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  • Joan Rothchild Hardin

Sugar Is Us

The USDA published its first nutrition guidelines in 1894 as a farmer’s bulletin. It recommended consuming a variety of nutrient-rich foods in proportion and moderation while lowering levels of fat, sugar, and starch intake.  (Wikipedia, 2015) Food Guides in the US 1894 -1920’s

A few of the United States’ earliest food guides, left to right: W. O. Atwater’s Food: Nutritive Value and Cost (1894), Caroline Hunt’s Food For Young Children (1916), Helen Atwater and Caroline Hunt’s How to Select Foods (1917) In 1894, people were mostly eating REAL FOOD – there were no fast food franchises, highly processed foods, energy bars, sugar-filled carbonated soft drinks, genetically modified foods, factory farmed animals pumped full of antibiotics and fed GMO grains.

In the late 1970’s, the USDA nutritional guidelines reflected the new “low fat revolution”, urging Americans to reduce their intake of saturated fats and cholesterol – that is, to eat fewer traditionally healthy foods like eggs, butter, meat, and full-fat dairy. We now know that advice was seriously misguided and has been driving some of the world’s leading health threats – including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.  (Gunnars, 2014) The food industry responded to the new low fat guidelines by creating a slew of low fat “health foods”. Unfortunately, removing the fat from food also takes away its taste. So the industry replaced the missing fat with sugar. If you eat processed or fast foods and/or drink sodas or juice drinks, you’re consuming massive amounts of sugar in various forms. Dr Stephan Guyenet, a neurobiologist and obesity researcher, says, “In the year 1822 we ate the equivalent of a 12 ounce can of soda every 5 days. Today, we’re eating the equivalent of a 12 ounce can of soda every 7 hours.”