Sugar Companies Provide Misleading Information
"Sugar in the diet does not cause diabetes." As a matter of fact, "sugar adds to the quality of children's diet," or so said the Sugar Association in 2009 and 2010.
There you have it then. The matter is closed and thank you for your time. Sugar is our friend, and we should consume it as often as possible in heaps that would stagger an elephant.
Wait a minute though. Before we begin tumbling pacaderms, let's explore a different possibility. Despite the assurance of the Sugar Association that the white stuff is A-OK, let's consider some other contentions regarding the merits of sugar.
The Health Risks of Sugar
On the other hand, groups like the Center for Science and Democracy and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) dispute the contentions of the sugar cheerleaders. And the Food and Drug Administration is considering an "added sugar" label on foods. As it turns out, there are some problems with sugar.
- Sugar causes blood glucose to spike and fall, which can cause mood swings, headaches, and cravings for more sugar. Cravings support addiction, which keeps us going back for sugar until the temporary good feeling passes and we experience more cravings.
- Sugar increases the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
- Sugar speeds the aging process. It contributes to lost elasticity in body tissues such as the skin, organs, and arteries. The rate of damage accelerates according to the amount of sugar in your blood.
- Sugar increases stress, affects behavior in children, causes tooth decay and gum disease, and takes the place of nutrients.
Hiding the Truth?
A new report issued by the UCS maintains that food and beverage companies have made a practice of distorting the facts about consuming too much sugar when they are attempting to influence food policy. Gretchen Goldman, author of the report Added Sugar, Subtracted Science, states that sugar interests are using the same approach that tobacco companies used to defend their product. They hire independent experts to question the science and disregard evidence while refusing to concede that the products they are defending can be harmful to a person's health.
The report borrows much information from documents that were released as part of a lawsuit between the Sugar Association and the Corn Refiners Association (CRA). The first represents the sugar cane and sugar beet industry and the second represents corn syrup products.
The CRA has suggested hiding damaging information from a 2011 Univerisity of Southern California study that maintained that there was more high fructose syrup in products than companies were disclosing. A consultant recommended that the company conduct its own research. The report makes strong recommendations for reform including that companies be pressured to align their marketing and policy with scientific findings and that Congress improve transparency of corporate political activities.
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