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Consuming too much sugar is bad for you. It leads to heart disease, obesity, diabetes and many other health problems. However sugar is the most popular food additive that has been added to almost every processed food we eat. Warning labels are placed on alcohol and cigarettes so why are they not on sugar products?
According to new report from the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, the sweetener industry groups that include the Sugar Association and the Corn Refiners Association (high fructose corn syrup) have learned a thing or two out of the Tobacco Industry’s playbook.
These sugar industries have poured millions into countering the scientific evidence that exposes the negative health consequences of eating their products. When a University of South Carolina did a study on the high amounts of fructose corn syrup content in sodas, which varied significantly from the sugar content disclosed on the labels, the Corn Refiners Association considered paying for doing its own counter research in order to discredit these claims and bury the data the study found.
In another case the Sugar Association wrote the director general of the World Health Organization after he just released reports recommending a 10% intake limit on added sugars that threatened nutritional quality of diets to pull the report. If not, they would persuade the U.S Congress to deny WHO federal funding. In the end it worked and when WHO issued a global health strategy the sugar study was nowhere to be seen.
So just like big Tobacco companies decades ago when no one cared about the dangers of smoking because scientific evidence was altered and hidden away whilst the industries worked sneakily in the background, sugar is going down the same path. They attack the science, spread misinformation, exploit the communication, influence academic findings and undermine policy to make money no matter the costs.