The Sweet Way to Die
And then there’s sugar the sweet way to die. It must be Americans’ favorite food, for they consume 175 pounds per person per year. Sugar is a killer-food the underworld of the wonder world of healthy food the culprit in diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, one of the worst diseases in the United States today, as well as one of the most ignored.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, per capita sugar consumption has risen in this country by 40 percent since 1909, the year that department began to keep figures on the stuff. Mothers satisfied kiddies’ appetites for the “surprise in the cereal box” by filling them up with empty breakfast cereals that are little more than sugar pasted on top of fluff. Even the United States Senate was horrified enough to act on that when it wasn’t even an election year! During a recent five days of hearings before the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, investigating the television advertising of food for children, four witnesses testified according to a New York Times story of March 6, 1973 that many children’s breakfast cereals were nutritionally “hollow,” containing over 50 percent sugar. The cry certainly won’t be “Look, Mom, no cavities!” if this keeps up.
And yet even so supposedly illustrious a publication as The WaZl Street Journal in early 1973 covered the cereal scene with an editorial called “The Munchies Menace.” So far, so good except that the editorial goes on to state that sugar is here to stay, so why fight it? They suggest we live with the present awful facts of food life and accept the cavities and other horrors of too sweet living. Frankly, I was shocked. Their attitude (in actual print): “So what?” Mine: Change things! Fortunately, for those with an incurable sweet tooth, there are answers in the works. Artichokes, for example, have been shown to have sweetening properties. A Yale University psychologist, Dr. Linda Bartoshuk (in the Times of December 3, 1972) has confirmed the fact. And her work may some day soon (we hope) produce a new way to sweeten the endless drinks Americans seem compelled to consume. The sweetening ability of the artichoke was found to be comparable to two teaspoons of sugar added to six ounces of liquid . . . (water, in the case of Dr. Bartoshuk’s study). And Dr. Bartoshuk has come up with a new food on me something called “miracle fruit” which it apparently is. For it has the “miraculous” properties of making foods taste sweet when they aren’t. All of this sounds like a boon for those of us who can’t have sugar, and for all of us who shouldn’t have it.
According to these nutritionists, Americans are on a sugar binge, eating more of it annually than flour (which is bad enough) and causing an epidemic of tooth decay and other diseases. Not only that, there is evidence that sugar-rich snack foods may cause nutritional deficiencies of such necessary trace elements as chromium and zinc. During the 1960s, food producers increased their use of sugar in food products by 50 percent. So, if you count on food manufacturers, matters are not going to get any better.
Which brings us to labels. Read them. And read them carefully. Your life may depend on it.
But then this is a beauty beauty blog, not a crusade, and I am a fashion-and-beauty writer, not a campaigner. Nevertheless, in my wanderings through beauty research I learned enough to be frightened. Frightened of the unseen (and heretofore unlabeled) horrors that lurk in all those easy-does-it foods that contain very little except calories, and do very little but send us on our way to an early, and completely unnecessary and, I might add, unbeautiful old age.
One crusader has said it for the American diet. That crusader is Dr. Carlton Fredericks, and, so far as I am concerned, he said it all when he pronounced, “If you are what you eat, then God help you!”
We are going to see what we can do to help you change that.
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