Here’s How Americans Ended Up Eating Too Much Sugar

Sugar is the tobacco of the new century, according to investigative science journalist and author Gary Taubes.

With a powerful foyer and a huge customer base, there are obvious parallels to tobacco, which for decades we didnt know to be addictive and linked to lung cancer and other diseases. Taubes says sugar is making us dependent and sick, too.

You cant think of sugar as a benign pleasure, Taubes, who is the author of the new volume The Case Against Sugar , argued during a recent Facebook Live interview with HuffPosts The Scope.

The average American ingests 82 teaspoons of added sugar per day, which is more than three times the maximum of 25 grams per day for women recommended by the American Heart Association. For decades, the science has shown a clear connection between a diet high in added sugars and chronic conditions like obesity, diabetes and heart disease, but its taking a long time for the average Americans diet to catch up.

A big part of the problem is the high sugar content of most processed foods, Taubes says.When questions emerged about the role of dietary fat in heart disease, starting in the 1950 s.Many American food companies began to remove fat from their processed foods to market them as healthy products. But they werent all that healthy, since the fat which is what gives food much of its savor was often replaced with high amounts of sugar to restore flavor.

Whats more, the actual research on the dietary fat-disease link isnt as clear-cut as nutritional advice from that epoch induces it seem. While some population-level examineshave found a relationship between a low-fat diet and improved heart health and longevity, investigations of the role played by dietary fat on individual danger never truly demonstrated what researchers set out to prove: that consuming fat resulted in increased risk of disease.

We started to do tests in the 60 s, and the tests resolutely refused to confirm the idea, Taubes said. But the more tests you do, the more people presumed it had to be true.

By that time, the idea had caught on so much that the growing counter-evidence didnt seem to matter. Low-fat diets took off, and were institutionalized by new USDA dietary guidelines advising people to limit their fat intake.

The next thing you know, for 30 years, be totally feeing these low-fat diets, he said. And the problem wasnt necessarily that people were feeing less fat, but that they were generally feeing more sugar.

Watch the video above to hear more from Taubes about how fat came to be seen as the number-one dietary villain.

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