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EDITORIAL: Americas Unexpected Villain

by Lauryn Nilson
In recent years, America has swept herself into a health frenzy. While most health experts turn to
the nearest McDonalds to point the finger of blame for our obesity rates, recent studies show that we may
have a dark horse to worry about: sugar. Thats right. Your mid-day Coca-Cola could be adding that
extra layer of pudge around your midsection, keeping you under wraps on summer vacations. Sugar can
be found in many unexpected foods, and Americans are beating themselves at their own game. The
dietary police are on the beat again, and this time theyre telling us that the Twizzler weve got in our
hand may as well be a cigarette, wrote Jim Gerard of Ace Fitness.
However the classic candy bar might not be the problem
Humans have had a long love affair with sugar. 10,000 years
ago on the island of New Guinea, sugarcanes were domesticated.
Inhabitants considered sugar the food of gods, and the Arabs kept
their secret guarded until the Crusaders came in the 1400s. This was
when the European love affair with sugar began. One of the most
sinful acts in human history, slavery, holds its roots in sugar.
Europeans could not get enough sugar, and African slaves paid the
price. In 1700, the average Englishman consumed four pounds of
sugar a year, and it has greatly increased from that- in 1850 we
consumed 47 pounds of sugar a year. Today, the average American
consumes 77 pounds of sugar a year.
It is no myth that sugar is bad for ones health. Classic red-light/ green-light scales typically have
candy and cakes at the red end and veggies and fruits at the green side. While sodas have a classic
reputation as a tooth-killing drink and the mother of cavities, our guilty pleasure is still holding
strong. In 1998 alone, the average American drank 54 gallons of soda, according to industry tracker,
Beverage Digest. Sneaky culprits like Coke keep us sugar-happy, but water (surprisingly enough) holds
the top spot for Americas drink. While eating fruits that contain natural sugars is a healthy way to
acquire sugar, sometimes this sneaky pest can be found in drinks such as juices and smoothies that say
theyre from 100% fruit juice. Innocent is a brand of smoothies owned by Coca-Cola is also guilty of
added sugars, but their sales increased by 7% over the past year. In the Innocent pomegranate,
blueberry, and acai smoothie there are 34 grams of sugar (per 250mL serving), which is equivalent to a
330mL can of Coke. This proves that seemingly innocent drinks can actually be poisoning your body
with added sugars.
How do obesity stats relate to sugar? Eating sugar is not necessarily a bad thing, but the
aftermath of sugar is not so sweet. A sugar high is when you have what feels like a rush of energy, but
if you wait another thirty minutes, you will crash onto the sofa. A healthy balance of calories is
maintained through exercise, and if sugar makes us go to couch, then how are we still eating it? Studies
show that people are more likely to eat food while watching TV then to watch without food. With this in
mind, it can show us that sugar could possibly be tricking us into eating more. Sugar critic, Dr. Robert
Lustig, a professor of pediatrics at the University is California, and author of his own eye-opening book,
Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease, now considers
sugar an addictive substance that should be treated the same way alcohol and tobacco.
The change starts with education. Knowledge about healthy sugars vs. not healthy sugars, where
to find them, how to avoid them, etc., could very well change the face of America. Does this mean you
should set fire to all of the fruit juice in the neighborhood? No, it simply means to be more mindful of
Innocent smoothies might not be so
innocent anymore- with 34 grams of
sugar, thats enough to give any
American a belly ache. Source:

exactly whats going into your body and remember to eat in moderation. Fruits with natural sugars are a
great way to get your daily amount in the right way. 16% of American children are overweight, but taking
personal action can change this number. The American Heart association has finally placed a warning
against too much added sugar, but it will take a lot more than a government warning to change our ways.