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Big Sugar's Sweet Little Lies

Stashed in: Fitspo, @vkhosla, Awesome, Fat!, America!, Pants on fire!, Nutrition!, Diabetes, Sugar, Things cut in half!

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Mother Jones writes:

The story of sugar, as Tatem told it, was one of a harmless product under attack by "opportunists dedicated to exploiting the consuming public." Over the subsequent decades, it would be transformed from what the New York Times in 1977 had deemed "a villain in disguise" into a nutrient so seemingly innocuous that even the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association approved it as part of a healthy diet. 

Research on the suspected links between sugar and chronic disease largely ground to a halt by the late 1980s, and scientists came to view such pursuits as a career dead end.

So effective were the Sugar Association's efforts that, to this day, no consensus exists about sugar's potential dangers. The industry's PR campaign corresponded roughly with a significant rise in Americans' consumption of "caloric sweeteners," including table sugar (sucrose) and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

This increase was accompanied, in turn, by a surge in the chronic diseases increasingly linked to sugar. Since 1970, obesity rates in the United States have more than doubled, while the incidence of diabetes has more than tripled. 

(The chart above uses sugar "availability" numbers rather than the USDA's speculative new consumption figures.)

Precisely how did the sugar industry engineer its turnaround? The answer is found in more than 1,500 pages of internal memos, letters, and company board reports we discovered buried in the archives of now-defunct sugar companies as well as in the recently released papers of deceased researchers and consultants who played key roles in the industry's strategy. 

They show how Big Sugar used Big Tobacco-style tactics to ensure that government agencies would dismiss troubling health claims against their products. Compared to the tobacco companies, which knew for a fact that their wares 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.

There's plenty more in the Mother Jones article.

I found the Mother Jones article via a tweet from Vinod Khosla.

Also worth reading is a NYT article on the extraordinary science of addictive junk food:

fat is killing you meme Imgur

body scans of women at 250 and 120 pounds MRI X-ray 100 pounds overweight obese Imgur

Reddit comments:

the trouble with fat meme imgur


  • Cut sugar as much as possible. Sugar raises insulin and insulin causes the body to store fat.

  • Eat as much fiber as possible. Fiber releases the hormone leptin, which tells the brain and the body that you feel full.

  • Exercise in any way you can. Can't run/bike/walk? Do push ups, pull ups, sit ups, planks, handstands, go swim, etc...

  • You CAN lose that fat. And you CAN enjoy it. Go to the supermarket and stock up on things that are high in fiber and low in sugar. You'll feel fuller and more healthy in no time.


See also Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead:

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