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Killer Fact: 30-40 Percent of Health Care Spending in the U.S. Is Tied to Excess Sugar Consumption

Monday, January 20, 2014


This is an extremely sobering article filled with very eye-opening information such as:

“Basically, the U.S. healthcare system spends about $1 trillion per year (and possibly more) fighting the effects of excess sugar consumption.”

"American politics are organized to protect corporate interests that make voters and taxpayers sick, and there is no better example: in a candy bar or a bowl of healthy granola, sugar is the big stake in the heart of American health."

The article takes care to point out the political problem is non-partisan: BOTH sides of the aisle are more than willing to take money from Big Sugar corporations and their lobbyists.

“In 2009, (sugar) crop producers spent more than $20.5 million on federal lobbying.” ( “How Big Sugar Gets Its Way," The Florida Independent, Sept. 11, 2011) That is the tip of the iceberg. Sugar producers and related industries cumulatively spend billions through dark money channels in political campaigns and “independent” expenditure committees supporting their candidates at all levels of government: from the smallest fry in Florida counties, to the state capitols wherever sugar can be grown. ("Koch-backed political coalition, designed to shield donors, raised $400 million in 2012," Washington Post, 1/7/2014) Sugar money in American politics disappears through the figments of campaign finance law and filaments of law enforcement. The United States is that special snow flake fallen on a pile of white sugar, melted golden by corporations more powerful than people."

More information here about the science behind the dangers of sugar:


Now I usually take care to keep politics out of my blogs here at SparkPeople, however when it intersects with our health and wellness I think there is value in keeping the Big Picture in mind!

Not because I think we need to lament and shake our heads helplessly, but because the more we are aware of the powerful forces against which we swim, the more we can 1) get ANGRY about this and 2) take actions to counter such forces!

When I see people loading their grocery carts with soda and highly processed carbohydrates I don't judge them: I judge the corporate / political / media SYSTEM that masquerades underneath our supposed free-will and shapes our preferences toward such death & disability-inducing choices!

What actions? A couple I can think of right off the bat is as many of us do: vote with our consumer dollars and avoid buying sugar-laden products. But the more important step is to speak out to our political leaders.

European countries appear to be so much more adept in holding their political leaders responsible for taking actions that benefit the majority of people and hold their leaders to task if they stray from this to serve their own self-interests by allowing corporations to buying out politicians to the detriment of the health and well-being of the people.

Speak out against subsidies for unhealthy industries such as Big Sugar! Ask our leaders: Why can we not subsidize HEALTHY food development? There is precious little help afforded to those who grow our vegetables and fruits.

Make noise: we need to be heard and we need to let our leaders know that we 1) will NOT support them if they don't take active steps to promote our health and wellness but that they will 2) earn our steadfast support if they DO support our health and wellness!


Bonus link: The wonderful Michael Pollan shares his common sense thoughts on the paleo approach to food:


Bonus link #2: Great upbeat message in this song:

LIVE OUT LOUD! by Intervision


Let's all keep Rockin' the SPARK!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thanks for this excellent blog. We do need to make noise on this issue wherever and whenever we can. I tend to do this in one-on-one situations, talking about my own struggles with sugar and encouraging friends to join me in really trying to eliminate it as much as possible while getting used to the taste of food made with less sugar or none at all. Sugar has been such a destructive force in my life that I feel quite passionate about this. Your blog is an important reminder to take these conversations beyond the personal level and into the political realm where decisions about subsidies and support are being made. It is truly sickening to think about how politicians and Big Sugar have worked together to poison the food chain. Action can come from individuals making better choices in their own lives, but macro-level change is also needed in order to improve conditions for those who are not ready to change, feel they can't afford to (not true in most cases!!), or simply don't understand how they are hurting themselves (and their families) by continuing to eat large quantities of processed and sugar-laden food. I will look for opportunities to add my voice to this and thank you for the reminder.
    1398 days ago
    It's crazy, isn't it? I try very hard to spend ethically (as you mentioned..."voting with our consumer dollars") and talk a lot about food to other people, for example, where it's grown, how it's raised and why organic farms need to spend thousands on proving they are NOT using harmful chemicals on their crops while industrial farming can destroy an ecosystem with their use of chemicals and no one bats an eye at this very backwards rule. But I digress.
    Yes, sugar is bad! We were talking about it last night. New research has come to light about sugar and gluten and how it affects the brain to the point of actually making us less intelligent.
    Thanks for the link.
    1398 days ago
    Here north of the border, too: absolutely.

    How sweet it is? Not at all, not remotely.

    And what a relief to see someone else putting forward a political position!! Thanks, Don.
    1398 days ago
  • KANOE10
    That was informative and excellent. I am right there with you. These sugar mega giant corporations are ruining our health with obesity. There is too much sugar in all of our refined foods. Taking action would be a good thing. Michael Pollan is great.

    1398 days ago
    emoticon Thanks for sharing and reminding us all that we have a voice in this on many levels.
    1398 days ago
    Great stuff. You are absolutely right about the European culture and it is very obvious when you live there. I'd love to see a "wellness summit" with our politicians instead of the "prayer summit" they do.
    1398 days ago
    LIVE OUT LOUD! What a GREAT groove!!! Guess they're a Portland group. The words are excellent too. BTW, the "https://" has to go for the link to work.

    And thanks for the important, intense information about how greed impacts our health and our responsibility to rein it in with our votes and actions.

    As I said in sharing the Michael Pollan article on Facebook, "Thank you Michael Pollan! I never buy into the 'latest-and-greatest' designer diets, foods, herbs, nutrients, etc., preferring to do my homework, wait, and continue slow-but-sure with a formula that I know works (when I work it!)."

    1398 days ago
    I agree
    1398 days ago
    emoticon blog!
    1398 days ago
  • L*I*T*A*
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1398 days ago
    This is a great blog entry. I'd like to copy it to a closed group Facebook page where I think it will be very helpful. Please message me if that's OK.
    1398 days ago
    Add to this the fact that extra weight in vehicles lowers gas mileage. It doesn't matter where that weight comes from - a sack of kitty litter in the trunk or extra human booty - gas mileage does not care.

    Who do you think gets $$ when gasoline is overconsumed and becomes scarcer?
    1398 days ago
    I agree. But I still think we have the choice as to whether or not to load our carts up with sugar products.
    1398 days ago
    Don as a coder for years - I have seen the increase of revenue for the hospitals and physicians due to over consumption of sugar and processed food causing fatal illnesses , Hmmm ? Pig Pharma benefits too ! have you ever read any book By Ty Bollinger - good read - been an activist for a while now ! good blog - Karen
    1398 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/20/2014 11:36:54 AM
    Action.... yes. Thank you for this sobering blog. As they often say.. follow the money and your action belongs at the source.
    1398 days ago
    Good for you. Complaining is one thing. Taking action is the next level of courageous.
    1398 days ago
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