This is a longer read (for those of us with Internet Attention Deficit Disorder), but it is well worth it. If you can get past and understand the British English in the piece, it is worth the read.
Some of the better quotes from the piece.
The story begins in 1971. Richard Nixon was facing re-election. The Vietnam war was threatening his popularity at home, but just as big an issue with voters was the soaring cost of food. If Nixon was to survive, he needed food prices to go down, and that required getting a very powerful lobby on board – the farmers. Nixon appointed Earl Butz, an academic from the farming heartland of Indiana, to broker a compromise.
Butz pushed farmers into a new, industrial scale of production, and into farming one crop in particular: corn. US cattle were fattened by the immense increases in corn production. Burgers became bigger. Fries, fried in corn oil, became fattier. Corn became the engine for the massive surge in the quantities of cheaper food being supplied to American supermarkets: everything from cereals, to biscuits and flour found new uses for corn.
Re: high fructose corn syrup and how the food industry continues to swindle us
The food industry had its eyes on the creation of a new genre of food, something they knew the public would embrace with huge enthusiasm, believing it to be better for their health – “low fat”. It promised an immense business opportunity forged from the potential disaster of heart disease. But, says Lustig, there was a problem. “When you take the fat out of a recipe, food tastes like cardboard, and you need to replace it with something – that something being sugar.”
Overnight, new products arrived on the shelves that seemed too good to be true. Low-fat yoghurts, spreads, even desserts and biscuits. All with the fat taken out, and replaced with sugar.
but even those who exercised and ate low-fat products were gaining weight. In 1966 the proportion of people with a BMI of over 30 (classified as obese) was just 1.2% for men and 1.8% for women. By 1989 the figures had risen to 10.6% for men and 14.0% for women. And no one was joining the dots between [high fructose corn syrup] and fat.
Re: sugar addiction
The organ of most interest, however, is the gut. According to Schwarz and Sclafani, the gut is a highly complex nervous system. It is the body’s “second brain”, and this second brain becomes conditioned to wanting more sugar, sending messages back to the brain that are impossible to fight.
Re: Why no warnings on food or why has information regarding addicting sugary foods been so slow to get to the public
Why has Kessler, when he has had such success with his warnings on cigarette packets, not done the same thing for processed foods high in sugar? Because, he tells me, when the warnings came in on cigarettes, the game was already up in the west for the tobacco industry. Their new markets were the far east, India and China. It was no concession at all. The food industry is a different matter. For one thing, the food lobby is more powerful than the tobacco lobby. The industry is tied into a complex matrix of other interests: drugs, chemicals, even dieting products. The panoply of satellite industries that make money from obesity means the food industry’s relationship to obesity is an incredibly complex one.
The government won’t help you. The stupid “food pyramid” that has been shoved at us for years and years is bunk. It is driven, not by science, but by money and lobbying. What has been taught to you for years – low fat, high carb – is just keeping you addicted to food. Keeping you hungry. Keeping you fat. Time to change.