By JUSTIN LAMPORT, age 11
Today, more young people than ever suffer from Type 2 juvenile diabetes. Americans consume at least 10 percent of their daily calorie intake from added sugar, which is the sugar added to processed foods and drinks during manufacturing or the sugar you add at home. According to the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, added sugar is in 74 percent of packaged foods. Added sugar can increase health risks like heart disease, diabetes and liver disease.
In 2007, a dentist named Cristin Kearns attended a conference on the links between diabetes and gum disease and was handed a pamphlet titled “How to Talk to Patients About Diabetes.” According to NPR, she was disturbed that it didn’t recommend lowering Americans’ sugar intake, making her wonder if the sugar industry “somehow impacted what the government can or cannot say about diet advice for diabetics.” Her investigation led to the discovery of documents detailing the close relationship between the sugar industry and the federal government in the 1960s and ’70s.
Critics say the methods used by the sugar industry were similar to tobacco industry tactics. Gretchen Goldman, an analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists, told The Daily Beast, “They’re trying to manufacture doubt in the science, they’re trying to pay their own experts to carry their talking points, and they’re doing these things with the intent to undermine public policy.”
According to Prof. Stanton Glantz of the University of California, San Francisco, though the government has long known the negative effects of sugar, it is only now considering policies to limit sugar consumption and marketing for children.