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The Bittersweet Truth – How Sugar Might Become the New Smoking

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Remember the time before Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth changed North America’s popular perception of climate change?  Remember when some of us (maybe a lot of us) used to smoke in bars and restaurants?  Remember watching your first season of Mad Men and being shocked at the office shenanigans that were apparently acceptable behavior just a few generations ago? (Or you might have been there, apologies for any age prejudice.)  Social sensibilities change more often, and sometimes more quickly, than we realize.

North America’s diet has been debated for some time.  The harms of highly-processed, hormone-injected foods, and more recently the ‘g’ word (‘gluten’) have been simmering in popular blogs, magazines and recipe books.  The debate over sugar has been bubbling up as part of this conversation.  Yet, it is already two years since Mayor Bloomberg announced his plan to ban big gulps in New York City and popular legacy of this effort seems to be the odd, stale late night punchline.  Soon, however, the producer of An Inconvenient Truth could bring the conversation about sugar to a boil.

Laurie David has a new film called Fed Up:  “Everything we’ve been told about food and exercise for the past 30 years is dead wrong.”  Physicians and scientists have been rapidly building the case against sugar, in particular High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).  The dangers are now proven to be more than cavities.  Even moderate amounts of sugar have been shown to increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and premature death.  If Fed Up’s success is similar to An Inconvenient Truth’s, watch for sugar to share the same social disdain as smoking in the not too distant future.