January is here and I launched my Sugar Class, its going quite well. But when it comes to our culture, it looks like I have my work cut out for me. So far two friends have sent me photos of a It’s Sugar store at a nearby mall. Normally, I would simply look the other way with an over the top candy store. Now that I’ve conquered my own sugar addiction, the sight of crappy candy holds no power over me personally.
The food industry often promotes sugary items as “fun”, its an effective marketing angle. As a former dentist, I can assure you that tooth decay is not at all fun. Heart disease and diabetes are even worse than sitting in a dental chair. All three of these are made much worse by sugar. But I have no doubt that if I or anyone called out sugary drinks like Coke and Gatorade, or the fancy It’s Sugar candy story there would be libel suits and cease and desist letters galore. The food industry has big bucks and powerful lobbies to ensure they can continue to poison the population for profit. And claim their products are all about “fun”.
This is a photo of a giant poster outside an It’s Sugar store in a nearby shopping mall. This image has me on a slow burn! As a food educator, I work tirelessly to encourage kids of all ages to love veggies. The secret formula is outside, in a garden. When kids grow food, they eat it! I’ve got direct evidence of toddlers who grow lettuce love to eat lettuce! But I don’t have big advertising budgets like this Sugar dude or the soda industry. Farmers who grow vegetables don’t have extra money lying around to promote their produce as sexy and fun. That’s because our government does not subsidize veggies, the are considered “specialty crops” instead. Our government subsidizes sugar to the tune of nearly $2 billion of our tax payer dollars every year. Broccoli gets nothing.
I think that giant posters like this that bash lettuce should be taken down. I wonder how to go about that? Perhaps I’ll reach out to sugar fighters like Dr. Robert Lustig of UCSF. He’s one of my personal heroes, you’ll learn more about him in my Sugar Challenge, click here to join. His new book, The Hacking of the American Mind discusses the difference between pleasure and happiness. These sugary adds imply that you’ll be happy when you gobble up candy. You won’t be. You’ll be ingesting an addictive ingredient that will give you a brief moment of pleasure and will take you on the road to insulin resistance. I’ll remind you once again that unless you’re a big fan of nitrous oxide, dental procedures are not fun.
2018 is the year that the Farm Bill will be up for renewal. Perhaps it is time for all of us who consider ourselves to be part of the “resistance” to stand up and insist that real food gets funded instead of ingredients that destroy your health. We can no longer afford to have diabetes increasing at a rate of 4% every year. Its time to stop the insanity with sugar, a primary cause of type 2 diabetes. It’s time for the FDA to revoke sugar’s GRAS (generally regarded as safe) status.
I dream of a day when kids love broccoli and other veggies all over the land and when big stupid candy stores go out of business. Together, let’s find a way to make that happen.