Mormon Sugar Addiction


Six Mormons try to become ‘Biggest Loser’


Published: Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011

Deseret News

By Natalie Barrett,


On Sundays, behind the doors of The Biggest Loser ranch, and unseen by almost 9.5 million viewers, several contestants of the hit reality television show meet in Moses Kinikini’s bedroom for a worship service and to share their testimonies. Six of the 22 contestants on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” this season are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, namely Moses Kinikini, Kaylee Kinikini, Rulon Gardner, Justin Pope, Sarah Nitta and Denise Hill.


Ice cream a staple of Mormon households

Author: Trent Toone

Mormon Times
01 July 2010

Question: As a monkey is to bananas, a Mormon is to …?

If you answered macaroni and cheese, Jell-O or funeral potatoes, sorry, you are incorrect.

If you said ice cream, you are a winner.

I could find no documented evidence to prove that Mormons eat more ice cream than other religions, but you need only observe to discover the truth.

A million summer family gatherings would not have been the same without the sweet, creamy taste of ice cream.

The Mormon dating culture would be crippled if it weren't for an assorted variety of yummy flavors, sometimes mixed with fruit or candy. As a poor college student, a walk to the local ice cream parlor was all I could afford. The girls didn't seem to mind.

Attend any warm-weather ward activity, and you will find the soft and smooth icy dessert there. 

As you plan your summer activities, don't forget to have some old-fashioned fun with ice cream. You can even find recipes on Here are a few, taken from the July 1978 New Era:

Easy Creamy Ice Cream

You will need:

1 small package gelatin (match the flavor to the flavor of fruit used)

4 cups sugar

4 cups mashed fruit (strawberries and bananas are especially good)

1⁄2 tablespoon salt

Juice of 1 lemon (2 tablespoons)

1 quart cream (whipped)

11⁄2 quarts milk

Dissolve the gelatin in 2 cups of boiling water. Let it cool. Mix the sugar, fruit, salt and lemon juice together in a bowl. Mix the gelatin in and pour mixture in ice cream freezer container. Add the whipped cream. Pour in enough milk to fill can (just below the top line of the container). Fold together. Freeze. Makes 4 quarts.

Custard Base Vanilla Ice Cream

You will need:

21⁄4 cups sugar

6 tablespoons flour

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

5 cups milk, scalded

6 eggs

4 cups heavy cream (for extra rich ice cream use all cream and omit milk)

3 teaspoons vanilla

Combine sugar, flour and salt in saucepan. Slowly stir in hot milk. Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly until mixture is thickened. Mix small amount of hot mixture into beaten eggs. Add beaten eggs to the rest of the hot mixture and cook 1 minute longer. Chill in refrigerator. Add cream and vanilla. Pour into freezer container and freeze. Makes 4 quarts.

* Rock salt is much preferred over table salt for making ice cream.


Utah study confirms restraint is key to avoiding weight gain


Health » BYU research supports dieting, while other studies question effectiveness

By Heather May

The Salt Lake Tribune



Should you keep that New Year's resolution to forgo fried chicken and abstain from apple fritters? Or should you indulge, knowing you'll eventually binge on your forbidden foods?


Sorry, but according to new BYU research, restraint is the answer.


In a three-year study, published today, women who didn't consciously restrict what they ate were 2.5 times more likely to gain at least six pounds.


In an environment that has made food tastier, faster and more abundant than ever, "We have to actually push back, if you will, and work to not eat even though we would like to," said Larry Tucker, lead author of the study and director of health promotion at Brigham Young University in Provo. "It's very important to practice restrained eating, especially nowadays. Fifty years ago it wasn't as important. It's not as tempting to have a second bowl of beans."


The findings may sound obvious, but there is debate in the research on the value of restrained eating. Some studies have shown that restricted eaters actually eat more. For example, a 2005 study from the University of Toronto found students who were deprived of chocolate for a week consumed more of it than students who weren't deprived.


Janet Polivy, lead researcher of that study and others that question the value of restrained eating, said there is no one solution.


"I would say that people should learn to pay attention both to what they eat and what their bodies tell them about what they actually need to eat (i.e., don't eat if you're not hungry, and don't let yourself get so hungry that you can't pay attention to how you feel and what you've eaten)," she wrote in an e-mail.


Tucker said BYU's health coaches teach clients to practice restraint, both in amount and type. People shouldn't go hungry, he stressed. But they need to learn to eat more fruits, vegetables and grains, he said, noting that you don't have to limit yourself eating those foods. "You can eat a pound of nonstarchy vegetables and only get a couple hundred calories."

The amount of restraint needed depends on the person, so it's difficult to say how much a person should refrain, Tucker noted. But he said overweight and obese individuals underestimate how much they eat by 40 percent and lean people do by up to 15 percent.


His tips include writing down what you eat, at least initially. And don't surround yourself with cookies and pizza, just like a person trying to quit smoking wouldn't keep a tempting pack of cigarettes around.


The BYU study included 192 Utah women in their 40s who measured their food and physical activity at the beginning and end of the three-year period. They also filled out a questionnaire that rated their eating behaviors.


It found women had to continue to decrease their caloric intake -over time -- to combat a slowing metabolism, loss of lean body mass and a relaxing attitude about weight --- to avoid gaining weight.



Sugary Delight

Date: Sunday, September 25
Topic Our Towns


SALT LAKE CITY -- Like any good Mormon, Kent Christensen doesn't drink beer, wine, coffee or tea. And he certainly doesn't smoke. But he does love cake, cookies, candy and nearly every other form of sugary delight. While partying in New York City several years ago, one of Christensen's friends remarked, "I've figured you out.

Sugar is the Mormon heroin."


Indeed, Mormons may seem Puritanical with their strict adherence to the church's prohibitions but their fondness for sweets can be as intemperate as any drinker.


Provo, with a high percentage of Latter-day Saints, has only two bars, but 10 or more ice-cream parlors. Some Latter-day Saints bring a gallon of ice cream to a dinner host rather than a bottle of wine. And on their recent trip to Reno, members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir arranged for a nearby ice-cream shop to remain open after their concert and then swarmed the place.


Christensen has turned this so-called addiction into an art form that celebrates and satirizes his own culture.


Last week a collection of his still life paintings went on display at the University of Utah. In the center is a food pyramid built on pieces of candy corn, toffee, a chocolate bunny, French macaroons, a Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut, Scottish shortbread, a scoop of gelato and a cup of what he calls, "Mormon mocha" (that's chocolate with a touch of nutmeg, cinnamon and Pero, which gives it a coffee taste). It's topped by Twinkies.


Another piece shows a Hershey's Kiss, with a stretched and distorted version of Rodin's famous sculpture, "The Kiss." Nearby is a stack of brown squares called "The Naked Caramel."


The exhibit, titled "HIGH(calorie)ART," is the culmination of Christensen's graduate studies in art at the University of Utah.


Each item connects to an experience or fond memory for the artist because, he says, "all the cultural traditions and special foods in our Mormon culture happen to be sugar-based."


Take, for example, salt-water taffy. It reminds him of his family's annual pilgrimage to Utah from Southern California for LDS General Conference.


"I remember walking down Main Street between sessions of conference in the '60s and being fascinated by the taffy machines twisting away in several storefront windows," Christensen says. "I honestly thought (at age 8 or 10) that salt-water taffy was a product of the Great Salt Lake. Can you imagine?"


He also was intrigued by the "Spiral Jetty," a monumental work built by Robert Smithson of black basalt rock and earth in the Great Salt Lake. The 1970 sculpture is a 1,500-foot coil that stretches into the lake.


Christensen's "Spiral Taffy" is a kind of homage to Smithson, whose portrait is laid in obliquely beneath the candy, and to his 19th century Mormon pioneer ancestors who lived within view of the lake's northern shore.


He's also depicted the candy his family bought at the Idle Isle in Brigham City, where his father spent many happy summer days. And there are images of Lady M's Mille Crepe Cake, voted New York's best in 2005, the Mormon mocha he and his wife, Janet, have shared throughout their 23-year marriage and chocolate bunnies he stole from the Easter baskets of his daughters, Anne and Jane.


"Spirituality is communal," Christensen says. "Our love of certain foods is really an association with people, place and time. It's personal wrapped up in human intimacy."


Speaking of intimacy, the lushness in Christensen's colors and images -- the deep brown of the caramels and the juxtaposition of a silver-sheathed Kiss with Rodin's passionate sculpture of the same name -- suggest the connection between sensuality and sugar.


All of this began for Christensen about two years ago, when he brought back to Utah a box of Jaques Torres chocolates from Brooklyn and a friend noted, "Hey, this stuff's kinda pretty -- you should paint it!"


So Christensen began to explore the still life tradition from Caravaggio through 17th century Dutch paintings, down to 20th century pop artists such as Andy Warhol, who took ordinary items such as a Campbell's soup can and Coke bottles and made them into art. Christensen continued with contemporary painters such as Walton Ford and Mary Tansey, who are prominent in New York's gallery scene.


Christensen also drew insight from Wassily Kandinsky's 1914 essay, "Concerning the Spiritual in Art."


Kandinsky sees a kind of mysticism in forms like the triangle, Christensen says. "He argues that shapes have intrinsic power."


Every person who "steeps himself in the spiritual possibilities of his art is a valuable helper in the building of the spiritual pyramid which will some day reach to heaven," Kandinsky wrote.


Which brings us back to Christensen's art.


Each confection has a distinct form -- a slice of cake, a roll of taffy.


"My pyramid, with its compartments of varying size, hints at my fondness for advent calendars, diagrams and lists," he says. "I think of it, in my journal-keeping mind, as a record of significant or favorite culinary experiences throughout the year."


It's also an easy target for an artist's social satire.


"The United States Department of Agriculture food pyramid is a bureaucratically hyper-didactic visual which represents everything I hate in art," he says. "I hate our tendency to be too literal, especially in art."


He also deplores some Mormons' emphasis on all the "don'ts" in the church's health code, known as the Word of Wisdom. "I have a problem with some people's misplaced guilt," he says. "They think they'll never get into heaven if they have a sip of coffee. Meanwhile, they have no problem eating a box of Twinkies."

This story appeared in The Daily Herald on page B1.



BYU study finds Mormons weigh more



Wednesday, February 15, 2006


OREM, Utah -- Mormons on average weigh 4.6 pounds more than other Utahns, a study by a Brigham Young University professor concluded. The study also found that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were 14 percent more likely than nonmembers to be obese. That was 18 percent for men, and 9 percent for women.


The study was made by BYU health science professor Ray Merrill from data obtained in 1996, 2001 and 2003-2004 by the Utah Health Status Survey.


The most recent numbers, while still high, showed there has been some improvement since 1996, when Mormon adults were found to be 5.7 pounds heavier on average and 34 percent more likely to be obese.


Merrill's study suggests Mormons may be using excessive eating as a substitute for prohibited indulgences such as smoking and drinking.


"For years, the church has focused on the don'ts - don't smoke, don't drink, and all the other things that you shouldn't do that are heavily enforced," said Steve Aldana, a BYU professor who presented some of the study's findings at a recent heart conference at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center.


"There has been little emphasis on the do's - eat good foods and exercise," he said. "In the church, we have a lot of don'ts, and now finally here's a do - go ahead and do eat - and boy, do we eat."


Aldana, a health and human performance professor at the Mormon church-owned university, said the weight problem is a growing trend both in the state and in the nation as a whole.

"It's been a slow and gradual trend, and now when we stop and take a look, this is where we are . . . this has crept up on us, and now it's dramatic," he said.


Aldana said the church is one of the few organizations actively working on the problem by instituting a wellness program for its employees and calling wellness missionaries. But, he said, there is much more to be done.


"You still aren't hearing this over the pulpit," he said.


A spokesman for the church declined comment, the church-owned Deseret Morning News said.