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Welcome to the government sugar/industrial/drug complex.Sugar—in all its forms—is considered the primary cause of type 2 diabetes. It
also suppresses the immune system, is linked to cancer, and leads to
cognitive problems, as we reported last year. Government subsidies, taking a
great variety of forms, are increasing rather than decreasing. Diabetes drug
sales are now $35 billion with other related illness sales even higher. Let’s
see how all this connects.
The US is the world’s largest sugar producer. We produce an average of 8.1
million tons of granulated sugar every year. Since the mid-1990s, sugarcane
has accounted for 45% of the sugar produced domestically, with sugar beets
providing about 55%. By 2010, genetically engineered varieties accounted for
about 95% of sugar beets, up from 60% in 2008.
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is derived from the milling of corn.
Production of HFCS increased from 2.2 million tons in the 1980s to an average
of 9.2 million tons during the 2000s. In general, deliveries of sugar (raw
cane sugar and sugar beets) and other sweeteners (corn sweeteners, honey,
maple syrup, and edible syrups, excluding no caloric sweeteners) averaged
about 21 million tons during the 2000s.
The US Department of Agriculture makes loans every year to processors of
domestically grown sugarcane and sugar beets as part of the 2008 Sugar Act.
HFCS processors, on the other hand, benefit from corn subsidies (also
reinforced in the 2008 Farm Bill).
Last October, sugar processors (both beet and sugarcane) borrowed $862
million under the price support program—loans secured with some 4.1 billion
pounds, or 2.05 million tons, of sugar that companies expect to produce from
the current harvest.
The loans did little to keep sugar prices high, however: they have fallen 18%
since October. According to a Tufts study, one reason may be that the
elevated price of raw sugar and sugar beets enable HFCS processors to
undercut sugar producers with their cheaper product, thus making the sugar
worth less. Sugar processors are afraid they’ll have to default on their
loans, which could result in $80 million in losses to the USDA’s price
support program. USDA is considering helping them out once again—this time by
buying 400,000 tons of sugar, just so they can pay back their loan!
Keeping sugar prices up of course means that consumers spend more. According
to a study commissioned by the Sweetener Users Association, the program costs
consumers $2.9 billion to $3.5 billion annually. A bipartisan group of
senators wrote an article for the Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill in which
they said that by controlling the sugar supply, our government is boosting
prices and those higher prices cost the country 20,000 jobs each year.
Of course, part of USDA’s excuse for rubberstamping GMO sugar beets was that
the economy depended on sugar production. Hmm?
Why is this happening? Why is the government gouging consumers and
encouraging an industry which contributes to so much illness? Sugar makes up
only 1.9% of the total value of all US crops, but the sugar industry accounts
for 33% of crop-related lobbying dollars. They also give 55% of crop-related
PAC donations—more than all other US crops combined.
An intensive public relations campaign that started in the early 1970s was
able to sweeten public opinion about sugar in a major way. The industry
bankrolled scientific research. Each research proposal was overseen by a
panel of industry-friendly scientists plus a committee of representatives
from sugar companies and “contributing research members” such as Coca-Cola,
Hershey’s, General Mills, and Nabisco. Unsurprisingly, each of the studies
they funded seemed to point to sugar’s safety. No independent research
showing how dangerous sugar is was considered for funding. Big Sugar even
contributed to supportive FDA and USDA rulings on sugar: leading the panel
that evaluated sugar for the FDA was a former chair of the scientific
advisory board for the International Sugar Research Foundation.
By now the cover-up has frayed. Everyone knows that sugar is a health risk.
You may recall our article in which we reported that type 2 diabetes has
increased by 90% in the past decade. A new study, published in the peer-
reviewed online journal PLOS One, finds a direct correlation between sugar
and diabetes—a correlation that is independent of other factors such as
obesity, aging, exercise, or tobacco and alcohol use.
The study concludes that “Duration and degree of sugar exposure correlated
significantly with diabetes prevalence in a dose-dependent manner, while
declines in sugar exposure correlated with significant subsequent declines in
diabetes rates independently of other socioeconomic, dietary and obesity
prevalence changes.” In plain English, they found that the more sugar you
consume and the longer you consume it, the higher your diabetes risk; and as
sugar consumption drops, diabetes rates drop as well.
The CDC says there will be nearly 140 million diabetics in this country
within the next forty years. Diabetes drugs are big business—they bring in
$35 billion now, but are poised to jump to $58 billion by 2018.
Think about that. If diabetes drugs make so much money, the pharmaceutical
industry has a reason not to try to cure the disease. Meanwhile your
government is supporting both the sugar industry and the drug companies. And
not only are the drug companies—like the sugar producers—big campaign donors.
They are also providing much of the funding of the US Food and Drug
"The link between chronic diseases of all kinds, government policies andsubsidies, and drug profits is not a pretty one. But knowing what is going on is the first step toward cleaning up the system".
Alliance for Natural Health.--------------------
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