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Are You A Sugar Addict?

December 1st, 2012 · No Comments

A recent article in the publication Mother Jones, tells the story about how the “Big Sugar” companies used Big Tobacco style tactics to make sure that government agencies would dismiss troubling health claims against their sugar products.

Compared to the tobacco companies, which knew for a fact that their products were deadly and spent billions of dollars trying to cover up that reality, the sugar industry had a relatively easy task. With the jury still out on sugar’s health effects, producers simply needed to make sure that the uncertainty lingered. But the goal was the same: to safeguard sales by creating a body of evidence companies could deploy to counter any unfavorable research.

This decades-long effort to stack the scientific deck is why, today, the USDA’s dietary guidelines only speak of sugar in vague generalities. (“Reduce the intake of calories from solid fats and added sugars.”) It’s why the FDA insists that sugar is “generally recognized as safe” despite considerable evidence suggesting otherwise. It’s why some scientists’ urgent calls for regulation of sugary products have been dead on arrival.

Research increasingly suggests that sugar and its nearly chemically identical product, HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup), may very well cause chronic diseases that kill hundreds of thousands of Americans every year, and that these chronic conditions would be far less prevalent if we significantly reduced our consumption of sugar.

Robert Lustig, a leading authority on pediatric obesity at the University of California San Francisco, made this case last February in the prestigious journal Nature. In an article titled “The Toxic Truth About Sugar,” Lustig and two colleagues observed that sucrose and HFCS are addictive in much the same way as cigarettes and alcohol, and that overconsumption of them is driving worldwide epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes (the type associated with obesity). Sugar-related diseases are costing America around $150 billion a year, the authors estimated, so federal health officials need to step up and consider regulating the stuff.

Like the tobacco industry before it, the sugar industry may be facing the inexorable exposure of its product as a killer—science will ultimately settle the matter one way or the other—but as Big Tobacco learned a long time ago, even the inexorable can be held up for a very long time.

It is a very interesting publication – read the full article here: Mother Jones

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