Student’s Choice: Is Sugar Killing Us?

With 1/3 of Americans being obese in our country today, food consumption has been a hot topic in the news and health industry.  As quoted in this short, but eye-opening video, “For the first time in history, U.S. children are not expected to live longer than their parents.”

What do you think is causing such a dramatic increase in so many chronic illnesses like type 2 diabetes and heart disease?  Do you believe that sugar is to blame or are there other problems we are failing to see? Also, do you agree with the end of this video that in order to change the food industry it is the responsibly of the consumers to avoid buying processed and sugary foods and start buying more local and healthy ones or do you think the government should take control and start putting bans on sugar?

Look at the statistics here that Forbes published in 2012.

I think this article did a good job putting the increase of sugar intake in our diets into perspective so that the average reader could understand.  I liked the graphics and comparisons they used to things we can wrap our head around like how the average American eats 500 calories of added sugar everyday, which is equivalent to eating 10 strips of bacon.  The last graphic struck me the hardest seeing cocaine and sugar side by side to show that they are equally addictive according to brain scans.  Do you think this article did a good job getting it’s point across or could the author have done it in a less daunting way?


5 Responses to “Student’s Choice: Is Sugar Killing Us?”

  1. Wow. What a catchy video. It is brilliant public health media – with fun cartoons and easy to understand messages. Everything is laid out clearly to make you convinced that sugar is killing us. However, I do not believe that sugar is alone killing us. There are other factors—such as transportation methods—that work alongside to make Americans unhealthier. Yes, consumers should make responsible choices about food purchases. However, this is also the responsibility of state and federal government and policy. How are individuals expected to make healthy choices when fruits and vegetables are too expensive? While the federal government subsidizes agricultural biotechnology corporations, such as Monsanto, that produce large amounts of the corn that fills our food, local farms are often left with limited support. The video fails to address this responsibility—even having the customer walk right by the local farm food stand.

  2. The exposure to blame for the obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemic is not lazyness or gluttony. Rates of obesity have more than double in the last 30 years and the prevalence of obesity in children is 15-17% in the 21st century. This issue goes far beyond personal accountability to eat the right amount and stay at the right weight. Its not just one thing; sugar aka high fructose corn syrup is certainly a large contributor, but the easy access to process foods, lack of exercise, the need for simple and fast food solutions, and the lack of food label regulations or education are also to blame. The graphics in the article were a great way to conceptualize how much sugar we are eating, especially since in most products sugar content isn’t clear. A ban on certain levels of sugar would be an effective public health decision that I would like to see in the future.

  3. It is unfair to blame sugar alone for the dramatic increase in these chronic illnesses. The contributing factors go on and on: the economy – the unhealthy choices aren’t only easy, they’re cheap, lack of exercise – there’s no “walking up hill both ways” to school anymore, education – good nutrition is not often discussed in schools or advertised in super markets, and laziness too – the farmers market is REALLY EARLY on Saturday mornings. It is easy to say that the problem would go away if we would just stop supporting companies that pack their products full of high fructose corn syrup, but that would require us to read the labels on the packaging and let’s be honest, this is unlikely for a lot of us. So who is responsible? We do need to play our part, make a conscious effort to support local food production and make healthier choices, but regulations should also be placed by the government. At the rate we are going with these diseases and high rates of obesity, they are going to have to.

    As for the article, it certainly does it’s part in proving just how bad sugar is. The cocaine graphic at the end was especially powerful.

  4. I thought the video did a good job of illustrating the sort of menacing power that sugar has come to be in our diets. Although there are undoubtedly other complicating factors in the rise of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease, I think diminishing sugar in our diets would be the first step on the road to recovery. Government intervention and closer monitoring/regulation of processed food producers would help make healthy options easier for low-income Americans to afford and to choose. In addition to bringing sugar intake down, I think the government could make steps to help raise awareness and increase the availability of fresh vegetables and fruits. Programs that help make farmer’s markets food-stamp friendly will help with the nutrition crisis in our country, as well, I think.

  5. The video, while very cute and entertaining, is not a credible news source. Repeatedly, the video creator cites the statistical information as studies from “scientists.” Who are these scientists? What were their research methods? What institution do they work for? This is the information that journalists must include to give their work credibility. Otherwise, readers (or in this case, viewers) are left with empty theories with little direct evidence.

    That being said, of course sugar is part of the obesity problem. However, there are other factors contributing to this phenomena as well. I think obesity can most wholly be attributed to lack of exercise and an unbalanced diet. Eating more produce and less processed foods (and smaller portions of both) coupled with exercise can combat obesity.

    Managing personal diet and exercise is not–and should never be–a function of the federal or state governments.

    I think the info-graphic is effective. But when I’m reading a negative trend story like this, I always hope that writers or interviewed subjects will offer a way that we could prevent or correct this problem.

    Bottom-line: a lot of Americans are making unhealthy choices in the 21st century and we need to educate people about the implications of these choices and the better choices (i.e. healthy diet and exercise) that can be made.

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