Originally Published on my Blog on December 2, 2012
Did you ever wonder why we don't hear more from government agencies about the dangers of sugar? So did dentist and administrator Dr. Cristin Kearns Couzens. When she attended a conference in 2007 related to diabetes and gum disease, she heard things that implied that sugar is not a problem (especially odd at a conference related to both diabetes and dentistry). Puzzled, she began a quest that ultimately led to her uncovering a treasure trove of confidential documents from the sugar industry and quitting her job to devote herself to researching the situation. (Couzens is since reemployed, teaching at the University of Washington School of Dentistry.) She and Gary Taubes (author of Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why we Get Fat) have an article in the current issue of Mother Jones magazine, Big Sugar's Sweet Little Lies.
This collaboration is square in the middle of where Taubes excels -- meticulously piecing together the history of how nutritional policy came to be -- plus he was already writing a book about sugar. The duo start with World War II, when sugar was rationed. The sugar industry attempted to rebound after the war by proclaiming that sugar was a weight loss aid(!) Then they take us through the years where sugar began to be maligned, people began to cut back, and the industry responded with a savvy long-term campaign to suppress research about sugar, support their own research, and influence the medical establishment (actually I should say "industries", since Coke, Hershey, Kellog, and many more were apparently happy to chip in and do their part).
This is VERY reminiscent of the 50 years the tobacco industry spent assuring everyone that the research was wrong - there was NO definitive link between tobacco and cancer. Riiiight.
The article is well worth reading, as well as Couzens' Web site Sugar Politics and Taubes' blog.