The Secret Behind Sugar
Sugar addicts across the world have reached an obstacle. In early October, the World Health Organization announced their support for a tax on soft drinks, which has already been implemented in Mexico and Hungary, in an effort to reduce sugar consumption.
The average American’s diet includes at least one sugary drink – such as soda, an energy drink, or a sports drink – per day. Other common sugar sources include refined and processed foods like cookies, cakes, ice cream, cereal, and more. Besides the downfall of weight gain and cavities, overdosing on sugar can make you feel full without providing your body with any nutrients.
“Nutritionally, people don’t need any sugar in their diet,” said Dr. Francesco Branca, the WHO’s nutrition director.
According to Harvard Health Publications, eating too much added sugar also increases the risk of dying from heart disease. Their research found that the odds of dying from heart disease increased with the percentage of sugar in the patient’s diet, regardless of their age, sex, exercise level, or body mass index.
Harvard’s analysis of a major study published in JAMA Internal Medicine revealed how sugar-based diets raise blood pressure and also stimulate the liver to dump more harmful fats into the bloodstream – both factors which are known to boost the risk of heart disease.
Why, then, do so many foods have added sugars? JAMA International Medicine discovered that in the 1960s, the sugar industry was sponsoring research to downplay the negative role of sugar in the body. A group called the Sugar Research Foundation funded research by Harvard scientists, encouraging the study to place the blame for heart disease on fats.
“The authors of the new article say that for the past five decades, the sugar industry has been attempting to influence the scientific debate over the relative risks of sugar and fat,” reported NPR.
New studies are emerging, showing the negative effects of sugar, but misinformation persists. Thus entities like the World Health Organization are encouraging a sugar tax, hoping to discourage consumers from purchasing sugary goods for the sake of their health. A report done by WHO found that raising prices by 20% or more lead to lower consumption of the item, and thus improved nutrition.