The Secrets of Sugar – the fifth estate

The Secrets of Sugar – the fifth estate

July 21, 2019 100 By William Morgan


(♪♪♪)
>>Gillian: It’s sweet.
It’s seductive.
Is it deadly?
Tonight the dangers of sugar.
>>I think that sugar is a
main contributing factor.
>>Gillian: Serious new
warnings from serious people.
>>The more I learn about it,
the more it scares me.
>>Gillian: Also tonight, what
the sugar industry has tried
to hide.
>>Strategies that I thought
the tobacco companies made up
back in the 50’s, actually
some of those, the sugar
people had done even before
that.
(♪♪♪)
>>Gillian: When the Breedon
family goes shopping, like
most Canadians, they try to
buy healthy.
>>Let’s go…
Up, up, up.
>>Gillian: But, like most
Canadians, they don’t always
succeed.
They’re busy.
Meals have to be quick.
And then there’s keeping the
kids happy.
>>It’s either Lucky Charms or
the Mini Wheat Chocolate?
>>No I want the Lucky Ones.
>>Okay, Lucky Charms?
Okay.
>>You want one that looks
like half a moon or you want
one that looks like a full…
>>Gillian: A lot of what they
eat is processed.
They assume it’s nutritious
but they’ve never paid much
attention to what’s in the
food they buy, have no idea
how much sugar is hidden in
it.
>>All right, guys, I want you
To kind of start by telling me
a little bit about some of the
groceries that you got today.
>>Gillian: Registered
dietician Jacelyn Pritchard is
about to help them figure it
out.
>>Have you guys ever taken a
look at any of the nutrition
labels or really paid
attention…
>>The label on this Nesquick
cereal says there are 10 grams
of sugar in 3/4 of a cup.
But who ever just eats 3/4 of
a cup?
>>How many of those would go
into your bowl to make up your
bowl of cereal?
>>For me?
Um…I’d say probably like 8
or 9.
>>8?
Okay.
>>Gillian: That’s a lot of
cereal….and as Jonathon
Breedon is about to find out,
an awful lot of added sugar.
>>So in your serving of
cereal of about 8 of these
servings, you’re looking at
about 20 teaspoons of sugar
added.
Of non-nutritional value.
>>That’s a lot.
>>Yeah.
>>Gillian: So let’s start at
the beginning.
What do we mean when we say
sugar?
Well, whether it’s the white
stuff you bake with, or the
brown stuff you sprinkle on
your oatmeal, whether it’s
honey, molasses, syrup, maybe
the high fructose corn syrup
you’ve heard of.
There’s a lot of that in
things like pop, chemically
it’s all pretty much the same
thing.
And we do consume a lot.
On average in this country, 26
teaspoons of sugar per person,
per day.
That’s 40 kilos a year, the
equivalent of 20 bags.
It’s what sweetens the products
and spikes the profits of some
of the most powerful,
and familiar companies in
the world.
The food industry is one of
the biggest manufacturers in
North America, nearly a
trillion dollars in sales
every year, and it couldn’t do
it without sugar.
(♪♪♪)
>>Sugar is one of the essential
basic ingredients used in 99%
of the processed foods out
there.
>>Gillian: Former industry
executive Bruce Bradley has
worked for some of North
America’s biggest food
companies.
>>It’s something that can
drive a lot of taste in the
products and a lot of appeal
for consumers, so it’s one of
the basic building blocks.
>>Gillian: And make no
mistake, the amount of sugar
in our food is no accident.
The food industry goes to
great lengths to figure out
what makes us crave a
product — the exact
combination of ingredients it
calls the “bliss point.”
>>You know everybody asks
what is the bliss point?
Dr. Howard Moskowitz, he’s a
long time food industry
consultant, known as Dr. Bliss.
>>The best way I can do it is
to give you an example.
Do you drink coffee with sugar
or with milk?
>>Gillian: With milk.
>>So if you add more and more
milk you like it more and more
up to a certain point where
you like it the most and then
add a little bit more milk,
and you say oh, it’s too milky
and my gosh, and add a lot
more milk and it’s horrid.
So it’s Goldilocks, it’s the
middle, it’s the best one.
It’s the level where you like
the product the most.
>>Gillian: A Harvard trained
mathematician Moskowitz uses
models to test people’s
reactions to different
versions of a product.
Once he’s found the bliss
point, the product hits the
shelves.
From soda pop to spaghetti
sauce, his magic makes money.
>>Everybody wants to sell
just a bit more.
How do you get that immediate
increase in acceptance?
Those in the know realize you
can add a little sugar.
>>Gillian: A little?
The first thing to know is
that 4 grams of sugar is one
teaspoon.
So with that in mind, let’s
look at some products.
It’s no surprise Coca Cola has
a lot of sugar.
40 grams a can.
That’s 10 teaspoons.
But much of the sugar we eat
is hidden in foods we don’t
necessarily think of as sweet.
This oatmeal, 3 and 3/4
teaspoons of sugar a bowl.
This vanilla flavoured yogourt,
nearly 5 teaspoons in just
half a cup.
You can find sugar added to
bread, soup, all kinds of
condiments.
Hot dogs.
This chicken dinner, labelled
Healthy Choice, has
5-and-a-half teaspoons of
sugar in every serving.
Is this the result?
There’s no question as our
consumption of sugars has
grown so have our bodies.
Canada doesn’t keep good
statistics so we’ve used
American ones.
And those stats raise the
troubling question: Are we
changing our evolutionary
shape.
Here’s the line showing our
sugar consumption for the last
50 years.
Here’s the number of people
who’ve become overweight and
obese.
Now look at this line, it’s
for cases of type 2 diabetes.
And this one, diseases of the
heart.
Back in the ’80s and ’90s we
used to blame a lot of those
problems on dietary fat.
But then we started taking fat
out of our foods.
Did the incidence of disease
go down?
No.
So that got a lot of doctors
and nutritionists asking why.
The answer, according to an
increasingly vocal group,
is sugar.
>>Which was worse, the sugar
or the fat?
The sugar a 1000 times over.
>>Gillian: Robert Lustig,
doctor, author, medical
professor, and one of the
leaders of the anti-sugar
campaign.
>>The fact is, our food
supply has been altered and
adulterated under our very
noses and in plain sight over
the past 30 years.
>>Gillian: In addition to
treating obese kids Lustig is
a YouTube sensation.
His lecture on sugar has been
seen by nearly 4 million
people around the world.
And he doesn’t pull his
punches.
>>The fat’s going down, the
sugar’s going up and we’re all
getting sick.
>>Gillian: You use words, you
use poison, you use toxic.
>>Certainly I use those words
and I mean them, this is not a
hyperbole, this is the real
deal.
Everyone thinks that the bad
effects of sugar are because
sugar has empty calories.
What I’m saying is no,
actually there are lots of
things that do have empty
calories that are not
necessarily poisons.
>>Gillian: Poisonous, he says,
because of what too much
sugar does in our body.
So let’s take a look at that.
Sugar is made up of two
molecules: One called glucose,
here in blue, the other
fructose, in red.
When they separate in our gut,
the glucose circulates
throughout our body feeding
our muscles and our brain…
but the fructose goes right to
our liver.
And its in the liver where all
kinds of problems begin.
>>When you metabolize
fructose in excess, your liver
has no choice but to turn that
energy into liver fat, and
that liver fat then causes all
of the downstream metabolic
diseases.
>>Gillian: We’ll tell you
more about those diseases in a
moment.
But first let’s talk about
your brain.
Too much fructose, says
Lustig, shuts down the part of
your brain that tells you when
you’re full.
>>It doesn’t get registered
by the brain as you’re having
eaten.
So, if you take a kid and prep
him with a soft drink and then
let him loose at the fast food
restaurant, does he eat less
or does he eat more?
Turns out he eats more.
>>I think there’s a long way
to go before, um, the
literature is sorted out.
>>Gillian: Phyllis Tanaka
speaks for the biggest food
companies in Canada.
She doesn’t buy Dr. Lustig’s
theories and doesn’t think
consumers should either.
I think it’s more important
that we step back and look at
how do we look for ways to
educate and help consumers fit
sugar into a healthy dietary
pattern.
>>Gillian: But the industry
sure doesn’t make it easy.
Look at this breakfast bar.
There’s sugar near the top of
the ingredient list.
But there’s four more
sweeteners.
Did you know that chemically
they’re all the same?
Then there’s this tomato soup.
who knew it would have added
sugars too?
How is a consumer supposed to
know that healthy, old, tomato
soup has three-and-a-half
teaspoons of sugar in a cup?
>>Well, how did you figure it
out?
By the nutrition facts table.
>>Gillian: I figured that out
because I’ve spent a lot of
time recently learning about
what a gram of sugar is and
how to read these labels.
Do you think most people know
how to do that?
>>In the last couple of
years, we engaged with Health
Canada on a campaign called
the nutrition facts education
campaign in large part as a
commitment to help Canadians
understand how to go into the
grocery store and make
informed choices.
>>Gillian: But surely there
is a way to warn people who
might be interested in this
that a cup of this, of this
soup, brings you
three-and-a-half teaspoons of
sugar.
>>To what end though?
>>Gillian: Well, if they have
decided that as part of their
healthy diet they want to eat
less sugar.
>>Well, let me see.
Then they would use this same
label.
>>Gillian: The only
information on the label is 14
grams of sugar in half a cup.
Do you know what that means?
You shouldn’t have to be a
dietitian to figure out how
much added sugar you’re
eating, but it helps.
Jaclyn Pritchard has added up
all the sugar Jonathon eats in
a week.
It’s pretty scary.
>>This is your week’s worth
of sugar intake then.
So this is equivalent to 245
teaspoons of sugar.
>>That’s a lot of sugar.
>>Gillian: When we come
back, what all that excess
sugar might be leading to.
(♪♪♪)
(♪♪♪)
>>That’s two grams of sugar.
>>Gillian: Having discovered
just how much sugar is in
their food, the Breedon family
is on a purge.
>>Okay, the Kraft Zesty
Italian has one gram of sugar
in this one…
>>Gillian: They’re still
surprised at the kinds of
Products that contain sugar.
But they’re also determined,
all of it, out it goes.
Of course, they still have
to eat.
So to help them learn about
life beyond processed foods,
we’ve made them a deal.
For three weeks we’ll provide
all of their meals
professionally made without
any added sugar.
They’ll stick to the diet and
submit to medical tests.
>>Lucky Charms ain’t so lucky
any more.
>>Gillian: They’re only in
their mid-twenties but
according to medical standards
both Jonathon and Anna are
technically obese.
Five-year-old Ruby is hovering
on the edge.
We started our experiment by
having their blood
tested and analyzed by
obesity specialist, Dr. Dan
Flanders.
The family, he says, is
heading for trouble.
>>Looking at these results,
I would say that I’m very
concerned.
Quite frankly, if they don’t
make meaningful change to
their lifestyle relatively
soon, there’s a higher chance
that they’re heading for a
life of lousy quality of life
and early death.
>>Gillian: Like most of us,
getting fatter and sicker,
the Breedon’s might be
forgiven their nutritional
ignorance.
But the food industry has
known, and discussed, links
between processed food and
disease for decades.
It was Minneapolis.
1999.
Obesity was only an emerging
problem back then, when the
heads of America’s biggest
food companies arrived for a
rare meeting.
Among them, the heads of
Kraft, Nabisco, Nestle,
Coca-Cola and General Mills.
>>These are executives, who
normally are fighting each
other for space on the grocery
store.
They don’t get together
very often.
But, in ’99, they got together
to talk about obesity.
>>Gillian: Reporter and
author Michael Moss.
He described the Minneapolis
meeting in his best-selling
book.
>>And they had been pulled
together by a cabal of
insiders within the industry,
who had increasingly become
concerned about, um, both the
industry’s responsibility for,
and culpability for, being
blamed for obesity.
>>Gillian: They gathered at
the Pillsbury Company
headquarters, 31st floor.
The message they got was
uncompromising.
And it was delivered by two of
their own: Michael Mudd, a top
executive at Kraft, and Jim
Hill a leading nutrition
researcher.
In a slide presentation
obtained by the Fifth estate
the two men gave it to the
bosses straight.
>>A national epidemic.
>>Gillian: There were too
many warnings Mudd told
them, before drawing a
parallel designed to make them
uncomfortable.
Tobacco companies had recently
settled a massive lawsuit in
face of evidence their product
caused disease.
Did the food industry, he
asked, want to be next?
>>If anyone in the food
industry ever doubted there
was a slippery slope out
there, I imagine that they’re
beginning distinct sliding
sensation right about now.
>>Gillian: Graphics drove
home the point.
Maps showing obesity rates
rising and spreading across
the country like a rash.
>>What are the health
implications of all this?
Studies show that obese
individuals are at a higher
risk of developing chronic
diseases such as diabetes,
heart disease, hypertension
and cancer.
>>Gillian: Topping the list
of contributing factors: The
ubiquity of inexpensive,
good-tasting, super-sized,
energy-dense foods.
In other words, the very foods
the C.E.O.s were in charge of
selling.
The two men were hoping for
money to study the link
between food and obesity.
Instead they got a
tongue-lashing, starting with
Stephen Sanger, the head of
General Mills.
>>He was rather furious at
Mudd for bringing this to them
and blaming them for this, and
his defence was, “Look, we
already offer consumers a
choice.
If they want low fat this or
low sugar that, we have those
products in the grocery store.
We feel we’re already being
responsible, both to consumers
from a health perspective, um,
but also to Wall Street.
>>Gillian: In other words,
they didn’t want to know.
Now, it’s one thing to silence
troublesome voices in their
own companies.
Michael Mudd eventually left
the food industry out of
frustration.
But the people who profit from
sugar have proven themselves
very adept at crushing
dissenting voices everywhere,
including in the halls of
science.
>>In front of us day by day
are increasingly more and more
very tempting foods.
>>Gillian: His name was John
Yudkin, a British nutritionist
who in 1972 wrote a book the
sugar industry did not like.
“Pure White and Deadly” was a
culmination of decades of
research, according to his son
Michael, that led Yudkin to
what were then controversial
conclusions.
>>He started to wonder and
late in the 1950s whether
sugar might be a culprit in
the increase in heart disease.
>>Gillian: More significant
than fat, which was the
prevailing opinion at the time?
>>Certainly more significant
than fat, certainly more
significant than fat, but that
sugar was also involved in a
number of other undesirable
conditions, particularly
diabetes and obesity.
>>Gillian: That thesis soon
put Yudkin in direct conflict
with big sugar’s biggest
apologist.
This man, American
nutritionist, Ancel Keyes.
Keyes would later be exposed
as having been funded by the
industry, but not before he
helped destroy John Yudkin’s
reputation.
>>And as early as the 1950s
he had started producing
publications suggesting that
dietary fat was a problem.
>>Gillian: Award winning
science writer and author Gary
Taubes.
>>Keyes successfully managed
to taint Yudkin with this smell
of quackery.
And then on in, anyone else for
the next 20, 30 years who did
research on sugar was accused
of being just like Yudkin.
>>There was a systematic
campaign to discredit or
ignore his work.
>>Because of the actions of
the sugar industry in the 70s
virtually no research was
funded.
You have this idea that if you
study sugar, you’re just like
Yudkin and he was a quack.
>>Gillian: But that’s
remarkable.
I mean, what you’re saying is
scientific investigation into
the link between sugar and
disease ground to a halt?
>>It ground to a halt.
>>Gillian: When we return,
the science is back.
What happens when you take
healthy students and feed them
too much sugar?
(♪♪♪)
(♪♪♪)
>>Gillian: It’s week one of
“The Fifth Estate” Sugar
Challenge.
>>Just look at recipes that
actually help reduce the sugar
in your diets.
>>Gillian: And the Breedons
are getting a cooking lesson.
Chef James Smith is teaching
that real food, all the fruits
and vegetables and grains of a
healthy diet, can also be fast
and delicious, without any
added sugar at all.
>>They use specific
ingredients that will change
up and that will lower the
sugar and lower the processed
foods in your diet.
>>Gillian: And that may prove
a good thing, because after
decades of silence there is
new scientific research
linking sugar to all kinds of
chronic disease.
(wind blowing)
>>Gillian: Jonathan’s blood
work suggests he may be on the
verge of getting one.
Dr. Dan Flanders.
>>His results suggest that
he’s pre-diabetic.
That his levels have been high
and that if we don’t make some
changes to his lifestyle soon,
diabetes is coming.
>>Gillian: Today in North
America it’s estimated more
than 100 million people are
diabetic or pre-diabetic.
Dr Robert Lustig is quite sure
he knows why.
>>So I can actually
categorically say to you that
sugar is the proximate cause
of diabetes worldwide and we
have hard and fast data to
show that.
>>Gillian: His data come from
his own study, done over a
decade, comparing diabetes
rates in 175 countries with
peoples’ diets.
>>And we asked the question:
When you adjust for all of
the factors that we know are
relevant, what about the food
supply predicts diabetes
rates, worldwide?
Answer: Sugar.
And only sugar.
>>These studies are generally
considered a weak level of
evidence.
A lot of other things have
happened at the same time.
>>Gillian: Toronto researcher
Dr. John Sievenpiper.
He argues Lustig’s methodology
is seriously flawed.
>>Methodologists would tell
you there’s a lot of potential
bias, I could give you one
example.
Over the same time as sugar
has gone up, so has bottled
water, but there’s no real
biological plausibility in the
link between bottled water and
overweight and obesity.
So it’s not a, I don’t think,
a sound finding.
But we have to be careful in
putting too much of the
biological plausibility in
wanting to believe patterns
that we see.
>>Gillian: His point is it’s
hard to know what causes
diseases.
And ethically can’t induce it
to find out.
But you can test for markers,
warning signs that disease may
be coming.
And that’s what they’re doing
here, at the University of
California at Davis.
(♪♪♪)
(wind blowing)
>>Gillian: In this lab,
students are the guinea pigs.
The scientists are feeding
them sugar to figure out if it
raises the markers for heart
disease.
That drink contains 25 percent
of her daily calories, as high
fructose corn syrup.
>>Look at this…
>>Gillian: Every time they’ve
run the test, says Dr. Kimber
Stanhope, the results have
been the same.
>>We saw increases in
visceral adiposity, that means–
>>Gillian: What’s that?
>>That’s the fat within the
abdominal region.
This is the fat surrounding
the liver and the intestines,
and the kidney.
This is the fat that is
associated with increased risk
for diabetes and
cardiovascular disease.
>>Gillian: The Breedons know
that fact.
Anna and Jonathon have already
been diagnosed as having fatty
livers, which puts them at
risk for raised insulin and
triglyceride levels.
That’s the fat in our blood.
When Dr. Stanhope tested the
blood of her college guinea
pigs, healthy kids with
healthy livers, she was
shocked by how quickly they
saw problems.
>>We definitely in two weeks
see increases in the risk
factors for cardiovascular
disease in the blood.
>>Gillian: Just in two weeks?
>>In two weeks.
>>Gillian: But those kinds of
studies don’t impress
everyone.
After surveying a number
of studies, including
Dr. Stanhope’s, that look at
sugar and heart disease,
John Seivenpiper sees no reason
for alarm.
>>What we find when we look
at those trials very carefully
is that as long as you match
for calories, fructose does
not behave differently than
does any other form of
carbohydrate, namely starches
or refined starches and
glucose.
Now, that’s not to say that
they’re benign, because I
don’t think we should be
having a lot of refined
starches or glucose.
But it’s not behaving any
differently.
>>Gillian: Stanhope can’t
speak to the other studies but
says she tested for all kinds
of things, and it was only the
fructose that caused the
problems.
>>If I had results as strong
with regard to a food
additive, a brand new food
additive and then I started
producing these results, they
would — that additive would
get pulled pretty quickly.
>>Gillian: That’s how strong
these results are?
>>I think they are.
(wind blowing)
>>Gillian: In the world of
cancer research, Lewis Cantley
is a rockstar.
Five years ago the Cornell
University professor was
chosen to head a scientific
dream team.
A group of America’s top
cancer specialists brought
together to supercharge the
search for a cure.
His findings may not be
embraced by everyone but in
the cancer world, when Cantley
talks, people listen.
>>Gillian: Let me ask then,
do you believe that sugar
consumption causes cancer?
>>I think yes.
I think that eating too much
sugar can definitely increase
the probability of cancer, and
also make the outcome of
people who already have
cancer, uh, worse.
>>Gillian: So how?
Well, let’s review what sugar
is made of: One molecule
glucose and one fructose.
We know that when there’s too
much fructose in the liver, it
sets off a chain reaction.
The pancreas produces more
insulin.
What Cantley now believes is
that excess insulin changes
cancer tumours, telling them to
gobble up the glucose.
>>What we’re now learning is
that some of the cancers,
particularly those cancers
that correlate with obesity
and diabetes, often have
insulin receptor on the cancer
cell.
The tumour, by expressing the
insulin receptor, tricks the
glucose into going into the
tumour, rather than the muscle
and fat.
And as a consequence, the
tumour can use that glucose as
a fuel to grow.
>>Gillian: So if sugar can
fuel existing tumours and make
them grow, can it also cause
tumours to form in the first
place?
The science on that isn’t as
clear.
Yet.
But Cantley is taking no
chances.
>>It scares me, yes, I think
if definitely — I don’t, you
know, I will eat fruit, fruit
has sugar in it obviously.
Uh, but if I can avoid any
sugar at all, and any drinks
that I drink, or foods, I try
to avoid processed foods,
’cause it’s hard to find one
that doesn’t have sugar in it.
I certainly avoid sugar when I
can.
(wind blowing)
>>Gillian: One of the
criticisms of the anti-sugar
scientist is that too much of
their “evidence” comes from
animals, not humans.
That said, here at Brown
University in Rhode Island
they’re doing studies they
think should make a lot of
humans nervous.
This rat is perfectly healthy.
put him in a vat of water and
he finds his way to safety,
every time.
>>5.2.
>>Gillian: Now, look at this
guy.
What he’s been eating is the
equivalent of a North American
diet, complete with all the
fats and sugars we regularly
consume.
he doesn’t know where to go.
his brain has been damaged.
>>These rats were totally
normal, and then they turned
into demented animals.
They don’t remember they’re
learning after even a day.
And as the challenge gets
harder and harder, they fail
more and more, just like a
human with Alzheimer’s
disease.
>>36.2.
>>Gillian: In this lab the
belief now is that Alzheimer’s
is really diabetes of the
brain, linked to insulin
levels which can be affected
by too much sugar.
Professor Suzanne Delamonte.
>>Insulin resistance, we now
know, can occur in any organ.
It can occur in the muscles.
that’s what diabetes is.
It can occur in the liver,
that causes fatty liver
disease.
It can occur in the ovaries,
that’s polycystic ovary
disease.
And it can occur in the brain,
and we think that’s
Alzheimer’s.
>>Gillian: Now it’s important
to remember that none of this
research represents the
scientific main stream.
The case against sugar has not
been proven.
Associations on both sides of
the border for Alzheimer’s,
cancer, diabetes, including
Health Canada and the FDA
they all know about this
research and yet but none of
them are warning about links
between sugar and disease.
But there is one important
group that is raising the
alarm.
The American heart association
now recommends that people cut
back on added sugar,
dramatically.
Women should have no more than
6 teaspoons a day.
Men 9.
Don’t forget the total sugar
intake in this country per
person is 26 teaspoons a day.
And yet, the Canadian food
industry remains unimpressed.
>>We’ve talked to people who
are quite convinced that there
is a relationship, a
correlation, between sugar and
diabetes and heart disease,
cancer, dementia.
What happens if those people
are right?
>>Uh, at this point in time,
I’m comfortable saying that
the science just isn’t there
to support a role in chronic
disease.
>>Gillian: When we come
back, government goes on the
attack.
>>If your kids drink one
bottle of soda a day they’re
eating the equivalent of 50
pounds of sugar a year, the
equivalent of 50 pounds of
sugar from just one soda a day.
>>Gillian: And big sugar
strikes back.
(♪♪♪)
>>Everywhere you turn
somebody is telling us what we
can’t eat.
(♪♪♪)
(♪♪♪)
>>Gillian: World wide,
there are few industries more
powerful than the processed
food industry, or the sugar
industry that feeds it.
And yet for all their power,
we know remarkably little
about how they work.
Cristen Couzens is determined
to change that.
As a community care dentist in
Colorado she’d always been
interested in sugar, but it
wasn’t until she unearthed a
stash of documents from a
sugar company that had gone
out of business, that she got
a peek into a very secretive
world.
>>The first folder that I
pulled out opened up to a memo.
The blue letterhead of the
Sugar Association.
And it had the word
“confidential” underneath
the letterhead.
And I just looked at that and I,
oh my G– you know, what have
I found?
>>Gillian: What she’d found
was a directive from the ’70s,
a memo to industry executives
about a newly published
scientific white paper; a
paper that concluded sugar was
not only safe, but important.
>>It was clear after reading
further that the Sugar
Association had funded this
white paper called, “Sugar in
the Diet of Man,” and they
were trying to make it appear
that it was an independent
study.
>>Gillian: Among the more
than fifteen hundred pages
she uncovered, there were
some Canadian ones too.
An account of a sugar industry
meeting in the ’70s in
Montreal, that included frank
talk about heart disease.
>>The greatest threat to
sugar consumption is in the
field of nutrition, it says.
More particularly in view of
comments that have been
recently made on the influence
of sugar on atherosclerosis.
>>Gillian: So they were
worried?
>>They were worried, as far
back as 1971.
>>Gillian: What does that say
to you?
>>They’ve known for a long
time.
>>So I took this paper and
crossed out where it said
“tobacco” and put in “sugar”
and looked to see if I could
find similar tactics that the
sugar industry was using.
>>Gillian: Today Couzens is
pursuing her research at the
University of California in
San Francisco.
And she’s doing it under the
tutelage of someone to whom it
all sounds familiar.
>>The amazing thing I learned
from her was that strategies
that I thought the tobacco
companies made up back in the
50’s, actually some of those,
the sugar people had done even
before that.
>>Well, you know now, we have
83 million pages of history
documents that’s on the
internet.
>>Gillian: Stan Glantz is
famous in litigation circles
as the man who first
publicized secret tobacco
industry documents that proved
cigarette companies knew their
product was dangerous.
In the new sugar documents, he
sees lots of parallels.
>>Well, one parallel is just
trying to undermine science.
Another one is working to try
to attack and intimidate
scientists and others who are
coming up with results that
these big corporate interests
don’t like.
Another one is trying to
subvert sensible regulation.
>>Gillian: The sugar industry
Has decades of practice in
that.
In 2003 the world health
organization in Geneva was
looking at a resolution
recommending people reduce
their sugar intake to just 10
percent of what they eat.
It had broad appeal among
health experts, but then the
industry weighed in.
>>The sugar industry went to
their friends in the US
congress and they got these
very influential congressmen
to write letters and say that
this is simply unacceptable.
And in fact, that the US
would, you know, pull it’s
funding from the World Health
Organization if this report
continued.
>>Gillian: Five months later
the recommendation quietly
disappeared.
Having seen the movie before,
Stan Glantz says we can’t
afford to let it happen again.
>>We wouldn’t have a tobacco
epidemic if there wasn’t a
tobacco industry.
We wouldn’t have an obesity
epidemic if there wasn’t an
industry that was making a lot
of money selling sugar and fat
and salt and things like that.
And to me the bottom line is
that one of the key disease
vectors for non-communicable
diseases is big corporations.
And I think we’re going to
have to have to get these big
Corporations under control.
>>It has become a bit of a
moral issue, when you see the —
how far we’ve come.
>>Gillian: Bruce Bradley, who
used to help run a number of
those corporations, agrees.
>>This isn’t a blip, this
isn’t a minor, oh, we just had
a minor course correction.
We’re on a completely wrong
trajectory with our health.
>>Gillian: What’s the answer
then?
>>I think the honest answer
is that we need government to
step in and to become an
advocate for consumers.
>>But sugary drinks are a big
reason …
>>Gillian: But look what’s
happened when governments have
tried.
Earlier this year New York
City passed a law banning
super-sized sugary drinks.
>>If your kids drink one
bottle of soda a day,
they’re eating the equivalent
of 50 pounds of sugar a year,
the equivalent of 50 pounds of
sugar from just one soda a
day.
>>Gillian: Industry’s
response, to ridicule Mayor
Michael Bloomberg as an
overbearing nanny.
The law was later overturned
by the courts.
(♪♪♪)
>>Everywhere you turn somebody
is telling us what we can’t
eat.
>>Gillian: But advocates keep
on trying.
Two weeks ago in Washington,
congressmen calling on the
government to help consumers
by demanding better labels.
And at the very least,
recommending a daily limit for
how much sugar is safe.
In Canada and the U.S., those
limits exist for other
ingredients like fat and
sodium.
Manufacturers must say what
percentage of the recommended
daily limit their product
contains.
But next to sugar, nothing.
>>Would your association
representing the big food
manufacturers in this country
would they accept, uh, upper
limit of how much sugar
Canadians would, should eat?
>>I think that’s kind of
hypothetical because …
>>Gillian: Well, people are
putting on the table saying,
this is one way to, if you
want to curb the amount of
sugar people are eating, this
is one way to start doing
that.
>>I think the industry
actually has responded to the
need for, uh, a diverse supply
of foods out in the retail
marketplace.
>>Across our portfolio of
more than 650 beverages we now
offer 180 low and no calorie
choices.
>>Gillian: Today, even
Coca-Cola, the world’s largest
sugar user, knows it can’t
ignore the health debate
anymore.
>>We like people to come
together with something that
concerns all of us, obesity.
Coca-cola and every …
>>Gillian: But the bottom
line hasn’t changed: If you’re
getting sick from what you
eat, it’s your fault.
>>For people to blame the
consumer, to blame the victim
in all of this just as the
tobacco companies blame the 12
year olds they go out and
addict, it’s just not fair
because people aren’t given
the information that they need
if they’re trying to make a
good choice.
>>Gillian: As with tobacco,
at some point it will all come
down to lives and to dollars.
The reckoning, warns Dr.
Lustig is coming.
>>Bottom line?
There will be no money left by
the year 2026 for anything
else because diabetes will
have chewed through all the
healthcare dollars.
There will be no health care
in 13 years here in America if
we do nothing and I’m sure
Canada is right behind.
>>Gillian: For three weeks
the Breedons have been eating
the food we’ve supplied.
>>How much steak you want,
Anna?
>>Gillian: They’re still
eating the kinds of food they
like, as much as they like.
The only difference none of
it’s processed and none has
added sugar.
>>Then eat some of mine because
it’s not too hot, hot.
>>Gillian: So has it made a
difference?
The moment of truth.
In three weeks Jonathon lost
one-and-a-half inches around
his waist.
8-and-a-half pounds.
Anna’s weight is down too and
her waist, where all that
dangerous fat can accumulate,
is down by 5 inches.
And what effect did all that
have on their bloodwork?
>>I’m Dr. Flanders, nice to
meet you.
Okay, Jonathan, I am glad to
say there’s some real signs of
things improving.
If we have a look at your
cholesterol level, it has
actually gone down by 10 per
cent which is fabulous.
Your triglycerides have gone
down by 20 per cent.
Okay so Anna…
>>Gillian: Her results are
equally good.
And while our three week
experiment is far from
scientific proof of anything,
Dr. Flanders is pleased.
>>So this is some evidence
that the changes that you’ve
made to your eating
are helping to make your body
happier, healthier.
This is fantastic news.
This is really great.
>>Well, when we first started
the project, I thought the
change would be, like, really
little.
like, I wouldn’t see anything.
But to see how dramatically
its changed, means to me, like,
that it’s really good.
>>It was a big change, at first
it was hell, but good results.
I’m happy.
(♪♪♪)