Contributing Writer Essex Glowacki, ’21
In a world with so many dangers surrounding us, it’s unlikely to think that one of the deadliest of those dangers is something we eagerly consume everyday. However, heart disease remains the largest cause of death in America and there’s no greater cause of heart disease than sugar. Excess sugar consumption is a problem that affects the entire world, but is by far most prevalent in America. To put it into context, the World Health Organization recommends that an individual consumes no more than 25 grams of sugar a day. The United States is the leading consumer in sugar with an average consumption of 126.4 grams a day, 23.5 grams more than the next highest country. These may just sound like random numbers, but this substance is a serious threat to our nation’s people.
Sugar is a carbohydrate that has endless negative effects, most of them unaware by the average American. Some effects are small such as mood swings, headaches, fatigue, and anxiousness, but the effects start to increase in severity when they become long term. For example tooth decay, accelerated aging, and a weakened immune system are all direct effects of consuming more sugar than recommended. Although these effects are harmful, there are also effects of sugar that can be deadly. These consist of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, which are the 4th, 2nd, and 1st leading causes of death in the world, respectively. Our country’s consumption rates of sugar are literally killing us, yet it steadily rises year after year, and there’s two main reasons for this.
One reason is our society’s lack of education on proper nutrition. This can be resolved in our schooling. We go through school learning about Louis XVI, the Pythagorean Theorem, and the number of molecules in a mole, but never once touch upon the fact that the crystalline substance called sugar that we consume everyday is ruining our well being and decreasing our life span. A solution to this problem would be mandatory nutrition classes implemented into elementary and middle schools, not just one semester in high school. Manipulation by food manufacturers is another cause of sugar overconsumption. More sugar has been put into what we eat and drink, but has been given different names as a way to confuse the customer. There are over 61 unique names for sugar, and the FDA allows this. Also, the government is afraid to enforce laws due to the lobbyists in Washington D.C. who support manufacturers of sugar. We need a president who will take a stand to defeat the food industry’s greedy actions that are killing our citizens. Only then, will we be able to eliminate the hidden cost of sugar.
- Diep, Francie. “How Sugar Lobbying Influenced U.S. Government-Funded Research.” Pacific Standard, 10 Mar. 2015.
- Guthrie, Catherine, et al. “61 Names for Sugar.” Experience Life, 14 Oct. 2019.
- “Hidden in Plain Sight.” SugarScience.UCSF.edu.
- O’Connor, Anahad. “Website Explores Sugar’s Effects on Health.” The New York Times, 12 Nov. 2014.
- Pariona, Amber. “Countries That Eat the Most Sugar.” WorldAtlas, 4 July 2016.
- “Sugar Consumption Plays Greater Role in Heart Disease than Saturated Fat.” ScienceDaily, 13 Jan. 2016.