March 23 2015
The Bitter Side of Sugar
Sugar has always been an important and influencing factor in our lives, although most of
the time we don’t realize it. It is a product that is quite available in many places around the world
since it is very affordable, yet is so misused by the majority such as food giants that use it in
order to hook consumers, the reason for this is that sugar is cheap, sugar tastes good and sugar
sells, so companies have little incentive to change. The overuse of sugar in hyperprocessed food
affects the American consumer negatively, causing obesity, cancer, addiction and other diet
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Moreover, a growing body of epidemiological and mechanistic evidence argues that
excessive sugar consumption affects human health beyond simply adding calories. If people
around world are truly concerned about public health, they must consider limiting sugar/fructose
— and its main delivery vehicles, the added sugars sucrose and HFCS — which pose health
threats to individuals and to society as a whole. If researchers are right about added sugar
calories being so catastrophic, then major consequences follow for all sugar consumers around
The Western diet has negatively influenced consumers around the globe. Laura A.
Schmidt, a Professor of Health Policy in the School of Medicine at UCSF, offers her analysis in
Health agazine “Sugar Overload” that over the past 50 years, consumption of sugar has
tripled worldwide, meaning more people are becoming obese and suffering from other critical
health conditions related to sugar. Every country that has adopted the Western diet — one
dominated by lowcost, highly processed food — has experienced rising rates of obesity and
related diseases. There are now 30% more people who are obese than who are undernourished.
Sugar consumption and processed food not only affect the American consumer, but the whole
world in general since western food culture have shifted on to other parts of the globe.
Additionally, a study from the World Health Organization (WHO)
in 2012 showed that an
estimated 56 million people died worldwide from noncommunicable diseases, which is 68% of
all deaths globally in 2012, up from 60% in 2000. The 4 main NCDs are cardiovascular diseases,
cancers, diabetes and chronic lung diseases. Cardiovascular diseases killed 17.5 million people in
2012, that is 3 in every 10 deaths. Of these, 7.4 million people died of ischaemic heart disease
and 6.7 million from stroke.
Importantly, sugar induces all of the diseases associated with
metabolic syndrome. This includes: hypertension (fructose increases uric acid, which raises
blood pressure); diabetes from increased liver glucose production combined with insulin
resistance; high triglycerides and insulin resistance through synthesis of fat in the liver; and the
ageing process, caused by damage to lipids, proteins and DNA through nonenzymatic binding of
fructose to these molecules.
The saddest part of all this is that more people in the world die due
to sugar overload and western eating habits that lead to cardiovascular and many other
dietrelated diseases, rather than them dying from other deathleading factors such as drugs,
criminals, military losses, and gun control and shootings.
Mass food producers are selfish and profitdriven. As Michael Moss states in the NPR
radio interview, the “Bliss Point”, which is sugar, is an important focus of the food industry.