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Is the sugar industry just as bad as the tobacco industry?

It’s a well known fact that sugar isn’t good for you. Sure, it tastes good and it makes almost anything more palatable but it’s certainly not a health food. It’s been linked to diabetes, heart disease and tooth decay.

One of the main campaigners against the sugar industry is former dentist from the US, Cristin Couzens. She started researching the industry in 2007 after attending a dental conference where “sweet tea” was recommended as a health drink. She questioned one of the speakers, and was told “There is no evidence that links sugar to chronic disease” before a hasty exit. Her research uncovered a shocking conspiracy that stretches back over the whole history of the sugar industry.

One key piece of evidence was a photo of three sugar industry executives receiving a PR award known as the “Silver Anvil” in 1976. What was their achievement? “Forging public opinion” – i.e. persuading the public that sugar was safe, despite evidence to the contrary. Throughout the late 70s, there were numerous indicators of the industry’s manipulation – research grants funded with sugar money, the resistance against Senator George McGovern as he tried to publish guidelines that suggested cutting sugar intake by 40%, the blocking of an article called “The Bitter Truth About Sugar”. These are all strong signs that the sugar industry was aware of the health risks of its product and was fighting a PR battle to redeem sugar’s image.

Of course, this all happened a lifetime ago – things are different now, right? The following quote from the Canadian Sugar Institute’s website would suggest not; “Despite recent advances, there are still numerous misconceptions about the role of sugars in the diet for people with diabetes.”

Couzens also found a Sugar Association memo from 2003 that said “Any disparagement of sugar will be met with forceful, strategic public comments and the supporting science” – the supporting science being, of course, the industry-sponsored research projects. The whole industry seems to be riddled with corruption and they are effectively risking public health for profit

Sugar can be very dangerous. There are millions of Canadians who suffer from diabetes – 2.4million in 2008/9, according to the Public Health Agency, and this was an increase of 70% on the figures from 1998/9. The main age group affected was 35-44 year olds, and that age group was also far more overweight than their predecessors.

Another scary point is that because sugar is sneaked into so many products, many of us are addicted without even knowing it. Click here to read the entire expose from CBC news.


Until next time,

Peace, love and vitamin C!



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