More on sugar

Dear God, they’re really going for it, aren’t they?

We have no physiological need for refined sugar: before the 16th century we managed with tiny amounts of it. In fact, all the glories of Renaissance art and thought were created on just a teaspoonful of sugar per head per year. But by the 20th century sugar had become ubiquitous. And its industry had become so powerful that it had penetrated the heart of governments. The sort of access sugar barons enjoy was exposed when Bill Clinton famously interrupted an Oval Office assignation with Monica Lewinsky in 1996 to take a phone call — the call was from one of the Fanjul family who control much of sugar production in the electorally key swing state of Florida. (The Fanjuls have played it both ways: another brother was one of George Bush’s top fundraisers.)

Isn’t that just so absolutely fabulous? She’s using the Fanjuls as an example of the power of Big Sugar. What is the effect of Big Sugar in the US? It keeps domestic prices high: about twice the world price in fact. To the benefit of the Fanjuls: and, presumably, reduces the amount of sugar that Americans consume.

In fact, it’s that very Big Sugar that actually creates the High Fructose Corn Syrup, HFCS, as a way of getting around that high domestic sugar price.

So, as her example Ms. Lawrence is using someone doing exactly what she wants someone to do: raising the price of sugar and thereby reducing consumption.

It’s just joyous, isn’t it?

14 comments on “More on sugar

  1. Found this comment on the food industry, interesting.

    “Their businesses are built on taking the cheapest of cheap commodity ingredients, deconstructing them, and turning them into “added value” goods – not in lightly processing real unrefined foods.

    But hang on. What about all those articles on the lifestyle pages describing how to economise with thrifty recipes using inexpensive ingredients? Healthy stews & whatnot?
    Is it just who’s kitchen it’s done in?

  2. It’s the Nature Nutters. Anything they can arbitrarily define as “processed” or “refined” becomes infused with an essence of evil; it literally loses its “goodness”. Rationality is not their strong suit.

  3. What worries me is that these attacks on sugar are often promulgated by “health” freaks who then promote artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, which becomes a poison when it reaches body temperature, just the “healthy” thing you want to imbibe ! And is this really mere health freaks, or the aspartame industry shills ?

    Alan Douglas

  4. The Guardian is now the newspaper of choice for fanatics, nutters and totalitarians. Perhaps it always was.

    What an absurd rag it is.

  5. “We have no physiological need for refined sugar: before the 16th century we managed with tiny amounts of it. In fact, all the glories of Renaissance art and thought were created on just a teaspoonful of sugar per head per year. But by the 20th century sugar had become ubiquitous.”
    This is silly, it applies to everything! We have no physiological need for toilet paper: before the 16th century we managed with tiny amounts of it (kings and emperors, etc.). And on, and on.

  6. Gimme gimme gimme chocolate. I am on the 12 steps chocolate diet, never be more than 12 steps from chocolate.

    Seriously we have no physiological need for many foods, drinks, governments, beaurocrats and so on.

  7. “such as aspartame, which becomes a poison when it reaches body temperature”

    Citation please. I couldn’t find any such assertion, let alone research supporting the proposition when I googled. Despite the conspiracy theories, aspartame appears to be largely regarded as safe.

  8. “all the glories of Renaissance art and thought were created on just a teaspoonful of sugar per head per year. But by the 20th century sugar had become ubiquitous.”

    Better chalk the jet engine, space travel, the personal computer, the Internet, penicillin, television, nuclear power, MRI and CT scanners, and sliced bread up to people eating Mars bars then, you fuckhead.

  9. Gamecock – “We have no physiological need for chocolate. So what?”

    We have no physiological need for birth control, anaesthetics or tofu. Let’s see the Guardian suggest we give all three up.

  10. Never seen anyone suggest the average renaissance period diet as ideal before. Oh well, back to boiled root veg and bread with grit in it.

  11. Calories are King when it comes to diet. It matters not where those calories come from. Provided you burn as many calories as you consume you will not put on weight, if you consumer more than you burn, weight goes up, and of course the opposite is also true.

    The problem with sugar is not sugar per se, just that it is a very energy dense food. So the problem is not sugar but people consuming energy dense foods all day and then sitting around starting at computer screens all day.

    There is no problem giving kids sugar, the problem comes when your 8 year old is drinking 8 cans of coke and eating twinkies all day and playing mario cart instead if kicking a football in the backyard.

    Eat Food, Not too Much, Mostly Plants.

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