Yesterday, we talked about the absurdity of black and white nutritional science, which worships one food while demonizing another. And then, I reminded you of the one “food” that does deserve its bad reputation: Sugar.
As I’m always telling you, sugar kills. We have reams of research to back my stance on this—showing associations between sugar intake and death or disease.
But in case you may need more convincing, let’s dive into a compelling, new report…
An ambitious proposal
This latest analysis comes from a team of public health researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, Tufts University, Harvard, and the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. They created a simulation to examine the impact of a recently introduced sugar-reduction policy.
The policy was proposed by the U.S. National Salt and Sugar Reduction Initiative—a collaboration of more than 100 health organizations around the country. And it included sugar-reduction targets for a wide array of packaged foods and drinks, with the goal of getting Big Food’s voluntary cooperation in reformulating their products.
This is an ambitious endeavor, to say the least. One that would require support from the government before it gains any traction. Of course, I won’t be holding my breath. But these numbers should convince anyone about just how dire the situation really is…
These researchers found that if we cut 20 percent of sugar from packaged foods, and 40 percent from drinks, over the lifetime of the current adult population we could prevent:
- 2.48 million heart disease events (like stroke, heart attack, and cardiac arrest)
- 490,000 cardiovascular deaths
- 750,000 diabetes cases
That’s an even larger impact than proposals like sugar taxes or labeling would deliver. So why are we hesitating here?
In the end, the single most effective way to keep sugar out of the population is to stop letting junk food manufacturers run wild at the expense of the public health. Period.
Billions in savings
Now, allow me to put these results into even more perspective. Consider this…
Within ten years of implementing this policy, the U.S. could save $4.28 billion in total net healthcare costs. And that number jumps to a staggering $118.04 billion across the lifetime of the current adult (35- to 75-year old) population.
If you factor in societal costs (like lost productivity due to sugar-linked diseases), the total savings increase even higher to $160.88 billion. (And keep in mind, these are conservative estimates.)
Even with only partial compliance, the report concluded that the health and economic gains would be significant in as little as six years. It would also help address demographic disparities in the sugar-related disease burden.
So, there’s really no reason not to take action against sugar here—especially when you consider that other countries (including the U.K., Norway, and Singapore) have already launched similar initiatives.
Not to mention, nearly half of the U.S. population is now obese. One in every two persons has diabetes or prediabetes, and nearly as many have heart disease. How many more people have to die before the government pulls its head out of the sand, and out of the food industry’s back pocket?
I remain cautiously optimistic that change is coming. So until it does—just kick sugar to the curb for good. And follow a balanced eating plan full of fresh foods, like my A-List Diet—which features numerous healthy-yet-delicious recipes.
“Reducing sugar in packaged foods can prevent disease in millions.” Science Daily, 08/27/2021. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/08/210827082431.htm)