What Has Caused More Deaths Than All Wars In The Last 40 Years, Combined?
Gary Null, PhD
Progressive Radio Network, July 10, 2015
There is an unseen culprit hiding in the shadows, killing at least 180,000 people annually. It is a toxic poison contained in many of the foods and beverages that we commonly eat. A toxin that has been implicated in causing cancer, diabetes, heart disease, lowered cognitive function, addiction, depression, and obesity. The magicians and alchemist of the corporate food industry have cleverly disguised this ingredient and sung it praises. If you are waiting for mainstream media to undertake an in-depth investigative report on this topic you will be waiting a long time.
For decades many Americans consumed sugar as a normal part of their diet. Between the 1940s and 1970s, most of our meals were consumed and prepared at home with our families. Eating at a restaurant was a family luxury rather than an everyday habit. Consequently we were not metabolically overwhelmed by consumption of highly processed fast foods. However in time, and with changing attitudes, it became normal for people to eat more their meals away from home. The emphasis was on fast foods, soft and sweet, salty and crunchy, deep-fried or grilled, with an abundance of trans-fats, refined sugars, caffeinated soft drinks, refined carbohydrates, and an excess amount of animal protein. We went from moderate to big to supersize and then all we can eat within a mere 30 years. Simultaneously the American population experienced a surge in obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancers, inflammatory and digestion disorders and insomnia. Similarly chronic fatigue, pain, memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s increased dramatically.
In addition, more Americans spent time in front of the television and computer or mobile devices. We became less active, more sedentary and far more stressed. A perfect storm arose that led to any number of illnesses, and the biggest culprits are sugars, refined carbohydrates, and high fructose corn syrups. This is the story of how independent and non-proprietary science has proven the medical effects of sugar consumption and the health conditions and diseases associated with it. The science is clear and unequivocal. We are eating ourselves to death.
In 2015 Tufts University department of nutritional sciences conducted a study published by the America Heart Association that documented the annual rates of global deaths directly due to over-consumption of beverages with high sugar content. The results estimated that184,000 adults die annually from sugary drinks. Dr. Gitanjali at Tufts analyzed data from 62 studies, documenting sugar-related deaths across 51 countries between 1980 and 2010. Deaths were compiled according to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and various cancers. Almost 612,000 individuals participated in the surveys grouped by age, gender and geographical location. Based upon the data, the study concluded that sugar contributed to 45,000 annual deaths from cardiovascular disease, 13,000 deaths from diabetic complications, and 6,450 deaths related to cancer.
The countries with the highest sugar-related mortality rates were the US and Mexico, 25,000 and 24,000 deaths respectively. Seventy-six percent of all sugar-related fatalities occurred in low and middle income nations, and younger adults had a higher rate of chronic illness than their middle aged and senior counterparts.
In the October issue Life Extension Magazine, a report featured that highlighted the association between carbohydrates and sugars, and cancer. The article, “Deadly Carbohydrates The Lethal Sugar/Cancer Connection,” cited several sources confirming that post-menopausal breast cancer survivors were twice as likely to have reoccurring post-surgical carcinogenic tumors unless their carbohydrate intake was dramatically reduced. Women with high levels of insulin growth factor-1 or IGF-1 had a 70% greater chance of reoccurring tumors.
Credit Suisse’s Research Institute published a scathing report in 2013 that brought sugar’s health risks into sharper focus. The study revealed that upward to 40% of American healthcare expenditures could be directly tied to overconsumption of sugar in the average American diet. Today, the US’ national addiction to sugar contributes to $1 trillion in healthcare costs annually, which includes coronary heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. There are numerous studies published in reliable peer-reviewed medical journals associating sugar with each of these life threatening diseases.
A year earlier, a Californian endocrinologist, Dr. Robert Lustig, was featured on CBS’ 60 Minutes. Dr. Lustig’s research, which was featured in his lecture, “Sugar: The Bitter Truth,” centered on the relationship of sugar consumption and Americans’ declining health. He has published a dozen peer-reviewed studies that identify sugar as one of the single most important factors contributing to an epidemic of degenerative disease. Lustig concludes that 75% of all diseases in America today are brought on by the average American lifestyle, which includes a heavy laden sugar diet, and are entirely preventable.
The rapid spread of information over the internet has increased health-conscious consumers about sugar’s harmful effects. It has also spurned the attention of health organizations, not aligned with the drug and sugar industries, to sound an alarm and increase public awareness about sugar’s impact on people’s health.
As far back as 1971, I began writing about the hazards of sugar. In 2002, my documentary “Seven Steps to Perfect Health” was premiered on PBS stations, including WETA in Washington, DC. During a special appearance on one of the station’s fund drives, I poured sugar out of a bag. The amount I poured equaled the number of teaspoons that an average American teenager consumes daily. My general counsel, David Slater, verified the quantity by proper measurement according to scientific food and diet data.
After the initial airing of this special, I was informed by the station’s program director that they could not rebroadcast the performance, even though it was the most successful program during the fund drive. I was informed that the station had received harsh criticism from the sugar industry. The program director explained that the information I presented about sugar’s dangers, even though I provided full scientific verification of the facts, ran up against the president of the station board Sharon Rockefeller. I was told she had received a phone call from a sugar-lobbying group representing soft drink makers and sugar manufacturers. Therefore the station made the decision to pull my program. I was never asked to return to the WETA station. No surprisingly, a subsequent investigation revealed Sharon Rockefeller sat on Pepsi’s board at the time, one of America’s largest manufacturers of sweetened soft drinks.
That was my first personal encounter with the political forces supporting sugar. I wrote letters to the sugar industry, WETA’s station board and Sharon Rockefeller contesting their suppression of my program and their claim that sugar was unrelated to the declining health of Americans. They were presented with dozens of peer-reviewed studies.
Although this occurred over a decade ago, after we realize just how many people since that time have developed diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and many other illnesses, which science now proves is correlated with sugar consumption, then should we not hold the private industry and major media morally responsible? Celebrities such as Dr. Sanjay Gupta and other media talking heads have volumes of verifiable scientific literature at their disposal. There is no longer any secrets about sugar’s health risks. Yet, the media chooses to accept the “official” statements aligned with privately funded medical associations, federal agencies, trade and lobby groups and scientists-for-hire. They are willing to accept propaganda but deny medical truths. If we can find the truth with our limited resources, what possible excuse does Dr. Gupta and other respected physicians have to deny that truth? Why after 40 years, since my first paper about the dangers of sugar, are we even having a debate about sugar’s health risks? And in the meantime, how many tens of millions of children and adults have suffered with diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer because of the arrogance, hubris and complicity of the private medical complex, the food industry and media?
A deeper look at the politics of the sugar industry reveals that huge sums are being doled out by government to support and subsidize sugar companies. In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, writer Alexandra Wexler explains that American taxpayers are currently responsible for shelling out $280 million to cover the cost of loans from the USDA which sugar producers are unable to pay back. Given the undeniable evidence demonstrating the toxicity of sugar and its enormous toll on the wellbeing of Americans, why is it that our health agencies and elected officials are not calling for an urgent overhaul of existing policies, which graciously support domestic sugar industry to poison the population? Where is the outrage over bailing out the purveyors of what is likely the most dangerous staple in the American diet? For our answers we must follow the money-trail.
On June 8TH 2015, the Turner Broadcasting Network, parent company to CNN, announced that they were launching a new production unit and in-house studio that would be funded and produced by corporate advertisers. The idea is to create news that would serve as “branded content”. This new unit, staffed by journalists, filmmakers and designers is being called “Courageous.” Upon reflection, this is an ironic pun. There is nothing courageous about putting corporate sponsorship ahead of journalistic integrity and a long tradition to report on well-vetted objective facts.
There is a clear conflict of interest when a reliable “impartial news organization” gets in bed with advertisers and produces segments that give an appearance of news worthiness but in fact is intended market information that would increase corporate revenues. If one of the sponsors happens to have a damaging product such as a soft drink, what is the likelihood that the truth of this product will be reported? If the story is aired what position would the network take? A fair and balanced report that looks at the science? Or the position of a private entity that funds the news??
Independent scientific literature establishes beyond any reasonable doubt that sugar, in its many processed forms, directly threatensour health. Whether it is cancer, diabetes, heart disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or another metabolic disorder, sugar is clearly a major causative culprit. However, against all the evidence, all the clinical experience and the reality of the human health condition today, there are billions of dollars spent and earned by those who profit from our sweet tooth.