Sugar-coating the truth

We Americans are a bunch of sugar-addled addicts, a fact that has become  painfully clear to me while  carrying out some simple research on eating habits. 

A recent article in the  in the New York Times on the comeback of sugar completely missed the real issue at stake: we eat WAY too much sugar and sweetener of any kind.  The article did sort of pussy-foot around that issue by saying that nutritionists would like to see us eat less of all caloric sweeteners, but it really just wound up being a trend story about a backlash against high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in favor of sugar.

Perhaps the reporter didn’t want to upset the people in the HFCS industry, but the truth is, Americans started consuming more and more sweeteners just after HFCS hit the market in the mid-1970’s, according to statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).  As a basis for comparison, I’ve also dug up the sweetener consumption statistics for the UK and Australia, two countries that have fairly similar diets to ours, minus the HFCS.  Interestingly, sweetener consumption in those countries actually decreased while ours was skyrocketing upward:

Consumption of Sweeteners 1961-2001

              U.S              U.K.            Australia

1961    52 kg         52kg             56 kg
1981    56 kg         44 kg            54 kg
2001   71 kg         41 kg             45 kg

Source: FAOSTAT

 For those who don’t do the metric system, 71 kg is 156 pounds of sweetener every year– which is the weight of an average woman, give or take a few pounds.  We eat, far and away, more sweetener per person than any other country in the world.

I’m not going to argue whether HFCS is worse than sugar.  That’s not really the point.  The point is, that ever since HFCS came onto the scene, our collective sweet tooth has gotten even sweeter and our consumption of caloric sweeteners climbed 40 percent in 40 years.  Now, you tell me why America has an obesity problem.

Advertisements

2 responses to “Sugar-coating the truth

  1. Well, when you have corn syrup in hot dogs and ketchup….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s