When information is repeated often enough – even if it is illogical, misleading or simply lacking in evidentiary value – it can begin to form a part of people’s belief systems and as time goes by, more and more masquerade as the truth.
If a large number of the so called authorities or ‘experts’ appear to be in agreement on whatever subject is at hand, this phenomenon then becomes even more widespread.
Regardless, the campaign designed to convince the public that sugar (sucrose or fructose and the like) is an addictive, overly processed and poisonous substance – responsible for increased rates of metabolic dysfunction and disease – has taken decades to gain what has now become almost unanimous acceptance.
Whilst this has been happening, endless advertising and promotion has persuaded most of the population that grains, seeds, nuts, legumes, loads of vegetable fiber and processed oils (extracted from seeds, grains, the waste material of the fishing industry and a few other things) are safe and should make up a large part of a healthy diet.
One argument – often put forward as a factor supposedly interfering with the reaching of these conclusions – is that powerful sugar industry moguls secretly promote sugar’s highly profitable addition into food, whilst endeavoring to quash all of the damning scientific evidence so as to hide its dangers from a vulnerable and ill informed public.
If that line of reasoning is to be followed however, it’s probably important to first consider which industries actually represent a significant enough part of the US economy to be capable of having that kind of political and commercial power and influence.
“In the U.S., corn uses more land than any other crop, spanning some 97 million acres— an area roughly the size of California…the corn system uses more natural resources than any other agricultural system in America…”
The US’s biggest agricultural products in order of value are corn (of which they are the world’s highest producer), then soybeans, followed by wheat, alfalfa, cotton, hay, tobacco, rice, sorghum and barley – with the value of the corn and soy bean markets almost doubling over the last decade.
“…the corn system receives more subsides from the U.S. government than any other crop…record subsidies… an estimated $20 billion or more…are being paid as corn just had one of the most lucrative years in history…”
On the other hand, the US is roughly only the world’s tenth highest producer of sugar cane, responsible for less than one 25th of that produced by Brazil and one 12th of the amount produced by India, who are in first and second place.
Furthermore, only a tiny percentage of corn production is used to make HFCS, with the overwhelming majority going towards biofuels (and oils), animal feed and exports.
“Corn oil was the fastest growing feedstock for biodiesel production in 2013, further strengthening the tie between the ethanol and biodiesel industries…The popularity of extracting corn oil from the ethanol-making process has continued to grow…”
The above information might alone be enough to suggest that there would be a far greater incentive for powerful business and government interests in the US to promote products such as the grains, seeds and seed oils over other far less profitable and important things.
Although this may not be absolute proof of the things that are driving the anti-sugar movement, it does seem a little irrational to try to refute this suggestion (or ignore it) and then go on to use a similar argument to imply evidence of a ‘big sugar conspiracy’.
As far as I am aware, people generally don’t have cravings for soy oil or fish oil (and other highly polyunsaturated fats), and it seems unlikely that anyone would choose to consume them unless they had been led to believe that they are in some way beneficial with regards to health.
Many are simply not aware of how ubiquitous these oils have become, often not knowing how much or how often they themselves consume them. The scientifically proven relationship between the polyunsaturated fats and a large variety of metabolic diseases is rarely discussed.
Statistics show that sugar on the other hand, continues to be desired in roughly unvarying quantities year after year despite all of the warnings, not as many have suggested because it is addictive, but rather because it is a necessary and effective source of fuel.
It is important for fuel to be provided through voluntary consumption, minimizing the use of ‘costly’ physiological processes which exist to ensure a constant and continuous supply. As a general rule, the more appropriate the fuel type and quantity, the less negative consequences arise as a result of any lack.
My original inspiration for CowsEatGrass came from a 2010 article (attached below) which reports on the story of former Iowa State professor – and expert on sustainable agriculture – Ricardo Salvador, who was rejected from consideration for a post leading a sustainable agriculture program at the above University.
This rejection was apparently due to a statement he made during his presentation claiming that grass – rather than corn (Iowa’s lifeblood) – is the natural, healthy (and most sustainable) diet of cows.
“If this were a TV game show, a loud buzzer would have gone off and Mr. Salvador would have been escorted from the stage that very moment…he was supposed to say that cows should eat corn. Even if that’s not natural…it’s simply how things are done in Iowa, a state built on big agriculture…”
When the dean of the agriculture school was asked her opinion regarding whether it is in fact true that cows evolved to eat grass, she responded saying “I don’t have an opinion on that statement.”
This story symbolizes the kinds of forces which promote the misinformation necessary to encourage confusion – as well as physiologically unsound beliefs – in relation to sugar, the polyunsaturated fats and many other diet and health related subjects.
“For now, it appears safe to state that the current literature does not support a unique relation between fructose-containing sugar consumption and risk factors for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, MetS, or NAFLD…”
It is clear that ‘science’ today is more often a tool used for the furthering of corporate and government objectives, than any kind of process for the discovery of truth.
There are powerful financial and political agendas influencing the content and flow of information made available, including that coming through the educational institutions and other ‘independent’ bodies.
See more here
Image: ‘Sugar Rush’