That’s Not News

I was reading in the Washington Post this morning that the Sugar Lobby is claiming that the science is still unclear concerning whether or not sugary foods are fattening. Not everyone who eats lots of sweet foods gets fat, therefore sugar does not make people fat. See that ironclad logic there? Its the very same logic that was used by Big Tobacco for all of those years…you don’t get health problems right away from smoking, and not everyone gets sick from smoking all their lives, therefore, there are no health problems associated with smoking.

Here is what is purported to be wrong with sugar:

Consider the 2015 Agriculture Department dietary guidelines now being prepared by the Obama administration. A scientific advisory committee is recommending Americans hold calories from added sugars to 10 percent of their diets, because: “strong and consistent evidence” shows they are “associated with excess body weight”; “strong evidence shows” they increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes; “moderate evidence” shows sugars are “consistently associated with increased risk of hypertension, stroke and CHD [coronary heart disease]”; and “moderate consistent evidence” links cavities to sugar intake.

Do you see all of the weasel words that are in quotes? Those quotes allow the sugar industry to say the science is not definitive. They are already saying it…

Enter the sugar lobby’s Andy Briscoe. The head of the Sugar Association wrote to the advisory committee to say there was no “proof of cause and effect” linking “ ‘added sugars’ intake with serious disease,” nor any “significant scientific agreement” to justify telling the American public sugar is “a causal factor in a serious disease outcome.” Added Briscoe: “There is not a preponderance of scientific evidence for conclusion statements that link ‘added sugars’ intake to serious disease or negative health outcomes or for a recommendation to limit ‘added sugars’ intake to less than 10% of energy.”   ….and….

“Obesity is a serious concern in America, but sugar is not the culprit,” he wrote in the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel.

“Sugar has been used safely by our grandmothers and their grandmothers for centuries,” he wrote in the Orlando Sentinel.

He can say that because he is paid well to say that. It also happens to be true that the science is still forming around why sugar is a chronic poison. We can eat sugar without harm, we and our grandparents did so. Sugar is a tasty treat, it is featured after every restaurant meal with it’s own menu. There is nothing wrong with eating sugar in dessert.

That’s not how we eat sugar any more. These days sugar is hidden in eight out of ten processed foods on the store shelves. These days you eat your dessert and also you eat sugar in every bite of food you eat, all day long, every day of the year. When food science took the fat out of foods, they put sugar in so it would taste like something you wanted to eat again, and they don’t have to tell you how much you should be eating.

Just about every ingredient in your food is easy to identify, except for sugar. While they could put sugar on the ingredient list, where it would always be near the top, because the list is in the order of most to least quantity–they will break sugar into a few different kinds of sugar so that each can be further down the list.

When you look at the recommended daily allowance percentages that are shown on some labels, there will be percentages for all of the ingredients except sugar. There is no “Recommended Daily Allowance” number for sugar.

This entire argument is about the label on food. The US government is on the verge of putting a daily allowance for sugar on the label. It is going to be ten grams. That is two and a half teaspoons, not quite a tablespoon of added sugar every day. A Coke has three times that much sugar in each can. Your kid’s GoGurt has more sugar than that by far. If you could see how much sugar was in every food you buy in a box or bag at the grocery you wouldn’t wonder why you and your kids are all gaining weight. It has just been hidden from you by food science and sugar lobbying.

The government may do something about it. I won’t be waiting for that. I have already vowed to not buy foods in boxes or bags. I won’t drink a sweetened drink. I eat local fruits, vegetables and meats. You should too. Alternatively you could wait for the science to become definitive. It only took about thirty years for tobacco, and we have been debating sugar now for about five years. In about twenty five years maybe they will be labelling foods with how much sugar is in them.


About dcarmack

I am an instrument technician at the electric utility servicing the Kansas City Missouri metropolitan area. I am in the IBEW, Local 412. I was trained to be a nuclear power plant operator in the USN and served on submarines. I am a Democrat, even more so than those serving in Congress or the White House.
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