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!