Sugar: Protect the Youth!

Rise of Sugar Raises Questions, by Joey Emil Blum 

In a recent blue paper, the National Academy of Nutritional Sciences addressed the rise of sugar consumption in the United States.  “Main-street America’s food supply is changing rapidly with sugar distribution outlets leading the charge. It seems like every town now has a “Candy” store and a “Bakery,” the terms preferred by sugar industrialists to the previously described, Sugar Dispensaries.

Though initially confined to medical administration in certified professional offices, sugar is now available in all fifty states and US territories. Outlets called, Bakeries and Pastry shops are proliferating alongside more traditional retail outlets for food, sex, and other drugs. Edible sugar is making its appearance in traditional grocery outlets in a myriad of products enticing consumers with names like apple pie, maple bars, cake, cookies, snickerdoodles, bars, hard candy, chocolate, jellies, jams, sparkles, fireballs, ice cream, spreads, preserves, leathers, pudding, sundaes, as well as a growing number of trade named sugar delivery systems directed at youth. Sugar researcher Leslie Green, of Tufts Medical School, said the sugar industry is targeting youth with a wide variety of sugar products with playful names like M and M’s, Junior Mints, Reese’s Pieces, Cherry Garcia, Almond Joy, Licorice, Butterfingers, Pepsi, Coke, Chocolate chips and scores of other child-centered products. Green, who has studied the effects of sugar on children for sixteen years, said in a somber tone, “We feel defenseless against the onslaught of sugar, and hope the public will navigate the health and social impacts of this emerging dietary staple.”

While research raises alarms about sugar’s role the rise in diabetes, heart disease, and obesity-related conditions, the sugar industry is showing meteoric growth. In their January Emerging Industries issue, Forbes said there are over two hundred individual conglomerates selling a new, super-potent sugar product called Donuts, though the lasting health effects of this product remain unclear. The public’s insatiable desire for sugar is pushing demand to unprecedented levels, a trend that analysts expect will increase rapidly.

As concerns about the medical safety of sugar surface, studies evaluating the effect of sugar on human health are proliferating. Industry spokespersons have strongly denied sugar poses any health risk to the public. Dole Sugar Corporation, Vice President Cole Aspenard, who serves as Chairman of the Sugar Board of America, said, “Sugar is God’s ways of bringing a smile to the world.” Asked to comment on health questions about sugar, Aspenard declared, “Attacking sugar is attacking America.”

Additional concerns about sugar consumption raise questions about the product’s effect on youth. The National Association of Teachers issued the results of a poll conducted of the nation’s classrooms, where teachers overwhelmingly declared sugar slows the mental ability of students and increases jittery behavior. Bianca White, the President of Venezuela Sugar Company, speaking from her company’s US headquarters in Miami, Florida said more study is needed but that, “Sugar has less influence on the behavior of a child’s ability than the sweet and life-giving molecules of air that they breathe.”

Even with health concerns mounting, it may be too late to derail governmental hunger for a new source of revenue. Presently, state taxation of sugar averages %15 at the supply level, but with municipalities like Seattle and Louisville, levying local sugar taxes of 10% at the retail level, we should expect similar actions by other revenue dependent municipalities. RBC governmental revenue specialist, Lindgar Jensen, who tracks emerging commodity markets for the financial giant, said, “Historically, the infusion of tax revenue acts as a de-facto barrier about understanding unintended consequences of new foods or medicines. Lindgar, who serves on The United Nations Council of Global Nutrition warns, “Per capita consumption of sugar is driving a rosy economic picture for those benefitting from it.” Shrugging his shoulders, Lindgar said, Sugar is here to stay.”