Teen newspaper: Generation 21
April 5, 2012
Sweet Tooth to Death Tooth?
By Marina Koepke
A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down, but it does a lot more than that.
In today’s world, the mass of our population consumes sugar in every meal they eat. It’s practically inevitable because all processed foods and fast foods contain sugar (and let’s be real, most of us are too lazy to actually sit down and cook something healthy).
Sugar is just sugar. We need it in our diet so it can’t be that bad for you right? Wrong! Sugar is a drug, toxin, and the leading cause to many health problems we have today such as Type Two Diabetes, Obesity, Hypertension and Heart Disease.
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The sugar is taken in as calories, which goes and proceeds to overload your liver with fructose. The liver changes this into fat, sends it off into your blood stream and voila! Heart attack! Sugar puts you just as much at risk for a heart attack as a giant cheese burger does. Crazy? And if you really want to hit this out of the ballpark, that burger you’re eating is probably processed food (especially if it comes from a fast food restaurant) which means it already has sugar in it! Double trouble!
Sugar has been proven to be one of the most addictive substances we have today, even more so than cocaine or heroin. When consumed, it releases dopamine (a neurotransmitter in our brain that makes us “feel good”) making us happy, which is why we crave it (not to mention it tastes wicked good too). Like other drugs, the more you eat the more immunity your body builds against it, so in order to get that “sugar high” you have to eat more and more of it resulting in an even more unhealthy diet.
As I said before, we do need sugar in our diet, but not the amount we all consume. No fructose is poisonous to us, which meant to our ancestors it was safe to eat, so we naturally gravitate towards those sweet foods. We’ve gone over the top though and one can of soda exceeds the amount of sugar you need in one day! Ask yourself how much soda have you head in the past week? Scary…
With everything, moderation is key. I’m not about to cut sugar completely out of my diet like I probably should. I love it too much and I’m sure many of you can sympathize with me on that. Just make sure you get enough exercise, a diet with HEALTHY food and some sugar here and there won’t kill you.
Next time you decide to eat a bag of Doritos, followed by a monster drink and then later on a Big Mac, think about what is happening inside your body. Do you want to be a complete vegetable by the time you are 40? Do you want to openly invite a heart attack into your life? No? Then watch what you eat!
The Anubis Gate
By Nico Larson
Scorching sun blistered the wavering desert nonstop, and few could be seen out-doors. The few that were – the beggars, the cripples, and slaves – were dressed in loose, flowing robes from head to toe in vain attempt to ward off the heat. Lines of flickering heat decorated the stone and mud buildings, giving the city a wavering, nondescript appearance, like that of a mirage. The ferociously hot air carried few scents with it, mostly that of rot from the city’s trash heaps and food left unattended in market stalls.
None of this bothered Emehntehtt-Re though, sitting comfortable on his balcony, dispassionately observing his realm while servants attended to his every need; fanning him with long, highly decorated and feathered staffs, bringing him a seemingly endless supply of fresh fruit and chilled beverages, and above all else, sweet liquors distilled from flowers that grew in a select few places along riverbanks. He was the last of his great line, the notoriously violent and vindictive Re family who had held power over the Fertile Crescent for well over 200 years. Theirs was a great reign, bringing unending profit and conquest to their people.
They also held a legacy of slavery and cruelty, initiating un-payable taxes and forcing almost every able bodied man to train with a sword daily, and be ready at a moments notice for any given venture. Emehntehtt was also quite insane, fanatically religious, and supremely intelligent. He had been the one to introduce the Anubis Gate, a hideously malformed practice of sacrifice and torture committed to the god of the afterlife. These rituals were all in the name of Emehntehtt, devoted as he was to his religion but unwilling to partake in his own rituals, instead forcing others to give their lives for his continued existence. He called it A Perfect Forever, and of late it had been bothering him. His subjects were listless, attentive only to their own continued existence and not bothering to pay their pharaoh tribute unless threatened. He knew it stemmed from his practices, but was too deeply set in his religion to change it. With this in mind he had come to the conclusion that he would have to call upon the lord of the underworld, Anubis himself, for a solution to his dilemma. He had no urge to quell a revolt, and so began ordering his priests to go about setting up the proper rituals, and finding a willing soul to embody the god if he answered their call.
The air was cool and moist underneath the temple, perfectly suited for the ritual that was necessary, as there was no heat such as theirs in the underworld, and they would do well to not displease their god the very instant he appeared in their realm. Priests were gathered around the altar, chanting in rhythmic unison, their forms silhouetted against the walls by flickering candlelight. The candles produced a pungent odor, heavy and unpleasant to the eyes and nose, but as they were necessary for the ritual they all dealt with their nearly unbearable fragrance. Pillars and walls that composed the spacious area were decorated with hieroglyphs depicting violent scenes of death and pain, elegantly inlaid with gold and silver of the highest quality. The candle’s reflection off of the precious metals gave the atmosphere an eerie quality, soft golden tones suffusing the flickering light, and sharp, metallic silvers flickering like gems across the walls. The chanting increased in intensity, and a young man stepped forward, covered from head to toe in black and red dyes and wearing nothing but a loincloth. He walked haltingly toward the altar, and knelt before it, resting his head against the top of and closing his eyes in anticipation.
Now chanting at an unbearable intensity, one of the priests threw a shimmering powder over him, igniting the air a bare inch from his skin with a wavering blue fire. Emehntehtt stepped forward, with a vicious looking hammer held off to his right, and with a nod toward his priests stepped forward and brought the hammer down. The priests ceased their chanting and backed away from the altar as a gold light formed above the body, brightening until all present were forced to turn their heads for fear of being blinded, and with a resounding crack, extinguished itself. The bloody altar was in ruins, and where the boy had been stood a jackal headed figure, ominous and silent, yet commanding and proud. The priests, and the pharaoh himself bowed low before him, chanting as one, ” hail the great Anubis, ruler of the underworld, grant us safe passage to the afterlife, we have served you well… ” The god brought up a hand, excruciatingly slowly, and pointed at Emehntehtt with a condemning finger, speaking in a vibrating baritone, “You have lived a life of hate, anger, and cruelty, as have your fathers, and their fathers before them. Why do you call upon me now, mortal, do you seek repentance? “
Emehntehtt quavered in fear at the accusation, knowing in his heart that every word was true, ” I … have called upon you, o mighty lord, in order to beg of you forgiveness, and a means of restoring my people’s faith. ”
Anubis laughed, a deep, booming laugh that echoed hauntingly and was slow to fade, ” You’ll have no such forgiveness, nor will you have your people’s faith. You shall spend eternity living the life you have imposed upon others.”
He curled his fingers together in a fist and the temple shook, a winding hole opening up underneath the kneeling pharaoh and drawing him down. With another laugh, the god opened his fist and vanished, leaving behind a shock wave that blasted through the walls, tearing apart the temple.