Thursday, 2 February 2012

First They Came for My Sugar Crisp...

Tip of the hat to Reason magazine, who alerted me to the latest bit of creeping soft socialism masquerading as medical science.  It seems that a researcher at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) has completed a "study," and published it in the respected journal Nature, in which she has identified sugar as a toxic additive that must be closely controlled through government action. 


In her report titled "The Toxic Truth About Sugar" (I'm not making that up), Laura Schmidt, in collaboration with UCSF endocrinologist Robert Lustig, argue that as a society, we need protection from "the health harms of sugar," much in the same we we are 'protected' from similar threats represented by booze.

Professor Schmidt describes herself as a "Medical Sociologist," which is in and of itself a bit odd.  But in reading her arguments to CNN, she makes the following claim as one of the central pillars of her point:
More people on the planet Earth are dying from chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes than anything else. This is even true for developing countries that have turned a critical page on health: People in those countries are now more likely to die from the "diseases of affluence" than from the "diseases of poverty" like malaria and cholera. Major risk factors in chronic disease, of course, are alcohol, tobacco and junk food consumption.
(emphasis added).

Now, I know the epidemiological data around obesity, particularly in the U.S., and do not deny that too many Americans - and an alarming number of children - are fat.  Type 2 diabetes is a large and growing threat.

But one logical conclusion of the highlighted text above implies is that as fewer people in poor countries die of illness based in poverty, they ought to live forever.  It's a denial of the reality that we are all going to die at some point of something.  Even busybody researchers at UCSF.  

The "solutions" that Dr Schmidt advocates are not at all surprising to me, having lived most of my adult life in the San Francisco Bay Area, the world's epicentre of aggressive, nanny state junk science.  Sugar must be taxed and regulated, in her own words, "taxing products, setting age limits and promoting healthier versions of the product."  Mixed in is the all-too-familiar "corporations are the root of all evil" meme, blaming corporate marketing for limiting our ability to make "good choices" about food.

Not once is it mentioned that what's in a lot of these products is not, in fact, traditional "sugar," but rather, high fructose corn syrup, something that is a DIRECT consequence of government meddling.  The annual "Farm Bill," and USDA budgets (talk about the morbidly obese) provide generous, market-distorting subsidy for corn production.  

Perhaps a start would be to STOP using tax-payer funds to alter basic free market dynamics?  

I'm old enough to remember not only Sugar Crisp cereal (when "sugar" was not a dirty word), but Sugar Smacks as well.

Sugar SmacksSugar Smacks Sliding Puzzle Box
Also on The Hit List?

I'm also old enough to remember a time when parents actually lived up to their obligations of controlling what came into their homes, and how much of it their kids could eat.

A time when my parents - and not an increasingly intrusive government - said "No."

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