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Sugar Disinformation, Inc.

28 Jun

I decided that even though nobody reads this damn thing I would start posting again. Mostly because I found something interesting and I wanted to pass it along.

I’ve been looking at old issues of Life magazine and a lot of meta-aspects have popped out at me – these are things that readers at the time would not have noticed, like biases, hidden motivation (some of these are fascinating, as everybody was so much more naïve then that the editors could get away with murder), and just plain old spin. And I have a great example of the latter for you.

Here’s a full page ad extolling the virtues of sugar:

Sugar-L1030150-blog

And here is the text of the ad. I’ve reproduced the punctuation to retain the original’s emphasis.

The problem of fatigue in reducing diets

Why do so many people on diets feel tired…lose mental alertness?

Can energy stay up while pounds go down?

What kinds of food do you need to keep up your energy?

Recent scientific findings show how sugar can help you lose weight with less hunger-fatigue

Most people who diet want to do it fast.

Do it and get it over with, they say. In their zeal, they often fall prey to one or another of the bizarre, unbalanced “wonder” diets. Sometimes they eliminate all sugar, and slash many important foods to a level that wouldn’t satisfy the nutritional requirements of a small child.

Soon after, fatigue – both physical and mental fatigue – becomes a daily problem for them. Science says this is Nature flashing a red light.

Why Do You Get Tired?

Diet or no diet, energy is the first need of the body, even taking precedence over maintenance and repair. Whenever energy reserves fall, Nature signals to the mind and the body to slow down. The businessman keeps on driving himself, growing irritable and hard to please. The tired mother nags at her family, and often finds herself becoming unaccountably depressed over trifles.

It is no wonder these people keep dieting – and go back to their old eating habits.

Is there any real answer? Can you keep your energy level up while the pounds go down?

What To Do About It

The most authoritative thinking today says the best plan, if you want to control your weight, is to continue to eat a normal balance of foods – keep on eating the foods you have been accustomed to having. Don’t cut them out, simply cut down on the portions.

All foods have calories. Calories are the units of energy your body needs for every action, even breathing. However, in normal eating, about two-thirds of these energy calories are in the form of starches and sweets. Easy to understand why cutting out either of these foods can cause the body to send fatigue warnings.

How Sugar Helps

Easy to understand, too, why the newer reducing diets call for mid-morning of mid-afternoon “energy breaks” in the form of a sugar-sweetened beverage, or a cookie, or a piece of candy. These have been called “Scientific nibbles.”

The reason is simply that sugar supplies Nature’s “top-priority” calories. Ounce for ounce, no other food supplies energy so fast. (And, of course, calories consumed as energy can never be deposited as fat.)

Sugar can help you live with your diet in other important ways, too. It helps keep your appetite satisfied on less food. And it makes what you do eat more enjoyable.

The newer knowledge of nutrition now says there isn’t a basic dieting reason in the world why any normal, healthy person should have to use artificial, imitation sweeteners (with no energy value) instead of the natural sweetener, sugar.

These are the facts. In their light, why would anyone with a choice to make – particularly anyone on a reducing diet – shortchange himself on the sugar which supplies the vigor and quick energy his body needs?

18 CALORIES!

Surprise you that there are only 18 calories in a level teaspoon of sugar? (Some people we asked guessed as high as 600.) Every 7 1/2 minutes you’ll normally use up as many calories as you get in a teaspoonful of sugar.


Whew, after that I really feel like I want to talk to the people who wrote that ad. So I’m going to.


The problem of fatigue in reducing diets

Why do so many people on diets feel tired…lose mental alertness?

Can energy stay up while pounds go down?

Absolutely! Let me tell you about my low carb, high fat experiment.

What kinds of food do you need to keep up your energy?

That one is too easy. Give me another.

Recent scientific findings show how sugar can help you lose weight with less hunger-fatigue

What findings? I should take your word for this?

Most people who diet want to do it fast.

Certainly can’t argue with that.

Do it and get it over with, they say. In their zeal, they often fall prey to one or another of the bizarre, unbalanced “wonder” diets. Sometimes they eliminate all sugar, and slash many important foods to a level that wouldn’t satisfy the nutritional requirements of a small child.

God help us that we should want to eliminate all sugar; the horror! But it was thoughtful of you to lay the groundwork for the idea that that is a bad idea. (…is a bad idea…Echo answers, “Whatever.”) I suspect you’ll get back to this.

Soon after, fatigue – both physical and mental fatigue – becomes a daily problem for them. Science says this is Nature flashing a red light.

Hello, is this Science? Some idiot in Life Magazine says you say Nature is flashing a red light at me. Would you please knock it off? Both of you?

Why Do You Get Tired?

Diet or no diet, energy is the first need of the body, even taking precedence over maintenance and repair. Whenever energy reserves fall, Nature signals to the mind and the body to slow down. The businessman keeps on driving himself, growing irritable and hard to please. The tired mother nags at her family, and often finds herself becoming unaccountably depressed over trifles.

Because that’s what women do, right? They nag. And trifles depress them. Businessmen, on the other hand, drive.

It is no wonder these people keep dieting – and go back to their old eating habits.

Is there any real answer? Can you keep your energy level up while the pounds go down?

Absolutely! Let me tell you about my low carb, high fat experiment.

What To Do About It

The most authoritative thinking today says the best plan, if you want to control your weight, is to continue to eat a normal balance of foods – keep on eating the foods you have been accustomed to having. Don’t cut them out, simply cut down on the portions.

Whoops – APPEAL TO AUTHORITY fallacy. If it really is the most authoritative thinking today, would you mind attributing it to a person so I can see if I agree? Anyway, your point is…calorie restriction is the way to go, got it.

All foods have calories. Calories are the units of energy your body needs for every action, even breathing. However, in normal eating, about two-thirds of these energy calories are in the form of starches and sweets. Easy to understand why cutting out either of these foods can cause the body to send fatigue warnings.

Wait – you just said this: “in normal eating, about two-thirds of these energy calories are in the form of starches and sweets”. You wish! That would benefit your bottom line no end, wouldn’t it? Even in the Fifties people weren’t eating that way. The 80s, okay, after everybody got scared by the USDA and the FDA and the AHA and the ADA and all the other ‘ociations, in the 80s and beyond the carb levels went up, but on April 15, 1957, when this ad came out Americans were still eating fat and protein. Eisenhower’s heart attack hadn’t trickled down to the general population’s eating habits along with Ancel Keys’ terrifying prophecy; have to wait a couple of years for the latter to come along.

How Sugar Helps

Easy to understand, too, why the newer reducing diets call for mid-morning of mid-afternoon “energy breaks” in the form of a sugar-sweetened beverage, or a cookie, or a piece of candy. These have been called “Scientific nibbles.”

Hello, is this Science? Have you been calling them “Scientific nibbles” again? Would you please knock it off?

The reason is simply that sugar supplies Nature’s “top-priority” calories. Ounce for ounce, no other food supplies energy so fast. (And, of course, calories consumed as energy can never be deposited as fat.)

Head freezing from imaginary ice cream: “calories consumed as energy can never be deposited as fat”. I should have used capital letters! This would make a good lesson for Bart Simpson to scribble over and over again – it is certainly demonic enough to qualify for some sort of lie-in-your-face award. Note also that crystal meth actually supplies energy even faster than sugar. Must be good for ya, right? Speed is everything in nutrition.

Sugar can help you live with your diet in other important ways, too. It helps keep your appetite satisfied on less food. And it makes what you do eat more enjoyable.

So does cocaine. Of course, if you read Robert Lustig, you know that sugar actually satisfies every single quality necessary to fit the definition of addiction. Like cocaine. And crystal meth, come to think of it.

The newer knowledge of nutrition now says there isn’t a basic dieting reason in the world why any normal, healthy person should have to use artificial, imitation sweeteners (with no energy value) instead of the natural sweetener, sugar.

Again with the appeal to authority. Where, the Dude asks, does this new shit to which we are not privy come from? Whose “newer knowledge of nutrition” are we referring to here, anyway? Good effort to head off the Aspartame Menace, though.

These are the facts. In their light, why would anyone with a choice to make – particularly anyone on a reducing diet – shortchange himself on the sugar which supplies the vigor and quick energy his body needs?

“These are the facts.” Because you say so, and we can believe anything you say, right? Sorry, I didn’t see anything to support that. What if these aren’t the facts? Doesn’t that mean that the entire thrust of this pointy-headed advertisement is bogus? Whoops, sorry; not supposed to photograph the naked emperor.

18 CALORIES!

Surprise you that there are only 18 calories in a level teaspoon of sugar? (Some people we asked guessed as high as 600.) Every 7 1/2 minutes you’ll normally use up as many calories as you get in a teaspoonful of sugar.

It would surprise me very much that “some people we asked guessed as high as 600”. I’m guessing that a certain ad copy writer came up with that howler. Nice sugarbowl, though. And tell me again, how does that factoid about the 7 1/2 minutes apply to my life? Doesn’t it also mean that every 7 1/2 minutes when I don’t eat sugar I’m not adding 18 calories of blood glucose spiking, diabetes-inducing, inflammation-causing poison to my system? If the toxicity is in the dosage, then less is better, right?

Hello, is this Science? Somebody over at Sugar Information, Inc has been taking your name in vain. Would you please tell them to knock it off?

Update 6/29/14:

The Sugar Information, Inc. ad I ran was fun, but it turns out that a lot of people were aware of the series before I was. A simple Google search (which hadn’t occurred to me when I was looking at the old issue of Life) will pull up lots of ads from the company. So rather than run more of these I will leave it to the reader who wants to know more to learn more, but I will post this statement about Sugar Information, Inc. from Sourcewatch:

“The Sugar Research Foundation is the former name of the Sugar Association, and was founded by members of the U.S. sugar industry. It is a lobbying group for the sugar industry. The Sugar Research Foundation began in 1943 and was nominally dedicated to the scientific study of sugar’s role in food, as well as communication of that role to the public. The Association assumed its current name, the Sugar Association, in 1947. Initially, the Association had two divisions: Sugar Information, Inc. focused on public education and communication, and the Sugar Research Foundation developed and supported scientific research regarding sugar. The Research foundation changed its name to the World Sugar Research Organisation, Ltd., in 1968.” ( http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Sugar_Research_Foundation,_Inc.)

So now we know was behind this campaign (not that there seemed to be much doubt that it was done at the behest of the sugar industry), but there was more interesting material about food and nutrition in Life than Sugar Information, Inc. and I’ll be back with some of it.

SugarWillikers

 

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5 Comments

Posted by on June 28, 2014 in Health

 

Tags: , , ,

5 responses to “Sugar Disinformation, Inc.

  1. bh

    June 29, 2014 at 12:47 am

    I actually have read your stuff. I don’t comment on blogs much. Love your photography.

     
    • tyrannocaster

      June 29, 2014 at 11:54 am

      Thanks. One thing I have found is that since I started this blog I have been commenting on other people’s blogs a lot more, especially if it seems like they don’t get many comments. I also seem to be posting links to other sites more often for the same reason. For example, I just found this site, which I think is pretty interesting (if you care about overall health, primitive people, and/or oral issues anyway): http://thepaleohygienist.com/

      I’m glad you like the photos; I have fun doing them.

       
  2. Adele Hite, MPH RD

    June 29, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Just found your blog (Thanks tyrannocaster!). Great stuff. My background is in nutrition, but I’m now in a PhD program studying communication and rhetoric, and this stuff is right up my alley. Thanks!

     
    • tyrannocaster

      June 29, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      Thanks very much, Adele. I really enjoy your own blog, especially the nuts and bolts that you get into over there. I don’t have enough of a technical background to do that; my blog is much more kitchen sink than science digest, but I do find interesting things in the kitchen sink from time to time. Since my background is in media I tend to look out for things that connect to it, and I literally grew up in an advertising agency, so I guess it’s only natural for me to focus on that end of things.

      Adele’s blog is here: http://eathropology.com/

       
  3. bh

    June 30, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Thanks for the link. I will be following. It is one of my health issues left over from high carb and previous major sugar addiction.

     

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