considering her love for sweets outweighs mine by a lot. 

”The hardest part for me was avoiding the chocolate mousse cake we had at our house for a birthday.  It was just sitting there, looking at me with its huge eyes, but I had to close the fridge and tell my mom to cover the cake with a box or tupperware, or I would go insane,” Hakhnazaryan said. 

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