March 19th, 2009
03:01 PM ET

Pour some sugar on me (seriously, I'm begging you)

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/19/art.sugar.jack.jpg width=292 height=320]
Jack Gray
AC360° Producer/Writer

It finally happened, I decided to give it up.  Sugar.  And no, "Sugar" is not some lover I've had stashed on Key Largo.  That was over months ago and you know it.  I'm talking about actual sugar.  The stuff with which we season broccoli and exfoliate our skin in the shower.  What?  Don't look at me like that.

Frankly, this was a long time coming.  When you find yourself ecstatic that Anderson is going on a road trip because it means you can barricade yourself in his breakfast nook and do shots of rare maple syrups, you know you have a problem.  Which is exactly what I said to Larry King when I found him in there, his suspenders covered in pancake batter.

But, as the old saying goes, people in glass houses bought with mortgages they couldn't afford in the first place shouldn't throw stones, so I told Larry that I, too, was a sugar addict.  And, I added apropos of nothing, the next time he has Joan Rivers on his program he should really give a viewer discretion warning about her plastic surgery.

Anyway, I decided I needed some time off to think about whether I could handle eliminating sugar from my life.  So I went to Florida to relax.  And while everything was great at first - touring orange groves, wrestling alligators with Jeb Bush - I quickly fell into my old habit of Google mapping the nearest Dairy Queen on my iPhone.  It was my vacation in Tunisia all over again.

Before I knew it, it was time to return to New York.  And, you know me, I'm nothing if not devoted to journalism.  So, as soon as my wrinkle cream and cowboy boots cleared baggage claim, I immediately went to my apartment to catch up on the news I had missed.

And that's when it hit me.  Not only would giving up sugar be the healthy thing to do, but the violent withdrawal symptoms would actually be more pleasant than thinking about the economy.  You can have AIG and Tim Geithner, I'll gladly take cold sweats in bed and hallucinations in the CVS candy aisle.

I know what you're thinking:  Jack is stressed, he's lost his mind, he's talking about himself in the third person.  But, let me tell you, Jack is fine.  Really.  He always smokes cigarettes out of his ears and shouts at senior citizens in crosswalks to speed it up.

Furthermore, I have tremendous support among my friends.  My colleague Kirk McDonald took me to the grocery store to purchase some sugar free snacks.  It was a delightful and eye opening experience.  And don't believe the rumors.  I did not try to push Kirk into oncoming traffic because he denied me Hostess Yodels.

So here I am, world, sugar free and loving it.  And by loving it I mean weeping in the fetal position.

But at least it's taken my mind off the economy.


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Filed under: 360° Radar • Economy • Jack Gray • Nutrition
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. Anna, HK

    Today is another day.... How are you doing? Is today a good day? No relapse I hope....

    March 20, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  2. carykitty

    Loved you sugar story. I gave up caffeine when pregnant. Withdraws were horrible. Child was healthy! I gave up alcohol (I was a good drinker!) but it led me to crave sugar (not diabetic). How can you win?
    Chik-Filet has great ice cream when on the run. Smoking? Won't even go there! Good Luck!

    March 20, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  3. Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    Thanks a lot Jack! After reading your blog posting, I now have visions of sugar plums dancing in my head and can't seem to get that cheesy song, "Sugar, Sugar" from The Archies, off my mind…… 😯

    Jack is back! Us groupies missed you!

    March 19, 2009 at 10:56 pm |
  4. Lori from IL

    Wow – Jack – giving up sugar - good luck!

    As long as no one makes me give up chocolate (that perfect sugar and caffeine blend) - all will be okay with the world!

    Hope you accidentally got the wrong bag at baggage claim because wrinkle cream and cowboy boots aren't worth claiming - lol!

    Can't quite picture you and Larry King together in Anderson's breakfast nook - but sugar withdrawl can probably lead to strange behavior or hallucinations!

    Thanks for the laughs - hope you enjoyed you vacation!

    March 19, 2009 at 10:00 pm |
  5. mw - Australia

    Sugar is a hard mistress to break Jack. Those little white crystals calling at every cup of coffee. Its so easy to fall off this wagon because they (unknow manufacturer guys) hide sugar everywhere under different names: glucose, fructose, corn syrup, invert sugar (?), no one actually calls it sugar anymore. I won't discuss the effect of too much of the artifical sweetners on the bio- rhythms... but watch this...
    Sugar free biscuits at morning tea just are not the same, no matter how much honey you add. The next step is eating fruit just to get the sweetness kick, sick I know.
    Also recovering sugar addict.

    March 19, 2009 at 9:57 pm |
  6. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    LOL Jacqueline.....
    You are so funny, you made me laugh!!!!!!!

    March 19, 2009 at 9:12 pm |
  7. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Hellooo Jack!!!!! 😀
    You're so funny guy!!!!!! I love this!!! I do love sugar! I always have lots of snack or candies...... I love your joke funny blog!!!! It is so good one..... I know what you mean, you don't like sugar........ Yeah people don't want to eat sugar or sweet candies.... I do love broccoli with chesse... it is my favorite vegetable, I ate whole broccoli with noodle, chicken with Mushroom soup half ago! Thanks for cheer me up and I want to say welcome back Jack! See you soon tonight!

    March 19, 2009 at 9:09 pm |
  8. Philoan Tran - Houston

    Hilarious! I had to forward your blog to my baby sister (who is also a sugar addict like you); she takes 10 bags of sugar for one glass of iced tea (which should be called sweet tea instead).

    Don't go to Puerto Rico for a vacation anytime soon if you are trying to kick the sugar habit because that island is filled with acres and acres of sugar canes – plenty of sugar and rum. I could use a Mojito just about now too!

    March 19, 2009 at 8:58 pm |
  9. Ginger from Memphis

    Love it. Thanks for the smile.

    March 19, 2009 at 8:52 pm |
  10. Annie Kate


    Great post and congrats on having the intestinal fortitude to give up sugar. Especially on broccoli- that's really hard core. Just don't give up broccoli – believe it or not you need it. (I know, you can quit crying now).

    Another food additive you should consider giving up is salt – its bad for your blood pressure and your heart. And it doesn't take as long to get used to as giving up sugar – 2 or 3 decades instead of 5 or 6. Just think how much better you will feel.

    I hear Sammie is going to eat twice her sugar consumption to make up for you giving it up just so the sugar markets stay stable. You better watch her – you don't want her to be literally bouncing off the walls.

    So good luck with your withdrawal from sugar – anything beats brooding on the economy and with your sugar free crazed behavior and facial expressions you should fit right in up there in New York.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    March 19, 2009 at 7:33 pm |
  11. Joy in Seattle

    What exactly are you giving up? You did not cover that in the article. Are you giving up sweet foods altogether? Are you also giving up things like pancakes, cereals, or breads that are cooked with sugars?

    Or are you just switching your current sweet tooth over to "sugar free" foods that use artificial sweeteners. Those sweeterners actually cause weight gain, according to research by Sharon Fowler, U Texas. There are plenty of studies out there that Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners causes weight gain.

    So I ask, what are you giving up? I'd love to hear it.

    March 19, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  12. Don, WA

    I gave up broccoli years ago...which cut down my sugar intake by a factor of 10. And when that barista at starbucks who looks like Pamela Anderson asks me, "one lump or two," I don't just stupidly reply..."yes," anymore. As Dr. Phil would say, "baby steps." (I think he said that once).

    March 19, 2009 at 7:06 pm |
  13. Jacqueline, NY

    Ooops! I meant: How is SAMMY doing. LOL!

    March 19, 2009 at 7:02 pm |
  14. Jacqueline, NY

    "My middle name is Fructose." LOL! Remember Wolf Man Jack? Well, then you are Crazy Man Jack.

    @Missy: Fruc?! LOL! That's hysterical.

    BTW: How is doing? Was she able to keep up her drinking habit at your

    @Marilyn, cute and funny poem.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  15. Rikki, Fargo, ND

    Jack...First let me say Welcome Back! I trust you enjoyed your vacation and much needed break from washing Anderson's car and feeding his goldfish! Second...kudos on the no sugar! I often think I could go without sugar but then there I am a week later making Kool-Aid with 3 times the needed amount of sugar! 🙂 Oh well! Good luck with your endeavor! Its great to hear from you again!

    March 19, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  16. Richard Edlich

    when I developed 5 major Emergency Departments we were focusing on patient healthcare. With 47 million people without healthcare insurance the ED has become Primary care. If congress passed the Emergency Medical Act to provide reembursement to hospitals with ED's for payment for care for the uninsured, EDs will stop closing and allow the lives of the critically injured to be saved. We need your help to awaken congress and the president providing financial support to EDs in this new legislation. It is an emergency.

    Dr. Richard Edlich

    March 19, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  17. Brandi - bottom of the boot


    lol...i could never give up sugar, cuz i cant give up my venti caramel macchiatos!

    @chris - excellent!! i <3 u! (and yes, you as well, jack)

    March 19, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  18. Missy

    Jack, you middle name is Fructose? What do we call you then, Fruc?

    March 19, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  19. Paula Vergara, Boston, MA

    I don't think I could give up sugar cold turkey...I would either pass out or lose my mind. I can do without ice cream, candy bars, and regular soda, but take away chocolate chip cookies? No way, man.

    I give you one more week. You'll be back on the white stuff, and it will most likely happen around 3am.

    Try giving up gluten instead.

    March 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  20. Stacy

    Jack for the win! One of your best.

    (If Larry King has a sugar problem, how come I've heard he always smells like onions?)

    March 19, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  21. Helen, Reading, UK

    Thank God you're back, I've missed you SO much! How was Florida? Were you and Sammy living it up at The House of Mouse, or was she out fighting gators for money again? I'm going there for my hard earned two weeks holiday in October, and I cannot wait! Do you know, if I'd realised broccoli was cooked coated in sugar, I'd have eaten a whole lot more of the stuff. I mean, a chocolate orange is generally my idea of getting Vitamin C. I do admire you for resolving to give up sugar, but have to say that, as I sit here looking at a pile of chocolate that I've accumulated over the last week, you are insane! Even more so with Easter fast approaching! We have things called Creme Eggs over here, the tag line for the advert for them was 'How do you eat yours?' My response is 'in two bites'. I put them in the egg holder in my fridge instead of real eggs. Can't you tell I live alone and have no man in my life? On that note, I'm going to polish off one of those afore mentioned Creme Eggs, and imagine what Anderson's breakfast nook might look like.. Shouts to my peeps Presley, Chris, Pati Mc, Betty Ann and Isabel! Sugar free kisses to you, Mr G and a big old tail wag to Sammy x x

    March 19, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  22. Sharon, LA, CA

    Thanks, I needed that laugh. But I don't get it. What is the point of giving up all the good stuff? Life's too short to get hung on giving things up. Balance and perspective. And lots of laughter, thanks again.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  23. Rose


    I'm not sure I'm convinced that you haven't lost your mind. In any case, I'll cancel your shipment of thin mints.

    Good luck...I admire you, well sorta.

    Time for my Yodel break.

    One sugar-free substitute at a time.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  24. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    You might be withdrawing from the sugar alcohol. It is the worst part for me when I give up sugar. Foods with sugar substitutes can have the sugar alcohol in them, too. That is what makes many people crave sugar even when they think they aren't using it. My doctor also said foods high in natural sugars like bananas and carrots and white starches are evil for raising sugar levels.

    Or you could simply mainline cane syrup in Anderson's breakfast nook and say to heck with all of it.

    March 19, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  25. Marilyn from MO


    No cookies, no candy, no pies, no cake!
    Giving up sugar is hard to take.

    The artificial ones are out there, but they aren't real.
    They don't give you that "sugar high" feel.

    Sugar gives you the feeling that life is worthwhile!
    Why sit like a grouch without a smile?

    Jack, sugar is a food group you see,
    It should be taken and enjoyed between you and me!

    A friend

    March 19, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
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