¡No te pierdas nada!

Recibe los últimos post y contenido exclusivo en tu correo. Nada de spam. Prometido.

Sugar industry: The chronology of a hoax

Estimated reading time: 4 minute(s)

To become aware about the true history of sugar and the great media campaign that was orchestrated, in order to ensure its mass consumption, and allowing it to be present in more than 74% of the products we consume daily; this post is well worth the read. In this article we will be exploring a plot financed by the sugar industry, in which evidence on the relationship between sugar consumption and cardiovascular diseases, obesity and type II diabetes was hidden. A conspiracy with which fats were unfairly blamed for being the cause of these conditions, and with which sugar was absolved of all blame.

This chronological summary of how this deception was managed will open our eyes on how in some sectors and companies economic interests prevail more than those of the society they claim to serve. Where industry, health authorities and rulers have been participants in this hoax for the past 70 years .

Timeline of sugar deception.

1900: Suspicions about sugar begin.

  • Scientists and authorities begin to believe that behind the increase in diabetes is the consumption of sugar by observing the low incidence it has in societies and communities wherein it is hardly present.


The 20s: Diabetes cases multiply coinciding with the increase in sugar consumption.

  • In 1924, Haven Emerson, director of the Institute of Public Health at Columbia University, notes that cases of diabetes in New York multiplied by 15, coinciding with the increase in sugar consumption.

40s: Sugar consumption is halved in the US.

  • The authorities take excessive sugar consumption seriously and launch an awareness campaign to reduce it. For this reason, its consumption was reduced by half, down to about 10 kg per person, per year.
  • This decrease in sugar consumption worried the sugar industry quite a bit, and a year later it created the Sugar Research Foundation, whose mission was to study the positive effects of sugar in a diet and publicize its research.

50s: Advertising campaigns begin: sugar «as the healthiest food».

En los años 50 la industria del azúcar realizaba anuncios para colocar al azúcar como el alimento más sano

60s: Ancel Keys, gains relevance.

Angel Keys en la portada de la revista TIME

  • Thanks to the support of the sugar lobby, Ancel Keys gained relevance inside and outside the scientific community by becoming a media personality.
  • In turn, John Yudkin, the most important nutritionist in the United Kingdom, initiated a series of experiments and research, to understand the real incidence of sugar consumption.

70s: The industry gets white card in the use of sugar.

It was one of the most important decades to understand how we have reached this situation. A decade in which many things happened and almost all bad:

  • Ancel Keys publishes the first results of his study that, of course, blames fats for all evils, a study that time will prove biased. Keys leverages the study’s popularity to attack John Yudkin hard and his suspicions about sugar.
  • Yudkin publishes the results of his studies pointing to sugar as the main cause of cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes. Its low popularity due to the attacks received from Keys ensures that no one pays attention to its conclusions.
  • Studies are still emerging that warn of sugar consumption and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) begins to worry.La Sugar Association promocionando el azúcar - años 70
  • The Sugar Associationdecides to hire a public relations company to try to silence the new doubts against sugar. Their first action: hire the founder of the Department of Nutrition of the Harvard School of Public Health to write a white paper in favor of sugar consumption. 25,000 copies were distributed among journalists with a note that said: “Scientists dissipate fears about sugar.”
  • They publish various advertisements promoting the health of sugar.
  • In addition, attacks by “sponsored” eminencies directly contracted by the Sugar Association continue to oppose the few who continue to argue against sugar.
  • Given the debate that was taking place, the FDA(Food and Drug Administration) was forced to review the effects that sugar had on health, but commissioned the study from an expert committee led by the sugar lobby. As expected, they concluded that it was notLa Asociación del azúcar recoge el "Oscar de as relaciones públicas" en 1976
  • They found evidence against the consumption of sugar and included this ingredient in the American list of substances good for consumption. Thus they had a carte blanche to dictate the amount of “healthy sugar consumption”.
  • The Sugar Association and its agency win the “Oscar for Public Relations” for their excellent work “forging public opinion.” Incredible but true.

80s: Sugar is exempt from all guilt.

Portada de la revista TIME contra las grasas en 1984

  • Campaigns begin to take effect and low-fat diets devastate the world. Even Time magazine published on the cover a frontal attack on fat. Meanwhile, obesity affects 14% of the US populationand cardiovascular diseases grow rapidly. Sugar consumption reaches 34 Kg per person a year.
  • The USDA, despite the fact that its Nutrition and Carbohydrates Laboratory indicates otherwise, with the help of a former Sugar Association spokesperson, maintains its recommendation that “consuming a lot of sugar does not cause diabetes.”
  • Finally, the FDA publishes a report that points out the lack of agreement of the scientific community about the adequate amount of sugar. This report was considered the definitive sugar exoneration.

In 2000: Sugar consumption and related diseases soar.

  • In 2000, the consumption of sugar in the US reaches 54 kg per person per yearand obesity stands at 33%. In the rest of the world it is 16%.
  • In 2002, an article by Gary Taubes in The New York Times uncovers some of the practices of the sugar industry and studies commissioned: “What if everything was a big, fat lie?”.
  • A year later, WHO (World Health Organization) intends to recommend for the first time that sugar consumption does not exceed 10% of total calorie intake. Pressure from the sugar lobby gets them to withdraw that recommendation.

Recent years: The truth about sugar begins to uncover

El azúcar mata. Portada de la revista Mother Jones en el 2012

  • Cristin Kearns discovered by chance secret documents of the Sugar Industry in which its campaigns, lies and deceptions are collected since the 1970s. She contacted Gary Taubes, and together they published the whole truth in Mother Jones magazine.
  • The official Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) publishes an influential study linking sugar consumption to the risk of death from cardiovascular diseases40 years after Yudkin did. It seems that the world begins to listen.
  • Finally, WHO publishes its recommendation on sugar consumption. Saying, never to exceed 10% of the total calories ingested and recommended staying below 5%. Insufficient, but it is another step.
  • Even so, in this decade, the number of obese people in the world exceeds the undernourished population.

At present, the primary victims are adults. More than 50% of adults suffer from obesity and it is estimated that there are more than 2,200 million overweight people in the world.

The good news is that we are waking up. With each passing day, more and more people are joining the wave of change that I hope will become unstoppable. It isn’t too late to change these figures and change the world, since we are increasingly more aware that it is in our hands to feed ourselves in a healthy way and not as we have been sold .

If you liked this article, you will surely like ” Change what you eat and you will change the world” . In this book, we reveal in detail this great deception. We also explain how beneficial fats are, the problem of eating carbohydrates and a series of delicious healthy recipes that will undoubtedly help you take control of your diet.

We’ll  also leave you with a couple of articles related to sugar in case you want to delve deeper:

Post author

Leave me a comment and we chat

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

sígueme en Instagram