Shop healthy.
Avoid diseases.

Shop healthy. Avoid diseases.

Rodrigo Louvat
I am a Marketing Associate at Tera in charge of digital marketing and content creation, writing blog articles and newsletters. Drop me a line at rodrigo.louvat@hellotera.com if you feel like it!

The History of the Sugar Industry: Sweet Deception

Today I wanted to talk about added sugar, a dastardly ingredient that makes even gross food taste good. The story of how this sweet treat became the world’s favorite drug goes all the way back to imperialism, slavery, and the emergence of the global market. But for our purposes we’re going to focus on how sugar replaced fat and how deceptive marketing and nefarious propaganda, convinced people that it was the answer to all of their health and weight-loss desires. Let’s get into it.

Rodrigo ツ

"Heres how sugar can help" old sugar industry ad

Our story begins in the 1960s, when the sugar industry faced a challenge: studies began to emerge linking sugar consumption to an increased risk of heart disease. To protect their profits, the industry-funded research that blamed heart disease on dietary fat.

In 1967, the Sugar Research Foundation (now called the Sugar Association) paid three Harvard scientists to review the existing research on sugar and heart disease, that’s right JUST THREE! The review, which was published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, downplayed the role of sugar in heart disease and instead pointed the finger at saturated fat.

Subsequent research funded by the industry continued to support this narrative, and the message that fat was the primary dietary culprit in heart disease became widely accepted by the medical community and the public.

"Kids, sugar and psychology" sugar ad

In the 1980s and 1990s, the sugar industry launched a campaign to promote the idea that reducing fat intake was the key to losing weight and maintaining good health. They did this by funding research that suggested that reducing fat intake was the best way to lose weight and prevent heart disease, and by promoting low-fat or “fat-free” versions of popular foods, such as yogurt, cookies, and snack bars.

At the same time, the industry began to develop and promote sugar-sweetened “diet” or “low-fat” products as a healthier alternative to their full-sugar counterparts. These products were marketed as a way to help people lose weight and maintain a healthy diet while still being able to enjoy sweet foods and beverages.

The sugar industry’s promotion of low-fat or “fat-free” products was highly effective, and many people began to believe that reducing fat intake was the best way to lose weight and stay healthy. However, this belief was based on flawed research that did not take into account the negative health effects of excess sugar consumption.

Recent research has shown that excessive consumption of added sugar can contribute to a range of health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. As such, it is important to consume sugar in moderation and prioritize whole, nutrient-dense foods for optimal health and well-being.

With Tera you can make sure the products you’re buying don’t have too much added sugar and a healthy amount of fat.

Tera app nutrition facts label highlighting 24g of added sugar in red

Help us empower people to make a positive impact by joining our movement and using our conscious shopping app. Build a community and demand change by subscribing and sharing. Together we can revolutionize everyday shopping and create a brighter future.

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