What Should Be Done About Sugar

Friday, October 21, 2011
sugarIt's really quite amazing how long it is taking people to come around to the idea that sugar is bad for us, but it is (glacially) happening.

Due to accumulating research that sugar could be a factor in heart disease (such as this recent study), the American Heart Association has been talking more about cutting back on sugar, and advises limiting added sugars to 6-9 teaspoons per day. (Weirdly, the American Diabetes Association calls the alarm about sugar "hype", at the same advising small portions -- the ADA has been giving out increasingly mixed messages about sugar and other carbs.)

Those of us who have experienced the benefits of giving up sugar and other high-carb foods don't need large organizations to tell us, but you don't have to look far to see that sugar is still Very Big Business.

What Should Be Done?

Other than bloggers and authors continuing to raise the alarm, what should be done about the pervasive problem of large amounts of sugar in our diets?

- One group is promoting Sugar Addiction Awareness Day on the day before Halloween, which I think it pretty cool. The question of whether sugar is truly addictive is controversial, but my readers sure *feel* as though it is, and I agree.

- Taxes are being increasingly brought up as a potentially helpful response. In a poll I posted last spring, my readers did not go for this option at all.

- Anti-sugar crusader Dr. Robert Lustig thinks that we should consider some kind of regulation, but isn't sure what exactly should be done. He's doing his part to educate people, though.

One thing is for sure: the message is not really getting out with the kind of impact that would make large numbers of people make a change. In the mainstream press and on TV news shows, I still hear much more about the evils of eating fat than the evils of eating sugar. And without getting the media on our side, the bloggers and the individual crusaders are not going to make a difference very quickly. But, we will soldier on! Drops of water on the stone...and finally the rock wears down.

Photo c Carlos Paes

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