The Secrets of Sugar

By Fifth Estate (2014)

Film Review

The Secrets of Sugar is a Canadian documentary about the conspiracy by the sugar industry and processed food companies to conceal the damaging effects of sugar on human health. For decades, the medical establishment has led us to believe that our intake of animal fat is responsible for soaring rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. It turns out the real culprit all along is sugar (see The Big Fat Surprise).

Investigators have uncovered industry documents going back to the 1950s linking excess sugar intake with health problems. In 1972, researcher John Yudkin published the book Pure, White and Deadly about research linking sugar to heart disease. The response by the food industry was a vicious campaign to portray Yudkin as an incompetent quack. This, in turn, led to a thirty-year shutdown of institutional funding for research into sugar’s health effects.

For me, the film’s most shocking revelation was the immense amount of sugar hidden in so- called “healthy” processed foods, such as yoghurt, oatmeal, soup and Healthy Choice frozen dinners. In one segment, a former industry scientist nicknamed “Dr Bliss” explains the importance of the “bliss point,” the quantity of added sugar that makes you crave a particular product.

A close look at product labels suggests they are designed to confuse consumers about the actual sugar content of foods. Meanwhile like the tobacco industry, Food Inc spends billions of dollars lobbying against government (and UN) recommendations for a maximum daily sugar intake and clearer food labeling laws.

For years, doctors and dieticians have been telling us that sugar is bad because of all the “empty” calories. New research indicates sugar acts as a poison, inflicting direct damage on the liver and brain via its impact on insulin production. In addition to studies implicating high sugar intake in obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, others point to its role in the development of Alzheimer’s Disease and polycystic ovarian disease.

Industry scientists interviewed in the film manifest the same “blame the victim” mentality as the tobacco industry. They maintain the responsibility lies with the consumer to choose whether to eat sugar – or to smoke. The filmmakers counter that healthy choices are impossible without good information.

The film follows an obese couple over three weeks, who achieve significant weight loss, as well as reductions in cholesterol and triglycerides, simply by eliminating all processed foods from their diet.

Also posted in Veterans Today

Comments
  1. Great post and should be compulsory viewing at all schools and inside fast food outlets s a MacDonalds, KFC etc.

  2. talesfromtheconspiratum says:

    Thank you, will re-blog.

  3. Thanks Dr. B! You are ever the helpful one! It has taken me years to get rid of my sweet tooth. I used to crave sweets. It was like an addiction. I do believe that we are encouraged to become addicts of some sort; be it sugar, alcohol(wine is loaded with sugar, I believe)crack, heroin, prescription meds aka pain killers and psych drugs. No wonder we are all so mucked up! They are poisoning us on purpose.

    But thanks to people like you, we are becoming more informed about what is going on.

    • What I find really disgusting, Shelby, is that the food industry knows sugar is addictive, which is why they add it in massive quantities to processed food (without telling us). One of the most shocking parts of the film was about the PR campaign Food Inc launched to conceal the truth about sugar. This was way before the campaign to convince us that smoking is good for us. In fact the tobacco industry borrowed some ideas from the pro-sugar campaign.

  4. gerald campeau says:

    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/286795.php
    More than salt, sugars may contribute to high blood pressure
    Dr. the only good news for me is that chocolate is good for me but i have been brain washed to point that i don’t want to give up my cookie and surgar in coffee HABIT

  5. tubularsock says:

    Well DrB. Tubularsock is so busy drinking his own urine on your suggestion that he has dropped his sugar intake by 80%.

    • I really admire your eagerness but most people only drink their own urine as a last resort in a water shortage. Urine is extremely useful for many other purposes, including bleaching sheets, softening leather for book binding and fertilizing citrus trees.

  6. […] The Sugar Conspiracy | The Most Revolutionary Act. […]

  7. Doctor started me on metformin as prediabtic treatment. It make you pass the sugar instead of retaining it which become fat. Lost 28 pounds 5 months.

    • Interesting. Before I retired 5 years ago, we were using metformin to treat women for polycystic ovarian disease – mainly it rectified the way their bodies processed sugar.

      That being said, I think it’s probably better for people to avoid processed food altogether. Home prepared locally grown food in season has many other nutritional benefits besides the absence of added sugar.

  8. Norman Pilon says:

    Profit and science represent antithetical interests. Money seeks profits, and science, the emancipation of truth. But under the rule of capital, truth is a slave to money: every “scientific consensus” tends to become the result of “stringently disciplined” or “autocratically controlled” research, a “consensus” born of a strict bureaucratic oversight designed to ensure a consonance between research aims and the primacy of corporate capitalist interests . The disinterest that ought to have governed and motivated all scientific pursuits is in this way subverted and stillborn. Whatever research risks degrading corporate capital in its ventures and political ascendancy tends to be quashed, denied of both private and public funding as well as of access to the broad and effective channels of public information distribution.

    The result is the insidious erosion of the integrity of all scientific practice and claims. At the same time, ‘exposed’ in its necessary prostitution and malfeasance, ‘science’ discredits itself in the minds of broader publics. It is not to be trusted in its claims and advice, as exposed lie upon lie confirms it should not be. This mistrust is a perfectly rational response to pieces of investigative journalism such as the one at hand. Ironically, although better than anyone, because of all the lying, professional liars know that liars are not to be trusted, and yet they are the first and the loudest to decry in condescending tones a growing public distrust of their claims – be it about the benign surfeit of sugar in our modern industrial diet; the need for herd immunity assured by mass vaccination programs against viruses that have ever plagued our species; the indisputable benefits of nuclear energy over fossil fuels for our environment; and so forth, ad nauseam . . .

    But you only live once, and there is so much money to be made. You’d simply be crazy not to.

    • You make some excellent points here about the link between profit and bureaucratically and autocratically controlled research. I’m really inspired by the citizens’ science movement: http://www.citizensciencealliance.org/

      As I understand, it first got it’s start in Japan when it became clear that the government was lying about radiation levels following Fukushima. A bunch of US amateur science and activists went over there and helped people set up their own radiation detectors, using the Internet to systematically record and track their readings.

      When it became clear the radiation was crossing the Pacific, they began setting up similar detection points on the west coast.

      I’m also impressed about new attitudes towards money that are developing in the sustainability movement – through zero interest savings pools, time banks and formal barter systems.

      • Norman Pilon says:

        I’d never heard of the CSA until this very moment. You will forgive me if I scoot on over to their website for a good look at what they are about. Many thanks for the link.

  9. Great article. I like the comparison with Big Tobacco.

    I’ve been researching the many types of sweeteners and will eventually post something. I was surprised at how much important information about sweeteners is out there yet not mentioned often enough. Thanks.

  10. jtremaine says:

    Reblogged this on Puppet Master's Slave Market and commented:
    Sweet Jesus !

  11. jtremaine says:

    Sweet Jesus ! What a finely grained post and polished comments. I must visit this site

    http://www.citizensciencealliance.org/

    My compliments to Norman Pilon for his solid grasp of big issues, and to you Dr. Bramhall.
    I wonder how I might reverse the effects of all that Blue Cotton Candy my kids love, and would it be an appropriate act of responsible parenting to shoot the Easter Bunny ?

    • I have always found the best way to wean kids off sugar is to help them plant a veggie garden. Once they realize what fresh organic veggies are supposed to taste like, they get hooked on fruits and vegetables instead of sugar.

  12. Kenneth T. says:

    Reblogged this on PliscaPlace and commented:
    Still… better than aspartame

    • Actually I’m not really sure about that – I think if you look at the data sugar kills far more people than aspartame does.

      • Kenneth T. says:

        Well… the effects from sugar, for example diabetes.

      • Kenneth T. says:

        As for aspartame… I believe that stuff causes more damage than the numbers show (it is fda approved after-all). My wife used to drink diet soda (with aspartame) and she suffered all kinds of ill effects, no death though, but she had many health problems. Once she gave up that “DIEt” stuff, her health improved. But seriously, too much sugar is like too much oxygen, or too much water.

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