Sugar & Your DNA

Sunday afternoon, Mr. Jack hosted a mini backpacking show-n-tell in our backyard. Five guys & their gear. Tents filled the grass, sleeping pads & bags, stoves, filters — you get the idea. Since a non-backpacking girlfriend had dropped in for a spontaneous tea & pomegranate party, I missed most of the convention, but I did mingle a bit at the end to chat about backpacking food & find out what folks had carried/planned to carry in their bear cannisters.

And I heard the classic backpack defense of pop-tarts (fill in your own favorite sugary backpack treat): “Oh, it doesn’t matter, I burn it all off.”

But it does matter:

Researchers in Melbourne found that a human tissue cell, when given a one-off sugar hit, will carry a related chemical marker for weeks.

“We now know that [sugar] can have very acute effects, and those effects continue for up to two weeks later,” says Associate Professor Sam El-Osta, of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute.

“These changes continue beyond the meal itself, and have the ability to alter natural metabolic responses to diet.”

On a personal note, after last week’s sugar rant, I amused myself by taking inventory of the sweeteners in my pantry:

  • 2 qts of honey from the backyard hive
  • pint of maple syrup
  • cuppa brown sugar that I bought for last year’s holiday baking & is now hard as a brick
  • 1/4 lb of xylitol
  • 5-gal sack of processed white sugar Mr. Jack uses in his humming bird feeders
  • 1 cp of apricot jam from a neighbor last Christmas
  • qt of black strap molasses

Very few of these sweeteners ever make it to the trail. Just the honey, in the food bars.

As Rob was leaving the gear convention Sunday, he asked when I would put the pease porridge recipe up on the blog & I promised next week.

That’s an amazingly simple & versatile hot dish that we ate & enjoyed for 24 days’ supper on the John Muir Trail. You’ll like it, too.
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