In the 1960s, according to the JAMA Internal Medicine, the Sugar Industry became aware of possible links of sugar to coronary heart disease and worried about what such news would do to the sugar business. According to NPR, internal documents show that an industry group called the Sugar Research Foundation wanted to “refute” concerns about sugar’s possible role in heart disease. The SRF then sponsored research by Harvard scientists that did just that. The rebuttable research — blaming heart disease on carbohydrates instead of sugar — was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1967, with no disclosure of the sugar industry’s funding. Subsequently, as NPR notes, various studies linking high rates of sugar consumption to heart disease that otherwise had legitimacy were rejected by Harvard scientists with the help of the U.S. Sugar Industry.
As Eric Scott Pickard notes, the study’s authors also establish a timeline which they claim shows premeditation and motive for the Sugar Research Foundation, namely, to increase profits. In 1954, the then president of the Sugar Research Foundation pointed out that by encouraging the American public to cut fats from their diet, they would replace those lost carbohydrates with sugar. He estimated that American sugar consumption would rise by as much as one-third.
Last year, an article in the New York Times, revealed that Coca-Cola, the world’s largest producer of sugary beverages, had provided millions of dollars in funding to researchers who sought to play down the link between sugary drinks and obesity. In June, The Associated Press reported that candy makers were funding studies that claimed that children who eat candy tend to weigh less than those who do not.
Our Taxpayer Dollars Subsidize The Sugar Industry
Since the 1930s, the U.S. government has provided very lucrative financial subsidies and support to the U.S. Sugar Industry. According to The National Review:
“The federal sugar program, which consists of price supports, import quotas, loan guarantees, and other anti-market contrivances, costs $1.9 billion annually, according to an estimate by the GAO. The Coalition for Sugar Reform, which advocates the repeal of sugar subsidies, says the program has cost $15 billion since 2008. American consumers must bear these costs for the privilege of buying sugar at more than twice the world rate. The benefits, meanwhile, accrue to the fewer than 4,500 domestic sugar producers.”
Many people are now calling for an end of the U.S. Sugar Program, even conservative groups like Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), according to ATR, the current U.S. Sugar Program:
- Has cost taxpayers billions of dollar.
- Makes American consumers pay an artificially higher price for sugar.
- Supports “Crony Capitalism” at its worst.
- Destroys thousands of American jobs annually.
- Harms U.S. businesses.
Sugar is harmful to humans. It is a major contributing factor to diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity, among others. That the Sugar Industry is funded by U.S. taxpayer dollars is a prime example of how U.S. food policy is misguided to the point that it harms our citizens for the economic interests of a few.