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Regulating Sugar

Sugar, under the gun. It’s making us fat. Making us sick. Is it time to regulate sugar? Mark Bittman joins us.

Sugar cubes. (Howzey/Flickr)

Sugar cubes. (Howzey/Flickr)

Americans love sugar.  And the big food processors love to feed it to us, by the ton.  Put the two together, and you’ve got one big fat, sick problem.  Sugar is a major contributor to the tsunami of American obesity.

Sugar – the way we eat it – is a major health threat.  Now there’s a call to put on the brakes.  To regulate sugar.  Like we regulate alcohol.  Like we regulate tobacco.  For the sake of our health and our health care budget.  Much higher taxes on sweets.  Limited sales.  Limited access.

This hour, On Point:  We love it, but it makes us fat.  It makes us sick.  Is it time to regulate sugar?

-Tom Ashbrook


Mark Bittman, an opinion columnist and the New York Times magazine’s food columnist.

Robert Lustig, professor of clinical pediatrics, in the Division of Endocrinology Director of the Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health (WATCH) Program at University of California, San Francisco.

Art Carden, professor of economics at Rhodes College, Research Fellow with the Independent Institute, and Senior Fellow at the Beacon Center of Tennessee.

From Tom’s Reading List

Nature “This is not just a problem of the developed world. Every country that has adopted the Western diet — one dominated by low-cost, highly processed food — has witnessed rising rates of obesity and related diseases. There are now 30% more people who are obese than who are undernourished.”

New York Times “To some, dictating what recipients of benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program can eat seems unfair. But when the program began in 1939 it aimed both to feed the unemployed and to aid farm recovery. ”

NBC “Americans have quite the sweet tooth. Did you know, on average, we consume about 30 times more sugar than our ancestors did just over a hundred years ago? ”

Forbes “Like a lot of people, I’m increasingly concerned about an expanding waistline and lifestyle-related illnesses. I want my kids to live long, happy, healthy lives, and I want them to develop good eating habits. Is regulating sugar the way we regulate alcohol and tobacco the right way to go about it? Some say yes. I say no.”

Video: Robert Lustig On Sugary Foods

In this lecture from 2009, Lustig explores the damage caused by sugary foods, arguing that fructose and fiber appear to be cornerstones of the obesity epidemic.


“Sugar, Sugar” by The Archies

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  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    How about the idea that individuals have to make responsible choices for themselves?  This is just more begging for a nanny.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816544 Dan Trindade

      I agree but what happens when people are not capable of making an educated and responsible choice for themselves? Do we let them continue to make bad choices and inevitably cost the tax payer more money in medical and welfare assistance or do we “nanny” them with regulations?

      • Gregg

        Who “are not capable of making an educated and responsible choice for themselves”? Are you talking about the mentally ill?

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816544 Dan Trindade

          No I am not and I think you know that. A lot, dare I say a majority of people are not informed enough about their own health to make healthy decisions without some type of assistance. Most people do not have direct access to a dietition or a nutritionist who can properly advise them about healthy eating. Personnal physicians can fill in some gaps but if the right questions are not asked then that information may not be passed on. What do we as a society do then? Do we let them continue to make unhealthy decisions at the expense of others or do we allow the government to step in with some guidelines, i.e. regulations?

          • Gregg

            I don’t think it requires a nutritionist or dietician to know living off of Twinkies and Soda is not healthy.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816544 Dan Trindade

            I have better things to do than argue this to the ground so I turn it over to jefe68 as he has already articulated my point “You go on about personal choice when the stuff is in almost everything. Try buying ketchup without this crap in it.  I guess the idea of having a healthier nation is not as important as your right to eat, drink, and smoke your way into the rising costs of health care.”

          • Patrik

            Yet people still do it…

          • Gregg

            Damn that freedom concept.

          • mary elizabeth

            It is not just Twinkies and Coke.  It is the boxes of cereal, mac and cheese, pizza,etc  all laden with chemicals, salt and sugar yet presented as healthy foods that  ensnare us- much of it in the name of profit by appealing to an acquired tast.

      • Modavations

        What a bunch of patronizing bull.You guys arn’t smart enough,you need our wisdom.Remember Pres.Buill saying I can’t give you a tax cut,you might not spend your own money correctly.No wonder the world has dismissed the Left

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816544 Dan Trindade

          Great answer. You really took on the questions I asked and man I just wanted to thank you for your excellent analysis. It really helps the discussion. To continue, so do you think we have no problems in this country with regards to health and science education in America? Are we all self sufficient geniuses? Please discuss and help me to understand your point of view.

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    Nanny state nonsense!

    • http://twitter.com/TweeterSmart b smart

      sick of ‘nanny state nonsense’ people only invoke that when its something they don’t like! i don’t remember cries of nanny state nonsense last week in virginia. 
      when people clearly show an inability to self regulate (ie the ballooning of america) someone needs to step in.
      how many times does the invisible hand have to fail before people stop believing in it. 

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         It’s because we don’t accept that you know what’s best for us.  Quit trying to regulate private behavior.  Lead by example and persuasion, not control.

        • nj_v2

          It’s about more than “example” and “persuasion.”

          Large segments of the industrial food system make their profits by foisting sugar, fat, and salt onto consumers, manipulating and exploiting them.

          The solutions need to be multi-faceted. Neither “regulation” nor “leading by example” are adequate or effective.


          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            No one forces me to buy what these evil corporations try to sell me.  There’s plenty of healthy food available in this country.  The only question is what I choose.

          • nj_v2

            Go spend some time in disadvantaged areas of inner cities and get back to us.

            Healthy food is more often more expensive than industrial, mass-marketed, subsidized crap. People of limited means will buy what’s cheap.

            “Choice” occurs at the end of a chain of other events.

        • Anonymous

          How much choice do consumers really have to avoid foods with high fructuse corn syrup added to them.  And corn production is subsidized so that isn’t a result of the free market. 

  • AC

    I read a book by a Japanese author called sugar blues, written before I was even born, on this issue……

  • Gregg

    Enough regulations!

    • JustSayin

       I agree. Enough with the micromanaging of consumption based on personal safety. If people want to burn out their pancreas with sugar, then apply a surcharge to their insurance, like we do with auto insurance. The burden of risky behavior should fall upon those indulge the risks, not the populace at large.

      I saw on the news just yesterday another over zealous grieving mom (with corporate backing of course) trying to mandate automakers to add backup cameras to every automobile because she ran over a kid. The annualized cost of her pet project to America would be, $200/vehicle or $18,000,000 per incident. Irrational in the extreme, when one considers how many children could be saved with the 100′s of millions applied to rational child safety.

      • Gregg

        I remember a video of a young Michael Moore debating Milton Friedman about the Pinto. Moore’s premise sound logical on it’s face but Friedman enlightens him on regulations. I’ll see if I can find it.

        Life is risky and we all decide what risks are worth taking. Just think of how many lives would be saved if we lowered the speed limit to 5MPH. But we don’t, we as a society, have decided to let people die for the convenience of driving fast. Cool.

        • Gregg
        • JustSainn

           Well I owned one of those exploding Pinto’s . I was retrofitted to fix the problem, and people really did not tailgate.

          When people killed themselves with cigarettes, and still do, the government taxed their risky habit. So do the same with added sugar tax, those who use the most pay the most, and not tax pure sugar.

          Seems pretty simple, and it has a working history of success with other health damaging products.

    • bellavida

      I am fine with ending regulations so long the subsidies for corn, soy, and wheat stop.  A true free market!!  What a concept.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68


    On 02/22/2012 Obama signed the middle class tax relief and job creation Act of 2012. To prevent scheduled payments cuts for physicians and other practitioners who treat Medicare patients.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      Diabetic patients included.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) is a method used by CMS to control spending on physician services. Enacted by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816544 Dan Trindade

    I am not really looking forward to more regulations, especially if they take away my god given right to sour patch kids. But if you look at the rise in sugar consumption in America and correlate it with the rise in obesity, type one and two diabetes, heart problems, ADD/ADHD and a host of other health and developmental issues they seem to match up. Not saying sugar is the only cause but I would not be surprised if it is a major contributing factor. If this is really the case then I think it makes sense for the government to regulate it, just like it makes sense for them to regulate cigarette and alcohol consumption by kids under 18 or to regulate the chemicals companies use in food production. Not all regulations are bad regulations, they just need to be efficient and well targeted.

  • Modavations

    Not this guy again….Get ye to the gym

  • Modavations

    Hey you NAZIs,get your hands off my light bulbs,keep your mitts off my kids Lunch Box,

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, you would use nazi in context to this subject.
      You are one huge sphincter.

      • Modavations

        Are you gay

        • Ray in VT

          Trolling for action again?  What’s the matter, is your Swedish sex worker out of town?

        • Anonymous

          What? You really are a repulsive little man.

          • Modavations

            Sorry NJ,I thought you were the guy who used to say,you’re a vile little man,just vile.NJ is gay,est vous.Come on kid,I think my theory has validity

  • Markus

    Years ago, conservatives whined about forcing people to wear seat belts. However, seat belts save lives, reduce costs and of course, there was the argument that we must do it for the children (or irresponsible parents). Conservatives argued the slippery slope theory that this would lead to government control of other areas, including our diet.

    So, is the primary difference between seat belts and sugar that one is less inconvenient than the other (i.e. it’s probably harder to kick the sugar habit than click on a belt)? And where do you stop? For those against regulation, do you end the requirement for motorcycle helmets? And who pays for their care when they’re hit? For those for regulation, is salt and fat next? Is it time to tell MacDonald’s and Burger King how they should make their burgers and fries?

    Are there any guidelines of principles that are useful, or do we do it as we usually do, by the next horror story that pops up?

    My own view is on the side of less regulation. But this is largely based on how incompetent I view the government. 

    • Gregg

      I oppose seat belt and helmet laws, vehemently.

      • Modavations

        Free men oppose Gestapo edict.What up General G,commander of the liberated middle states.

        • Gregg

          Goin’ fishing is what’s up. My boat needs a dip. I’m hoping for a striper supper. Stripers are evil and deserve to die, I’m on it. Try to make sure everyone plays nice.

          • Gregg

            And I will not be wearing a life vest. I will bait the hook with my bare hands and filet my catch without a steel meshed glove. I may even have a toddy as I gun Mr. Evinrude.

          • JustSayin


      • Hidan

         wow we agree,

        Seat belts still kill just not at the same levels of not wearing one. And if someone doesn’t want to wear a helmet and crashes and dies it’s on him. Also against the attempts to ban cell phones.

      • Anonymous

        I oppose paying for the results of your choices with higher health care premiums.
        When you make choices that effect other people they are no longer about you.

        • Gregg

          A cursory glance at health insurance costs by state reveals it is much cheaper in SC than Mass. SC does not require a helmet.


          Try again.

          • Modavations


          • mary elizabeth

            Perhaps the weather has something to do with it.

          • Still Here

            I think this says more about driving skills than anything…

          • Gregg

            Probably, among other factors but the data does not support Jefe’s claim.

      • mary elizabeth

         Unless you have worked the ER and witnessed the death, devastation, long years of rehab that may have been prevented by a very simple act.
        My father never wore a seat belt until the law and he begrudginly complied.
        My children wouldn’t think of driving without one,
        It has become part of the culture by most people.

        • Gregg

          One would have to be insane not to wear a seat belt or helmet. 

    • JustSayin

       There is a difference between sugar and seat belts:

      People need to drive, and you can choose not to use the belts, and then suffer a physical and/or financial cost.

      People don’t need sugar or tobacco to survive.

      We would find taxing health damaging products less objectionable if the taxes collected actually went to the stated purpose. But inevitably they end up in the titanic  tax sucking defense budget, and the taxing structure is doubled, and doubled, and on and on….

      Is this just another clandestine plan to bring in tax dollars to offset a reduced defense budget?

  • Modavations

    Right now Ben Coan is on C-span defending his hiring of paid agitators.Is there something in the water of Vt.?

    • Hidan

      Water Supply Division
      103 South Main Street
      Waterbury, VT 05671-0403

      For After-Hours Water System Emergencies: Dial
      741-5311 – then enter your phone number (a local call within Vermont for
      a 24-hour pager for Water Supply Division emergency response)

      Feel free to call.

    • Ray in VT

      yeah, it’s called sense.  Look into it sometimes.  At least there’s an old hippie who does some good in the world.

  • Hidan

    I think not.

    State Government/Federal Government regulating Sugar would in a sense pretty much create an two tier structure of what the poor and what the non-poor can have.

    Than if the excuse is that it’s for health reasons, than even more things will need to be regulated if not banned. Though such would be helpful in the long run it’s hardly democratic and an slippy slope. Where the poor will be  limited on how they eat,act, and can do while the non-poor will continue doing what they wish to.

  • Anonymous

    This is great. We have the right wing peanut gallery whining about the idea of regulating high fructose corn syrup which is basically a poison, not unlike ethanol. You go on about personal choice when the stuff is in almost everything. Try buying ketchup without this crap in it.  I guess the idea of having a healthier nation is not as important as your right to eat, drink, and smoke your way into the rising costs of health care. 

    • Ray in VT

      It can be tough finding products that don’t have sugar or sodium added.  I can find them at my local super markets, but it takes a good amount of label reading.

      • Still Here

        Yeah, exactly, I didn’t read that mortgage or credit card application; why should I read a label of something I’m going to ingest!

        • Ray in VT

          But why does everything have to have added sugars it in, and not everyone may have access to the wide variety of foods that I do.  I’m very concerned about the levels of sugars that we are ingesting.  Have you seen the diabetes rates in this country?  It is just appalling.  Now, I’m not coming down on either side of this, but cheap sugars, and a lot of them, are really doing a number on our national health.  Also, food labels are quite a bit easier than the purposely obtuse language that you cited.  A better example would have served you well.

          • Gregg
          • Ray in VT

            It can be, and excessive amounts should be.  I say that even though I do have a sweet tooth, but healthy alternatives aren’t always available to people, and if you’re on a tight budget, then you might go for those cheap calories that are just bad for you.

            I know that I started watching sodium levels a couple of years ago when my blood pressure ticked up, and it really is shocking how much is added to some foods.

          • Anonymous

            I agree, I avoid it a lot.
            I also read the ingredients in the supermarket. Finding ketchup without high fructose corn syrup is almost impossible. 

    • Still Here

      Poison, how does one become so ignorant?  What’s the difference in processing between refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup?  How does the body differentiate between hfcs, refined sugar, natural fructose and sugar cane.  Even leftwing crackpots should know a little about chemistry and biology. 

      • Gregg

        … or an orange.

        • Ray in VT

          There’s also a difference between eating some fruit, with their natural sugars, and ingesting the highly processed and junk foods that stock our grocery store shelves.  It seems pretty apparent from the skyrocketing rates of diabetes and obesity, that we are getting something wrong in our national diet.

          • Gregg

            The body does not recognize a difference in the sugar from a Twinkie or an orange. The other ingredients are a different matter but this is about sugar.

          • Jen Emerson

            Actually the sugars can be fundamentally different – fructose has a different structure than glucose, which is the one the body relies on for fuel.

            Also I’m pretty sure that no one tries to make the argument that sucrose (table sugar) is the same as lactose (milk sugar). So, a sugar is a sugar is a sugar is not valid argument.

          • JustSayin

            The argument is that  all sugars are carbohydrates to the body. Starch is sugar in another form.

            Fructose is a less complex form of sugar, and hence has fewer calories. But to the body 1/2 tsp of cane is the same as 2 tsp of fructose.

          • Anonymous

            I’m not sure these folks know the difference between fructose, sucrose, glucose and lactose. I can see from reading the comments that there is a lot of misinformation that then informs the response.

          • Modavations

            There’s something fishy with the water supply in Vt.Did you ever see the flic the Hills Have Eyes,about the mutants?I’m done,going fishing too

          • Ray in VT

            I’ll take it over the water from greater Boston.  Mine’s just fine.  I would suspect that yours growing up was highly contaminated.  It would explain a lot.

          • nj_v2

            More right-wing ignorance. Sucrose and fructose are metabolized differently.

        • Anonymous

          Gregg, an orange has fiber and is digested in a different way than processed sugars.
          If you don’t agree, fine. Ignorance is bliss, or just ignorance. So keep on eating those process sugars.

          • TFRX

            And don’t forget juice: Drinking 100 calories of real juice is so much easier and faster than consuming 100 calories of the same fruit.

            Calories ingested in liquid form aren’t noticed by the stomach in the same way as if solid, therefore the brain doesn’t get the message that one is supposed to be full.

      • Modavations

        It doesn’t.An amino acid is an amino acid is an amino acid

        • Anonymous

          Are you really such a misanthropic malcontent that you feel the need to fill this forum with so much rubbish.

          • Modavations

            misanthrophic malcontent,rubbish.Maybe you’re not rabid.Perhaps it is Tourettes.You just can’t help yourself.Are you postuing from Bellvue

      • Anonymous

        Watch the video. High fructose corn syrup does is not digested the same way as corn syrup.
        In fact it is many times sweeter than corn syrup. Which is why it’s used.
        You call me ignorant? Did you know that fructose is metabolized differently from glucose.
        Dietary intake of fructose, particularly in the form of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), has dramatically increased in the US in recent
        decades. Increased HFCS consumption has paralleled increasing rates of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and other conditions associated with poor lifestyle habits.

        High-fructose corn syrup is found in sweetened carbonated soft drinks as well as in many packaged foods such as cakes, cookies, jams,
        jellies, and crackers.

        Excess fructose intake has been associated with adverse health effects such as metabolic syndrome, elevated triglyceride levels,
        hypertension, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, excess uric acid levels (associated with gout), and elevated levels of advanced glycation end
        products (AGEs; linked with aging and complications of diabetes).

        Minimizing intake of dietary fructose is essential to mitigating its potentially dangerous effects. Sources of dietary fructose include HFCS,
        fruit juices, honey, and table sugar (sucrose; comprising fructose and glucose).

        Targeted nutritional strategies can help avert some of the damaging effects of excess fructose intake. Beneficial nutrients include
        benfotiamine, alpha-lipoic acid, carnosine, pyridoxamine, acetyl-L-carnitine, vitamin C, and fish oil.

        • Still Here

          Really poor cut and paste job.
          Anything in excess is bad.
          Try cutting and pasting something that is pertinent.

          • Anonymous

            OK argue for the use of high fructose corn syrup on any level. I posted some facts about how this garbage is processed in our bodies and you say this is not pertinent. You know what’s not pertinent, comments that do nothing in context to the subject.
            Why bother, you go ahead and keep eating all the junk you want.

          • Still Here

            Read your own post Sherlock; it’s full of correlation and no evidence of causation, only associations when consumed in excess which it fails to define. 

            What I’m against is you spouting off on how others should live when you don’t even know what you’re talking about.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816544 Dan Trindade

      Well said. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Let the peanut gallery say what they will. The more they sputter the deeper their hole becomes.

    • JustSayin

       But that knife cuts both ways. Right? 

      To me the burden of regulation on personal choices is becoming absurd. But I’m not opposed to taxing the risk.

      To the body sugar is sugar, the source is irrelevant. There is no difference between high fructose corn sugar and maple sugar. Its the quantity that’s the problem. Anything can be a poison in a large enough quantity, even water.

      The government cannot control stupidity, but they can offset its cost to society by making it expensive.

      • Anonymous

        Did you watch the video? Because there is a huge difference between high fructose corn syrup and maple sugar and ordinary corn syrup.
        The type of sugar does in fact make a difference.
        An apple has fructose in it but also has a lot of fiber that helps to break down the sugar faster in our digestive system. The key ingredient is fiber.
        The government cannot control stupidity, this is true, but there has been a huge change in how things are now sweetened and this stuff is the worst. It’s not cane sugar nor is it beet sugar, which is what most of our sugar use to come from.

        If you think your body breaks down all sugars the same way you are mistaken.

        Personally I don’t eat sugar very much at all.
        A little honey and Maple syrup or some cane sugar.

        • JustSayin

           “If you think your body breaks down all sugars the same way you are mistaken.”

          Not what I said at all… at all!

           Complex carbohydrates are broken down differently because they are different, no surprise there. It is the rate of breakdown, or the simplicity of it, that is damaging. Not because of the complexity, but because of the quantity.

          People can get diabetes, and NEVER touch a single gram of sugar.  Just eat simple starchy foods polysaccharides in great quantities. The body does not know the difference, because they are all broken down in carbohydrases. They all use the same enzyme, complex carbohydrates require more time.

          • Anonymous

            True, but we are dealing with high fructose corn syrup and it’s in everything. Try finding a loaf of bread or hamburger bun that does not have this stuff in it. It’s in all cereals except some brands of shredded wheat. It’s in all soft drinks and fruit drinks. It’s in almost all processed foods.

          • JustSayin

             “It’s in almost all processed foods.”

            That’s the key. I don’t buy too many processed foods, and most of them don’t contain much sugar.  Well, there is the ketchup, but I don’t sit down to eat a bowl of ketchup.

            I actually think processed foods are more expensive than preparing from scratch.

          • Anonymous

            If you don’t eat that vegetable by the bowl, you are disrespecting the legacy of Ronald Reagan.

      • Josh

        Hello! I was actually just reading an article that seems to counter what you are saying.


        Or maybe I am not fully understanding the argument you are making?

  • Still Here

    Let’s test this out by not permitting food stamp recipients to buy food with sugar of any kind and see what happens to Medicaid expenditures.

    • Gregg

       Good idea.

    • Modavations

      In Ma.the Dependency crowd can buy lottery tickets,booze,Crack,etc,.In Ca. you could use the Welfare card for cash in casinos

      • JustSayin

         The lottery: The purest form of a stupidity tax.

        • Ray in VT

          It depresses me to see people who are not well off by lottery tickets because they think that they’re going to get rich.  Just one more vice that I try to avoid.

          • Steve

            The cost of living is greater than the benefit of life.

            From the Onion

          • Ray in VT

            America’s best news source.  My favorite mock headline of there’s was for the end of prohibition:  “will alcohol solve nation’s depression?”

          • TFRX

            It depresses me more to see those same people agitate for lower taxes on the rich because they’ve been suckered into thinking it’s the number one impediment to their future financial happiness.

        • Ayn Marx 666

           It’s not ‘stupidity’: it’s ‘inability to viscerally grasp statistics and feeling the need of the dopamine hit you can get from a few seconds where you feel your life might change for the better’.  Smart men and women have become addicted to gambling, for money or with their lives (see: Chris Hedges’ work) because they’re wired to need or enjoy that hit and/or to minimise the prospect and/or consequences of losing.

          This is why it’s a particularly regressive tax:  people with more dependable sources of dopamine (status, retail therapy, a self-glorifying personal narrative, interacting socially if you’re wired for the hit under those circumstances) may still gamble…but the odds are higher against it.

          As for statistics:  life on the Serengeti was such that
          pattern-recognition was key, so we’re great at seeing patterns, even
          ones that aren’t there…so the Monte Carlo Fallacy is wired into us, as
          very little were actually random back then.

    • Ray in VT

      Would that include natural sugars that are found in fresh fruits and vegetables?  I would be fine with not allowing the purchase of sodas and junk foods with food stamps.

    • Modavations

      you’re cruel

      • Still Here

        Ok, I will make an exception for Coco Puffs; damn, they’re delicious!

        • Ray in VT

          I always preferred Cookie Crisp myself.

  • nj_v2

    Part of Mr. Carden’s resume left out of the intro above:

    “a member of the adjunct faculty of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama. ”

    Libertarian alert!

  • mary elizabeth

    Sugar and salt in the highly  excessive amounts found in much of our processed food  are like slow dripping poison to the human body.    We do not think twice about banning arsenic in our food. 
    It all starts with education starting in the third grade, informing humans what 21st century  research is  revealing about the role of unhealthy foods in the demise of our health.

  • Modavations

    Get ye to the Gym

  • Modavations

    We are the Politiboro,you are the Proletariat.We know best

  • Patrik

    In the past 5 Years I have drastically cut back on my sugar/refined sugar consumption.  I feel better now and are in top form. I became sick after eating rich desserts or snacking on candy and I found, while not gaining a lot of weight, that my meaty parts were getting meatier, lol.  I have adopted a more traditional Finnish diet where the use of sugar is minimal at most and any sweetening ingredient is used always from a natural source, such as honey.  Regulation of the prodcut is a bit harsh and perhaps an educational campaign should be made prior to any legislation, but if the majority of people cannot govern themselves…

    • JustSayin

       I learned early. My father was a baker for Dunkin’ Doughnuts. One would think that a kid would love this, but I learned to hat sugary foods, and in particular doughnuts.

      I don’t think they should be banned, but as body toxic foods go, they sit at the pinnacle of foods that cause hyperglycemia.

      I can’t stand most processed foods. They are all way way too sweet to me. I do like to use ketchup as a sweetener for homemade BBQ sauces though. 

      • Anonymous

         I also like ketchup. It’s hard to find one without HFCS, but they are out there. Heinz now has a one that has none, but it’s hard to find. You can buy organic or, make your own.

  • Modavations

    I can make this guys argument about absolutely everything.When you use to excess,expect problems

  • Modavations

    When asked about the XL Pipeline yesterday,Pres Bill said Drill Baby Drill

    • Ray in VT

       I wasn’t aware that the XL pipeline was a sugar conduit.

  • Modavations

    I’ve never used salt,many doctors in the family and switched to honey 40years ago.Of course honey is just a psychological crutch….An amino acid,is an amino acid,is an amino acid.

    • Judy

      Watch the video.  You are wrong. 

  • Modavations

    FDA says 40ish lbs. of sugar per annum is cool.2 cokes a day.The average American is doing 75-90lbs.per day.I’m sure the abuse is mainly among the Dependency classes.It would help a lot if these folks were limited to healthy foods(3 Dem scientists and 3 Rep.scientists can choose what constitutes healthy food).

    • Ray in VT

      I don’t know.  By and large the red states tend to have higher rates of obesity and lower overall general health, and it’s the bluer states that are better off health wise.

      • Anonymous

        One has to wonder why this phenomenon exist.

        • JD

          No wonder…the educational level is also generally higher in blue states than in red.

      • TFRX

        I’m still trying to wrap my head around what a “Rrepublican scientist” is.

        • Anonymous

          They do the global warming studies funded by the oil industry. 

    • BHA in Vermont

       75 to 90 pounds of sugar a DAY? I don’t think so, I don’t eat 75 to 90 pounds of FOOD per week, let alone in a day.

      • Modavations

        Did you not get the drift.Just silly nitpicking

  • pjo

     Best way to lose weight and get control of cravings… stop eating sugar and simple carbohydrates! It does work.

    • Ray in VT

      and get out an exercise.  Do some walking, yard work, etc.

  • Modavations

    Amount paid per month for health insurance should be on a sliding scale.Go to the Dr. and get a BMI reading,adjust for age.The farther from the optimum, the more you pay per month.As you get in shape the less you pay until you are “fit”,or at optimum.In one year we’ll all look like Jack Lalane.The market is a wonderous thing

    • JustSayin

      I agree 100% with that.

    • Judy

      An oversimplification of the problem.  If you watch the video you will see that unless people understand what fructose is doing to their bodies, (and their will) money is not enough of a motivator to change things.  If it was that easy we would not have the obesity epidemic we do today.

      • Ray in VT

        One should also figure into the equation the fact that a lot of people are making a lot of money on chips, soda, etc.  There is a large industry that has a vested interest in continuing to provide cheap, unhealthy foods, because it is good for their bottom line.  They are also being driven by the market.

        • TFRX

          Not to mention cramming it into schools for sale to the captive audiences there.

        • Judy

          It is driven not just by the market but also by the USDA.

      • Modavations

        Are you daft.Last year I paid $10,200.00 for myself, to Blue Cross.Let the markets work their wonders

  • Modavations

    I live by the creed,”healthy body healthy mind”.Who said that?Why it was none other then the famous Roman Satirist,Juvenal,Jubenal,from 50AD.He also came up with the ditty Bread and Circus

  • Judy

    Watch the video.  It is highly informative.  It is long, but worth every minute.  It is laced with scientific explanation of why we are where we are.  Why a calorie of fructose is not the same as a calorie of fat or a calorie of glucose.   If it doesn’t make you start rethinking your choices, nothing will.

  • Betsy Packard, Lexington, KY

    SERIOUSLY?  We need to control Wall St.  We have a Supreme Court and a Congress that are out of control.  And we’re talking about SUGAR?  If people are stupid enough to make unhealthy choices, that’s a personal issue.  This is a diversion to keep us from looking at the real issues that threaten citizens. 

  • Smiclops

    First you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Please try this.  If this proposal gets any attention, Democrats will lose every election they stand for in the next fifty years.

  • Anonymous

    IMHO HFCS has got to be the worst factor in our modern diet. Once you stop drinking soda for a couple of months, and try a sip of any soda, you’ll find yourself feeling an unquenchable thirst. I have never experienced this with sugar-sweetened drink. I’m not saying that sugar is good for you, but High Fructose Corn Syrup is the crystal meth of food.

    When people routinely consume 1/3 of their calories in soda how can they not be doomed? What would HCFS cost without corn subsidies?

  • Docww

    Yes, it’s time to regulate sugar. We now know that sugar is a chronic toxin, akin to cigarette smoking. When I started practicing medicine, doctors smoked in the hospital. Now you can come within a mile of a hospital with a cigarette.

    We also now believe that the combination of sugar and high glycemic carbohydrates is responsible for the increased incidence of brain diseases such as depression, ADHD, autism, bipolar II, anxiety disorders, fibromyalgia, eating disorders, PTSD and other conditions. We call this disease Carbohydrate Associated Reversible Brain syndrome or CARB syndrome.

    Because it takes a healthy brain to auto-regulate fat stores, patients with CARB syndrome start to store fat at any caloric intake. Excessive body fat and a brain that doesn’t work so well–our waiting rooms are now full of this type of patient.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Haven’t these people seen “The Simpsons” episode in which Marge gets a sugar ban passed in Springfield?  What happens?  Sugar bootleggers come up from South America–anyone want some soogar?

  • VTgirl

    I have been saying for years that sugar is a dangerous, addictive drug. Glad it’s finally being brought into the public discourse.

  • Kaycie

    All questions of politics and insurance aside, what ever happened to personal responsibility? Sugar can’t make you fat or sick if you, uh, DON’T eat it.

  • Jbacon

    Tom – we are living too long as it is with no way to pay for the care of the elderly.  Giving up sugar to extend our lives is non-issue.  Enjoy sugar and die with a life expectancy of 80 – what’s the big deal.

  • HealthyMama

    As a mother of three on a very tight budget, I disagree with some who say that money doesn’t matter with this issue.  I try my hardest to buy only organic foods (or better, biodynamic), and I buy local when I can.  I make foods from scratch, I can and freeze local harvests and grow some of our own food, too.  But it’s incredibly hard to do.  Money is so tight.

    I heartily agree that the government needs to get involved.  We need to switch the current state of things so that junk food is an expensive ‘treat’ and local organic fresh foods (local produce and meats; fresh raw dairy; local organic free-range eggs) are the easiest to afford.  We need to not just regulate sugar (and outright ban HFCS), we need to eliminate the Farm Bill as it now exists and make a new one aimed at getting small diverse farms on the ground in every corner of this country.

  • Mim

    It’s clear that here is something terribly wrong with our modern Western diet, and sugar leads the list of foods that we should consume in moderation at most. If we want to take our health back from big pharma, we need to accept that what we eat is the most important element to leading a healthy life.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Have you heard of personal responsibility?  Whatever you believe is the health effect of sugar, it is my right to put into my body whatever I want.  Society may ask me to behave appropriately in public, but that doesn’t negate my basic right.

    • HealthyMama

      The problem with your thinking here is that your ‘choice’ to consume sugar is heavily subsidised by the government.  It’s cheap to buy Wonder bread or a Coke or a Gatorade because my tax dollars go to the Farm Bill and other subsidies for factory food manufacturers.  No one debates that you have the right to eat whatever disgusting thing you want to eat.  The problem is that the government has made a choice (in favour of big business, surprise!) to make one type of food more available.  That needs to stop.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        I agree that the government shouldn’t be subsidizing any agricultural product these days.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Todd-Macaulay/100000488864385 Todd Macaulay

    what next regulating calorie intake?  make obese people pay higher insurance premiums as their costs are higher

  • Judy

    Is the problem “sugar”…i.e., glucose, or is the problem “high fructose corn syrup”??  If we were to dramatically reduce if not eliminate HFCS from our food supply the way we did with trans fats, would the toxicity effects be dramatically different?

  • rawSugar

    Watched a woman in line in the grocery store in front of me load over 12 bottles of juice, plus other pre-packaged foods onto the check-out belt. Couldn’t help thinking: You’re putting your kids on the fast track to diabetes. Where is the actual real fruit? The real food?

    Truth is people will not self regulate, that’s why the regulation of sugar is being discussed. Make more water fountains available and perhaps people will drink water instead soda…I think not. Regulate the size of those drinks, and people will buy more.

  • Kestral

    Great program.  What is the upper limit of sugar we can safely consume each day?

  • BHA in Vermont

    My fear is that artificial sweeteners will replace the sugar in products. For some of us, artificial sweeteners are SERIOUS migraine triggers.

    I’m not overweight and haven’t had a new cavity since I was 16 (a LOT of years ago) so apparently I don’t have an issue with too much added sugar. I don’t want to take a sledgehammer to my head just because some people can’t limit their sugar intake. 

  • Ayn Marx 666

    Oddly enough, the effect of some substances on the human body are not significantly affected by what we like, what we want, democratic vote, or the Most Holy Free Market.

  • Docww

    (correction to previous post from William L. Wilson, M.D.)Yes, it’s time to regulate sugar. We now know that sugar is a chronic toxin, akin to cigarette smoking. When I started practicing medicine, doctors smoked in the hospital. Now you can’t come within a mile of a hospital with a cigarette. John Wayne smoked for decades as he rode off into the sunset on his horse with a pretty woman at his side–until the wheels feel off.We also now believe that the combination of sugar and high glycemic carbohydrates is responsible for the increased incidence of brain diseases such as depression, ADHD, autism, bipolar II, anxiety disorders, fibromyalgia, eating disorders, PTSD and other conditions. We call this disease Carbohydrate Associated Reversible Brain syndrome or CARB syndrome.Because it takes a healthy brain to auto-regulate fat stores, patients with CARB syndrome start to store fat at any caloric intake. Excessive body fat and a brain that doesn’t work so well–our waiting rooms are now full of this type of patient.

  • Ryan

    “Probably causes Cancer and other diseases.” Lots of things “probably” cause these. How can I take Mr. Lustig seriously if he’s reporting assumptions as fact to us? This is the transfat debate all over again and it’s too much over sight. If you want to rot your teeth and get fat that’s your prerogative.  

    I eat way too much sugar, but I also am very active and I am very healthy and in good shape. It’s a matter of will to keep yourself in good health, not the Government’s oversight. 

  • Tom

    Is it just added sugar? What about sugar in fruit or fruit juice? 

  • Trinculo from Brooklyn

    Could removing federal subsidies for producing, refining (including the energy required) , and shipping sugars be an alternative to regulation?  Perhaps then the price of sugar would rise, of course this would drive the production of artificial sweeteners.

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    Our brains have much the same reaction to sugar (as well as fat and salt)as it does to hardcore drugs.

     Food makers put sugar (etc) in like RJ Reynolds put additives like amonia in cigarettes to get people coming back.

  • Farcryart

    It is about education.  When the Corn industry places an ad saying fructose corn syrup is  the same natural sugar as any sugar and its OK to eat it the industry is obfuscating the issue. Corn syrup is in everything made and sold in groceries. It makes everything taste good so we eat more. That is where the weight goes on.

    Educate the public about their real choices and the consequences and be as relentless as the corn and sugar industries in getting the word out and there would be an effect.

    Labeling like a cigarette warning: Sugar is in this food. Too much of a good thing will make you just plain fat. Think about it.

  • Lstelken

    Pepsico owns the world.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Todd-Macaulay/100000488864385 Todd Macaulay

    teach people to cook their own food, the food industry has no incentive to change, unless you regulate and the last time i check our government was out of money and is incapable of managing current regulations

  • Brian

    Prohibition and alcohol regulation did not end alcoholism. An abundance of food does not cure anorexia. Why would regulating sugar control obesity?

    • Ray in VT

      I’m not so sure that it would solve the problem.  It could have some impact.  I think that the best weapon is education.

  • Tina

    Let’s HOPE WITH ALL OUR MIGHT that restrictions in sugar do NOT bring more ADDITIONS of:  ASPARTAME and SORBITOL/MANNITOL/Other Similar Products.  Sorbitol and Mannitol can cause extreme gastrointestinal cramping; far more dangerous and troubling is ASPARTAME.  It is a NEURO-TOXIN.  

    I should know:  I was POISONED BY IT for 2 3/4 years:  it gave me either major migraines (I’d never had migraines in my life!) and/or major seizures lasting for 4-6 HOURS PER DAY!!!  The feeling was of “painful dizzy spells” — have you ever heard of such a thing??!!  I was NOT a PKU baby:  people who were are the only people warned against this HORRID TOXIN!Now, sorbitol is increasingly in medicines, too:  prescription AND across-the-counter meds.  I now have to pay a fortune to get one medication compounded WITHOUT Sorbitol, because my insurance company will not pay for it, even with my allergy.Get RID of excess sugar; but do NOT ADD Aspartame, Sorbitol, Mannitol, et al!!!!!  Knowing the reach of U.S. corporate power, though, I fear that many people will be walking around with prescriptions for conditions that they do not know are caused by these wretched products!  By the way, it took nine days for me to stay off Aspartame to understand that it was what was causing these dizzy spells.  Nine days is not the time frame that most people expect when they experiment to look for allergies or toxicities.  

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       I’ve been drinking diet soda almost every day for more than two decades without the effects that you name.  I suspect you had a rare reaction, or you have a condition caused by something else.

  • a liberal (but not nuts)

    I’m convinced people like this guy create a dozen new Republicans and Libertarians every day.  His stance is as reprehensible as the anti-women’s rights stance of Santorum, Paul et al.

    Go ahead and give the facts (albeit in a less condescending tone), but this is NOT an argument for government regulation.

    • TFRX

      How are “the facts” supposed to compete with those hilarious bullflop ads from the Corn Syrup Institute?

      Putting the truth out there alongside PR simply doesn’t work.

    • Modavations

      Todays Gallup poll
      Romney 50%-Obama 46%
      Boston Globe Sen.Brown 52%-Ms.Warren 42%

  • Anonymous

       This is utter foolishness. There’s no information these guests will give that isn’t available to anyone who wants to educate themselves. If people are too lazy or stupid to learn how to take care of themselves, then they have no one to blame but themselves. I haven’t ingested high fructose corn syrup in five years. How did I do that?

    • Anonymous

       I agree. I think the information presented here is valuable but regulating this is a but much. I’m all for removing subsides for corporate agribusiness over trying to regulate
      HFCS. I don’t eat it at all and have not for years.


  • K8te

    I agree that we need to stop letting food producers add sugar to products (e.g. sugar in spaghetti sauce) but I’d like Tom to ask the guests about the structure of our cities and how they have changed—big box stores on the edge of town that folks have to drive to, lack of sidewalks for pedestrians to try to walk to various stores…that’s what has changed in the past 30 years. We don’t have exercise built into our everyday chores anymore.

  • Celia, Montague, MA

    Starting Feb 1, I started a Plant Rich-Nutrient Dense food life-diet.  No sugars, except for natural sugars found in nutrient dense foods like dates.  I’ve have lost 10 pounds easily. 
    This morning after shoveling 9 inches of snow off the deck in Montague, MA I drank my blended breakfast: 1 cup unsweetened Almond Milk, 1 banana, 5 dates, 6 leaves of Kale.  Delicious/protein rich/fiber rich.
    Rather than restricting/legislating against sugar, Americans have to turn towards a Plant-Rich (Fruits/Grains/Vegatables) lifestyle. 
    It works. 
    Thank you nutrition specialist, Joan at Whole Foods, Hadley MA  for introducing me to a better way to eat. 
    Celia Lang, Montague, MA  

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    As what just pointed out, firearms are another product that are far too regulated in this country.  Alcohol, tobacco, and firearms–as has been pointed out by others, that should be a convenience store, not a government agency.

  • Tominator

    Tommy Thompson repressed a scientific smoking gun? Well, duh.

  • Archibald Juniper

    If you give up sugar and all substitutes, you will lose your sweet tooth and you will no longer need it.  Regular desserts will be disgusting.  You will find all other foods taste better, fruit is deliciously sweet, vegetables taste good. You will never need to diet again, no more acid reflux, and you can eat baking chocolate, 100 % chocolate, without guilt.
    It will be easier to give up sugar completely than to cut back!!!!

  • PaulCJr

    We can’t just speak about how sugar makes people fat in a vacuum. America’s obesity problem has to be looked at holistically. While eating all these sugary things doesn’t help America’s waist line, America’s land-use decisions is also a factor. Americans in most communities don’t walk, because it’s to far to walk to things, or the walking environment is awful. If America built more compact walkable communities that enable Americans to walk more, the obesity problem wouldn’t be so server. Don’t scapegoat sugar. America’s inactivity and over dependence on cars to get around is the reason Americans are fat. 

  • Kaycie

    You people really want the government that involved in your lives? I think it would be better if we just educated the populace – these mega food conglomerates would be forced to bow to the demand. If the government must play a role, why can’t they be the educators? I know that’s it’s own very heavy, separate issue, but it would be a start …

  • TFRX

    Food desert.

    Let’s not pretend that everyone has the same access to the choices of food that lots of people here enjoy: In the proverbial 12-mile drive from my suburb to the workplace, one can shop at four mega markets, one year-round farm stand, two large health food stores.

  • Mj

    It shocked me this year as my now six year old entered a magnet school in New Haven, CT to discover that “breakfast” is either sweet muffins or “reduced sugar” sugar cereals loaded with additives. How this could help a kid learn in school is beyond me, but there is more! The afterschool cheerleading program she *was* in served Oreos and Capri Sun for snack! Thankfully my daughter knew Oreos were not vegetetarian and she is so she started bringing her own snack and water to drink. Clearly the adult running the program had NO clue that there are health implications with sugar. Education on nutrition isa must. If regulation works while preventing equally unheathly substitutes from replacing sugar, I say go for it! Help me protect my kid when she is at school.

  • John in Vermont

    OnPoint: You should also include a quote from the WSJ article called “Preparing for The New War On Sugar.”  I’m sure you can find it.

    I have to say I prefer white or brown sugar to any of the artificial sweetners or to the ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup found in almost all of our foods.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Why do we listen to these control freaks?

  • Nellie

    Quick thoughts. Exercise is also good for us, but can’t be regulated, I was thinking, then I remembered gym class in grade school. So what about starting by yanking sugar-added foods and drinks out of schools? Try educating kids. Adults need to be responsible for themselves.

    • Ray in VT

      Some schools have done that, and I think that that is commendable.  There have been some fights, though, when schools have tried to phase out chocolate milk.  My kid’s school has gone to a low sugar version, but my son, for whatever reason, prefers the natural to the chocolate.

  • Sheldon

    why do my and my family’s doctors never say a word about the risks of sugar intake? My son’s pediatrician said twenty seven years ago, children shouldn’t eat candy more than twice a year, Halloween and Easter. I assumed he was talking about cavities. I wasn’t worried, my children rarely ate candy or soda, and never had a cavity. I had no idea how horrible sugar was for you. I’m addicted to sugar. I eat many vegs., fruits, little fat and nearly all organic. I can’t seem to quit sugar more than a few weeks at a time. I forget and after I eat a dessert, I remember and think, oh no what did I just do to my pancreas, among other body parts. And if I had known, I would have restricted my children’s intake more. Our pediatrician should have told me WHY processed sugar is so bad. If they offend their patients then, oh well, let them find someone else. I know of no doctors short on patients. Shame on them. It’s full of free radicals.     

    • a liberal (but not nuts)

      Many, if not most, doctors are very poorly educated about nutrition.

  • SomMom

    There are so many processed foods that I won’t buy or eat because they taste too sweet — things like ketchup, salad dressings, for example, are overwhelmed by the corn syrup taste. The food industry is pouring sugars into all kinds of food items that don’t need it and the flavor is actually ruined by the sugar.

    • han

      try the “tomato chutney” from an indian grocer.  like ketchup but not sweet.

  • Obliopia

    Is honey in the same category as sugar?

  • Georgia Ede MD

    Regulation?!  Where would you draw the line?  ALL refined carbohydrates (to include flours and fruit juices of all types) are just as unhealthy as sugar, in fact, flour is even more unhealthy, as it not only breaks down to simple sugar, but contains potentially dangerous compounds such as gluten, lectins, and phytic acid .  Regulation is not the answer. Education to raise awareness is critical, then let people make their own decisions about what they eat.

    • Robert Riversong

      Education can never compete with the power of advertising. The problem is that everything in our society – from the food industry to the “health” industry and even now to the education industry – is based on the profit motive. 

      The profit motive undermines any other compelling private or public interest. Just as the only real solution to the health insurance disaster is to eliminate the profit motive, the only solution to a healthy society is to eliminate or highly regulate the making of profit from essential human needs.

    • bellavida

      I thoroughly agree….but again the government subsidies to corn, soy and wheat growers should come to a screeching halt.  

  • Drew, Erie, PA

    As a pediatric dental specialist, I am frustrated by the fact that the epidemic of dental disease is never brought up in this type of discussion. Dental caries is the most common chronic childhood disease in the U.S.; it affects nearly one in three preschool age children, and its prevalence is on the rise. This is directly related to the excess sugar consumption of our children and poor eating habits in general. Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General recently estimated 51 million lost school hours annually to dental disease. Children with poor oral health are about 3 times more likely to miss school because of dental pain, and these abscences were associated with poorer school performance. These problems did not exist a century ago, before the advent of cheap sugar and processed food.  

  • Sara

    I love sugar so much that I have the chemical compound for it tattooed on my body. That said, I am completely addicted to it and would love to give it up and have been unable to. I am all for regulating it, especially if it makes it easier to curb my intake. 

    • Robert Riversong

      Remove the tatoo.

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    I stopped eating refined sugar back in the 80′s after reading “Sugar Blues”, and that was written decades before. Sugar’s been linked to disordersbeyond diabetes, like depression.  It’s not just sugar, but corn syrup, that the body has no idea what to do with. Compare refined sugar and corn syrup to things like honey and maple syrup, with studies shwo are metabolized by the body many many time better, without throwing blood sugar levels out of whack for days and day for each teaspoon.

  • Kbmt

    Like salt, one can become accumstomed to less and les by a gradual process. I wonder, though, can sugars be differentiated like fats?

  • Barbaraholtzman

    When I went off sugar because my joints hurt (going off sugar helped a lot), I found that other foods tasted sweeter – fruits, vegetables, nut butters.

  • Kyle B

    What types of sugar is your panel discussing?  Refined, corn syrup, complex carbs such as pasta?

    Not all sugars are created equally.

  • ebw343

    There’s so much hidden sugar. My pet peeve is savory crackers with sugar in them; even foods whose entire purpose is not being sweet apparently have to be sweet. Gross.
    Unless we start seeing added sugar confined only to sweet foods, “moderation” cannot be anything more than an empty slogan.

  • Helene

    I personally feel better when I reduce my sugar consumption.  The problem is that we have too many farm subsidies for corn.  We have made a serious decision to stop consuming items with high fructose corn syrup and I’m amazed at how much of it is out there. 

    There are places in the world where people are hungry.  Feed them with the excess we produce, don’t make a product out of it that kills us.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I have a bad allergy to sugar (and corn syrup, fructose, and so on), and when I look for canned soups and vegetables, I find it is the extreme exception to find those without sugar.  Lima beans usually, beets usually, and occasionally corn, but as to soups, virtually none.  I wish consumers would boycott these things with sweeteners in, but it really takes a magnifying glass to identify the exceptions to buy. “Sweet peas,” and “sweet corn,” they’re not kidding. It’s not the peas and corn that are sweet; it’s the added sugar.

    • BHA in Vermont

       Unfortunately the no sugar soup is probably really high in sodium :( 

  • WL

    I recently baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies for my daughter and the recipe calls for a cup of sugar.  I made it (part of it was a gift), my daughter said it is the best cookie that she’s ever have, and I made sure not to eat more than half a cookie each day.  But I don’t think I will use that recipe again.  With this said, think of all the cookies (some really big too) sold in the store (who knows what’s in them to make them yummy) with added toppings e.g. sugar sprinkle, chocolate… etc.  They are easily available and cheap too.  I think the key is to make sugar or processed sugar (e.g. corn syrup) less expensive or not made artifically cheaper due to government subsidy.

  • Modavations

    No Sugar no Justice

    • Still Here

      No Sugar no Peace

  • Quadraticus

    You can use this justification (“it costs society MONEEYZZZ!”) for basically any kind of tyranny. At some point, individual liberty is simply more important than society’s money.

    The root of this conflict is that most people today view universal care (e.g., via the ER) as an entitlement rather than as the Hippocratic charity it really is. People who receive care without paying for it should be grateful, not indignant: it’s an attitude problem more than a money problem.

    • Robert Riversong

      Sorry, I hit “liked” rather than “reply”. There is nothing to like about your comment.

      It is pure ideological blindness which would balance individual liberty against “society’s money”. Since “society’s money” is composed of individual taxes.

      If your freedom costs me (and millions of others) our hard-earned money (I’m talking about people who actually earn their income), then what you’re really proposing is that your freedom should cost my freedom to determine how I spend my own money – or that your unlimited freedom can reduce my freedom.

      It is your distorted and selfish thinking which is the real root of tyranny. 

      • Quadraticus

        Actually, one corollary of my argument is that my individual taxes shouldn’t be taken to pay for others’ health care. If I choose to give it to them to help them out, great; but that is charity, something done voluntarily. Taking my money at gunpoint and then using this as a justification for regulating others’ behavior is begging the question, and as I said promotes an argument for tyranny that can be applied to restrict almost any kind of behavior.

        Let taxes be used only to pay for things that must be paid for collectively: defense, roads, environmental protection, etc. Health care is a private, divisible good that should be paid for privately.

  • Donna

    As a health coach, this is something I strive to make my clients aware of. Today going to post about Vitamin Water. One bottle contains 32 grams- 8 teaspoons- of sugar, yet it’s marketed as being so great for our bodies! 

    • BHA in Vermont

       I mentioned the same thing on the VPR “Vermont Edition” show last week. VT is considering this same issue. The response was that the proposed “sugar tax” applied to any drink with added sugar so all those ‘healthy’ drinks like Vitamin water and sports drinks would be included.  

      It should be noted that most of the “healthy” water drinks are owned by companies we recognize as large soda makers. Snagging the “I’ll drink less soda for my health people” by replacing BAD soda with “Good” ‘water’ that contains a ton of sugar and a bunch of UNEEDED vitamins and electrolytes. More profit for Coke, Pepsi et al.

  • Anonymous

    Wouldn’t it help for the government to simply stop subsidizing corn which is used to produce cheap high fructose corn syrup?

  • Dab200

    In a current food environment it is almost impossible not to consume sugar. I was shocked to learn there is sugar plain yogurt! Why?

    • BHA in Vermont

       Because, by itself, yogurt is not sweet :) Try a bite of Greek yogurt (which has a lot less sugar) then one of ‘regular’ yogurt.

      A potential solution is to buy low sugar yogurt and put frozen berries in it. Natural sugar, not HFCS and adds a nice flavor of your choice.

  • Robert Riversong

    This has nothing whatsoever to do with personal freedom or nanny states – and those who make this argument could not be more disingenuous.

    This is about corporations literally making a killing from deliberately poisoning their customers, and it is about government’s legitimate and constitutionally-mandated function to regulate and restrain the over-weaning power of corporations for the common good.

  • Anonymous

    I’m taking a nutrition course at my local community college and this has been a hot topic of class discussion lately. I live in a largely rural area with poorer outlying communities. Despite my classmates’ argument that sugar regulation/taxation marginalizes lower-income buyers many also say that sugar—sweetened beverages in particular—is a necessary staple of their diets, providing relief for ADHD children and cancer treatment side effects, and they swear there is no better alternative.
    Is this just an public health information shortfall? What does one say in response to this assertion, that sugar is a cure for what ails you?

    • BHA in Vermont

       Regarding ADHD, there was a recent story (sorry don’t recall where but odds are very good it was on NPR) that said ADHD kids do better with a high protein diet. Suggest to your classmates that they feed low sugar, high protein foods to their ADHD kids.

  • Theresa

    I agree. Tax soda. Regulate sugar. We’re all paying for the cost of obesity. Government has to pay for health care through Medicaid and Medicare. The more people get diabetes, the more it costs us all to care for them, even if they’re on private health insurance. We all pay into the pool. … Also, as a person who tries to make healthy choices, it’s hard to buy crackers, cereal and other basics without excessive added sugar and salt.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Get off your statist high horse, Doctor.

  • Muriel

    Yes sugar should be regulated.  So should high fructose corn syrup.  Even when you want to eat healthily it is hard to find products that do not have corn syrup.  They do exist. 
    Moderation is the key, just like in everything.
    I also would like to say that parents should be taught that juice boxes are not good for children and they don’t need juice.  Parents should not either get their children started on sodas or sports drinks.  I have never bought sodas for my children and as a result they don’t particularly like them and rarely drink them.  Education as well as moderation are key to solving the problem.

  • han

    please be careful. obesity is a problem and so are eating disorders.  had to turn you off today because my daughter does not need to hear anymore hysterical pronouncements about “bad” foods.  

    • han

      can’t you say 
      “eat the right portion of anything you want”?   

  • Jennifer Atkins

    I would love to have sugar regulated so that I can safely purchase convenience foods for my kid that are not loaded with sugar – even bread has sugar added to it I prepare a lot of our foods at home, but as a busy mom I can’t make everything myself.

  • MikeE

    What about sugar-free diet sodas.  Are they bad too?

    • Kestral

      Yes, Mike, very bad.  Google sugar-free sodas and heart attacks and strokes and you will see the most recent study showing how serious this problem is.

  • Ann

    Sugar is undoubtedly a problem.  But in an effort to reduce sugar, food producers are adding other sweeteners that have their own health problems.  Many people have digestive problems with these additives–especially the so-called “sugar alcohols” sorbitol, mannitol, etc.  This needs to be addressed as a part of the problem.

    • Dawn

      It helps to change how much sweet we think we need. I make my own baked goods with blended dried fruits. No, its probably not very sweet but I have changed so much that its sweet enough for me.

  • Elaine

    Why is no one talking about the way sugar is processed?  Is Stevia addictive? Is Agave nectar addictive? I believe it’s the processing that makes it so addictive and we all know the reason the food makers add sugar – because food is priced by weight.  Talking about regulating sugar is rediculous – it’s time to go after the real source of the problem!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Diane

    I find so many food products to be too sweet – yogurt being right up there. But I was also shocked when i took my first bite of sunflowerseed butter. Why or why does it need to be sweet??

  • SM

    I’m wondering about sugar alternatives which don’t raise ones blood sugar levels as dramatically, specifically agave syrup.

  • Katie A

    This is a fantastic idea. When I started pulling excess sugar out of my diet – I scanned every label for “sugar”. The amount of foods I didn’t eat was amazing. Coooking at home is the only way to individually battle this problem.

  • Guest

    My culture restricts sugar until one’s 12th birthday. Therefore, I do not like sugar and only buy it to make hummingbird food. I do not add it to anything – not tea, not coffee, not oatmeal, not anything.

    Sugar is obviously a conditioned response, so remove it from food and the TABLE.  I, also, do not buy any processed food, since these are laden with chemicals and sugars, especially colas, etc.

    It will take years to get people off sugar, however, if being overweight is the result of eating sugar. I think processed food is as bad as sugar. Can we ban places like McDonalds, as well?

  • Tektok

    I think a tiny tax on soda and sweets would be better spent overhauling the “Nutritional Facts” label.. instead of it being a tiny-print series of numbers on the back of a candy bar, we need a ratings system.  Say 1-10, where 1 is an unsalted can of peanuts, 3 or 4 for granola with some sugar, 8 for a Snickers bar or can of soda, and 10 for candy corn or Twinkies.  These numbers would be giant, bold, and ugly, really reminding the consumer what they are putting in their body.  

    • TFRX

      That package is “free speech”, and every little change mandated in it is paid for dearly. Expect a big blowback about it from the processed food industry.

  • Joan Countryman

    it’s not just the US. I just spent a month in southern Africa and was struck by how many processed foods tasted too sweet to me. The food industry may be poisoning the rest of the world, too.

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    The Right is going to throw a fit about the nanny state, but look at how much money is being spent on obesity, diabetes, and related diseases.  That money would go a long way to reducing the debt and deficit.

    Even the US Dept of Defense has called the obesity rate in the US, children in particular, a major concern to the security oo the US. But you have people like Sarah Palin throwing a hissy about the nanny state over limiting bake sales in schools, which was more about just reduding when they had them (like only after school, and not during lunch period) and not forbidding them. 

    • Wyrdless

      So have individually underwritten health insurance and put people into risk classes.  Healthy people could pay a lower rate, and obese people would pay a higher rate. 

      Problem solved.  The cost would be shifted to the peoples who incur the cost.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Keep talking, control freaks.  You’re making a Republican victory more and more likely in 2012 and in 2112

  • Modavations

    O.K.kiddies,put your lunch pails down,your hands in the air and slowly back away.There are rumors of Twinkies

  • Kat

    Alcohol and tobacco are not hidden in our food the way sugar is.  Tax the companies that try to trick us into buying more of their products by adding hidden sugar under one of those 48 other names.

  • Robert Riversong

    But…if the government is going to intervene with regulations to limit sugar content or availability (as with alcohol) and taxes to limit sales, then it also has to eliminate all subsidies and institutional supports to the agri-business industry which contributes to this crisis, and instead support family farms, community farmer’s markets, organic growers and processors which don’t add sugar or other toxins.

    And the government has to implement a medicare-for-all health insurance program to eliminate class-based discrimination and to reduce the profit-motivation of the most lucrative industry in society.

  • Michiganjf

    It sounds like food labeling should be revamped with regard to ADDED SUGAR and other processing… that should satisfy all arguments except the profit argument of food companies.

    This is one more way America will be left behind as we continue to spend far too much of our taxes and GDP on health care, while other countries take the more intelligent path of regulation.

    OOooooooo, “REGULATION…” the bogey word of the absurd, obstinate right!

    • Michiganjf

      BTW, people would still be able to bake whatever the hell they want at home, we’re just talking about INFORMING consumers!

      OOooooooo, “INFORMING…” another bogey word for the ignorance-loving absurd right!

  • T. Nash

    IDEA:  tax all processed foods (they have too much salt, sugar, preservatives, and not healthy, everyone knows), subsidize all fresh fruits, vegetables.  Makes sense.

  • Maia from NY

    What about artificial sweeteners? If we regulate sugar, would aspartame and saccharine also be regulated more stringently?  Should we be just as worried about the health risks of chemical alternatives to sugar? 

  • Ray in VT

    The caller makes a good point.  The seasonal candy aisle goes from one to the next.  I don’t remember it being like that 20 years ago.

    • Hitex100

      I just saw that they’ve added St. Patrick’s Day items in the latest store holiday line-up items… maybe a load of green candies are coming next!

  • MJ

    I agree that over consumption of “sweets” is a  major problem. Our modern manipulation of this additive into just about everything has added to this problem! One thing that is not discussed are the differences in metabolism of the variety of sweeteners. High Fructose Corn Syrup is NOT metabolized like cane sugar is. HFCS does not satiate the body like cane sugar does. One wants more and does not feel satisfied after consuming HFCS where as cane sugar nourishes the body and satisfies.

    ADM supermarket to the world! Stop the subsidies to these mega-corporations that in turn push this product into all areas of our lives.

    Let’s get educated, just like we did with fats and how different fats act in our bodies.

    The alternative chemical sweeteners (sucrose, aspertame, ascetelfame, etc) have there own devil in the details effects.

    Marketing is also part of the problem. Let’s treat that like tobacco advertsing.

  • alaina

    In my childrens pulic school in upstate NY, there was no non sugar cereal choice.  I  was astounded when my daughter told me.  The schools reply was that nobody buys it so why sell it.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I have another labeling complaint.  I often buy soy milk, chilled, in the dairy aisle.  There are several brands.  All of them offer “plain,” which you’d think would be like “plain yogurt,” unsweetened.  Nope.  The plain has sugar in it.  If you want no sugar, that is a special “flavor”:  “unsweetened.”  One has to lobby to get the supermarkets to offer it.

  • H Curran

    Recently I needed to purchase bread crumbs.  Every brand I looked at contained high-fructose corn syrup.  Why on earth do bread crumbs need to have HFCS??????  I ended up buying them at Whole Foods, for twice the price.

    • Anonymous

      I started to make my own. It’s a pain at first, but I make enough and freeze it for a month or so. It does get freezer burn after two months. It taste better as well.

  • Matthew in Nashville

    I’m not worried about the sugar in candy. I can identify that and limit my kids intake. Its the hidden sugars in everything else that is the problem.

  • jim

    Salt is good for you… but sugar eats away your flesh and bones. your cabohydrate metabolism is only good in your 20s. beyond that and you are asking for trouble.

    • Ray in VT

       Salt is delicious, but, like with most, if not all, things, it is only good in moderation.

  • Selfdiscipline

    Come ON Tom, it’s 2012 already for crying out loud!
    YES! This IS a real problem, &
    YES! Call off your ridiculous Nanny State
    (So Nanny State is the newspeak for Big Brother? Nice!)

    LOOKIT, we cannot LEGISLATE ourselves out of this, but
                 we must   EDUCATE ourselves out of this. (Duh!)

    Mandate food & cooking classes in elementary school curriculum.
    Bring back health class, yes, including the needlessly controversial SEX EDUCATION.
    Start teaching the students what they actually need to know.

  • Anonymous

    High quality dark chocolate shouldn’t be taxed.  When eaten in moderation it is good for you.  Tax soda, chips, candy bars, etc.

  • Ksmag38

    My husband still laughs about the time he brought home organic sugar thinking he would please me and i quipped that it was like buying organic tobacco. Not worth the organic premium. A few years ago I set out to make a holiday cake based on a family recipe from tha 1900′s. It really opened my eyes to sugar as a splurge for the holidays and as a preservative. The cake would kill you on the spot if you ate our standard serving. However, as a holiday splurge sliver and a sliver on Sunday throughout the year, it offered a special memory.

  • Wyrdless

    Did anyone consider that prohibition of sugar causes violence?

    Drug gangs WILL sell candy to kids, and offer them some heroin while they are at it.  Doritos will become the new gateway drug.

    Just get rid of the subsidies and get individually underwritten health insurance so they fat people have their own risk class and pay for their own mistakes just like they do in life insurance.

    There is no reason that healthy people need to subsidize people who make bad choices.

    Finally,  Remember when coconut oil was bad?  Now it is good.  What if the government makes a mistake and bans something that is good?  For example health supplements.

    Do you want freedom or do you want our ID checked every time you get a can of coke?

    • TFRX

      The crap food subsidies are bad policy and bad public health and bad economics.

      But the blitheness with which you say “just get rid of the subsidies” is a bit odd compared to the easy use of the word “prohibition”, which I didn’t hear anyone here propose.

      • Wyrdless

        When you put candy behind a counter for 18+ that is prohibition.

        Kids will still want it, and hey will get it, probably through the group of people who already have illegal distribution chains like drug dealers. 

        I wasn’t being “blithe”.  It is just so obvious, I can’t understand why that isn’t the lead idea

        • TFRX

          It’s obvious. But pretending that it’s easy to overcome that when we have the same “Firms will do what’s best for their bottom line” (quoted from our host) which puts the junk sellers in our schools for no good reason is folly.

          Also, “prohibition” is a charged word which people use to talk about the Volstead Act.

          And now you’re conflating it with putting it behind the counter, or age limits?

          That sounds like you want to have your rhetoric both ways.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

     So because a special-ed teacher tells her kids something, we all must do the same?  Typical nanny state attitude.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Cauliflower is poisonous, so far as I can tell.  Yuck.

    • Just Wondering

      You once said on this forum that you were a college professor, which I find incredibly hard to believe, given the emotional and childish ways in which you interact here. Please, do tell us what college would employ you.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         Someone didn’t learn what sarcasm is, I see.

  • Louinvermont

    It’s also very important to emphasize the PROVEN harm of artificial sweeteners

  • Sarah

    Sugar is definitely addictive — I am struggling with letting it go. If it were not so omnipresent in our environment I would definitely have an easier time but I do recognize it’s my responsibility to manage what I put into my body.  It’s as hard as giving up alcohol which thanks to AA I did 7 years ago.  Should we start Sugarholics Annonymous?

  • Ellen Dibble

    My Chinese neighbors would not eat most American food, and would make faces as if they had lemon juice in their mouths.  Sweet!  I have learned to feel the same way about “real” foods that have been vitiated by making it taste more sweet than food, whatever the food was.  For starters, almost all cereals in boxes.  Try to find a granola with no sweetener.  Try to find a fiber cereal without sweetener.  No wonder Chinese cooking pretty much keeps to itself.
        Children need whole milk and sweets, I think, but adults are supposed to have more sophisticated and informed taste buds.

  • Dawn

    Sugar is added to everything, even cans of beans. I completely gave up sugar in April ’08 and absolutely won’t eat anything with added sugar in it. I’ve lost almost 100 lbs. I am no longer diabetic, my fibromyalgia is almost nonexstent (I now have incredible Energy levels), and my bipolar illness is so controlled I no longer require medication. Get rid of the stuff no matter what!

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      That’s your choice, but don’t impose it on the rest of us.

      • DR

        Mr. Camp, 

        “Don’t impose it on the rest of us”?!  Too late…other people choices already are:

        Gorging on coke, candy, and a mainstay diet of processed foods, which will – for thousands -eventually lead to an emergency room visit for stroke and/or heart attack –> 2 week stay in the ICU –> one week stay in step down unit –> 5 week stay in inpatient rehabilitation –> initiation of 5-10 drug regimen to control hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia.  Oops, patient has no insurance?  No problem, the rest of will pick up the tab (you don’t feel any imposition when your healthcare benefits decline while premiums rise???).

  • Gaylepilat

    An investigation by scientists from the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) at Georgia Health Sciences University (GHSU) followed 559 children ages 14-18. The study subjects’ dietary habits were measured; their blood analyzed and blood pressure, body fat and other health measurements taken. The researchers found a correlation between high-fructose diets and markers for heart and vascular disease such as higher blood pressure, fasting glucose, insulin resistance, levels of C – reactive protein, related to inflammation.  So just monitoring “sugar” intake is insufficient. High fructose corn syrup is in everything and that is very dangerous

    • Peggy Holloway5

      I believe that Dr. Lustig and Mark Bittman both include HFCS in the definition of “sugar.”

  • Nellie

    In my 30s, I gave up caffeine, alcohol and processed sugar, and guess what? People gave me the most push-back on the sugar. It was like not having dessert with them made them VERY uncomfortable. INteresting. I stopped craving sugar after 6 wks, and never felt so good! (Giving up alcohol and caffeine was way easier.)
    cheers all 

  • Mary Roth, RN

    We are not consuming “table sugar”  We are consuming tons of high fructose corn syrup.  Our government subsidizes CORN.  Stop subsidizing corn, the cost of sweet will double and the gov.t won’t have to tax anything. End of argument.

  • Modavations

    Quit having your kids at 40 and ADHD(it’s a scam in my opinion)and Autism will disappear

    • Ray in VT

      Thank you Dr. Modavations.  Your medical knowledge astounds me.

      Some of what is called ADD or ADHD is, I think, just that kids are rambunctious, but kids who have the real deal have an under active area in their brain that ritalin, a stimulant, can bring up to normal operating levels.

      • Peggy Holloway5

        My son would vehemently disagree. The ADHD meds made him even crazier. He is a vocal advocate for nutrition solutions and lambastes the medical community for using legalized drugging of children instead of addressing the real cause of many mood disorders, which is insulin-resistance and high-sugar diets. He is now 23 and a healthy young adult who follows a very strict low-carb, paleo diet.

    • bellavida

      I have 2 friends that had their kids in their 20′s and both their children have autism.  

  • Celia

    Please check your facts and give credit due -  The “Twinkie Defense” was a term coined in 1978 when
    Gay activist, City Supervisor Harvey Milk and San Francisco city’s mayor, George Moscone, were shot and killed in City Hall by Dan White, a conservative former city supervisor.

    At White’s murder trial, his attorneys successfully argued that his judgment had been impaired by a prolonged period of clinical depression, one symptom of which was the former health enthusiast’s consumption of junk food.

    The attorneys’ argument, mischaracterized as the claim that junk food had caused White’s diminished capacity, was derided as the “Twinkie defense” by the satirist Paul Krassner while reporting on the trial for the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

  • Joe in Philly

    Tom, the problem here is that food is too cheap! Reducing sugar is as simple as increasing EPA’s ethanol content in gasoline. Corn will either go into food (high fructose corn syrup) or in our gas tank (ethanol). In creating new markets for corn (or expanding existing non-food uses) we increase the cost of corn (and its products). Higher corn prices will translate to higher food prices: problem solved!  

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

     Taxation is preferable to control?  Cholera is preferable to tuberculosis?

  • Jeff

    LABELING REQUIREMENTS (above the fold) to identify sugary products as “sugar added” and “unhealthy” with a warning such as “consumption of sugar is known to cause obesity and the following diseases that can lead to early death!”

  • Danby

    If there is enough conversation about this,  people with self-regulate, as they have with fats.  If you try to regulate the food industry they will just further introduce carcinogenic substitutes.
    Cereals and soda are the biggest culprits of sugar,  and I know from my kids that if there is a box of Frosted Flakes,  one child will consume the entire box.  I don’t buy it,  I buy the organic cereals with low sugar,  and the kids will only have one bowl.
    It is education that is needed more than anything.

  • Bob

    Where does the regulation end? In a decade, will I need a special license to buy a steak?

    And what about when government is wrong? A couple decades ago, they would have banned eggs and butter, in favor of low-fat foods (often processed and filled with sugar) or magarine (full of trans fats). Now we know that these choices are often even WORSE than eggs and butter.

    The only way to solve this problem is to get rid of processed food entirely… other than that, it’s just a government overreach that targets the current food “axis of evil.”

    • Robert Riversong

      And how do you get rid of processed foods without heavy-handed government intervention? Certainly not by consumer demand, when the cheapest foods are the most tasty and most toxic.

      And, by the way, the “slippery slope” argument has never held water.

      • Bob

        “And how do you get rid of processed foods without heavy-handed government intervention?”

        I didn’t say you could.  What I did say is that anything short of that is the government just picking random targets of the moment that probably will give way to some other random health scare in another decade or whatever.  As long as we’re grinding up junk and producing supposedly “nutritionally enhanced” processed foods, we’re only going to be eating junk combined with a few nutrients that is never going to be the whole picture.

        “the cheapest foods are the most tasty and most toxic.”

        Not if you factor in minimal preparation.  Sure, the absolute cheapest foods in calories per dollar are sweets.  But assuming you will choose to eat something that isn’t just made by Little Debbie or something, you can generally save money by investing a few minutes to use basic ingredients instead of buying a processed version.  I’ve lived on a tight budget for many years, so I am well aware of the best way to save money, and buying processed foods isn’t it.  (As for processed foods being “tasty,” I suppose that’s a matter of exposure… I can’t stand the flavor of non-diet sodas anymore.  They are simply too sweet, as are most processed foods to my palette, but that’s because I don’t eat them very often.)

        “And, by the way, the “slippery slope” argument has never held water.”

        Yeah, and the amount of government regulation hasn’t increased exponentially over the past century, including huge swaths of activities that people would never contemplate government regulation into a century ago.  Oh wait…

        How naive.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Finally, a voice of rationalism.  Tell the government to stop subsidizing one type of food over another.

  • http://www.dpsinfo.com LaurieMann

    I think some moderate sugar/corn syrip tax is needed, but also what’s needed is better nutrition education.  Completely agree that federal subsidies for many foods should be done away with – except for vegetables (except for corn).

  • Stephen Minehart

    Why single out this particular unhealthy behavior? People do all sorts of things that cost society health care dollars, such as riding motorcycles, sunbathing, speeding, contact sports, etc?

    • Robert Riversong

      Which is why many of those behaviors ARE regulated: motorcycle licensing and helmets and always-on headlights, car restraints and air bags and myriad other safety features, sports organizations trying to limit traumatic brain injury, etc.

  • Ljboxford

    Given Mark’s comment that the problem is less associated with food that we make ourselves than with processed food, can we assume that an emphasis on home cooking with fresh ingredients at least puts us on a safer course? 

    • Robert Riversong

      Americans eat fully half their meals outside the home today.

  • Katherine

    What does it take to have HONEST food labeling?

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Don’t we?  You have to know how to read, but the information is there.

      • nj_v2

        How does one know if one’s food is genetically engineered?

      • Robert Riversong

        The information is NOT there. GMO foods, for instance, are not required to be labeled because most people would refuse to purchase them and it would undermine the profits of the agribusiness and chemical industries.

        And nutritional labels require a well-educated populace, while everything in our society undermines real education – not the least being the wholesale prevalence of advertising (including in our schools).

        Both the tobacco and the sugar industries know that addicting the youth will create a lifelong consumer of their toxins, because addiction overrides judgement.

    • JustSayin

       A government devoid of corporate influence.

  • Okitaris

    Sugar originated in slavery by the French on Haiti.   It took away my teeth and so many others.    Candy should be, sold as in Pennsylvania, in the state stores.   If you look at the chemical formula of sugar it is very close to alcohol.   Of course it fits like hand and glove into the capitalist’s industrial system.   Sugar provided an “inelastic demand” for products which capitalists turn every rock to find.  So you If look at the present system you will see that all the privateering brings us down    

  • Peggy Holloway5

    Rather than regulation, we need an improvement in education in the medical community, the media, and especially the organizations that claim to be advocates for health such as the American Heart Association and Diabetes Association. In the 1980s, my physician husband bought into the “fat makes you fat and being fat causes diabetes” mantra. Since we both saw grandfathers suffer horrible complications of diabetes, we were adamant that we would not suffer the same fate. By 1999, I was gaining weight in spite of an ultra -low-fat, low-calorie diet, and suffered horrible mood swings and GI problems. My daughter weighted 320 pounds and my son had debilitating ADHD. In 2000, I read “The Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet” (so did my brother, who had been a vegan for years). We changed our diets to high-fat, low-carb and changed our lives. My children have now done the same. They are healthy , happy adults and I am , at age 59, an incredibly healthy, slim woman who never sees a doctor and does long-distance cycling on less than 20 grams of carbs a day. My childrens’ father who has stayed with high sugar diet is sufferring early dementia and Parkinson’s. Limiting added sugar is a good start. I eat no processed, packaged foods, so I’m not concerned about that anymore. But, a piece of whole wheat bread will raise my blood sugar more than a teaspoon of sugar. We need to change the paradigm to encourage High-fat, low-carb lifestyles. (Today, my newspaper featured an AHA promoted recipe that had 67 grams of carbs per serving. That is a huge problem! High sugar, high carb is what is driving heart disease. So, education first.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    If we had a rational healthcare system, people could see doctors regularly, and those doctors could discuss the effects of various kinds of foods with their patients.  Focus your efforts in a worthy direction.

    • Anonymous

      Wow, a rational comment.
      I agree 100%. This is a health issue that should be dealt with by annual checkups and health warnings on the packages, not unlike cigarettes.

    • nj_v2

      That would require that doctors actually have some significant training and knowledge in nutrition. Most don’t.

    • Robert Riversong

      Except doctors are not educated in nutrition or health maintenance, only in attacking the symptoms of disease.

  • Christopher M Durai

    The history of sugar is the history of colonialism.

    • Robert Riversong

      And the most powerful form of colonialism is the corporate colonization of the mind.

  • Matthew in Nashville

    Would ending our practice of subsidizing corn help the problem?

    • Robert Riversong

      Of course it would. It’s not that government does too little to intervene in our food market, it’s that it has long done too much – in the wrong direction.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    No, I want to hear the new guest.  We’ve listened to these other two nannies too much already.

  • s …

    I say just cut the subsidies for corn, so the currently underpriced junk food prices would have to go up… ethenol takes more energy to make than it saves, and high fructose corn syrup is killing this country.

  • Sami Keats

    S. Keats
    I am finding it difficult to hear this discussion of regulating sugar by federal law spoken in such “rational’ terms.  In a free society people are free to regulate themselves and not be subject to a government that will write a law for everything they decide is good for the public.  Legislating sugar is just a short cut to doing what we need to do around sugar consumption—change our culture around food.  As a previous caller stated our holidays are all focused on sugar and this also drives our economy.  These are tough changes to make. Let the government fund healthy eating programs in every sector of the society.  Let the people see good role modeling by their public figures.  Putting candy bars in a locked box behind a retailer’s counter is a total cop-out.

    • Alan in NH

       To what extent does the individual’s freedom to choose affect the well-being of others. If the individual consumption of sugar over time leads to greater incidence of diabetes and therefore to greater health costs which may or may not be covered by the individual’s insurance, then doesn’t it become a public issue rather than just one of private choice and consumption?

      And you see how gratefully the public often receives the messages, all well-intended, by the President’s wife regarding nutrition. Even that is considered in many quarters as interference in the rights of the individual.

  • pw

    i share the concern about sugar. but as we consider what to do, do we  know that regulating alcohol and tobacco actually cuts down on use? 

  • Mlkearns

    The case would be better served if it were presented by someone whose tone were much less condescending.  If he wants Americans to pay attention to his message, he needs to persuade rather than preach.

    • Robert Riversong

      Those who complain about the messenger are invariably those who don’t like the message and want to shift the focus. You also have the power to control how you listen. Take some responsibility.

  • Kestral

    I eat very, very well, but I do like a bit of sugar at the end of a meal; for me it’s like a period at the end of a sentence – it tells me I am finished eating.  That said, whenever I bake, I ALWAYS reduce the sugar called for by at least half, and it does not hurt the recipe at all. 

    On this subject, my main objection is MY having to pay, in one way or another, for the illnesses of people who make themselves sick with bad diet and alcohol/cigarettes.

    Finally, do not miss the article which ran in the New York Times  on 4-17-11 called Is Sugar Toxic? by Gary Taubes.  Scared me silly!

  • Modavations

    As of this mornings Gallup Poll
    Romney 50%-Obama 46%
    Boston Globe Brown 52%-Warren42%

    After Herr Lustig
    Romney58%-Obama 43%
    Brown 69%-Warren 35%

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Didn’t we hear complaints about how making ethanol out of corn was bad for the health of poor people?  Get your stories straight, please.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Did you discuss school lunches and vending machines?  For starters?  In the 1950s there was nothing sweet available anywhere around the elementary schools.  Sweets were something special and more or less rationed by parents.  The family might go for a trip for an ice cream cone after a picnic, for instance.  Or Halloween, candy was allowed.  But nowadays, I’ve found children who consider soda a beverage, not a party drink.  Perhaps our water supply has deteriorated to the extent soda really is healthier than water?

  • Oliver Wendell Holmes

    As an ex-pat living over seas where it is safer to call myself “Canadian” when asked, I wonder what is more toxic to the average American in the long run, freedom of choice regarding food products, or adding one more substance to the list of staging a war against?

    • Robert Riversong

      Of course the truth is that Americans don’t have “freedom of choice”, which is merely a marketing slogan. Our choices are strictly determined by what the market offers for sale, and highly determined by corporate advertising (which is, by design, the first and most prevalent form of mind control – read the book “Propaganda”, 1928, by Freud’s nephew, the inventor of “public relations”, Edward Bernays).

  • Tek in TX

    Talk about a loss in productivity — I work part-time (I’m a student) in an office where 90%+ of the full time employees (around 27 out of 30) are overweight or obese (most are obese).  It’s no wonder that things are so slow to get done and people are always tired.  I accomplish more in ten hours a week than most of them do all week.  

    • Robert Riversong

      Pay people in inverse relationship to their weight.

  • August

    I am all for self control and parental/personal education on the effects of sugar on the body. I think it is the best route to a healthy nation.

    One issue that concerns me about the idea of governmental regulation or taxation of sugar is the economic ramifications of such actions. Companies like Coke, Pepsicola, Sara Lee, for example and there are others that most of us haven’t even heard of, are huge global blue chip stocks so integrated in our economy that regulation or taxation would significantly affect our economy. Some of these companies are the size of Ford or GM. If one or many of these companies failed what would happen to the economy at large?

    • Robert Riversong

      The “too big to fail” argument is what caused the current economic crisis, necessitated the bail-out and prevents any meaningful regulation.

      Monopolies used to be highly regulated in America because even the Founders knew the danger of concentrated capital was just as great as that of concentrated political power (which go hand in glove).

      Too big to fail implies too big to exist. We broke up AT&T and Standard Oil,  and we should break up all large and vertically or horizontally “integrated” corporations. They are the cause of the obesity problem as well as every other in modern society.

      Pass a Constitutional amendment reversing the abomination of “corporate personhood” and we’ll begin the process of taming the power of for-profit corporate behemoths.

  • guest

     Responding to the gentleman’s general defenses and explainations at around 10:45, I think we have it turned around. The point is that we don’t have to keep helping the food inc. corporations contribute a highly negative impact upon the pursuit happiness and health and welfare we enjoy as American citizens.

  • Hitex100

    What worries me is that when you tax and regulate sugar then people will move in-mass to consume all of these new artificial sweeteners that we know are AWFUL for your body. Sugar in moderation won’t kill you, so clearly it’s education and information that will lead consumers to demand better for themselves. Harsh regulation only opens the doors for processed food makers to jump on the American sweets craving by pushing these poison sweeteners that REALLY hurt people… while making greater profits!

  • Donna

    One more point, that has been slightly skirted, are the implications for our future. I’m working with local firefighters. These guys are 50 and telling me they’re kicking butts of the young guys, the 20-somethings who are often having to repeat the fire academy because they are so out of shape. When I enter their kitchen, I have to pass a pile of empty liter soda bottles. This is not just a problem in my small town; police, fire, and military academies are struggling nationally. What does this mean for the future safety of our country if those who are deemed to protect us simply can’t?

    • Robert Riversong

      Nationally, the number one cause of firefighter death is heart attack. The older guys are in no better shape than the youngsters (I’ve been in the fire service for 30 years).

  • Jessvermont

    I’m in a 4-year nursing program, during these 4 years not one nutrition class is taught. It is also to my understanding that nutrition is lightly touched in MD school. Nor did we take nutrition in high school. SO my question is why is teaching about nutrition not a priority?

  • Sam

    Art Carden is wrong.
    saying that the way the law of demand will work by raising the price of junk food, that poor people will choose healthier options.

    Uhm … poor people don’t have access to healthier options, which was the point the other person made. there are neighborhoods that don’t have grocery stores and many poor people don’t have a choice.

    • Ellen Dibble

      I suppose poor people don’t have refrigerators either, and so they can’t keep good produce week to week, and without a garden they’re out of luck.

      • Robert Riversong

        You’ve obviously never been poor. The worst foods are invariably the cheapest. The poor cannot fill their children’s bellies on good quality food and, since most are urban, very few have either the option or the ability to grow their own (rural poor often do).

        • Modavations

          America’s poor are fifthy rich ,in three fourths of the world

          • Ray in VT

            Can you tell me how you would live on $2/day in America.  “Poor” is something that is relative to where we are in the world.  True, the American poor are well off in much of the world, but we are also living in the world’s wealthiest society where some people get played millions to play a game.

    • Modavations


  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    There’s plenty of food right now that has no or limited sugar in it.

  • BHA in Vermont

    Tax the “added sugar” foods and subsidize fresh foods with that money. Tilt the financial scales heavily toward the healthy option.

  • Abhenderson

    My twins were diagnosed with Type 1 (Juvenile) Diabetes in November, 2010.  Since then, sugar (preferably glucose) has become a medical necessity to treat dangerous hypoglycemic low blood sugars.  That being said, charting how my sons respond to sugar in any form is like a science experiment.  Sugar causes a sharp spike and a sharp drop in blood sugars.  While type 1 diabetics handle high blood sugars with insulin, non-diabetics rely on our amazing endocrine system, in which the pancreas plays a starring role.  I can’t help but draw a parallel between how sugar affect type 1 diabetics and how it must affect the very endocrine systems non-diabetics take for granted.  I’ve come to view sugar consumption (particularly in processed foods) as a form of self-abuse.  The type 2 diabetes epidemic in this country is in part a direct result.

  • Chris

    here’s a slogan from a 1972 ad for sugar:
    “Sugar.  It isn’t just good flavor; It’s good food.”
    The back cover of November 1972 National Geographic has a picture of a child eating ice cream.  Some of the text:
    “It not only helps youngsters stoke up fast, but the natural sweetness gives them a sense of satisfaction and well being.” 
    Astonishing stupidity.

  • Jabuck12

    Tom, I’d like to know. If my consumption of sugar is at dangerous levels, however I exercise daily, how is my overall health affected? Is this really a one sided issue of sugar = bad, or can overconsumption balanced with exercise mitigate the health risks?

  • Steve

    Regulating behavior that might cost society? Where does it stop. Maybe we can regulate rock climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, skiing, ….how about watching TV.

  • !

    Avoid processed foods when possible, and eat what nature provides. Not only worried about all that added sugar in foods, but all the other chemicals. Too bad it’s so much more expensive to eat a healthier diet. Putting a salad together for dinner with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, radishes, carrots, eggs, and some cheese can be surprisingly expensive. 

  • Okitaris

    Fresh fruits and vegetables are the only foods that are not subsidized.   You should take away the subsidy for corn and give it to the vegetable farmers.   Fresh vegetables would become the lowest price foods in the store.     

    • Wyrdless

      ….. Or just eliminate all the subsidies and the entire federal apparatus used to distribute them and save $30 billion dollars a year

  • Sam

    i believe that education + availability of healthier options will make a difference.

    I was in walmart in one of the rural areas.
    I saw a woman buying a gynormous bag of cheetos with food stamps for her kids, while I was buying a tiny little container of blueberries.

    She has access to fresh food.
    The bag of cheetoes cost less than a tiny container of fresh fruit.

    Where is a choice?
    There is no choice, as far as I see it.

  • Mary Roth, RN

    I am so sick of hearing the “junk food is less expensive” myth.  A chicken and rice cooked at home costs FAR less than a few meals at a fast food restaurant.  Fresh fruit and vegies are expensive, but frozen vegetables and dried fruit are far less expensive than junk food.

    • Ellen Dibble

      I pay attention to recipes in the home section of newspapers, and I notice that 99.9% of them feature sweeteners, and usually fats too.  I have had to develop my own repertoire of sweet-less concoctions.  Almost any other culture/ethnicity, however, has a wealth of recipes without sugar.  I suppose that’s because sugar was a real luxury up till about 1800, when the slave/molasses/rum triangle was set up in the Atlantic. 
          For example, food from the Indian subcontinent uses spices to tantalize the taste buds, rather than sweets.  Actually American Indian cooking, to the extent I’ve accessed it, goes without sweeteners in many cases.  
         I find that in learning to eat without sugars, I’ve learned to seek out the flavors without the addictive come-on of sweet that American food industry seems to use to draw people to this and that, most of which could be a lot healthier without that draw.  Sugar can be so overwhelming to the taste buds that the mouth is not seeking out the other sensations that characterize the particular food, evaluating is it from rich soil, is it vitamin-rich, is it fresh, etc.

  • Sam

    It’s not the sugar, it’s the mass meat production and pesticide and chemical usage that is a big problem.

    subsidies must go!

  • ValerieS

    Why aren’t we talking about regulating an industry that makes money by making people eat as much of their products as possible! 
    How about heavy fines for food companies when it’s proven that their foods cause disease? Or when it’s proven that they are targeting people/children in order to addict them?? Isn’t there enough evidence? Go to the source!
    Food manufacturers use sophisticated research to pinpoint smells, tastes, and visual cues that trigger hunger and cravings. Stopping sugar addiction isn’t just about saying no- what about people in food desserts? What about children brought up on sugary foods who had no say in what they were fed and wind up obese? Bring back home economy and cooking classes in the schools, mandate school gardens etc.I have Type 1 diabetes and no complications after 20 years- I’ve worked with my diet for years and eat . I blog about diabetes and approaches to care at notadiabetic.com. 

    • Ellen Dibble

      Oh, ValerieS, people in food “deserts,” I think you mean.  ;>D

  • Ann

    What about the “Nutrition Facts” labels on packaging? The RDA’s for fat and protein are shown by percentage but not the sugars. The gram amounts are listed but how do we know whether the 26 grams in a yogurt is outrageous or not as a single serving?

    • BHA in Vermont

       Good question since the milk the yogurt is made from has natural sugar. How DOES one know how many grams are naturally occurring and how many were added to hook the consumer?

      • mary elizabeth

        If the ingredients list names sugar, then it is added. 

  • LizNOLA

    This is about externalities. There is the True price of foods and then the Real price. The difference is an externality that is not paid by the consumer of the product but by society-at-large. Why not charge with the projected cost of extra care built into the price? So, if I drink the Coca-Cola I am paying for my extra costs to care for the people (including me) for medical care AND the cost of public health prevention education. Go ahead. Cigarettes and alcohol should also be priced with the social cost included.

  • Jackie

    Perusing the cereal aisle which covers both sides of an aisle in my large grocery store….there are only 2 cereals that do not have sugar in the ingredients…..plain Shredded Wheat and Grape Nuts.  Even the ‘healthy’ cereals are loaded with sugar of all sorts!

    • BHA in Vermont

       I’ve taken to Mesa Sunrise lately. 4g of sugar in a cup, none in the Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almond Milk Unsweetened Original. And the sugar is from evaporated cane juice, not HFCS. It is Gluten Free which is why I tried it.

      The corn, flax, buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth make for lots of flavor. I think one of the ‘problems’ with things like plain Shredded Wheat is that they don’t have a lot of flavor so sugar is dumped on to make it more interesting to the tongue.

      • Modavations

        Vermonts problem is interbreeding,not sugar

        • Ray in VT

          How closely related were your parents?  Pretty closely I would bet.  Flatlanders are notoriously inbred.

        • Kestral

          Moda, those of us who live in Vermont are so glad you are not here.

  • Carol

    I agree with the commentator that it isn’t the home baked products it is the hidden sugar in processed food.  Which brings us back to the discussion of a whole food diet.  The problem is our busy society life style (2 working parents etc.) encourages the use of processed foods.

    • KathyB

      That is so true – the sugar (and the salt for that matter) in processed food is the problem.  And cooking good food from scratch is time-consuming – no doubt about it.  I do it all the time, but I am also a well-educated at-home parent – most people don’t have that luxury. A healthy dinner that my kids will eat usually takes not less than an hour to prepare, even with the kids helping.  If I came home exhausted from working all day, I doubt I’d but be up to the task every night, even knowing better.  Unfortunately, with every good thing (both parents being able to have a career), there’s usually a negative flip side (having the time and energy and skills to prepare a good meal.)  A neighborhood dining hall preparing delicious healthful food would be a great addition to so many neighborhoods :)  I know I’d love it.

  • Boyce

    It is amazing to think that adding tax to sugar is going to alter eating habits.  Wealthy people can consume better diets because they have the money to buy good food and pay for exercise gyms etc.  There has to be a better way to deal with sugar consumption.  The population at the poverty end of the scale have to pay the same price for gas, food, and all consumables.  Taxing sugar is going to hurt not help the lower income end of society.  That population is going to continue eating the way they do.  Taxing them is not going to alter their life style.  Get real.  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PGRRHRMH2AMOBTBSSOY56T5ECE lcp00076

    Even our soaps are laden with sugar (or attempt to give the perception of being delicious).  I saw some softsoap in the grocery store last night.  It was “Pomegranite & Mango.”  It looked like pancake syrup.  Houston we have a problem.

    • Sam

       Because it’s cheap!

      Welcome to capitalism

  • Pittsburgh MD

    Obesity is another consequence of insultating people from there own health choices by not risk adjusting health insurance costs and making the individual personally responsible for there own choices. You are welcome to smoke , drink and overeat but those choices have consequences and costs which the individual must be responsible for.

    • Modavations

      Take a bow.Read my speel about typing insurance costs to fitness

  • Andrew Sistrand

    End subsidies on corn and sugar, and increase corporate taxes on the profits from junk food.

    We, the taxpayers, are subsidizing the destruction of our health by large corporations. It is like WWII when the Nazis forced their victims to dig their own graves before they shot them.

    • Sam

      Do you buy organic sugar?
      Do you buy not-pre-packaged food that contains corn?

      Vote with your dollars!
      Oh wait, that’s right, you can’t afford it …

  • Craig Slatin

    The “Nanny State” argument is a shill.  Almost no one complains about the nanny state that takes away their right to defecate anywhere they want to, and that they think that our sewage and waste water treatment systems are ridiculous regulation.  Similarly, almost no one says that we don’t need a nanny state cleaning our drinking water for us – that we should be allowed to drink contaminated water whenever we choose to do so.

    We have a long and successful history of enjoying increased opportunities to pursue our liberties because of public health regulations.  Public health regulation gives use collective and individual freedom to pursue our dreams and goals unimpeded by disease and premature death.

    Let’s stop talking about profiteering from inappropriate marketing and sales of health-harming products as if it is something that gives us more choices.  The benefits from supports for better health will always far outweigh the benefits from supports for choosing to risk getting sick.

    • Wyrdless

      “”d that they think that our sewage and waste water treatment systems are ridiculous regulation””

      Depends on where you live, some people are forced to get sewer and water hookups that they don’t need, because the town wants more people to share the cost.

      Prohibiting candy to kids is a bad idea.
      It didn’t work for alcohol, it doesn’t work for drugs and it will not work for candy.  Instead everyone will need to show ID every time they go to the grocery store or buy a bag of chips with lunch and when the drug dealers figure out they can make money selling candy to kids, the police will need to spend valuable time hunting down candy traffickers rather than criminals, Just like they do now with marijuana.

    • Anonymous

      Water plants, sewage treatment, & garbage disposal are NOT done by the federal government. The Constitution puts limits on the power of the federal government because the founders feared centralized, autocratic, unresponsive government. That was not a “shill” argument; it was a reaction to very real abuses imposed upon the colonies by an autocratic,  absentee central government. If the federal government can tell me what I can and cannot eat, my freedom is at an end; no longer will the government be a servant of the people. Instead, the people will have become servants of the government and we will have become the very government our forefathers fled. It is this distinction which makes the US unique among the nations of the world; without it, we are Europe all over again, looking to Washington to provide a solution for and to every problem which may arise. Even though Washington doesn’t have a very good track record solving much of anything it undertakes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Justin-Manning/100001474915593 Justin Manning

    Nutritional education is a large problem, but some type of larger intervention must happen.  I have spent many hours in the aisles of supermarkets trying to find a simple loaf of bread without added sugar, many times unsuccessfully. The vast majority of Americans do not live in areas with organic supermarkets or ‘mom and pop’ style homemade bakeries around the city block.  They are forced to buy their food from stores that only offer bread that is by definition cake, and many other products containing unexpected amounts of added sugar.

    • Wyrdless

      Does your grocery store have a bakery with fresh bread?
      Fresh bread doesn’t have added sugar or preservatives

      Also, consider that sugar is required to make bread at the very least to feed the yeast.

      • Bob

        “Also, consider that sugar is required to make bread at the very least to feed the yeast.”

        Not true.  I bake bread at least every week and have done so for about a decade.  I only add sugar to a bread if it’s a special holiday sweet bread or sometimes for whole grain breads with a harsh taste.

        The yeast get plenty of food by breaking down the sugars already in the flour.

  • Gemtremblay

    market america, refined, processed, fast food!!! yes raise tax or do what needs to be done. I agree. HMOs are high enough and the more illness the more rx drugs, the more insurance goes up!!! why should all of society pay a blanket of expenses due to poor choices of others. children should be educated in grammar school as part of coursework. it should be included in prenatal classes. between sugar even corn syrup, and wheat gluten America is in health crisis unlike another culture. takes about 30 days to rid sugar from the body and then in the meantime decoding the liver and body systems for ultimate function. must get our body working in highest performance so if disease hits, it can focus on the task rather than dealing w insulin resistence & liver toxicity amongst other life threatening issues. I agree

    100% with this topic.

  • Terance

    Raising the cost of sugar is crazy! If you really want to help the people edjucate them. Make full disclosure on nutrition lables for. Items considered staples mandatory.

  • Jesse

    Switching meth lab to soda production soon….Sweet!!!!

    • Modavations

      sugar bootlegging and running will be the next war fought in Mexico

  • SomMom

    OK, If most of the people here agree that they don’t want sugar/corn syrup added to their food and perhaps most agree that there should be less sugar in sugary foods (cookies, etc.), why can’t we get the food industry to listen to us? Whether or not we tax sugar or regulate it, we should vote with our money at the supermarket AND contact the companies that make the processed food we buy.

  • Guest

    The guest pointed out that the “a tax needs to be large enough to affect buying behavior”.  But even after a significant tax, if junk food STILL remains cheaper and more accessible than healthy food to the poor, then all the tax will accomplish is raising the cost of food for the poor.  The middle class is far less sensitive to food taxes. Note that taxes on cigarettes did not lower smoking – smoking began to drop when it began to be banned in public places, and it took decades to raise awareness.  So simply regulating and taxing sugar is not the panacea it is being made out to be.  This is a TOUGH problem, and will require serious action at multiple levels including parental education, health incentives (for managing weight, not just sugar intake), accessibility of healthy substitutes, etc. 

  • Modavations

    The Party of Big Govt.complains about Big Brother.

  • Dennis_in_Omaha

    When you played the actual ad from the fructose council, I laughed out loud because of the Saturday night live spoof…


    When I searched fructose on Hulu, I found other things too.

    1.  When I was a child, my parents were influenced by the low price of high fructose corn syrup which activated many other allergies.  Older people paid higher taxes (from subsidies) for the privilege of making me suffer.

    2.  As an adult, I too have to pay higher taxes for a higher deficit to pay for those same subsidies.

    We need to de-centralize the economy away from sugary and processed foods.  We need to think and re think subsidies each and every year to see if we are mis-using them to centralize the economy around harmful things.

  • Livin’ la vida loca

    TAKE AWAY THE SUBSIDIES!!! It’s like I’m living in crazy land. First government is in bed with big corporation, subsidizing these crap products and foods, making up bullshit food pyramids, THEN people get sick and fat, and THEN the same crazy-ass government politicians want to REGULATE the products that THEY PUT in the hands of the people!! Lunacy, complete and utter lunacy.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Yusuf-Abdulkarim/100001954764241 Yusuf Abdulkarim

       lovely “livin’ la vida loca. I was looking for your response from the comments and none mentioned the fact that it is government subsidies for corn and sugar that is the source of cheap sugar and consumption and so on.  Excellent comment ! it is absolute madness vicious cycle 

    • momof4

      I know! I feel like I’m the only one seeing the craziness!

  • Educatedconsumerandlibertarian

    Libertarians sure do have a solution – which would yield the fasted results – no subsidies, no “free health care”  and personal responsibility.  If people started dying because they could not obtain or pay for health care because they were so obese, the nation may begin to take responsibility for what they put in their mouths.  A truly free market without distorting government subsidies and interventions would take care of this problem in short order.  Would some people die, sure.  Are they dying now anyway, sure, if more slowly.

    • Robert Riversong

      But a “truly free market” looks something like a third-world street market. No market is free when corporate size, power, wealth and political influence is not restrained – and the only institution with the power to restrain them is government. 

      Jefferson and Madison struggled to include an 11th Amendment in the Bill of Rights - to restrain corporate power - without which the other ten would become meaningless (as they have since the invention of corporate personhood and corporate rights).

      • Wyrdless

        In a free market people would still want health insurance and the market would provide it.

        Corporations could be restrained easily by removing the limited liability feature and making executives face assault charges if they leak toxic chemicals.

        Health insurance could be fixed by having risk classes and make fat people pay for fat people and healthy people can pay for healthy people.  Then allow insurance companies to sell health insurance across state lines to promote competition.

        Your pretend third world of libertarianism is ridiculous, most 3rd world countries are horribly corrupt, where the leader owns everything and can promote his business buddies.  Only in a free society can companies compete on merit rather than whether or not the government favors them.

        If some silly politicans can control the economy, the society are doomed (as most societies have been and are) to horribly inefficient economic models. 

        Just look at China, it made it improved the economy by allowing entrepreneurialism.

  • WL

    Tom & On-point team, great show.  Thanks for putting this topic in your program and thus raising awareness regarding sugar consumption.

  • Tod

    A sliding tax on added sugar will reduce the demand.  The more that’s added, the higher the tax. Revenues, as with cigarette taxes, would be used for health and education related to the dangers of sugar.

  • Sam

    law of demand.
    from my poor recollection of college economics
    there are two types of goods, elastic and inelastic? or something like that

    when the price goes up, the demand falls down for luxury goods, goods that people can live without, like books, movies, dvds, etc

    there is a set of goods for which the law of demand doesn’t apply, and those are the goods that people cannot live without, such as food (bread, milk, oj, etc), gas, heat, etc ..
    When price for those good goes up, the demand may fall a little bit, but not a lot. Increase in price is not proportional to the decrease in demand.

    correct me if i am wrong

    when the price of, lets say, gas, goes up, do we use less of it?
    a little bit. but most of us, still need to get to work, pick up/drop off our kids, get to the store, etc. we may cut down on our consumption, but not completely eliminate it.

    same with food.
    when the price of food goes up, we may change the quality and quantity of food that we choose to buy, but it assumes that we have a choice, to choose between a $1 bread or .50 cent bread, given the same amount of bread.

    usually, lower price means less quality. which means, more substitutes and less nutrition.

    so people are choosing to buy less quality products because that is the only thing they can afford.

    some will argue that it is, also, a choice.
    i don’t

    • WL

      Yes, you are right to say that food items are inelastic and thus not as responsive to price increase.  However, if government subsidy makes, in this case, refined or highly processed foods cheaper than what it should be and cheaper than more healthy options (e.g. broccoli or leafy greens) we thus have unfair competition (among these food items).  If the price of sugar is more correctly reflected, people may opt to each more vegetables and beans than processed goods that are cheaper and taste good.  Also, it may be cheaper in the short run but one will pay higher in terms of medical bills (a lot higher may I venture) in the long run.

      • Wyrdless

        Fresh food IS more expensive than processed food.  Think of the supply chain for fresh food versus food you can keep in a warehouse for 3 months with no change in quality.

        • Ray in VT

          It is quite unfortunate how expensive it is to provide healthy food.  My family goes with a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, and it hurts at the cash register, but we know that it is better for our kids in the long run.

          • TFRX

            Let’s discard the “woe is me” hair-shirt about the cost of good food.

            What is “good food” in competition with?

            If I was to say “Healthy food costs more than regular food.” that’s one thing.

            But when I add “I can buy 5000 calories of foodstuffs at McDonalds for $8,” it changes the message completely.

            (Not to mention I’m sure that avioding giving kids a sugar rush is worth a few dollars now and again, isn’t it?)

          • Peggy Holloway5

            I figure what I spend on good quality meat, eggs, cream, butter, and veggies (pretty much my entire diet) I save in my low-medical costs. Despite a major family history of insulin-resistance and related health issues (father and grandfather died of complications of “diabetes”), since going no -grains, sugars, or starches in 2000, I have not seen a doctor except for a routine check every 2 or 3 years. Also, not buying packaged/processed food saves a ton of money.

    • Wyrdless

      If you tax sugar people will eat fat instead because it is a cheaper source of calories.  If you also tax fat, then you are just putting in place a horribly regressive tax which will hurt the 60 million poor people who already can’t afford enough food.

  • Kb7843

    If you want the government to not regulate your food then you would agree to not have the sugar subsidized. Prices of those items would then go up. It’s a shame that food stamps don’t already make healthier food a better option, and it IS a real problem that we have food deserts in this country where people really have trouble finding food that isn’t processed and completely lacking nutrition.

  • Terance

    Talking tax is just another way for Uncle SAM to go thru the. Back door and take your money out of the mattress. I know let’s tax Sugar like Cigarettes because that makes people not want them( yeah Right)

    • Still Here

      I’ll smoke to that.

  • BCarden

    We have become more aware of trans fats, and companies have started eliminating them from their food products.  We see REDUCED SALT or NO SALT ADDED prominently displayed on the labels of an increasing number of products. I would like to see a list of how much ADDED sugar is in products.  I am concerned about the safety of sweeteners that replace sugar in “sugar-free” products.  Much more education is needed, starting in the earliest years, and school meals need to reflect that education by cutting way back on sugary cereals, breads that contain added sugar, and other common school lunch foods.

  • Susan

    One way to control sugar consumption is to ban high fructose corn syrup as an additive to food. It’s cheaper than sugar, and the adds extra fructose, which is the sweetest tasting simple sugar. Fructose also is preferentially metabolized to fat in the body and does not stimulate an insulin response, so is not “regulated” by the body as glucose is. This would drive up the price of processed foods (because beet or cane sugar is more expensive) and spare corn for other uses.
    Knowing how hard a ban on a product could be, perhaps a better approach might be to ban all foods that contain high fructose corn syrup in schools.

  • Modavations

    Sorry ,sorry,this is for Mr.Zero as regards his claim of writings by the Pres.while editor of the Harvard Law Revue.From Tom H.at WShein Co.
    Mr.M—-here’s the scoop from our top researcher here at Hein
    “B.O did not actually write anything for the Harvard Review.He was the editor for Period but did not author anything”

    Mr.Zero(your name is most appropriate)I will not await the appology you will not afford.I will expect further invective and temper tantrum.

  • Bob

    Toward the end of the program, someone said “education is not enough because what do we tell parents to eat, since there is no choice.”

    Yes, there is a choice.  I just went to grocery store this morning and bought food for my family.  I went to a normal supermarket (not Whole Foods or something).  95% of the items I bought were minimally processed, and guess what — they don’t contain added sugar.

    It’s that simple.  This is not a complicated message to educate.  But it does require education and a minimal amount of time in food preparation.  Spend 5 more minutes making a pasta sauce from canned tomatoes and a couple other ingredients instead of buying jarred sauce.  Spend 10 more minutes breading chicken tenderloins instead of buying frozen chicken nuggets.  Etc.

    If everyone spent 10 minutes more in food preparation per day, they can avoid the sugars (and other problems) of most processed foods.  And for the poor, it often saves money compared to buying the processed alternatives.

    Removing sugar from processed foods is not going to solve our health problems, though it might improve some things.  The larger problem is that processed foods are generally made out of junk (even without the sugar).  Eat junk, and see what happens….

    • Robert Riversong

      Yes there is a choice (though it’s not as easy as you make it out to be, and it’s not cheap), and even your “healthy” choices include factory-farmed chicken which is full of disease, chemical residues and anti-biotics.

      You’re ignoring the most prevalent form of education in America: corporate advertising, which extends even into our public schools. If children are addicted to junk food (or tobacco) when young, they will not have the choice to consumer otherwise. Addiction overrides judgement and no public health message is as powerful as advertising.

      “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of the country. [....] We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.
      [....] It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind [....] If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will, without their knowing it?”
      - Extracts from Edward Bernays’ ‘Propaganda’, first published 1928 (nephew of Sigmund Freud)

      • Bob

        “Yes there is a choice (though it’s not as easy as you make it out to be,
        and it’s not cheap),”

        It’s CHEAPER than processed foods.  Yes it is.  I know because I actually have lived on a restricted budget for quite a few years.  I can bake a loaf of whole-grain bread for less than the cost of the cheapest loaf of Wonderbread you can find at your supermarket.  Ingredients cost less than processed foods. 

        And sugary drinks and snacks are even worse.  If I even wanted something that sweet, I could generally make an equivalent at home for a third or a quarter of the cost (though why would I?).

        “and even your “healthy” choices include
        factory-farmed chicken which is full of disease, chemical residues and

        At most supermarkets, you’re probably right.  Factory farming is a separate issue, but one possibility is knowing your farmers.  There still are local farmers markets in many parts of the country, and meat there is generally at least somewhat better than the supermarket (even when stamped with a meaningless “organic” label), and often cheaper.

        But in any case, for someone without access to such things, I still submit that my solution of breading chicken parts from the supermarket is healthier than buying frozen junky chicken nuggets — and cheaper.  And, most importantly, without added sugar, which (unlike factory farming) is actually the topic under discussion here.

  • Gemtremblay

    no more tax, food and drug administration or government involvement…how about educating!!! start in grammar school, then college and prenatal classes. the issue is, taking more freedoms & rights away by being told how to live. well once educated and a personal choice decides to use, weather its tobacco, alcohol or sugar then its on that person. so the debate is most ppl are saying no more gvt involvement, taxing, regulation…just up the education.

  • Jayadrats

    Poor moderating by the host. Shame on you WBUR. 

    1) We can’t tax sugar. What a stupid idea. I am practically vegan, I consume less than 5 teaspoons of sugar a day, and the only reason I buy sugar is to feed the hummingbirds in my area. You are going to punish me because a bunch of fat people are ignorant or don’t care about their health? I know we are talking about a diabetes epidemic, but you are going to discourage people from feeding hummingbirds. I know you never thought of that consequence.

    2) Just like how the Federal Gov. told gas companies they could not use lead anymore, the Fed needs to tell Coke to go from 9 teaspoons per bottle to 1 teaspoon per bottle, etc. It is the greedy companies, not the ignorant, under-educated consumer who is at fault. Don’t punish consumers. Punish greedy corporations like Coke. They don’t give a crap about us. Stop it at the source, and the demand side will get used to it.

    3) I drink no-sugar-added fruit juices, water, hazelnut milk and other non-dairy milks, and iced tea. If you tax my Honest Tea Peach Oolong, what am I going to drink? What alternative will there be? I never touch soda. I already drink over 32 oz of water a day. What am I supposed to do, drink 64 oz of water a day? Sounds pretty boring.

    4) I was angered by the comments by the rich doctors regarding poor people. The poor people in the ghettos make up much more of the population than you think, and all they know is McDonald’s, KFC, and cheap fast food. The beverage of choice is soda.You will ultimately hurt the poor even more. Dr. Lustig is too rich to understand the problems in Bay View/Hunter’s Point. I’m on food stamps. Don’t you dare raise my food prices. Charge the corporations to educate the poor if you have to.

    Thank you,

  • Jennifer

    I am an American living with International roommates and time and time again the students from France, Italy, Austria and China have been shocked to find high fructose corn syrup and sugar in everything when it really has no place there. “Everything is too sweet.” “You have sugar in your spaghetti sauce, in your applesauce, in your tomato juice.” they say with shock. They have been appalled to find sugar as one of the first five ingredients in bread. “Why so much sugar in the bread when you only need a tiny bit to make the yeast rise?” They don’t use prepared salad dressing finding it them way too sweet and full of ingredients that aren’t food, instead they make their own with real balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

    I have learned a great deal from my international roommates that I believe accounts for their much healthier eating habits and their slimmer physical builds. They don’t drink soda or even diet soda, a big downfall for me, although the Italians do eat cookies with espresso for breakfast. They eat three good size meals three times a day, without snacking. They make fresh food daily that include vegetables and eat a salad with dinner every night.

    They have a strong commitment to physical fitness, running, playing hockey, yoga, swimming and other fitness classes and they also ride their bikes everywhere year round or walk.

    I am a baker and I have learned through trial and error to cut way down on the amount of sugar that I use and it still tastes good to me. Although my roommate from Austria would have me bake something traditionally sweet to bring in along with her Austrian dessert because the Americans in her lab did not consider her Austrian desserts to be sweet enough to be considered dessert.

  • gsaas

    Why can’t we simply add a label declaring the content of “added sugar”? seems like a simple way to clear up confusion and educate consumers all at once.  No need for any additional regulation, lest we are accused of promoting a “Western European Socialist State”.

    • Dprines

      I completely agree. Arm people with the info they need to make wise health decisions and consumers will change the market be avoiding things that are bad for them. Look at the exodus of high fructose corn syrup in so many products lately. The government didn’t need to ban it, consumers started avoiding it and companies took notice.

      • Heaviest Cat

        It’s not always easy to avoid. There are subtle ways around labeling requirements for the food industry. ..and what about children who don’t understand these issues?

    • Heaviest Cat

      I think, a Westerne European Socialist State is a great way to regulate industires that would decieve and kill us for profit.

      • Anonymous

        Assuming you’re serious, you wouldn’t be happy there. Not many Americans would tolerate the sloppy service, the delays, the corruption, the waiting in lines, and the disparity of treatment between those with money and those without, not to mention the tax rates (sales taxes — VAT — 27 to 30+ percent, income tax starting at 40). That’s why your forebear’s left Europe.

        • Heaviest Cat

           That all happens here Grump  especially the disparity of treatment bteween those with $ and those without. Multi-billionaires and big corps have been polluting our democracy for decades.

          • Anonymous

            I wouldn’t know, HC. I quit whining about poor little old me and what I didn’t have many, many years ago. Instead, I decided it was time to grow up, and go to work. Since then, my life has been pretty good. I delegate to others the responsibility of worrying about the weighty things of life, like world peace and the end of the world. I’m content to mow my grass,  enjoy my grandchildren, and occasionally drink a nice cold beer on a hot summer day while remembering the lyrics to an old country western song which went, in relevant part: In this whole world there is none so fine as old dogs, young children, and watermelon wine.

  • Anonymous

    The anti-tobacco nazi’s appear to have found a new target — sugar. Under the claim that they — the self-appointed guardians of my person — know more than I do about what I should eat and not eat, they will attempt to regulate my consumption, in this instance, of sugar. Where does the government think it gets the authority under the Constitution to tell me what I should and should not eat? Because if it has that power, our freedoms are gone and our revolution was for naught. Even King George didn’t claim he could tell us what to eat and not eat; all he tried to do was impose a tax when the colonies (us) had no representatives in Parliament to voice our views. And all hell broke loose in 1776. I should think that if we are still the county of our fathers, there should be a similar reaction with this.

    • Jbshoen

      Any over weight old f–t should pay a premium on their health and life insurance, so I can lower mine.

      • Anonymous

        Insurance companies already do just that. Unless, of course, the federal gummit tells ‘em that they can’t. That’s why it’s called insurance instead of welfare. The premium for a healthy 26 year old are a whole lot less than for an 80 year old, healthy or not.

      • MrsZ

        Unfortunately obesity is not the only problem that causes health issues.  Most, roughly 80% of illnesses are things you cannot control (from the YOU book by Dr. Oz and Roizen). It would be so wonderful if we could wipe out illness with just diet – but it is impossible.


    • Anonymous

      Whether you know it or not the government is ALREADY telling you what to eat or not eat. I agree with Jbshoen if you’re going to eat yourself into a slow ugly death then don’t make me pay for it. I’d bet the people who are screaming for the government to stay out of their sugar bowls are the ones who will end up needing government medicare/medicaid to help pay for their poor health.

      • Anonymous

        You don’t pay for it; I do. Unless the federal gummit decides differently and makes insurance companies charge premiums which do not reflect their loss exposure. The free market is a wonderful institution, when the socialists let it work. 18 year old hot rod boys pay a lot higher premium for their auto insurance than a 50 year old accident free married man; they also pay a lot lower health insurance premiums than their 70 year old grandfather.

      • Modavations


  • Marangyi

    I’m glad to see that NPR is airing programming the encourages prevention-based health care. It’s been my perception over the past few years that NPR is not a big fan of prevention and is opposed to alternative health and healing. I hope I’m wrong about that.

    Hopefully today’s program is not a case of NPR being like the broken clock that is right twice a day.

  • Jennifer

    I think the government should eliminate sugar and high fructose corn syrup from many foods. In dessert I think it is fine, but it should be a food violation to put sugar and high fructose corn syrup in applesauce. Check your applesauce even the ones labeled all natural often have high fructose corn syrup. We definitely don’t need the amounts of sugar in yogurt that are there now, sugar or high fructose corn syrup should not be the second ingredient. Jam should not have high fructose or sugar in the quantities that they do. I was surprised and grossed out to realize that even those individual fruit cups are filled with sugar.

  • Anonymous

    Regulate it. Make it expensive. Tax it. Get it out of the food. Stop subsidizing/incentivizing corn growers to make corn syrup. 

  • Still Here

    I thought video games, reality television and Facebook were the causes of obesity.  All that sugar wouldn’t be a problem if people didn’t sit on their arses all day.

    • Ray in VT

      That’s certainly a part of it to.  Many of us take in too much and don’t do enough.

    • Heaviest Cat

      Still here that’s right to a degree. But Dr.Lustig’s thesis is that sugar is more of a health hazard than the food industry would have us believe. And that the amounts and kinds of sugar that are in even non-confectionary items is conealed legally from ingredient listings. So people may be taking in more sugar than they realize.

    • Wyrdless

      Lets regulate Facebook since it causes obesity.  Each person would have a government regulated maximum time online.  Then a special tax would kick in.

      It would be for our own good.

      • Still Here

        How about computers are only sold connected to treadmills as an energy source?!  (patent pending)

  • Margarita Assael

    Here comes the government to the rescue!  What is next???  Why don’t we just have the gov. insert a “food drip” into our veins—since they know better——

    • Heaviest Cat

      Margarita, it’s the government’s job to inform us when our food is posing a serious health hazard. So the govt. is doing the right thing. ,given that the food industry is lacing many staples with sugar that they can legally conceal in the ingredients. the market doesn’t care about your health. No profit in that. Hence the need for government.

      • Wyrdless

        The government subsidizes sugar.  Many problems would be solved by getting the government out rather than using government to fix problems caused by government

        • Heaviest Cat

          I agree Wyrdless that the govt. shouldn’t be subsidizing sugar. That, to me exposes the hypocrisy of capitalism. But rememebr we ARE the govt. So it’s up to Us  to hold the govt. accountable rather than merely “getting the govt,out”. that benefits the sugar producers who don’t care about human health.

  • Taraloughran

    I think the regulating they are talking about would affect the food industry more than us directly. Have you ever tried to quit sugar completely? Its practically impossible because its in almost every item in the store!

    • Wyrdless

      I hardly eat any refined sugar.  I cook food from scratch and get bakery bread.  it isn’t hard.

      • TFRX

        Unless you’re working two jobs and raising three kids, say.

        Don’t try to extrapolate all the resources and privileges you have to everyone out there.

        Do you live in a food desert?

  • Larry

    In the US, there are many behaviors that distill down to bad choices.  Our people are educated about the dangers of eating too much, eating too much sugar, taking illegal drugs, drinking, smoking, dropping out of school, lack of exercise, unprotected sex, gambling, too much TV, overspending, excessive shopping, gossiping, bullying, on and on.  The problem is not solved by limiting our choices, but to help us move to a place where we make better choices.  We know about the right things to do to create healthy lives that positively affect ourselves, each other, and our society as a whole.  The thought that strikes me as preposterous is that we would consider regulating sugar and spend millions of dollars doing it.  While, we don’t invest in researching how we, as a people, can reduce our bad choices across the board in our lives.  Spend government and private money to help us US humans figure out how we can make good choices more often in ALL areas of our lives.

    Clearly, this is just another movement that is aimed at bandaging one of America’s numerous bad behaviors, rather than investing into how we can avoid these and most other bad behaviors.  There are basic causes that moves us to make bad choices. Direct money and attention there and we solve so many problems in a much more organic way.  Eventually, the US population has to start making better choices in a lot of areas of our lives. 

  • Vincentvanhecke

    How about the quality of sugar that was available to is in the 70s and 80s versus the chemically refined sugars of today. Could that be part of the probl also. Vincent. Chef in California

    • Modavations

      No…..Get Ye to the gym

      • Bagsc

        So the average American, if they were getting a healthy amount of exercise, is getting 300 calories per day too much added sugars.  That’s an additional hour a day gym tax on people, if they were supposed to just “burn it off”.  Of course that’s what food companies say: “exercise more”.  The reason they say that is it’s easy to blame exercise.  But that exercise stimulates appetite, and you’ll increase how much you eat by almost the same amount of calories you burned.

        • Guest

          Not true. Read a physiology book…exercise actually supresses appeptite so your body can keep going. What you choose to eat after exercise is your choice. You can choose to eat garbage or a healthy meal with lean protein and vegetables.

          • Still Here

            I like my vegetables with sugar on them.  Will that be allowed?

          • Wyrdless

            No.  That would be bad for you.  They can only be steamed, since grilling increases the level of carcinogens in the food

  • Susanzabriskie

    I am not an expert on the history of commercial use of high fructose corn syrup, but i do believe that you have missed the actual story about sugar consumption in the US. The multinational corps like Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill most likely influenced goverment to impose heavier taxes on imported cane sugar back in the late 70′s… Remarkably this followed the then recent advances in production of high fructose corn syrup. Voila…suddenly all major food products that require sugar were able to get it cheaply right here at home. This is in direct correlation eith the rise of obesity, diabetes, etc among Americans. Do you really think this gets solved by taxing consumers?

  • Tim

    Regulate sugar? What’s next? Salt, milk, meat? We need to take responsibility for what we eat. Keep government out of our diets.

    • Wyrdless

      The FDA recently sent SWAT teams to raid an Amish farm after a 2 year multimillion dollar investigation for selling milk.

      • Modavations

        Old News.The farmer shut the farm down,but thanks.Everyone should start to wake up.

    • Modavations


    • Chris

      Wow!  Although I agree that taxing sugar is probably not the way to address this huge socio economic issue, the government is already all over your diet.    
      I’m a vegetable farmer.  Ask farmers about regulations. Dairy, fruit and meat farmers.  There are lots of reg’s in place so you don’t get sick.  
      Hydrogenated oils are regulated b/c they’re terrible for health although they’re very cheap and without reg’s you would only eat processed foods with these oils.  Heart attack city!
      Sugar consumption is a comparable problem.  Our food store is loaded with processed foods with fresh foods making up maybe 15% of what’s available. Even then, nothing tastes like it should (just sprinkle a little sugar). Ya know, if there was a culture here that really appreciated fresh foods with farmers markets all over the place there wouldn’t be much of a sugar problem.  People in the US spend 10% of their income on food.  People in Europe spend between 30-40% on food.  We’re made to believe good food is cheap. It’s not.  Thats why farmers can’t make ends meet.  No one wants to pay for quality food. So, its produced cheap.  Real Cheap…

      • Still Here

        Please Europe brought us Nutella.  That stuff should be illegal!

      • Tina

        I agree, Chris. I am a soil scientist with the USDA and I see the advantages with some of these farm bill programs. Subsidies are not necessarily the problem. It’s the fact that Americans are so out of touch with where their food comes from that they expect it super cheap. As a result, farmers will NEVER get back what they put into the land. Americans do not pay the true cost of food.

        • Tina

          Hi, Tina,

          I’ve never seen your postings before; altho that does not mean you are new to posting.  I’ve been posting with the name Tina for years now.  If you are new to posting here with the name Tina, would you mind changing your posting name?  I don’t know how to even know if you’ll see this, as I’m writing a day after the show aired (show aired  Thursday, March 1), so I may just post this everyday until we get to write and reply to one another.  I’ll post this today, Friday, but I’m guessing that there will be way too many posts to find each other, as I have to use Edit/Find for every “web page” of each show — a long process.  Therefore, I might not find you until a show airs with around 100 people commenting, not more. Thanks very much!  

      • Wyrdless

        Ship your produce to Boston!  We will pay top dollar for pure organic food that has some love in it!

    • Edward

      I agree that people should take responsibility for what they eat, but guess what? They don’t. This results in staggeringly high obesity rates and rampant chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease, which cost a fortune to treat. I eat a very healthy diet but I end up paying higher insurance premiums so that my insurer can make up the losses they sustain covering people who eat less healthy. Therefore I pay more because other people can’t control themselves. 

      As the duly elected representatives of every member of our society, our government officials have a duty to protect those of us who are doing the right things from those who aren’t. If my insurance premiums drop because a sugar tax stops people from drinking soda like its water, I’m all for that. Government has every right to do that. It’s not simply about big brother telling us what’s good and what’s bad. 

  • Modavations

    A Ms.Flukes(?) gave testimony in front of Ms.Pelosi’s committee on contraception.She complained that she was having so much sex,she was going broke.The govt.must pay for her birth control pills.Firstly,ask your boy friends to use condoms.If that doesn’t work,try an aspirin held between your knees.

    Sugar is not a problem,goofballs like this are the world’s problem

    • Ray in VT

      Rush called her a slut saying that her problem was that she was having too much sex.  Just what I would expect from a gasbag like Limbaugh, who could use to lay off of the sugar himself.

      Way to distort reality once again.  Goofballs like you are way bigger problems than this young lady is.


      • Wyrdless

        Why doesn’t she just go shell out $20 a month for the pill instead of asking the school?

        No one pays for my condoms, why should i pay for her pill?  Is free birth control now a “human right”?

    • Wyrdless

      Birth control costs $20 a month.  That is super cheap and not a barrier to access.  People who work at the catholic church can afford an extra $20 a month. 

      It is just the latest example of the government trying to regulate every last detail of life.  Everyone is a felon because everyone has unknowingly committed felonies because there are so many laws, no one can keep track of them.

      Why can’t people just leave their big fat noses out of other people’s business?

      • Modavations

        Call the D.C.Dept of Health and they’ll send Birth Control Pills for free.By the end of the day it will be Romney 55% Obama 45%
        Brown 60%-Warren 40%

        • Modavations

          She went on to say the govt.should buy here incense,bath bubbles and assorted negligee.No bath bubbles,no justice!!!.No wonder the world has turned their backs on the left

      • Modavations

        I’ll bet Georgetown is costing her 50,000.00 a year

      • TFRX

        Please distinguish between actual “church” and “things the church runs which compete in the marketplace for my tax dollars”.

        The USCCB can’t stop trying to discriminate against hiring people for many of their school and hospital jobs. Why do they get to discriminate when it comes to the same employees’ insurance?

    • Still Here

      Dude it’s in the Declaration of Independence:  the right to life, liberty and gett’n jiggy with it…

    • Rnadeau77

      Aw yes. Let’s regulate what people do in their bedrooms and their relationships but don’t touch my sugar. Do I detect some hypocrisy?

      • Modavations

        I couldn’t care less what you do in your bedroom,nor do most

  • Still Here

    I don’t do sugar anymore, just Sucralose.  It’s sweet, but it’s not sugar!

    • David

      Sucralose is banned in the UK because it is so toxic!  

  • Angrybunny1

    My daughter was given candy for showing up on time at school it used to make me irate. I have a sweet tooth but I try to make sure that the sweets we do have are made from scratch and with quality ingredients. I feel like I can’t control the junk they feed her at school. I have had countless arguments with the cafeteria staff and their supervisor’s over what they pass off as healthy options for the children.

  • Bagsc

    The simple political reality is you can’t fight the sugar special interests without another special interest.  What we need to do is eliminate corn and sugar subsidies, but then we need to throw a lot of money into subsidizing vegetables and fruit.  When most parents have the choice between 100 calories of fruit for $3 or 3000 calories of “fruity” snacks for $1, it’s hard to say yes to healthy food.  We can’t make “fruity” (aka flavored sugar) ten times more expensive, but we can make real fruit a lot cheaper. I bet there would be a landslide behavior change if it was 100 calories of fruit for $1 and 1000 calories of “fruity” snacks for $1.

  • Erin

    I eat no sugar as I am a recovering refined food addict.  Abstaining from sugars and white flours is a completely counter cultural life style which is not supported by any industry whether medical, food science, government or any other.  How to live without sugar should be discussed before any kind of regulation happens.  If an addict can’t afford sugar, s/he will just steal it, just like any other addictive drug. 

    • Anonymous

       Congratulations and good luck. This is the way.

    • Heaviest Cat

      Erin, it is still the government’s job to inform us about the dangers of sugar and how much is being added to foods, under the radar. I support the idea of government regulating how much sugar and high fructose corn syrup is added to food. I’m not saying, you should be arrested for posession of a candy bar.Do you really want an unregulated food industry to slowly kill the American people for profit?

  • Mark

    My family has called sugar the most dangerous drug for years. When my Dad sees it he calls it cocaine. However the problem can easily be solved in grades k-12. Not by limiting what they eat but by implementing a multiyear plan that will teach the students self-control, and how to recognize and manage addiction of all kinds. There are many things we could achieve with the captive student audience that we don’t. We don’t even teach civics anymore.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/65B47VRBJR25NHXH3FCLXKRV2U Dianna

    I expected there to be opposing points of view in this program but with that not being the case, found the discussion to be bias.  Your guests continually purged their perspectives & I felt that what I was hearing was what would be an extreme attempt at controlling the American people of a natural, consumable food that doesn’t come ever remotely close to being a health hazard or danger as is alcohol & drugs (both prescription & recreational/illegal).  I do see sugar & the like in connection with epidemics such as obesity & ADHD and feel that the consumer needs to take what is known about this seriously.  Education on the subject is effective but not everyone, for one reason or another, chooses to live it.

    One of your guests said something about how this regulation was the government’s responsibility to enforce, that it is their job to protect the American people.  This is where government is crossing the line with regards to our constitutional rights & what truly is in the best interest of the citizens of our nation.

    Has there been any consideration of what would replace sugar in our products?  Artificial sweetners have been tested & in most cases, found to be a greater danger to health than sugar.  (see documentary, “Sweet Misery”)  This I can attest to, as artificial sweetners make me & many others I know, very ill.  This is very similar to what has happened with the elimination of incondescent lightbulbs.  The alternative, CFL & LED lights, make many people ill, mostly individuals with underlying illnesses.  Because of this issue, there has been postponement on making it law.

    Cause & affect need to be carefully screened & the needs & risks to all consumers closely considered .


    • Still Here

      Lib whiners hurt my ears, so I tend to read NPR show transcripts. 

    • datadev1

      You must have been listening to a different program than I listen to. Seemed very balanced to me.

    • Anonymous

      What might replace sugar would be/should be regulated; the quantity might just need to be lessened. But your larger question is wrongheaded. It is the job of gov’t to protect the welfare of the people (read the Constitution). Either your rights will be trampled on by corporations, or by gov’t. You have no recourse if corporations are allowed free reign. Gov’t at least can be pressured if we have a free press. So your post is actually anti-Constitutional. See, it pays to actually know what is in the Constitution.

    • Bev

      We need to self educate, increase community, cook our own food more and eat at our dinner tables. It may sound silly and simple, but the truth is that companies will replace sugar with even more toxic sweeteners – and call them natural, and pay their marketing departments oodles of money to get us to eat their slop.

  • Anonymous

    Whether or not one agrees with your guest’s opinions, all he is proposing is that the true cost of sugar be accounted for in its pricing mechanism, which should appeal to the free market disciples.  People can then make their own decisions about the use of the product.  When the producers and users of any product get away with refusing to internalize the true costs of their behavior (usually because of ignorance or political connections), the law should require that they do so. 

    That is the essence of “the rule of law” in a free market economy.

    • Modavations

      All right kiddies,unhand your twinkies,put your hands and the air and slowly back away.All you Food Gestapo ,pat them down for contraband “O’Henrys”

      • Still Here

        Sir, step away from that $100,000 bar!

    • Still Here

      True costs, if it were only that easy.

      • Anonymous

        Easy or hard, isn’t it essential to a free market economy?   How else does one make a rational choice?

  • Dorisilewis

    We can start by eliminating government subsidies for sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.

    • Still Here

      Let’s get rid of all food production/distribution subsidies, not just an arbitrary few, and see what happens!

    • Modavations

      eliminate subsidies for everything

  • JP

    1 in 6 Americans struggle with hunger and the demand at food banks and the agencies that serve food to those in need is at an all time high. Why is domestic hunger at an all time high when obesity and type-II diabetes are as well? Could it be because junk food is cheap and sometimes the only option for those on a low or limited income?

    There is a hunger – obesity paradox in this country and it is a problem that can be solved with the help of forward thinking solutions like sugar regulation.

    • Still Here

      How does making food more expensive solve the food is too expensive problem?

      • JP

        If people (and our country) were not going into debt treating diseases that are a direct result of obesity people could afford healthier food and government assistance could focus on providing access to produce in food deserts in urban and rural areas of the country.

        There is no perfect solution but I think this is a start.

      • krosref

        if sugar is more expensive, companies that use it will use less of it or find an acceptable alternative as a way to manage the cost of their products. 

    • datadev1

      The money could used to promote healthier eating habit and providing grants to fund healthy food programs and research.

      • Wyrdless

        The money should go towards the $1 trilliona  year deficit or the $15 trillion dollar debt or the $50 trillion in unfunded medicare/SS benefits.

        Th USA can’t afford more programs since we can’t fund the ones we have already.

    • Modavations


      • Ray in VT

        Excellent rebuttal.  Truly a masterpiece of the art of debate.

      • TFRX

        Another dazzling reply which points out there are two sorts in this conversation: Those who can tell the difference between “malnourished” and “undernourished”, and those who can’t.

  • Jacqueline Verrilli

    Our bodies are built for scarcity and are brains drives us to eat when there is food.  In the relative abudance of shelf-stable sugar-filled porcessed items, I believe, as was mentioned on the show, that education will not be enough.  I am a trained and certified Wellness Coach and all of clients tell me as we discuss issues related to weight, overeating and intake of sugar that they “know what to do but just don’t do it.”  I must, therefore, encourage them to overcome their instinctual and formerly-evolutionarily-advantageous drive to eat when there is food in favor of a conscious effort to eat less knowing that there will “always” be food around.

    I do believe that sugar is additive, and I believe we may be looking at a situation similar to that of the legal actions against the tobacco industry being taken against the food companies some day.  In the meantime, education, particularly education on self-regulation in an environment of abundance, may be all we have.  I am not a huge believer in regulation as a means to solve all social ills, I’d rather we use community, however, if regualtion is the next best step, so be it.

  • Still Here

    Why take food out of the mouths of family farmers in Iowa?  Think of their kids.

  • Denism6357

    Legalize pot and regulate sugar! The political left is marvelous in twisting itself into knots. Its hypocrisy has no bounds.

    • Still Here

      Smoking pot gives people the munchies!  We can’t win.

      • Modavations

        Go to the gym twice

    • datadev1

      Legalizing pot IS regulating it! Don’t you realize that it is not regulated now. There is no contradiction.

    • SomeGuyNamedMark

      And the political right can whine about taxes while merrily spending billions on anti-pot laws. Its hypocrisy has no bounds.

  • Bev

    This guy Art is right…If we reduce subsidies to sugar, companies will create fake chemicals to use in lieu of any sugar, and we’ll kill ourselves with what the food chemists create.

    • Wyrdless

      They should still eliminate sugar subsidies.  There is no logical reason to subsidize corn syrup

  • Pingback: Is Too Much Sugar Killing You? | Mache Seibel, M.D.

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  • Mmaaaxx

    Oh my god, Nanny State! Nanny State!

    stay out of my pantry!
    I am quitting sugar personally, but I would never vote to have the feds control what people buy and eat.

    The government’s record of telling us about nutrition is awful…why should we assume we have it right now??

    Leave us alone…please!!

    • Anonymous

      So your solution is to quit sugar. I assume you know that means never going into a grocery store. The problem is that corporations in the food industry get to put into their products whatever they want. Without gov’t clamping down on them (theoretically: now they are owned and operated by corporate interests), we’re at their mercy. Corporations or Government, is the choice. I’ll take gov’t.

      • Anonymous

        Completely untrue (although I grow most of my food), the grocery store has many wonderful things: Rice, Potatoes, Fruits, cereals, meats.

        I’ll take some health standards at the state level for processing and pesticides, but the Federal gov taxing sugar…absurdity!

        • Anonymous

          True enough; what I was actually speaking about were processed foods. But if you do take the time in an educated way I can see you selecting natural foods. People don’t do that though. Marketing is a powerful influence on grocery shopping trends.

  • Khvijufsdbnjlvdf

    This topic hits on the head of why America CAN NOT be saved…
    When our fore fathers setup our government they did so with one ultimate regulation. This was that the rights of the INDIVIDUAL matter MORE than the rights of the masses. They did this because they knew that the masses were a collection of individuals. Hence the individual matters most. No amount of government scale down can ever retrieve what Abraham Lincoln ,and the like, stole from us in the name of FREEDOM!!! “So give to ceasar what is his, and pray God has mercy when he collects what’s his!”

    • Modavations

      There are two types in the world.Those who believe in the State and those who trust the individual.As regards the religious topic(2nd topic) the Left sasy’The State Is My Shepard I Shall…….

      • Heaviest Cat

        so reductionist and simplistic.

  • Anonymous

     Why are the “liberal” answers always so anti-liberty? The market system, and human common sense would naturally regulate the incentive structure. Here’s a good start we can all agree on:
    - Remove all food subsidies
    - Remove regulations on insurers so they can incent people to live more healthfully

    You can’t just find the next devil of food and hunt it down to save the world…

    • Modavations

      Dude,you ask the obvious.This is the party of the fascist

      • Ray in VT

        Fascists have always been conservatives in practice, genius.

    • Anonymous

      “human common sense.” Are you kidding? The market system? Kidding again, right? There is no true market system: we have a collection of corporate territories, each lobbying the gov’t for money, influence and regulations to keep their share bigger and better. I agree about the subsidies.

      • Anonymous

         I agree, we have a corporatocrasy…do we also want a nanny state?

    • Heaviest Cat

      Mmaaaxx,it’s the market that’s the problem. As long as it’s profitable to add sugar and other toxins into food, they will do it, with no regard for “human common sense”.It has nothing to do with notions of “liberty”or “devil food”. It’s the government’s job to inform us about and regulate toxins.

      • Anonymous

         It’s your mom’s job to tell you what to eat ;)

        If tomorrow they decide that carbs are bad again should they start taxing potatoes and rice? Or how about other sugars: glucose and fructose…should we tax or ban apples and grapes?

        Don’t buy the sugar. We are not slaves to companies that offer cheap garbage for us to eat unless we allow ourselves to be. Get yourself in shape and teach your friends and family. Don’t force your will on others.

    • Sfaccino

      And Coke will just keep making Coke.   If we’ve learned anything, it is that we can’t trust large corporations whose only motive is to line the pockets of their shareholders.

  • MDM

    So my question is if you include high fructose corn syrup as sugar. It seems to me that HFCS is much more prevalent in foods than regular sugar. I think I’d rather see a restriction on HFCS and getting it out of our food. What am I missing?

  • John Myers

    Robert Lustig describes half of the problem. Added sugar is bad. What he doesn’t get into is added sugar can, over time, make it so the ‘good carbs’  (for instance whole grain bread, or pasta) have a similar effect as table sugar on the body.
    I’m one of those people. I had to go down to a zero carbohydrate diet before I could lose get down to my desired weight.
    When I reduced my carb intake by going on just a meat and veggie diet I did lose a lot of my weight though.
    When you cut sugar and fake food out of your diet your body resets itself.

    • Anneke2you

      Good carbs do not include bread or pasta. These grains are actually responsible for leaky gut, which can cause autoimmune diseases such as Alzheimers and Diabetes. Good carbs include veggies, tubers, and a small amount of fruit. 

  • Phil Elliott

    I would very much like to read Dr. Lustig’s article in Nature, “The Toxic Truth about Sugar.” Can you email me a copy?
    Love your show, Tom.
    Phil Elliott in Carson City, Nevada

  • Jason Kroening-Roche

    I enjoyed the program.  I am organizing a campaign in support of Massachusetts house bill 1697 to eliminate the sales tax on soda and candy and demanding that the money be used for public health programs.  If you are interested in learning more or joining the campaign, visit: http://www.sugarydrinkcampaign.blogspot.com

    • Jason Kroening-Roche

      *sales tax exemption on soda and candy.  That’s an important point.  :)

  • Humanist

    I am a democratically minded young woman. My liberal upbringing focused on developing one’s own point of view and holding true to your convictions. 

    In regard to the debate of whether or not to regulate sugar in the United States, I am disgusted. I am quite healthy, and I ate sugar growing up. My parents taught me that having something like candy, a cookie, or soda was a privilege and not something that I could simply have whenever I felt like it. It was my mother who instilled in me a love of cooking and a love of eating healthy. Though we chose to eat a very healthy diet of lean proteins, whole grains and fresh produce, she did let us indulge every so often with a helping her bake a batch of brownies (and yes, I got to lick the spoon). I am now 24, a rise 00, and am an accomplished college graduate who practices yoga on a daily basis, and yes, I still consume sugar. 

    I will be damned if some elitist pediatricians will lobby regulation to tell me or my family what we may eat and what we cannot. That is immoral and tyrannical. 

    The key to fixing the nation’s obesity epidemic is education. Education adults and children to make smarter choices and to stop trying to legislate change. I firmly doubt that the framers of the constitution had it in their cognition that this new government they were forming should someday regulate if you put sugar in your tea or have a sweet biscuit with your coffee. 

    Shame on those who think it is right to control the diets of the American public. 

    • Humanist

      correction – *size 00

  • Gary Schwake

    Regulate sugar? Absurd! The issue is not sugar, the issue is that there is NO penalty for individuals CHOOSING not to take care of themselves and forcing those that DO to pay for it. Want to fix the issue? Reward the choice of a healthy, active lifestyle and penalize the opposite. Regulating sugar implies that Americans are too lazy (true) and dumb (not true) to be accountable for their (poor) choices!

    • Jmorris221

      How can you CHOOSE well if the sugar is HIDDEN in so many foods?

      • Gary

        It’s hard to hide sugar in foods that aren’t processed :-)

        • http://www.facebook.com/rick.hudson Rick Hudson

          True. Yet processing moves the preparation out of my kitchen and out of the time I have in the day. With the all time consuming efficiency of my work and that of most people I know there is little time or energy available for me to turn produce into a cooked diet every day. 

  • Scott

    I work for a company in North Carolina called Hallelujah Acres – we promote a healthy diet based on the Bible. When people reduce or eliminate sugar (among other toxic foods) we see cancer reverse itself, diabetes disappear, weight comes off easily, etc. It IS a toxin in the purest sense of the word. I am totally in favor of people freeing themselves of sugar, but my question is this: is regulating sugar going to help anyone? We regulate cigarettes but people still smoke. We regulate alcohol but people still drink to excess. What do we hope to accomplish with this?

    • http://www.facebook.com/rick.hudson Rick Hudson

      Motivation is key to modifying behavior. 

  • Dcowan2fau

    how does artificial sweeteners play a role in this conversation

  • EJ

    An important thing to note is the addition of sugar to almost *every* processed food that is sold in our grocery stores. One wouldn’t expect a package of guacamole to contain sugar, yet sugar was listed among the first of several ingredients on the label of a pre-packaged commercially produced container of guacamole sold in my local grocery store (in the produce department, no less!). This “hidden” sugar is a large contributor to our nation’s health problems.

  • John Myers

    The true cost of sugar is the profound impact it has on society by driving chronic diseases. This is not reflected in the current price of sugar/HFCS. No one is going to tell you how much sugar you can eat.
    Knowing that it drives obesity, T2diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, gout, tooth decay, arthritis and asthma, I don’t see why anyone would ever consume it.

  • Omsdebs

    It’s not just about obesity.
    I lowered my triglycerides in 3 months from 227 to 144 (within range) by cutting out sugar
    and taking flax seed oil, krill oil and niacin.
    I’m sure the pharmaceutical lobby would not like to hear that.

  • Duane

    It’s really about three things, that is, sugar, sodium and fat.

    • John Myers

       You are stating the conventional wisdom Duane, but when they actually study salt and dietary fat in the diet they’ve been found to prevent chronic diseases.
      A high fat diet lowers triglycerides and increases HDL cholesterol levels, which are the two biggest indicators of heart disease. They once told us the dietary cholesterol was the villain, and now we know it’s not so.

      • Liz

        Yikes, are you buying into Gary Taubes’ jumps to conclusions? A low-carb diet is not necessarily the same thing as a high-fat diet. Most of the studies you’re referring to evaluated diets that were both low-carb and low-fat. And, keep in mind, there’s a difference between correlation and causation. Check out David Kessler’s book, “The End of Overeating.”

        • John Myers

          The Stanford University AtoZ trial put Atkins, Ornish, the Zone, and the US recommended guidelines against each other, and even with low adherence Atkins came out way ahead of the other three.
          I know Kessler’s argument and I don’t think it has any merit.

          • http://www.facebook.com/rick.hudson Rick Hudson

            I would like to read the study to which you refer. Atkins has been shown to be an unsustainable path to weight loss in other studies (if that is the outcome sought and measured here) Kessler was looking for sustainability. Kessler’s central thesis seems to be that the ubiquity of highly palatable food makes sustainable weight loss dependent on sophisticated behavior modification. I agree with Kessler in that regard. 

  • Wdowsley

    Certainly we can regulate sugar, just like we can regulate anything else deemed unsafe, just like our exhaled breath is a toxic greenhouse gas killing the world.  Just as we are mandated to buy health insurance, we will be mandated as to what keeps us healthy, in order to keep down the costs of insurance to pay for the medical care we will otherwise need.   We voted to get one, and along with it comes the other.  Ban sugar in all it’s various forms from all processed foods.  Then sell it in bulk so you can mix it in like in the old days of Kool Aid.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/FVXM2OAXBUH3QPWGTQ6SPZGL7M SurfsUp

    It’s amazing how you couldn’t mention the main culprit in the problem with overeating sugar. The trouble with sugar is that it is in everything! Why is that? Because of large, greedy corporations pushing processed, sugared food on us to make huge amounts of money, we buy this food because it tastes good and we are too lazy and stupid to pick or make something better. If you go to Europe the food is quite different, sweets are less sweet and food is made of real food not sugar and chemicals and fillers and everything is not premade and from the frozen food ilse and there are much fewer carbonated beverages available and 1.5 liter sodas at the local gas station are not available. There are much more local markets available as well and the grocery store is not an hour round trip in the car.

    • Peggy Holloway5

      Sugar is in nothing that I eat. If you don’t buy packaged foods, then there is no concern. My motto: Don’t read labels. If it has a label, don’t buy it.

  • April

    This is a great discussion!  I have thought for decades that refined and added sugar was toxic.  Not sure that taxation is the answer, but ignoring the issue won’t make it go away.  Discussion will bring about a possible solution.  Are there acceptable replacements for sugar?  Artificial sweeteners are not the answer, like aspartame or saccharin.  I believe they’re toxic as well.

    • John Myers

       Stevia is a good substitute, but some people say that it has a slightly bitter aftertaste. I’ve just used it in curries, so maybe the spice masks the bitterness.

      • Scott

        Stevia is 300 times sweeter than white sugar, so yes, it can be bitter if too much is used. In extreme moderation, it’s very good.

        • Peggy Holloway5

          Even better is adding plenty of natural fats. My son has essentially “cured” his serious ADHD with a low-carb, paleo diet.
          I just read the stevia comment. I have looked in vain for a sweetener I can use and prefer Stevia. However, if one is very insulin-resistant as I am, even stevia can result in an insulin spike. I am baking a “birthday cake” as I write, made with coconut flour, zucchini, nuts and eggs and sweetened with stevia. I simply tasted the batter about an hour ago and I’m still experiencing an insulin “buzz.” So, it appears that for me, nothing sweet is best choice.

    • Scott

       Stevia is your best friend, April. It’s a great, natural sweetener that is an herb. There are other options as well, but stevia is the simplest. safest. and most natural. Look for a brand of liquid stevia called SweetLeaf. It is the only stevia company I know that explicitly uses water to extract the steviosides from stevia instead of using alcohol.

      • April

        Thank you, Scott.  I’ll give it try.

    • http://HueyHealth.com/ Diane

      Yes you are right. Artificial sweeteners have been implicated in chronic diseases such as diabetes and CVD.

    • http://HueyHealth.com/ Diane

      My favorite natural sweeteners are agave nectar and fructose. They are mildly sweet and have a low glycemic index so they are slowly absorbed and don’t cause a flood of insulin to be released. Stevia is good, too. You can buy the plant and use the leaves or purchase the powder at the grocery.

      • Peggy Holloway5

        Agave is terribly high in fructose – not a good choice.

    • Tina

      April and other repliers to April,  Please look for my post somewhere on these pages where I describe having bad reactions to sorbitol and mannitol, but also, and worse, where I describe the TOXIC REACTIONS my BRAIN experienced from ASPARTAME.  Looking up on the internet, I see that people who were born with PKU or who have migraines are adversely poisoned by Aspartame.  I, however, have neither of these conditions.  I have also read, and I agree, that Aspartame is a NEURO-TOXIN.  For 2 3/4 hours every single day, I had painful dizzy spells — who would put dizzy and painful in the same sentence?!  My mind, usually very organized, became extremely DIS-organized.  Two years after the years of of this poisoning, I am STILL trying to catch up on organizing my life after this wretched onslaught of toxic poisoning!  I did not know that I was bringing Aspartame into my house via my cereal.  I read labels all the time, so, this one may have slipped by, and once it did, I assumed the product was okay to have in my house.  In the end, it took 9 days of staying off of it to get it out of my system.  Most people would not KNOW to stay off of a product so long to test it!!!  I just happened to have a good friend tell me to stay off that long, or up to 10 days — so I try to tell everyone!  Probably no need to find my other posting now that I’ve said so much here.  I did add there that sorbitol and mannitol seem to produce gastrointestinal side effects, for me, EXTREME cramping, COMPARED TO the COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT and NEUROLOGICAL EFFECTS TO MY BRAIN FROM ASPARTAME.  I had NOT yet been on chemotherapy when I consumed the Aspartame.  I also mentioned that, so sadly, more and more medicines (rx AND ATC) are adding sorbitol and mannitol and inulin (either a fiber or a fake fiber — but it can cause extreme G-I cramping, as well) to their “inactive ingredients”.  If you cannot tolerate a medicine, MAKE SURE TO ASK THE PHARMACIST WHAT IS IN THE MEDICINE.  ALMOST INVARIABLY THEY WILL ONLY TELL YOU ABOUT THE ACTIVE INGREDIENTS; BE SURE TO ASK FOR THE INACTIVE INGREDIENTS AS WELL!!!  I am now having a medicine compounded for me WITHOUT AN INACTIVE INGREDIENT (sorbitol).  Too often, people are asked if they want to go onto a stronger prescription drug when they have bad side effects from their first drug when SOMETIMES it is only the INACTIVE INGREDIENT THAT IS CAUSING THE PROBLEM!!!  Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    With sin taxes, only those who “sin” pay (tobacco, alcohol), and incidentally covers their own costs that society claims they are foisting on society. Why should those of us who aren’t fat and don’t eat a lot of sugar have to pay higher costs for food? Assume for the sake of argument, you only tax the sinners; WHO will determine who pays the tax and who doesn’t? And how?

  • Gin

    I agree with the caller who spoke about the lack of nutrition education. Mr. Bittman said that education isn’t sufficient to solve the problem, I believe it is because the education being given is insufficient. How many people know what kinds of and how much food they need, and the information can be so misleading. Sugary cereals that advertise as being healthy and Skittles say right on the package that they are, “a good source of vitamin C”.
    We should start with food served in schools, because if we tell the kids what’s bad for them, but leave it as their only option to eat in school they will probably not take what we’ve taught them very seriously. Then we need to honestly discuss what is good to eat, what isn’t and what portions are appropriate. I truly believe that few people know the right answer to those questions.

  • Tkganim

    Instead of regulating sugar, howabout we teach moderation in our homes? It wouldn’t just help with sugar either.

  • Mark

    Please stop!  I am so tired of the government triing to tell us what to do.  It is not the job of the government to do that.  Education is the answer.  Stay out of my life; if I am over weight it is my fault it is not anybody elses fault.  Let people take responsibility for themselves.  If I am over weight or smoke then charge a premium on my health insurance.  Let the private sector or free market system provide an incentive for me to stay healthy or get healthy.  All these do gooders always say tax them.  Stay out of our lives – Please!

    • http://www.facebook.com/zalina.kirshat Zalina Kirshat

       yeah, what about all these folks in the Bronx where I am a medical student – who are obese, eat junk and get emergency medicaid to be admitted to the hospital to treat obesity-related diseases. I am now directly treating 4 patients, and 3 of them are on the floor for ailments directly attributable to overweight. I DON”T WANT TO PAY FOR their care!!! and it costs thousands!!!!

    • Diane

      The reality is that education will need to come from the government. 

    • L Lecain

      Thank you Mark.

  • Drbarry

    As an orthodontist, I would like everyone to know that malocclusion is also one of the Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases of Civilization.  So is sleep apnea.  These problems are also escalating in our time.  And that’s the scariest aspect….even if we keep our “American Diet” as it is, these problems will worsen with each generation.  This was illustrated 50 years ago with “Pottenger’s cats”.

    • Diane

      Yes, we are mutating due to diet and, like the boiled frog don’t realize what we are doing to ourselves and future generations.

  • Anonymous

    Drawing a parallel between SUGAR addiction & ALCOHOL addiction is an insult to families/caregivers of alcoholics. Sorry, but in many ways these 2 issues are incomparable and thus these 2 substances should not be similarly regulated!

    • Diane

      I work with folks in recovery. It is interesting how SUGAR becomes somewhat of a replacement for alcohol. They both do affect the blood sugar. So while the terrible effects of alcohol are not comparable to those of sugar, there are similarities. A person who loses a limb or their eyesight to Type II diabetes is tragic, too.

  • Androsie

    I just checked the crackers in my cupboard: 3 kinds, all contain sugar.  Wow. I watch sugar I add to things, but haven’t been focused on how much is put in things I wouldn’t expect.  Thanks for this program!

  • Jogo2001

    It is almost impossible to find a breakfast cereal or a whole grain “instant” oatmeal (meaning the individual packets for convenience) that does not have sugar.  The government needs to help inform people that needless sugar is added to food and will cause numerous health problems.  The role of government is to protect citizens.  Think of sugar as a form terrorism.

    • Ray in VT

      I think that better education of the public and clearer labeling of products that have sugar added to them is probably the best way to go on this one.  Parents also need to take the time to make the best health choices that they can for their kids and try to educate them as best they can at home, but also preferably with a nutrition curriculum at school.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rick.hudson Rick Hudson

      Ingredient labeling is in order of percentage by weight. Manufacturers game this by adding sugar in several different forms (corn syrup, brown sugar, cane juice, etc) so that sugar will not appear as the first ingredient on the list. This one fact pretty much says it all about the intentions of the food industry. They know that consumers would preferentially choose products by label without added sugar so they disguise the sugar added in the food.

  • Jame

     I drink sugar-free Red Bull, because I’m aware that there are 23(!!) grams in the regular variety. I constantly make diet choices that avoid added-sugar foods. It’s a DRUG -that’s literally what it is. The only reason it’s so pervasive and allowed to be so destructive to public health is COMMERCE and BUSINESS, and this is tragic. But then again, business is a branch of our American government so there you go.

    • Anneke2you

      Sugar free Red Bull has a sugar substitute in it that is as bad for you as sugar, if not worse. It still stimulates an insulin response in your body, and the chemicals that go into a Red Bull are atrocious. In addition, Red Bull will burn out your adrenal glands in a heartbeat, leaving you fighting even harder to stay lean.

  • 1234

    Adults could take responsibilty for themselves. But what about Children? The class parties force sugar on them – like donuts, cookies which kids might have tough time to avoid. I think sugar should be banned from schools. My 5 year old tasted soda for the first time at her school Christmas Party which I came to know after the fact.

    • http://www.facebook.com/zalina.kirshat Zalina Kirshat

       Adults take responisibility for themselves? perhaps when they drink coke and eat junk food. But not when they show up to my emergency room with the muliplicity of diseases, and everyone gets emergency Medicaid to pay for these weeks-long stays! I don’t want to pay for this! So let’s tax the stuff and put it in a fun to pay for these expensive treatment.

      • aj

        Do you know that MediCARE is subsidizing your residency?

        • Crazy4spinning Denise

          Obviously she does not!

  • Jame

    Furthermore, the whole ‘keep the government out of my blabbidy blah bla’ really is a tired political talking point. People are dying and dying, becoming sick, fat; everyone pays for that, while 25% of your food isle is sugar. Oh, that’s better for everyone, yay freedom.

    • Diane


  • John

    If food manufacturers know that excessive sugar makes you eat more and therefore, habitual, is there a case for obese to sue food manufactures as has happened with tobacco/cigarette manufacturers?

  • Drkuzniar

    I am a naturopathic doctor and see patients who are struggling with sugar related issues every day.
    We need to give people affordable alternatives to sweet foods. In addition to taxing sugary foods, lets remove the subsidy for corn and transfer it to healthy farmed foods (fresh produce!). When a can of coke costs more than bottled water, we give people little alternative!

    • http://www.facebook.com/zalina.kirshat Zalina Kirshat

       I see these same patients. They wouldn’t eat broccoli even if it was free! (in fact, any type of vegetable that is brought to these patients stays on the plate). They love junky food, and eat it. I agree with a tax idea – not as a deterrent, but to contribute to the fund to treat these people with their DM, HTN, etc.

      • aj

        Too bad mediCARE is paying teaching hospitals to let you pretend your a dOK. 

        • aj

          Ha Ha.  I bet your in it just for the payday.  Dont worry Zalina, soon you’ll be liscensed in your specialty, taking only privately insured country club bumpkins upstate in the burbs somewhere living the high life.  Driving a 700, out of the office by 3.

          But you’ll look back and miss the long nights spent learning triage in the borough on the public dime with all the phatties.  I’m telling you lady, you gonna miss it :) 

      • Diane

        I think folks become addicted to junk foods other than the sugary kind. The manufacturers engineer them to create a craving for the taste and mouth feel. A cheap and easy way to fill up! What healthy alternative is there that can compete with the price and accessibility? My dream has been to open a “fast food, good food” drive-thru restaurant. Maybe the time is now!

      • Jnono

        If in fact you are a medical student, the first thing to learn is empathy, understanding and try to facilitate change gently. I think your tone is very derogatory and arrogant.

  • Peter

    you need to talk about the CORN economy….they must change to affect sugar change!  and when will that happen

  • http://www.facebook.com/zalina.kirshat Zalina Kirshat

    I am a medical student – most of my school’s hospitals are in the Bronx. Needless to say, almost every single patient I see is obese. And almost every single patient has “foodstamps” – with which they are able to buy all sorts of junk food. And those foodstamps also enable them to buy fast-food junk with whatever cash they save. It is comical (tragicomical) to see patients and their visitors stuff their (already obese) faces with french fries and chicken nuggets… right there, in the patient’s room.

    Foodstamp program should be abolished, but that’s for another conversation. But most definitely no processed foods should be covered by foodstamps!!!

    Oh, and guess who pays for the expensive, lengthy stays of all these people I serve as a student doctor?

    • aj

      We real PHAT in the Boogie Down BrOnX.

    • Anonymous

      I understand & agree, but (a) some people are simply born into poverty & (b) poverty often limits access to different kinds of foods- not to mention access to education on what foods are best.
      Also, as a (student) doctor, I think you might have some empathy for your patients.

  • http://www.facebook.com/zalina.kirshat Zalina Kirshat

     absolutely! those subsidies must stop!!! Let’s remember when we vote

  • Cbertrand1212

    what about all the sugar in condiments and bottled salad dressings people use…

  • Pingback: Sugar as a Toxin: Do you have an opinion? « Absolute Ambrosia

  • Stop Corn Subsidies

    We should stop crop subsidies for corn – where all of the corn syrup comes from!!!  This is the kind of “sugar” that is in all of the sugar sweentened beverages and highly processed foods loaded with high fructose corn syrup.

  • Wsunutrition

    Are you serious Tom? No nutrition experts (eg, Marion Nestlé of NYU, Walter Willet of Harvard, David Katz from Yale, etc)?!?!? So disappointing that another nutrition discussion omits the true nutrition experts.

    And evil as it may be, sugar is not the end all be all cause of obesity. Leptin is not the sole regulator of food seeking behavior. People need to be responsible for their own behavior. Rather than regulating sugar, let’s regulate school lunch and PE.

    • Stop Corn Subsidies

      Here here.  Let’s feed our kids nutritious food, put recess back into school, and require PE for all students!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=555909559 Lisa Searing

        Good idea, but you’d have to get rid of NCLB to find the time in the school day for some districts.

  • Organicgrower

    Hi Tom and guests…is the problem more from high fructose corn syrup, cheaper than sugar and made from genetically modified corn not tested for human consumption?  What problems are created from this that can not be measured?
    Thank you ,don dunklee

  • Handson

    I am a foodstamps recipient, I have a college education, but I am poor. I often get ridiculed by my friends and peers for buying healthy and organic foods, BECAUSE  THEY ARE MORE EXPENSIVE! It seems to be a lose, lose situation if you are poor. If you are not ignorant of the negative effects of junk food but are still on food stamps, and buy food accordingly you are somehow cheating bc it’s not the most economical. If everyone on FS’ were eating healthy foods and healthy they would be equally ridiculed. Health and beauty have become the ultimate signifier of status in our society. It is unfortunate, everyone should have the right to health and education

    • aj

      Word.  Instead we get the right to remain SILENT!

    • Organicgrower

      I work in a retail drugstore, one of the big three,  in Flint, Michigan, low income, and more than half of my customers are on food stamps.  We don’t even pay our employees enough to have a living wage, nearly all of them receive food stamps as well as their pay from us.  I applaud you for purchasing healthy food with food stamps.  Most of my customers don’t.  I often see a mom who purchases junk food for her kids.  She can purchase junk food, but not educational books, as food stamps are for “food” junk or otherwise.  The only way she can give them a “treat” Stay proud and purchase good, healthy food.  Ignore the nay sayers.  Thank you for using your benefit wisely.

    • http://HueyHealth.com/ Diane

      You are saving money in the long run by investing in your health today. Hang in there and don’t be discouraged by the ignorant! What can be more important in getting back on your financial feet than good health? Best wishes to you!

    • L Lecain

      Everyone should have the right to health and education …. And food?

  • Alex

    I completely agree with the caller from UCSF, but I think he’ll need to rethink his messaging.  Republicans and Democrats alike would have a field day with attempts to limit sugar– “don’t take away mom’s right to bake cookies!”

  • Trudyd1474

    I totally gave up sugar on December 3.  I’ve lost weight and feel a lot better.  Sugar was a trigger for me to overeat.

  • Markdunstan

    What if regulating and taxing sugar pushes consumers into buying drinks/snacks with loaded with artificial sweeteners? Consider a $2 coke vs. a $1 diet coke.

  • Lori Cragan

    the FOOD INDUSTRY should be held accoutable for producing and promoting unhealthy foods, shameless advertising!  Go straight to the source, impose fines and put that money back into the healthcare of the people they are poisoning!!

    • aj


  • Martha Krieg

    It used to be you found candy in grocery and convenience stores. Now every fabric/craft store, hardware store, bookstore,etc., has a candy display at the checkout. Why is this necessary? For that matter, why do we take it as a given that it is necessary to snack while watching a movie or tv? Our family manages without that!

    Why not subsidize vegetables and fruits as well as tax the sugar?

  • Kate

    It’s a great idea. For 4 years, I followed the sugar addict’s total recovery plan. Since pregnancy and children, i found a way to moderate. Then my daughter developed severe tooth decay, despite being a very health conscious/ educated mom. Also considering yeast overgrowth, the sugar has to go! I’ve replaced most of it with Stevia and Xylitol, but why such a need for sweet? We’ve got to steer to whole, real food.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=555909559 Lisa Searing

    I just turned the program on, and the comment regarding that the poor, if prices rose on fast food, would naturally seek other alternatives is missing a huge factor–in many communities, they have no alternative. Okay, they would have an alternative if they: 1) took more time off work or left their kids home alone to take a bus, transfer three times, to get to a grocery store, then 2) try to buy enough to last so that they didn’t need to do it again three days later but also a small amount as they’d have to carry it home (on the bus, transferring three times). 

    This is not the choice between the fast food on one corner and a full grocery store on the other.

  • Howard

    I was in agreement with the comments by the Special Ed. teacher. I do not look forward to the days before and after Halloween in our high school. The kids are flying high on sugar and lack focus.
    Also, I’d like to add a footnote to the discussion of the obesity epidemic, especially in the African-American community. Soul Train re-runs are now easy to find on TV. Take a look at those teens from a 20 or so years ago. 99% of them are slender and fit. You would have trouble assembling a bunch of kids like that today.

  • RealOC

    This is a fantastic subject and I applaud many of the points
    that the speakers are making. However, I wonder why discouraging
    people from eating sugar by hurting their wallets through a higher
    tax would work when it is already obvious that they are hurting
    themselves in a far worse way by creating a debilitating future
    from eating sugar.

    Money might be important, but dying from a terrible disease is
    worse and even that isn’t enough to stop people from eating sugar.

    The problem is all of the added sugar in foods. If you want
    government involvement, have them do something to lessen the added
    sugar in foods or put warning labels on foods in the same way that
    there are warning labels on cigarettes. How about; “Consuming
    excess sugar has been shown to cause obesity and dementia.”

  • Bruce

    Sugar is killing America and we need to make changes and I loved the discussion.  Over a year ago I was well into metabolic syndrome–well overweight with a good apple shape.  But it was the blood test that had my doctor concerned.  She offered a choice: drugs or diet.  I picked diet and she had me eliminate all added-sugars in my diet.  While I was only expecting to cut my triglycerides, I got much more.  In 6 weeks I lost my sugar gut and had to buy new pants. I lost 20 pounds, halved my triglycerides, had my best cholesterol reading ever, reduced my blood pressure and improved my kidney function.  Weight control is no longer a problem. Added sugar, specifically added-fructose is a chronic health hazard we need to take serious as a national problem.  Keep the dialogue going.

  • Mdouglas40324

    I have stopped drinking sodas for health reasons. But for environmental reasons, think of all the perfectly good water that is rendered into sugar by Coke and other companies. Isn’t there supposed to be a water shortage on the planet?

  • Egerbe

    I am in agreement that we should put a tax on sugars and that food subsidies for corn syrups and the like should be removed.  However, I understand the argument that the poor would have a difficult time affording the food they are accustomed to if it were slapped with a hefty tax.  I also think about the struggling American farmers and do not wish to take away their profits (though the ones making the big bucks from the subsidies are not the struggling small farmers, but the large corporate operations).   

    What if we were to shift the food subsidies away from corn and towards the healthful ingredients in those less expensive food products?  If farmers were subsidized to grow a more diverse crop that monoculture corn, not only would we benefit from lower priced healthy food, but our environment would benefit from the rotation of many different crops.

    If someone goes to a grocery store to buy jam, and they want to buy one that has fruit as it’s first ingredient instead of sugar, it is significantly more expensive that the cheap stuff made with HFCS at the top of the list.  The healthy ingredients (the real fruit) should be the ones subsidized so that access to quality food for the poor is granted.  The price for the more healthy bottle of jam should be be less that the sugary one!  Of course, I would love to see subsidies for organically grown food as well, but let’s not get carried away, right?  How about we start by making even the factory farmed, processed food products more healthy?  MY family still won’t eat them, as we prefer whole foods that we cook and “process” ourselves, but most Americans do eat ready made food, and that ready made food could and should be more nutritious.  

  • Willis7-16

    I am shocked and dismayed at how this issue is being kicked around. I don’t appreciate how the radio host handled it either.
    It is time to get this taken care of.   Start giving a care about peoples lives.  Everyones common sense tells us that sugar  in the wrong amounts are bad for the body.  Now we are seeing the accumalative effects and seem to be pretending we don’t know how to take of the problem.  We have let the big companies get rich because we were assured we could get money out of this too. We are invested in the companies feeding us all this sugar in our food but we are consuming what they are putting out that happens to be deadly. So when one partner in this joint venture is not here the money dosen’t have to be spent so many ways.  I just goes to show how much collateral damadge some people are still willing to allow in order to make money a profit.  We seem to care how much someone knows befor we know how much they care and what they care the most about.  What kind of legacy are we leaving of ourselves.  That we were such fools as to allow the things we care about to kill us when we know the difference between what harms people and what does’nt. Our food is corrupt our housing is corrupt our finances are corrupt the govt. is largely corrupt nationally and locally.   Out  of all the eyes this unhelathy food has gone thru it still makes it onto our grocery store shelves inthe name of money hte most  what have our people turned into.

    • Willis7-16

      This is not about taxes and putting more pressures on the consumers who have been hood winked into a diet of too much sugar. Put the responsibility where it belongs on the big corp who hve profited so much and caused so much harm.. not to mention natnl and local govt. like the tobacco and alchohol companys they should be persuaded to help foot the bill for all the harm the products caused. 
      the warnings were out there but were walked over they proceeded inthe name of greedy money obsession. Instead of saying this is allon the parents and kids    Where is one of the pushers of all this stepping up to take responsibility.   They are not showing the spine to deal with this truthfully. If it is not stood up to by all now it will rehatch in another form somewhere else.  Taxing and cutting subsidies hurt the consumer not the producer. It covers the producers.  clean really clean up something for a change

      • JPOWW2020

         I would say at this point it is common knowledge that sugar is unhealthy and causes obesity, diabetes etc. Pardon me by saying the responsibility should be on the consumer. I do however agree with a higher health insurance costs for people with self induced health problems. Why punish the people who use products responsibly.

        • John Myers

          No it’s not common knowledge. The blame for chronic diseases has been misplaced on dietary fat and dietary cholesterol. As Lustig said in the broadcast, sugar was written off as “empty calories” when it’s actually the source of chronic diseases (and probably white flour, which I’m curious why he did not mention refined carbohydrates)

      • LACD

        couldn’t have said it better myself :)

    • Lacd

      YES! the corporations should pay for the healthcare epidemic, not the people! Its their fault!! I wish that I called in yesterday..I was fuming!

  • Willis7-16

    This sugar i have seen cause people drug problems health problems going to the doctor all the time surgeries   behavior problems in kids  breaking up families.  If sugar is regulated how would that effect alchohol which i understand is alot of sugar in some form. the health industry benefits and is overworked from so many sick from sugar   and  they dont want to stop getting that money either nor do states and districts and communities counties wards it seem all govt big and small is on the money go round

  • aak

    Jamaica ackee fruit is the county’s national dish. never heard ackee killing anyone in Jamaica. now lately the fruit is now widely grown in south america as a cash crop. but from lack of safety and education were not told the proper way to pick the ackee for consumption. its simple. the fruit must open on its own on the tree. all the children in Jamaica knows this. its common sense for all in Jamaica. it was only in the mid seventies when the people of Cuba started to eat Ackee after been taught by Jamaicans. Cuba has a lot of ackee trees but in that county it was know as poison. they would let the ackee fall to the ground. rule in Jamaica is if the birds will eat it then its safe. birds only eat the one which are open. if you force a close one open and eat it then you will go to the hospital.

  • JPOWW2020

    By regulating sugar they will open up the flood gates for the very questionable artificial sweetners. Now that former Monsanto VP is heading up the FDA. How convenient..

  • Anonymous

    One thing that I did not hear on this show is the issue of the corporations that are producing and using HFCS.
    Off the top of my head I came up with a short list:
    Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nabisco, General Foods, Nestle,
    Dr Pepper/Snapple Group,  Cadbury Schweppes, Kellogs
    to name a few.

    Does anyone really believe that any Congress or anyone will be able to take on these huge corporate interest and survive the onslaught? 

    This would make going after the tobacco corporations look like a cakewalk. Regulating any sugar will never happen.

    • Lacd

      I agree, but do think that those corporations should be the ones to pay up for the healthcare problem, not tax the people. It’s the same as the government regulation environmental waste and the number of liquor stores in one town, or even building casinos – it’s regulated in fear of social problems. Obesity / healthcare crisis isnt a social problem?

      • Oscarholman

        Please understand, corporations don’t “pay up” for anything. They pass along their costs to their customers.

  • Lindyhop

    I drink sugared drinks, sugar my coffee & cereal.  I have maintained my weight (5’1″ – 100 lbs) for 25 years.  You cannot state sugar alone is causing weight gain.  Being active also eating fruits & vegetables & total lifestyle as well as genetics play a HUGE role.  While Sugar can contribute simply banning what for some people is not causing weight issues is ridiculous.

    • Hock

      You might not be over weight, but who knows what is going on inside.  Say, arteries?

    • Jasoturner

      Great anecdote.  I guess the premise of this show is fraudulent.

  • Snowmanma2000

    American snacks contain way too much sugar compared to many Asian and European nation.  I have traveled abroad a lot and each time I return home, it would take a while to get used to the overly sweetened snack products sold in the market. 

    • Nmsz

      I haven’t waded through all 620 posts, however I did listen to the March 1 sugar and regulation program. I anticipated and patiently waited to hear one word, but it was never spoken. The word is SPLENDA! If one craves for the stimulation of their ‘sweet’ taste buds, Splenda does it, and with no side effects. In every eating place I’ve ever been to, packets of both sugar and the 2 common artificial sweeteners, Splenda and Sweet and Low share the same container, along with sugar. Persons suffering from the phenylketone metabolic disorder naturally should not consume Sweet and Low.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kris-Johnson/1299218805 Kris Johnson

         The industry loves to hear you say that, but becareful. Splenda is not all it’s cooked up to be – I’d be wary!

  • L Lecain

    Dihydrogen monoxide is the culprit.

    • Byrnison

      Thanks, smarty.  One thing you can count on are trolls.

  • Lacd

    YES! the corporations should pay for the healthcare epidemic, not the people! Its their fault!! I wish that I called in yesterday..I was fuming!

  • Amazingles

    Having worked as a nurse through South Africa and America, it is obvious that the ADD epidemic rampant in the US is “All Dunkin’ Donuts.” Much as Americans belabor the influx of ‘immigrants, ‘ the ones I know from Ecuador (and as the NY Times reported, re: Stuyvesant H.S., Asians,) eat beans and rice or fish for breakfast, not Captain Froot Loops or pastry, and excel. To the chagrin of those parents who let their kids run rampant, literally, in the candy aisle.

    P.S. Hate to say this, but it is the Catholic holidays (not the gefilte fish ones,) like Easter which promote the dental caries. Never had a Coca-Cola in my life.

  • Jherschlag

    I am grateful that knowledgeable people are finally speaking  out and suggesting that sugar be regulated, as drugs and alcohol are. My concern is, if sugar is regulated food companies will replace it with artificial sweeteners, with more chemicals and poisons.  The regulations must be carefully worded so that we gain a health advantage.

    Even nutritionists in endocrinologists’ offices are not well enough informed to recommend zero sugar cereals like Kashi seven whole grain puffs.  Our bodies can quickly acclimate to less sugar and salt consumption.  I have created many tasty desserts and cakes that contain very little sugar.  

    If sugar is taxed like nicotine, our government can recover some of the healthcare costs for those who indulge in sugars.
    Thanks to you Tom Ashcroft for bringing such an important issue to your listeners.
    Jane Herschlag

    • http://www.facebook.com/rick.hudson Rick Hudson

      Kashi seven whole grain puffs are a rare cereal without added sugar. Other Kashi products, which vastly outnumber this one product have added sugar. I am so frustrated trying to find a cereal on the shelf that does not list some form of sugar among its ingredients.

      • Bettina

        One word for you: oats!  Very tasty plain or with a touch of cinnamon or vanilla, no sugar (or even honey) required.

  • bellavida

    For a great read about sugar and how it can ensnare even the knowledgeable about fitness and nutrition in its tentacles, read Sugar Nation by Jeff O’Connell.  He thought he was nearly immune to sugar & its diabetes trap, because he is tall, lean, and fit.  He has worked as en editor for Muscle & Fitness, and Men’s Health magazine, so he knows more than the average American about matters of fitness, exercise and nutrition.  However, in the book he discloses that was diagnosed with pre-diabeates and in his quest to learn as much about it and how to treat it, he learns a lot about how pervasive sugar is in our society, and how the medical profession, pharmaceutical companies and food producers all provide misinformation about how to best to combat it.  It should be required reading for every medical student, in my humble opinion.  Big Pharma stands to gain a lot by keeping all manner of frankenfoods cheap, more patients to take Metformin, Avandia, etc. 

  • Xammie

    For years I’ve been watching people load their kids up with sugar and fruit juices, then everybody comes of age knowing that as the normal way to eat and believing it’s normal to show signs of degenerative aging by the time they’re 30. Without the same kinds of education and peer pressure that were lavished on the tobacco issue, I don’t see laws and regulations making a significant difference. I am glad to see this subject edging out into the mainstream, though.

  • Farami02

    The production levels of high fuctose corn syrup directly correlate with obesity. Try regulating that.

  • Sandy1958

    common sence… all over refined, industrial produced convienience foods…

  • Delieres

    the use of high fructose corn syrup really escalated the development of dm in the us–sugar has always been used.

  • Anonymous

    Tom, I’m so glad you’re having this conversation.  I’m a health nut and I’ve wondered for years about why are we subsidizing junk food and not healthy food, health food is 3 times as expensive as junk food, no wonder poor people are so overweight, why can’t we double the price of the crap food and use the proceeds to help fund single payer health care (which exists in EVERY OTHER RICH INDUSTRIALIZED NATION), what is wrong with this country, it’s gotten to the point where you can’t eat anything anymore that comes in a box, as your guest pointed out you can’t even tell how much sugar has been added to your groceries.  I try to only buy whole unprocessed foods and I feel SO much better.  And we have the same problem with salt.  You can’t buy ANYTHING at the store that is easy to prepare without it having twice the salt grams as calories, even stuff labeled “low salt” has a lot added to it, it’s insane.  People should have a CHOICE in their shopping, not be forced to buy sh!t that’s going to kill them slowly.  Of course the corporations that control our government are making out like bandits: keeping wages low and hours high so you’re forced to buy their cheap/fast/convenience food, which forces you to use their for-mega-profits health care, it’s a downward spiral that’s screwing this country.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rick.hudson Rick Hudson

    Processed foods and inadequate labeling are big problems. Most know that added sugar is not something they want in their diet. We label alcohol and tobacco. 

    Why not require all processors who add sugar (in any form from HFCS to cane sugar to fruit juice) to a food label it:

     “Sugar added to this food product.” 

    on the front of the box in a size and color that can’t be missed and see what happens. 

  • Thavaradhara

    I haven’t listened to your show yet but am planning on doing so very soon.  I am glad to see Mark Bittman on your guest list as I respect his opinions on this subject matter greatly.  I have a family of 5–my husband and I and 3 boys all 6 and under.  My husband and I have come to the conclusion that it’s best to have as little processed foods as possible.  We once heard that McDonald’s add sugar in EVERYTHING to make it addictive to our taste buds.  For almost every meal, we make all of our foods.  We even make our own bread for our family to consume.  When we actually eat store bought breads, we can tell it’s sweeter and saltier than the breads we have at home.  Somehow Americans have not only loaded their plates with as little nutrition and less flavor as possible but we have also used sugar and salt to make it addictive to our taste buds.  I am appalled by parents in my age group who think it’s okay to feed their children McDonald’s once a week or a little bit of junk food each day is okay to feed their kids. I believe the comment that was left below about regulations not helping is true.  I think the only way we can fix obesity is through peer pressure. Most Americans like myself at one time, are told that you should be happy with who you are and if that means you are overweight or if your body has the tendency to be overweight, then that’s fine. It’s not fine and the word needs to get out.

  • Thavaradhara

    Now having listened to the program I am surprised that no one has mentioned that the health care industry should also be more involved in educating parents about food choices.  My husband and I started coaching soccer 2 years ago and I was appalled with the snack choices the parents would volunteer to give to our team–chips, cookies, juices, etc.  When it was our turn, we gave the children bottled water and a choice of fruit.  It’s amazing how quickly many parents will grab the easiest option rather than think about what is healthiest for all.  My father is a physician and he believes that some people should pay more per pound in health insurance than those who weigh less or “normal”.  His hope is that those insured would have an incentive to live a healthier lifestyle.  Sort of like the Allstate Vanishing Deductible.  The better you drive every year, the lower the deductible–the healthier your lifestyle, the lower your premiums.

  • Anonymous

    After reading these comments I realize how truly uninformed most of you are. Anecdotal comparisons, old wives tales and down right inaccuracies, maybe you all need to be treated as the sheep you are… You’ve all been duped. Our national weight gain and resulting illnesses are generally caused by a continuing sedentary life style.  Food is A cause, but it is not the general cause.

  • Bin The Contractor

    The problem is not sugar. The problem is a greedy behemoth corporate oligarchy that dopes our food with it, for the sole purpose of a few making an obscene profit. A tiny fraction of the proceeds goes to advertisement and propaganda.You think the rest goes to the farmers and the workers? If you think so, go and buy yourself another half-gallon jug of Coke and watch Fox while waiting for your corporate-sponsored diabetes…

  • Jasoturner

    Provide Americans with the best nutritional information available.  If they are too stupid to adjust their diet accordingly, that is their problem.  Increase the copay for treatment of obesity-related illnesses so the those who take care of themselves are not subsidizing the fatties.

    Hopefully one of the speakers can also address the paucity of hard science that underpins nutritional “science”.  It’s more like theology.  Most of the nutritionists I’ve meet never question the dogma they are fed, regardless of what the science seems to indicate.

    Also, for you storytellers out there:  If you eat sugar and are in perfect health, good for you.  But anecdotes are not data.  We really don’t care about you personal stories.

    I guess I’m in a grumpy mood today…

  • Guest

    Why not add the % Daily value for Sugars to the ‘Nutritional Facts’ on each package of food?  There are % Daily Values for Total Carbohydrates and Dietary Fiber (along with vitamins, etc.), but not for Sugars and Other Carbohydrates.

  • Slipstream

    Another excellent show – a couple of questions: I agree with the caller who mentioned that now sugars are added to everything that you find in the supermarket.  Anything that comes in a can or a jar is going to be loaded with corn syrup, salt, whey, and all sorts of chemicals whose function is beyond my ken.  Shouldn’t this be investigated?  Who decides this – are there some sort of backroom deals being done?  Hey, Joe over at Monsanto has a bunch of milkfat to get rid of – maybe we can add it to our vegetable soup.

    One thing I did not hear is a discussion of the differences between high fructose corn syrup and sugar.  Many people seem to believe that HFCS is more dangerous than ordinary sugar.  It sure tastes worse – I try to avoid it.  Oh yes, and I am in good shape, no doubt partly due to the fact that I avoid fast foods, soda, canned foods, and most desserts.  After eating a good diet for a while, your tastes change and you no longer want that crap.  

  • Slipstream

    Oh yes, and I support increased taxation of foods with added sugar and corn syrup.  We already tax a lot of things that pose health risks.  The government could use the money, and the higher prices would encourage people to try to eat/drink a little better.  

  • Pingback: About sweeteners, and a glazed carrots recipe | The Everybody Eats! Gourmet

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  • SomeGuyNamedMark

    Instead of talking about regulation let’s stop subsidizing the corn and sugar cane industries in the US.  Let their prices shift to the real market values first.

  • Pingback: Regulating Sugar | On Point with Tom Ashbrook « Wallacedarwin's Blog

  • bosolives

    no brainer

  • http://www.zcommunications.org/zspace/bradwilson Brad Wilson

    Program is wrong about farm subsidies, as numerous studies and real world data show. Removing them doesn’t raise prices, it just hurts US farmers. Basic theories of supply and demand don’t work very well at all for the major farm commodities under most market conditions we’ve had, from 1866 (earliest data online?) into the 21st century.  But policy CAN fix it, by restoring New Deal style, business-oriented policies and programs:  balancing supply and demand with Price Floors for corn, etc., (which we only have now for cane and beet sugar, but they’re set too low).  No subsidies are then needed.  It’s best done with international agreements, though the US has been so huge in international exports for key crops it could act alone.  There’s support for this in Europe, the Africa Group at WTO, in Via Campesina, from US farmers, and from the good food movement (when they know about how the farm economy and farm bill work). On these issues see “Michael Pollan Rebuttal” and “Primer: Farm Justice Proposals for the 2012 Farm Bill”, which link to some of the best/accessible online materials, including studies.

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Football great — and vineyard owner — Drew Bledsoe talks wine, onions and the weird way they intersect sometimes in Walla Walla, Washington.

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Poutine Whoppers? Why Burger King Is Bailing Out For Canada
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

Why is Burger King buying a Canadian coffee and doughnut chain? (We’ll give you a hint: tax rates).

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Why Facebook And Twitter Had Different Priorities This Week
Friday, Aug 22, 2014

There’s no hidden agenda to the difference between most people’s Facebook and Twitter feeds this week. Just a hidden type of emotional content and case use. Digiday’s John McDermott explains.

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