Modern psychology links sugar consumption with mental illness, with claims that sugar causes anxiety. To that I say, ‘Well, of course, it does!’ I mean, all that is sweet is just so luxurious and desirable. Cast your eye over any cooking magazine or recipe book or website or television show* and the desserts are always the most delicious and beautiful looking things you’ve ever laid eyes on. Don’t you just want to eat them all?! There are entire channels on television dedicated to cooking these insanity-inducing dishes for crying out loud! Is it any wonder aspiring to these professionally plated dreams, airbrushed to saccharine-perfection in post-production, does peoples’ heads in?
What about Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? Who didn’t read the book or watch the film and ever think about how amazing it would be to run wild in Willy Wonka’s magic edible garden? Can anyone blame Augustus Gloop for wanting just a little taste of that fabled chocolatier’s molten brown river? Gene Wilder wasn’t exactly downplaying how tasty his chocolate was, was he? And did you see how much sugar the Oompa Loompas poured into it?
But there’s another potential cause of extreme apprehension right there! Coveting something that’s out of reach or failing to heed the counsel of those in the know (no matter how flippant their warnings may be) and soon enough, like Augustus, you’re going to end up in the drink.
Which leads me to dentistry. Sugar-related anxiety-induced thoughts of periodontal disease and the effect those thoughts might have on a child’s psychological well-being can surely not be understated. Even though, as a child, the threat of horrendous tooth decay did little to deter us from piling sugar on our breakfast cereal. I still remember a cousin getting told off for putting nine dessert-spoons of sugar on his Weetbix one morning! I’m certain that the prospect of a painful visit to the dentist was the last thing on my cousin’s minds. Or was it? At other times, while my cousins and I were gleefully hoeing into bags of mixed lollies from the corner milkbar, perhaps they were inwardly tearing their hair out, stressed to the eyeballs about dental hygiene, the build-up of plaque, imagining the dentist saying things like, ‘My god, nurse! I’ve never seen rotting bicuspids like this before!’
Now that I think about it, remembering anaesthetic needles into the jaw and the excruciating crunch of tooth extractions, I have to admit to feeling like I want to curl up in the foetal position.
That’s it! I’m giving up sugar! The tooth fairy couldn’t pay me enough to go through that kind of trauma again!
4 Pines Keller Door Eldorado IPA
4 Pines Brewery, Manly, New South Wales