Dan Van Driel
December 24, 2014Sugar: The New Addiction. Draft
America is made up of many different cultures and each culture has many different foods associated with it. Depending on the social society you live will determine the type of foods that are eaten. Even with the verity of foods each culture calls their own one thing can be shared among them all and that is the every growing want for process sugar. Process sugar has taken America by storm and in its wake has left its effects in our culture, along with addiction like behaviors, and death causing diseases, which comes with the increasing consumption of this substance. In addition to what America eats, this man made substance called process sugar has single handedly causing the USA to become the fattest country in the world (Spurlock). America needs to take a stance against process sugar and overcome the affects that are linked to it.Culture
Culture is who we are and where we come from. It makes up the things we believe in and trust. The very food we eat comes from the culture in which we were raised. Holidays are a big part of our culture and the way we celebrate it comes from past generations. Traditional foods are served during the holiday season and have been for hundreds of years in some cases. In the past hundreds our traditional foods have been changing, and not for the better. Process sugar is being added to the very foods we grew up with. "In 1816, the average sugar consumption per person was 15 pounds per year. In 1955, the average sugar consumption was 120 pounds per year. In 1990 it is about 180 pounds per person per year. This is equivalent to half a pound per day per person. Sugar constitutes about 25 to 35 per cent of our diet"(Dean). Sugar has become a modern stable in our food and in some ways controls the way we eat. Every year during the celebration of a national holiday you can find the transformation take place in the stores we shop in. Stores go out of their way to decorate the shopping isles to put the consumer in the holiday spirit. Marketing of sales and bargain deals stream on the television in effort to sale more things. Most of those sale items come in the form of some type of process sugar food. The culture how America consumes its food has dramatically changed over the years. Fast food has become the main source in how most Americans consume their food. According to fast food statistic form Statistic Brain; there are over 160,000 fast food restaurants in America that serve more then 50milion people daily (Spurlock).
America needs to implement an educational program to inform adults about the long-term affects of process sugar have on our body. Getting the message out about the bad things that come from the process sugar we eat can help people make better choices. The culture in how we eat, where we eat, and what we eat has changed and process sugar is a big part of that change. America no longer eats at home and if by chance they do it comes from a box that is already made to eat.
Process sugar is added to thousands of different types of foods from ketchup to sandwich bread making it one of the most common ingredients used. "Up to 80 percent of the 600,000 processed-food items sold in America may have added sugars, according to one study"(Clemmitt). Process sugar has made its way in to our diets and lives in so many ways that it has become apart of our culture. The fight starts with marketing alternative non-sugar products to be sold during the holidays. This will show our young kids that holidays are not about the sweet things they can eat. Food can be fun and healthy at the same time. This starts with not giving in and buying the junk that our kids think they want.Addiction
Process sugar has become Americas past time and with so many foods that have some sort of process sugar, it's not hard to see why people want more of it. Most foods with process sugars have the type call high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). This process sugar comes from corn and unlike other plant based fructose the HFCS from corn is processed differently in the body. HFCS is metabolized solely in the liver whereas all other plant-based fructose is metabolized in all the cells of the body (Clemmitt). High fructose corn syrup is a concentrated version of regular process sugar cane. The fructose from sugar cane is a more natural sugar in the senses that it metabolized in any body cell for food. HFCS is a less natural source of food for the body's cells and the only way the body can use it for food is by processing it through the liver. The process of HFCS is much like how alcohol is processed in the liver and researchers are linking this finding at an addiction level. "People addicted to substances like alcohol are also addicted to sugar. Many addicted people have strong withdrawal effects when they remove sugar from their diet. Researchers have found that there is a strong correlation between alcohol or other addictive drugs and a strong craving for sugar. Heroin addicts consumed staggering amounts of sugar while they were undergoing treatment and in fact the sugar seemed to diminish the withdrawal effects of heroin" (Dean). The research is still in its early phases but the evidence is building up with both HFCS and regular process sugars.
Treating process sugar is an addiction and regulating it at a government level like we do with all other addiction drugs and products could help with the over growing demanded of this substance. In the state of New York the Mayor Michael Bloomberg has passed a law to regulate the size of sugar-sweetened beverages to only be sold in 16-ounces or less. The new law is designed to help lower the rising health care cost caused by the added calories and in return lower the amount of diseases related to obesity.
Making laws that regulate the selling and consuming of process sugar for our young kids is the next step that needs to take place. The idea that a 10-year-old kid can walk into a store and buy an energy drink loaded with process sugar is wrong. There is no need for young kids to be drinking any type of sugary drink. Government laws keep kids from buying other things that could hurt like alcohol and cigarettes so why not do the same with process sugar? There is not enough evidence to show the harm that process sugar does to people over time.
One way to reduce the consumption of process sugar would be to reducing the number of products sold in our stores that have process sugar as a major ingredient. The idea of over a half million things sold here in the US have some sort of process sugar in them is mind blowing. Someone needs to take action and reduce this amount before it's to late. With so many different foods out there with process sugar it is no surprise that people can and are addicted to it.Disease
Disease caused by process sugar can be reduced largely through education and implementation governmental laws and in return will have a positive affect on the healthcare. So many people today live in pain and discomfort because of a disease caused by process sugar. One of the major diseases caused by process sugar is type 2 diabetes. This disease is when the body's cells become resentence to the insulin needed to help the cells process the sugar. The body naturally makes insulin for the cells to intake fructose but with and over load of process sugar the body goes into over time making it. Over time the body's cells become resentence making the person a type 2 diabetic. Studies have shown that people who don't eat a lot of process sugar are then introduced to it can and will become diabetic. "After 20 years of eating sugar, North American Indians, Eskimos, and populations in India and Africa develop diabetes"(Dean). The data in clear that process sugar was never meant to be consumed by humans. Going one-step further studies showed the effects of what process sugar could do to animals. "Studies on animals have shown the effects of sugar in generation life spans and what happens from one generation to the next"(Dean).
Reducing or eliminating process sugar from our diets can curve the obesity rate and cut down on ever-rising healthcare costs. The cost to treat people with type 2 diabetes and other process sugar related disease is overwhelming to say the least. "The public costs of the obesity epidemic justify public action to limit sugar consumption, said the University of California's Lustig. Treating obesity-related health problems such as Type 2 diabetes, he said, is throwing $147 billion a year in public funds down a rat hole"(Clemmitt). The cost to treat people who don't know how to eat is putting a strain on the health care system. Education is the key in cutting the growing cost to treat people for there eating habits.Change
A change is needed to help us help ourselves in what we eat. The people of America need to take a stand against the companies who want to profit on food. The supply of over 600,000 food products that contain some sort of process sugar is being met with an overwhelming demand of people wanting a sugary fix. America is addicted to process sugar and even worse, our children are also part of those who need a fix. The new culture here in America is an addiction to a substance that causes its consumers to come down with diseases. The diseases caused by process sugar are fully avoidable if people only knew. The way to fight is growing epidemic is through education on all levels. People are smart and given the knowledge to do the right think most of us will step up to the challenge.Work cited
Clemmitt, Marcia. "Sugar Controversies." CQ Researcher 30 Nov. 2012: 1013-36. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.
Dean, Carolyn, Sugar: Pleasure or Poisson. Consumer Health. Canada. 8 Oct. 1992:Volume 15 issues 8. Web. 24 Nov. 2014
Spurlock, Morgan, and Steve Horowitz. Super Size Me. New York: Hart Sharp Video, 2004.
Taubes, Gary. Is Sugar Toxic. The New York Times April 13, 2011. Web. 24 Nov. 2014