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Sugar Shuck

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How much sugar do you eat? Not much? A teaspoon in your coffee? A candy bar now and then? When you bake brownies? Well, think again. If you are an average American, you eat an astounding 1 20 pounds of sugar per year, every year of your life, or over two pounds per week for a total of 20% of your total calorie intake. One-fifth of the food we eat is sugar! Sugar is everywhere. Just gaze in wonder at the labels of the not-necessarilysweet manufactured foods on your shelves. Ingredients are listed in descending order according to percentage composition. In salad dressings. canned soups, baby food, 'even peanut butter sugar appears as the second or third ingrediënt, not to mention its overwhelming presence in manufactured snack foods, candy, cake and soft drinks where it appears as the first ingrediënt. Soft drinks are an enlightening examp!e of the sugar take-over of our national diet. Coca-cola as a product is less than 100 years old. It was developed by Confedérate veteran John S. Pemberton in Atlanta in 1886. Today, Coke is far and away the most heavily advertised product in manufacturing history. Among the earth's majority of non-English speaking peoples, "coca-cola" is often one of the few English words they know. And one visible, if questionable, sign of detente with the Soviet Union is that Pepsi is now all the rage in Russia. Consumption of soft drinks topped 400 8-ounce servings per capita, or two glasses per day for every man, woman, and child in the country! In terms of actual sugar consumption, this statistic means that the average American swallows almost an ounce of sugar per day from soft drinks alone! Soft drink consumption surpassed coffee and tea ages ago. In the past few years, soft drinks have shot past milk, and believe it or not, forward looking soft drink manufacturen have their siglits set on overtaking water, a feat they hope to accomplish within the next decade, by 1984 . . . The soft drink assault on water has capitalizcd on the conUmination oí our environmental water supply by asserting that soft drinks are a good source of "pure" water, factory scrubbed and packaged in sanitized, sterilized cans and bottles. Of course, not everyone drinks hisher two cokes per day. The fact that some people drink below the national average means that other people drink above it - some far above it. One study found young boys guzzling up to 8 bottles per day. That's 3V4 ounces of sugar a day f rom soft drinks alone! These figures become even more bizarre when one considers two fundamental facts about sugar's role in nourishing the human body: first there is absolutely no physiological need for any sugar whatsoever, and second, if what is now known and suspected about the physical consequences of sugar consumption were revealed about any newly developed food additive, that substance would be banned promptly - which is exactly what happened to cyclamate artificial sweeteners. Sugar is one of the more recent additions to humankind's diet. It is estimated that agricultural food production is in the área of 10,000 years oíd. Sugar, on the other hand, was introduced in the late Middle Ages, a mere 400 years ago, as several European nations became imperialist powers. However, sugar's availability remained extremely limited for another 250 years, until the majority of the planet's tropically dwelling peoples were subjugated by the white, plantation-owning powers of Europe and North America. Furthermore, while black slaves were brought to Virginia to work the cotton fields, they were originally abducted to the West Indies to cut and plant sugar 'cañe. As late as the 1700's, home sugar boxes were secured with lock and key. We think the price of sugar is outrageously exorbitant today when compared with last year, or month, or week; but it's still a mere one one-hundredth of what it was when Columbus sailed. Sugar is a prime commodity of ialism. As is the case with bananas and coffee in Central America, or rubber in southern Asia, huge tracts of the best agricultura! lands are seized by the W-.-stern powers and secured with the cooperation of local pólice forces generously supplied with Western weapons. The indigenous people are forced to scratch whatever living they can out of poorer soil, or work as field hands on the plantations for miserable páy. Since sugar constitues one-fifth of our .food supply, it has long been an important thread in the fabric of U.S. imperialism. Before Castro, the U.S. bought the majority of its sugar from neighboririg Cuba, whose corrupt ruler, Batista, we wholeheartedly supported. When the U.S. placed an embargo on all Cuban goods in the early 1960's, in rStaliation for Castro's confiscation of land occupied by U.S. sugar company cane plantalions, among other reasons, Uncle Sam turned to its more cooperative Third World allies, like llie Philipines, for this vital erop. The Philipines is a notoriojls pólice state, whose autocratie President Marcos recently engineered the passage of a new Constitution, which makes him a virtual dictator, and gives him the authority to continue slaughtering secessionist Moslem Philipinos who oppose his regime, and who are waging guerilla war on some of the southern Philipine islands. Probably the most blatant example of sugar imperialism occurred in 1965, when President Lyndon Johnson sent the Marines to the Dominican Republic to prevent the election of a so-called communist President. Here are the facts: at the time of the invasión, the U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States was Ellsworth Bunker Jr. - also a Board member of the National Sugar Refining Co., which depended on privileged access to Dominican sugar lands. The family of Johnson's roving Ambassador Averell Harriman owns a private investment house, Brown Brothers Harriman, which owned 10% of National Sugar. Johnson's close friend and personal confidant, Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas, and Johnson's advisor, Adolf Berle Jr., have sat since 1946 on the Board of Sucrest Co., which depended on Dominican molasses, u sugar cane by-product. Furthermore, then-Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Joseph Farland was on the Board of South Puerto Rico Sugar Co., which owned 275,000 acres of the best sugar cane plantation land on the island, and paid Dominican workers about SI. 00 per day wages. The supposed communist, whom the State Department predicted would win hands down in a free election. the election which the intervention quashed, was in fact a leftist populist who had promised to nationalize sugar company plantations and redistribute the land to impoverished Dominicans. Sugar prices are skyrocketing today because world demand has outrun supply due to poor sugar cane and sugar beet harvests the past few years. Meanwhile, sugar company profits have soared, some as much as several hundred percent. This year sugar companies' profits will look ike the profits of the oil companies last year. The largest increases in demand for sugar have come trom the Third World. As África, Asia, and Latin America have become further urbanized and increasingly penetrated by "loods" like Coca-cola. Hershey bars, and Hostess Twinkies. complete with multi-media advertising campaigns, consumption of sugar has increased tremendously among peoples who previously were not sugar eaters. From 1938 to 1958, world milk production increased 30%, meai and food grains 50%, but sugar productkin leaped 10G Belore World War II. Italians ate an average qfund'er 20 pounds óf sugar per year per capita. By 1970. their consumption had more than tripled. to over 60 pounds, and it's still rising. Among Canadian Eskimos, the increase in sugar consumption is more dramatic: in one area it rose from 26 pounds to a staggering 104 pounds in the 8 years trom 1959 to 1967. The Zulus of South África eat ten times more sugar now tlian tliey did 20 years agOj Many Tlürd World peoples have nutritionully deficiënt diets to begin with. Sugar not only contributes nothing to the body's continua) need for noiuishment. it actually replaces other necessary foods. [f over time your diet changes from a low sugar diet to one where sugar accounts for 207' of your calorie intake, you will reeeive 20ri less protein, vitamins, mineals, etc. than you did formerly. Studies have borne this out. The most revealing statistics in this area are those ihat demónstrate that between 1955 and 1965 there was a 10'' increase in the number of American families whose nutriënt cdu tent feil below the recommended levels. Food costs rose 16'' during tliis period. but average incóme rose 23%, so it is unlikely that the nutritional quality of the American diet teil due to economie hardship. A doctor for the U.S. Department of Agriculture stated, "Surveys show that (the blame for) the worsening of diets lies in the choices being made - increased consumption of soft drinks and decreased consumption of milk; more snacks, less fruits and vegetables." It is clüiling to note that when the foregoing statistics were compiled, the US was an economically prosperous nat ion, and that income rose faster than food prices. This is not the case any more, and there is every reason to believe that the quality of the American diet will continue to deteriórate, significantly because of the continUing sugar take-over. Sugar's extensive impact on the body has only lately begun to emerge in research. The evidente linking it to tooth decay is irrefutable. Sugar has also been linked to obesity. chronic indigestión, rectal cáncer, hean disease and diabetes. Sugar's effects on the body will be explored in Part II óf this series, two SUNs from now. Part 11 will also include a'bomparative discussion concerning the relative merits of white sugar. brown sugar. and honey;and tips on how to cut down on sugar intake. So stay tuned. One fifth of the food we eat is sugar! From 1938 to 1958, world milk production increased 30%, meat and food grains 50%, but sugar production leaped 100%. This is amazing, especially considering that there is no physiological need for any sugar.