They say a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down but maybe they should say it brings us closer to diabetes.

Our special guest in this episode is former Australian Of The Year and eye specialist, Dr James Muecke, who is on the warpath against sugar because he’s seen what it’s done to his patients, including instantaneous blindness.

In the SA Drink Of The Week, we have a shot or two of Baristador B70 espresso coffee.

And in the Musical Pilgrimage, Susan Lily returns with her whiskey the way James Muecke would approve!

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Running Sheet: Sugar vs Dr James Muecke

00:00:00 Intro

Introduction to the show.

00:05:06 SA Drink Of The Week

The SA Drink Of The Week is the Baristador B70 dark roast espresso.

00:11:43 Dr James Muecke

Sugar is everywhere and in everything, from processed foods to the fruit of the vine. It comes in every type of food we can imagine and in our brains, sugar stimulates the “feel-good” chemical dopamine, which scientists think has evolutionary roots (find a source of sugar in hunter-gatherer days and you have a source of energy that will aid survival. However, the 2020 Australian of the Year, ophthalmologist James Muecke, says in our society, sugar is a shortcut to diabetes and the next stop after that is blindness.

Sight For All

James, I feel bad that we’re not going to have time to delve into your wonderful legacy of work as an opthamologist all around the world, doing what you could to save and restore sight. So could we start with one of your most profound memories of your work in that field, whether that was in Australia or overseas?

Hearing stories like that makes my blood boil because you represent a body of people who dedicated years to learning within the discipline of medical science but most of the noise we get on social media these days is all about how that science is a fraud. Have you developed any coping mechanisms for when you encounter the torrent of half-baked intuitions, psuedo science, and snake oil being touted by these shrill alarmists?

I saw you speak recently at a conference of doctors and you stunned us with your opening story of a patient of yours who woke up one day, blind. Can you share that story now because that puts the seriousness of our sugar discussion into perspective.

How do we measure the impact sugar consumption is having on our bodies. Are there particular signs that we doing it wrong?

Let’s talk about the 5 As of sugar.

We have some questions about interacting with sugar from listeners but as I look at them, they are largely about sugar itself, whereas you had some good coverage in the media recently about turning the focus around to eat like it’s the 1970s. I want to get to the “sugar wrestle” but let’s start on the positive step about how we should be approaching food.

I want to turn to our 11yo voiceover artist, Caitlin, who has contributed the following questions, completely unprompted.
How much sugar a day is good for a human? In other words, should we be having no sugar or a bit of sugar a day?
Is the sugar in fruits and sweets the same and if it is, why do fruits have sugar?
And how much sugar does it take to gain weight?

Two other listeners have asked similar questions:
Monique Miller would like to know your opinion on artificial sweeteners and the “sugar free” craze too. Should we cut back on sweet altogether? Are they an ok alternative?
And Chris Glenn from Japan asks, what do you suggest as Sugar alternatives because we’ve been using one made from beets?

Another listener, Rick Carter, asks, what do you think about SA Health funded Sausage sizzles … and The Premier promoting Krispy Kremes.

As our household moves towards eating whole foods and reducing sugar, I commented recently to my wife that our days start strongly (intermittent fasting, whole meats and veg and dairy and nuts for lunch/dinner), but then the ship of virtue crashes into the reef of carbs around 9pm when crisps or ice cream or chocolate or all three start their siren calls. Would you think that isolating our weaknesses and strengthening them up, is a fast and reliable way for shoring up the ship, as it were?

Should sugar be a proclaimed substance like tobacco or alcohol and only be sold through specific stores AND not to minors?

Do we build “slack” into our systems if we’re doing most things right, so much so that our bodies can cope more readily with some lopsided eating either as “treats” or during times of unexpected bursts of stress or abnormal situations?

01:09:40 Musical Pilgrimage

In the musical pilgrimage, Susan Lily takes her Whiskey Neat.

We also featured this song, back in episode 241.

Here’s this week’s preview video

SFX: Throughout the podcast we use free SFX from freesfx.co.uk for the harp, the visa stamp, the silent movie music, the stylus, the radio signal SFX, the wine pouring and cork pulling SFX, and the swooshes around Siri.