Effects Of Sugar On Obesity: how war and corn played a part

Effects Of Sugar On Obesity: how war and corn played a part

18 August 2014

Written by Jennie Bayliss

Fresh corn-on-the-cob cooked and smeared with a little butter is utterly divine for there is nothing quite like the experience of biting into a cob and the sweet juices exploding into your mouth. Yummy! Corn-on-the-cob is not typically considered a healthy food option for it has a naturally high sugar content, but by adding a little butter, this stops your blood sugar levels from spiking and nutritionally, it has good amounts of vitamin C, niacin and folic acid. So whilst corn-on-the-cob is not the best choice for an everyday vegetable, enjoy it whilst it’s in season—as it now is. Today though it’s not about the corn itself, but I’d like to share with you how the Vietnam War and an invention by a Japanese Scientist have all had an impact on your waist-line in a way that’s hard to believe.

The effects of sugar on obesity, heart disease and diabetes

Back in 1972, obesity was not prevalent, but there was a growing trend of people becoming heavier with links to disease and poor health. A British Scientist, John Yudkin, proved that sugar consumption rather than fat increased the chances of people having heart disease and type 2 diabetes. He wrote a book about it called: “Pure White and Deadly”. And yet his words of wisdom where dismissed and even ridiculed  by a massive discrediting campaign and character assignation which, shamefully, was funded by some of the big names in the food industry. See Telegraph article for more on this.

At the same time in America, Nixon was facing re-election. As well as negative impact of the Vietnam war, the USA was also experiencing a food cost crisis to and their chosen solution for the latter was to incentives the industrialisation of farming—in particular, to grow more corn. This worked so well, that soon there was a surplus of corn, but as this had had such a positive impact on the American economy, instead of cutting back production, they looked for new solutions for the surplus corn. They came across a Japanese invention that turned corn into a very sweet syrup – called High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). It was incredibly sweet, very cheap to produce and could replace sugar in so many products. Soon it was being mass produced in the USA and Coca Cola was one the first big brands to adopt it.

Meanwhile the sugar industry was beginning to feel the pinch as this new syrup was being used instead of sugar and they lobbied along with other interested companies like Coca Cola, to get the message across that fat, not sugar was was making people fat – not sugar or heaven forbid the corn that had become important to the USA economy.

And so fat became known as the enemy and the food industry started producing “Low-Fat” foods. What we consumers didn’t know was how they did it. Fat not only gives food it’s flavour, but it also helps give food its structure. When you remove fat from food (other than when it’s simply skimmed or trimmed off), it loses its structure and also its taste. To rectify this, food manufactures added, starch, gums, thickeners to replace the structure and then sugar to conceal the bland taste. Sugar was (still is) dirt cheap, bulky in texture and lower in calories than fat. Sugar in all of it’s different forms including HFCS is also highly addictive – which helps improve sales!

This massively over-processed food (fat taken out, starches and gums and sugars added) is not digested in the same way as unadulterated food. These foods are quickly converted into sugars and so unknowingly and unwittingly we have been eating far more sugar than is good for us.

It has only been in the last few years that the truth, which was known more than 40 years ago, is finally being acknowledged in being taken seriously. All of us who have struggled with our weight and have been trying to lose weight by choosing “low-fat” foods have been tricked! Not all fats are good for us: but we NEED good fats in our diet for both health and help keep us feeling full. What we absolutely don’t need is sugar. See my blog on Low Fats vs Good Fats—which really helps with weight loss?

Eat Well—Be Well 🙂

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