Is Sugar The New Tobacco?
The war on tobacco was famously launched by a now-famous series of Readers Digest articles in 1952 called “Cancer by the Carton” which linked smoking to lung cancer. At the time, as hard as it is to believe now, the general public wasn’t aware of the cancer risks related to smoking. But we’ve come a long way from that article, and public health officials have allowed their mission to creep beyond merely informing the public to a full-on prohibitionist campaign with all the zeal of the Temperance movement from the last century.
And now, it seems, the health prohibitionists in our society are turning their attention to other things. Like sugar:
According to brain scans, sugar is as addictive as cocaine, the California-based endocrinologist told CBS News’ “60 Minutes.”
It causes a euphoric effect that triggers dopamine, the chemical that controls pleasure in the brain.
The average America eats a third of a pound of sugar every day — 130 pounds a year.
Lustig says his research proves that the sweet stuff causes heart disease and cancer, as well as Type 2 diabetes and obesity.
And its not just the added sweeteners we add to our foods, like table sugar, or the desserts we eat.
Sugar is everywhere in foods where we least suspect it, including breads, yogurt, peanut butter and sauces.
Sugar consumption is down 40% since the 1970s but high fructose corn syrup consumption is way up.
The government is already moving to restrict access to sugary drinks and foods – from food restrictions to limitations on vending machines to new taxes – and this lays the groundwork for those paternalist policies.
But what’s ironic is that, while the government attempts to manipulate our lifestyles for us for our own good, a lot of the problems with sugar consumption are the result of government subsidies. As the article notes, sugar consumption is on the decline, but consumption of corn syrup is on the rise. Why? Because corn is heavily subsidized by the government, and so makes for a cheaper (though unhealthier) replacement for sugar as a sweetener.
The government is, literally, spending tax dollars to subsidize the production of a substance they’re also spending tax dollars to prevent us from using.
To be fair, non-corn sugar benefits from a good deal of government protectionism too, but you really have to wonder just how much of our sugar consumption problems (to the extent that we have problems, I’m not sure I buy the alarmism) is because the government distorts our food markets with subsidies?Tags: corn subsidies, nanny statism, prohibitionism, subsidies, sugar