Saturday, May 31, 2014

What's the matter with sugar? It is the tobacco of the 21st century … by gimleteye

A confluence of factors is creating the strongest backlash against sugar in modern history. Environmentalists in their Florida silos never thought they would see the day, and even now may not understand the opportunity they are seeing.

Fighting to restore the Everglades against predatory practices of Big Sugar and its dominance of politics, environmentalists are swept up in a movement that is far larger than they imagined even a few years ago.

Naturally Big Sugar is pushing back. This week, Michelle Obama -- whose "Let's Move!" initiative to tame the childhood obesity epidemic -- lashed out against Congress and Republicans who are fighting against changes in nutritional standards that would require healthier diets and meals in school classrooms.

Although the popular First Lady has built considerable clout through "Let's Move!", up until now the White House has restrained her from the political turmoil involving sugar in Americans' diet.

It is not hard to understand, why. Sugar, as a matter of history, has always been a highly protected industry. But the Obama's only have two years in the White House. The end of the presidency is in sight, and since the GOP is on the side of helping corporations poison children -- through excess consumption of sugar -- why not fight?

It's a good fight, starting here: the GOP is waging war against Obamacare by making sure that people have the right to be sicker. And sicker, they most certainly are in the United States.

Or, here: since corporations have the same rights as people (thanks to the Bush Supreme Court), and since people have the right to bear arms wherever and whenever they want, corporations have the same right -- metaphorically speaking -- to hold a gun to the head of consumers with respect to sugar consumption, as though it is the consumers' choice whether or not to pull the trigger or not.

The very idea that government should have authority to remove the gun -- sugar -- from the heads of taxpayers seems a shocking idea to Republicans.

Growing sugarcane has always demanded the complicity of elected officials. In Florida, abundant rainfall and vast, fertile acreage required one one further ingredient: the willingness of the state legislature and local county commissions to prioritize water management to the industry's benefit. In that simple statement is hidden billions of dollars in taxpayer investment on behalf of sugar barons who are among the wealthiest corporate farmers in the world.

The influence of sugar, too, is the backdrop for the greatest political drama in Florida's modern history, unfolding in a Tallahassee courtroom where the judiciary has been asked by the people to enforce a constitutional amendment, called Fair Districts.

Where libraries and budgets for school programs go begging, Florida Republicans have commandeered tens of millions in taxpayer dollars to fight against the will of the people. Big Sugar wants the status quo. Its interests match gerrymandered Congressional districts as neatly as two sugar cubes stacked one on top of the other.

There is too much evidence that sugar poisons like tobacco. The tide is shifting against those who would impose this form of taxation without representation: a tax on public health, on democracy, and the environment.


Geniusofdespair said...

I love sugar. I am addicted. I admit it. I could eat it for 3 meals a day. Where can I go for help?

Wolfram Alderson said...

Start with knowledge. Read Fat Chance by Dr. Robert Lustig and Why Diets Fail by Dr. Nicole Avena.

Anonymous said...

Once you have restricted your sugar use, everything tastes overly sweet. There's a point in which what you think you can't eat becomes what you don't want. The other side - fresh and home cooked - turns into what you crave. When you allow a factory to create your food, you are being fed the cheapest ingredients to maximize the company's profits.

Anonymous said...

The case for treating sugar like a drug