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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Consumer Reports is exposing Big Sugar for perpetrating a fraud on U.S. consumers

This small, 6-ounce container of Yoplait Original Harvest Peach low-fat yogurt contains 19 grams of "sugars" or the equivalent of nearly 5 teaspoons (4 grams of sugar in each teaspoon). The American Heart Association recommends 9 (or fewer) teaspoons or 36 grams of added sugar per day for men and 6 teaspoons or 24 grams per day for women and children.



And you thought saturated fat in meat, poultry, butter and other foods is the major cause of heart disease.

Now, Consumer Reports exposes "a food fraud that may have been perpetrated on the American public" by Big Sugar.

"A report published in JAMA Internal Medicine revealed that in the 1960s, scientific research -- secretly bankrolled by the sugar industry -- was released that downplayed the effects of a sugar-laden diet and instead called out 'saturated fat' as the real dietary demon responsible for heart disease.
"And media outlets, food manufacturers, and ordinary citizens ate it up.
"That bit of nutritional subterfuge may have been at least partly responsible for 50 years of misleading public health advice.
"And the resulting flood of packaged foods that were low in fat but high in sugars and refined grains may have contributed to the current epidemic of obesity and related diseases" in the United States, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
"Today, the typical American diet is packed with huge amounts of added sugars: We're talking those used as ingredients in many packaged food [yogurt, pasta sauce and so forth] -- not the one naturally found in foods such as fruit and milk.
"One thing there is little doubt about now: Added sugars are bad for you."

The November 2017 issue of Consumer Reports on the dangers of too much sugar in your diet carries an extensive report called "Eat Smarter, Eat Healthier." Sections include sugar as "the gateway to weight gain," "how food-packaging claims can fool you," how too much salt can tax your heart, how cutting back on fat is "only half the battle," and the risks of going gluten-free.

Sugar industry power

The sugar industry lobby is so powerful that sugar is the only ingredient on those "nutrition fact" labels you find on packaged food not accompanied by the percentage of maximum recommended daily consumption.

For example, a 6-ounce container of Yoplait Original low-fat yogurt with fruit lists the amount of "sugars" as 19 grams with no equivalent in teaspoons or any other information [4 grams of sugar equal 1 teaspoon].

The Food and Drug Administration's plan for new food labels has been postponed, Consumer Reports says.

Food reporting

In recent years, Consumer Reports has become the leading source of reporting on industrial farms; the danger of the human antibiotics used to raise cattle, chickens, pigs and other animals; and the excessive amounts of added sugar and fat in food.

Newspapers big and small have lagged in this regard, and even the food sections of newspapers as prestigious as The New York Times are filled with recipes that rely heavily on sugar, butter, heavy cream, and full-fat milk and cheeses, all of which have been linked to obesity and heart disease.

'Death by chocolate'

For example, on Wednesday, the Better Living section of The Record, my local daily newspaper, ran sugar-laden recipes from chefs for Triple Silken Pumpkin Pie and Chocolate Shortbread Cookies.

There also was a guide to making a Cinnamon Sugar Nut Jar at home with 1 cup of sugar, ground cinnamon and nuts.

On Dec. 15, the cover story in Better Living recommended "Dark Delights: The Best Chocolate Concoctions [spelled 'Concotions'] in North Jersey."

Appropriately enough, one of the photos showed a dessert with "four distinct chocolate treats" called "Death by Chocolate," served at Village Green Restaurant in Ridgewood.

"No one has yet been able to finish it [the dessert]," the chef was quoted as saying, though he didn't mention whether it has put anyone into the hospital.

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