This is part one of a two-part story on how the sugar industry has affected America’s health in the last 50 years.
We are approaching the 50th anniversary of one of the biggest cons in medicine.
The Journal of the American Medical Association documented how the sugar industry bought off scientists and public health officials to put the blame of America’s rising rate of heart disease on fat and not sugar.
And to make it worse, in 1965 Big Sugar paid off America’s top medical journal, The New England Journal of Medicine to discount the link between sugar and blood lipid levels, hence making it blameless in heart disease.
This is not a big secret; The Journal of the American Medical Association reported this revelation in November 2016.
Today nearly every major medical organization has backed down on the pass they used to give sugar as a cause of heart disease.
But they don’t make as big a deal about it as they do with their continued vilification of dietary fat as a cause.
This is actually crucial because America’s diet was remarkably changed based on this. The push for high grain, low fat actually preceded America’s obesity epidemic.
People forget what the world was like back in the 1950s and ‘60s. Americans ate less sugar, enjoyed more saturated fat than now, but only ate 3 meals a day if that many. There were no bagels at breakfast meetings, and certainly no fruit.
But what was happening was a new push by the food industry to get people to eat cereal for breakfast, and knowing busy adults were unlikely to eat cereal on their way out the door, high sugar powders like Carnation’s brand Instant Breakfast started to be pushed as a “healthy substitute for eggs and bacon.”
Dr. Ancel Key’s worked hard to discount any link to anything that was not saturated fat as a cause of heart disease.
And in the late 1950s Americans were getting scared of heart attacks. President Eisenhower suffered a heart attack while in office and his doctor was one of America’s premier cardiac surgeons and he blamed fat.
This was before the Surgeon General’s report on smoking, and nearly half of American adults smoked.
There seemed to be a perfect storm. Processed sugar was being pushed in cereals and breakfast foods, fewer people were eating filling meals with dietary fats and many people were smoking.
As expected, as people stopped smoking the rate of fatal heart attacks started to decrease, and there were also many breakthroughs in the treatment of coronary disease (for instance the first commercial pacemaker was introduced in 1965). As a result, deaths by heart attack dropped and Keys saw this as vindication that his theory was correct.
But sugar and carbohydrate consumption continued to climb. Cheaper corn syrup began to put more sucrose in the American diet.
So, while death from coronaries dropped in the US, the number of people with heart disease continued to climb, as well as Type II diabetes and obesity.
They then surprised research in England that showed a link between sucrose and certain cancers. This revelation was disclosed in 2017 which will be discussed in part 2.