Gary Taubes in his book “The Case Against Sugar” makes a very convincing argument that sugar is the culprit responsible for the proliferation of a myriad of long-term and metabolic diseases. Recent studies of newborn’s first responses to sugar strongly suggest that sugar has addictive properties that are different from other carbohydrates. The addictive aspect of sugar can be observed if you are a parent of young children, and the industry takes advantage of this knowledge by marketing sweetened cereals to children.

But the food industry was not the only one to contribute to the rise in debilitating diseases. The additive power of blended tobacco in cigarettes, beginning with Camels in 1912, was increased by the introduction of sugar. It was found that increasing the sugar content of tobacco leaves had the effect of making the nicotine significantly more inhalable thereby introducing more carcinogens into the lungs. At the same time, it made the cigarette less harsh and more agreeable to adolescent smokers and also more addictive.

As the evidence against sugar has become more mainstream, the food industry has moved in to protect its turf. It has waged a 60-year effort to shift the blame for obesity and diabetes to saturated fats and individual behavior.

In the 1960s, the Sugar Association, a trade group, became alarmed about the emerging evidence linking sugar to diabetes and heart disease. Their solution was to finance industry-friendly research and attack the credibility of scientists whose research confirmed that sugar was unhealthy. Their efforts were rewarded when FDA reports in 1980, unsurprisingly declared that fat caused our problems.

But opinions began to change in 2007, when the “Sugar Paper,” a collection of internal documents, revealed the collusion between the sugar industry and medical researchers in the 1960s and 1970s. It was found that the sugar industry had, with the National Institutes of Health, created a federal program to combat tooth decay in children that did not recommend limiting sugar consumption. The food and soda companies manipulated research to their favor and to the detriment of the American public.

In the early ‘80s high fructose corn syrup replaced sugar in sodas, and the soda industry claimed that corn was a vegetable, so it was more healthful. It was a bait and switch. All sugars produce the same physiological results if you consume enough. Soda is a pernicious way to overdose because it is just sweetened water. To many, drinking a Pepsi doesn’t seem the same as eating a serving of cheesecake, but both contain many grams of sugar. Between 2009 and 2015, the soda industry spent $106 million opposing local and federal public-health initiatives.

Government has tried its hand in restricting sugar consumption. In 2012, then New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg targeted sugar with his “Sugary Drinks Portion Cap Rule” (aka the soda ban). The rule prohibited the sale of sugary beverages greater than 16 ounces. The soda companies responded by filing suit claiming the rule would adversely affect lower income families. The New York Courts disallowed the Mayor’s sugar ban, saying the Board of Health had exceeded its regulatory authority.

There is a lack of consensus about the amount of sugar that can be consumed in a healthy diet. But one thing is certain, the sugar industry will continue to fight for its turf, manipulating the “evidence” if necessary. It then becomes a personal decision just as we decide what level of alcohol, caffeine, or cigarettes we will consume. 
Basta und damit!