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Sugar: The Great White Menace

The American Heart Association has named over-consumption of sugar as a factor in one's risk of acquiring heart disease, Scott Hensley reports today on NPR's Health blog. The AHA's link between heart disease and sugar is calories. Americans consume 150-300 more calories per day than they did 30 years ago, and the AHA reasons much of that is from sugar. More calories without more exercise means weight gain, which likely means heart disease and other problems.

Reporter Bruce Gellerman filed a story in 1985 (ok, only 25 years ago) on America's sugar habits. Gellerman asks people on the street if they know how much sugar is in a single can of Coca-Cola. Many take a guess, but no one knows. And there's a reason they don't know: the quantity of the ingredients was not required to be printed on the can.

In the following report Bonnie Liebman of the Center for Science in the Public Interest says that food companies do not want to disclose the nutritional content of their products. Changes mandated by the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 have made it so this disclosure is no longer an option, and yet the AHA finds we are eating more sugar than ever!

Fun project: while listening to this report, make a list of all the bits of health wisdom that have changed since 1985. You can start with the notion that tooth decay is the number one reason we should be concerned about sugar intake.


from March 27, 1985 Morning Edition

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