OPINION COLUMNS

Kids, don’t eat this at home

By Racey Burden | Published Saturday, December 17, 2016
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Home Sweet Home

HOME SWEET HOME – Racey Burden and David Talley show off their final products, houses made of sugar cubes and graham crackers. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The smell of icing made me feel nauseous by the end of David and I’s “holiday structure” building experiment (we could call them gingerbread houses, but that’s factually incorrect and we’re journalists – don’t work for Breitbart).

I sat down later to calculate the number of calories in my sugar-cube home, and the amount is indeed astonishing: 5,296. I decided to add up David’s as well: 5,750.

CUBE BY CUBE – Racey Burden constructs her house out of sugar cubes held together with frosting. Burden calculated that her finished home contained more than 5,000 calories. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

I’m not a doctor, but I assume if a person were to eat just one of these confections in a single sitting, they would die of a heart attack. Unless that person is Michael Phelps, who once claimed he could eat like 12,000 calories a day (I think he walked back on that later). But honestly, Phelps might have a heart attack, too.

If I’m trying to sell you this monstrosity of sugar on pure health-basis alone, obviously you’d want to choose my house over David’s. You might think the calorie difference is negligible, but nearly 500 calories saved is nothing to sneeze at. That’s practically a full meal.

Also, David used a lot of higher-calorie building materials in his structure. Believe it or not, those graham crackers actually pack quite the punch – more so than sugar cubes, which are a measly 15 calories each. Do they add up? Yeah. But not enough to push my solid brick home over the top. And those peppermint shrubberies he sprinkled so liberally around the vacant lot next to his home? Those are 60 calories apiece (which should make you think the next time you start snacking on them when they’re sitting out in somebody’s office, like they are at ours).

When it comes to slathering our creations in frosting, we’re both equally guilty. We used a ton of frosting. So much frosting. You wouldn’t even want to know how much. At least 2,000 calories worth of frosting alone. I believe that’s even an underestimation. Thinking about it still makes me sick.

I got to wondering, has anyone ever eaten so much sugar in one sitting that they actually died? So I googled “Has anyone ever eaten so much sugar in one sitting that they actually died?” I didn’t get a solid answer on the first page – and everyone knows you don’t search beyond the first page unless you’re writing a college term paper due in three hours – but I did see a lot of the terrible things that would happen if you tried to live on a diet high in sugar: elevated risk for diabetes; gout; some cancer; high blood pressure; kidney disease; etc. All nasty things.

Now, the American Heart Association says that, at most, men should only consume 37.5 grams of sugar per day and women 25. But who is the AHA to tell you what to eat? Get that big government out of your life and live a little – come eat our holiday structures! (Disclaimer: If I’d asked the Messenger’s attorney, which I did not, he would probably say that we shouldn’t encourage people to eat 50 times the recommended sugar intake in one day and that I should specify that last sentence was a joke).

Racey Burden is a Messenger reporter and now, novice nutritionist.

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