I am sitting at the kitchen table, sucking the knobbly end of a biro and glancing at the clock as the big hand moves inexorably towards the midnight hour. The deadline is looming for delivering your weekly ration of wit, wisdom and wonderment. The mind remains blank and God alone knows what direction this week’s YCBS will take … but it had better head somewhere soon!

I am having a cup of tea along with a slice of toast and marmalade – as I always do before bedtime. My beady eye comes to rest on the pot of marmalade in front of me on the table. I absentmindedly study the label. It says, ‘Reduced Sugar’ and another little stamp boasts ’30% less sugar.’ I turn the jar around to read the other label on the back and take in every word. Nowhere on the jar of marmalade does it tell me 30% less than what – or reduced sugar from what to what?

We’ll come back to the sugar thing in a moment – if that’s OK with the rest of you …

We go through a lot of marmalade in Casa Comaskey. It even has its own shelf in a press; displaying half a dozen jars at any time … just for fear of running out. The labels are all turned to the front – a habit formed I would say from stacking bottles on pub shelves.

The first thing I do every morning is to take Mrs Youcantbeserious her tea, toast and marmalade to bed. (Ask her yourselves, Girls) As mentioned above, the last thing I do around midnight is to make myself a mug of tea accompanied by a slice of you-know-what. At any time during the day if I feel a bit ‘peckish’ between meals and cannot decide what I want, the old toast and marmalade fits the bill along with my coffee.

Caffeine is my drug of choice for the past yonks years. Once upon a time I used take two spoons of sugar per cup of tea or coffee. This meant that I was consuming 30 – 40 spoons of sugar every day; as well as satisfying my ‘sweet-tooth’ in other ways as well. After reading how bad sugar is for us, I gave it up in my beverages.

Sugar can be very damaging to our health – especially for the heart. It also overloads the liver and contributes to diseases like diabetes and strokes. Remember that sugar is not a required nutrient in our diet and it is one of the primary causes of weight gain. Six teaspoonful’s of sugar, or 24 grams, constitutes 100 calories.

Because life isn’t fair and the sisters put on weight easier than the lads, The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 6 spoonfuls per day. (Could the fact that they are made from ‘sugar and spice and all things nice’, have something to do with this?) The suggested maximum for men in 9 spoonfuls. Too many soft drinks are deadly as is of course the over-indulgence of dairy chocolate and sweets.

I hear a lot of young parents going to great lengths to ensure that their children’s intake of sweets and soft drinks is curtailed. The dreaded word I hear kicked around is ‘sugar-rush.’ Apparently the kids of today lose the run of themselves if they O.D on sugary treats. It is said that sugar does give an instant surge of energy.

I remember hearing this tip when I played squash and in tournament matches I often broadsided a mars bar into my mouth between the 4th and 5th set. It never worked for me, but it did the trick for some … strangely only the good players!

Some of you may remember that I once wrote a piece here on the dangers of salt. This was prompted by an article I came across in a magazine which stated that salt kills 90,000 Americans every year. At that time I was also a salt addict (I can do anything bar moderation!) but I have never added salt to my dinner or porridge since that day. The only food I apply salt to is an egg, tomato or mushrooms. Man is the only animal which doesn’t have an inbuilt salt barometer.

I have no idea how many people sugar kills every year, but I believe it does a lot more harm than salt.

Reading food labels is obviously the best way to monitor your intake of sugar, but what if all the label tells you is ‘Reduced Sugar’?

Anyway, dear readers; I have spent the last forty minutes studying a jam jar and chewing a pen. I still haven’t come up with anything interesting for this week’s piece but as the Lads were saying; ‘nobody will ever be able to tell the difference …’

The Lads don’t sugar-coat the pill!

Don’t Forget

Nothing lasts as long as a pot of jam you don’t like.

Bernie Comaskey Books