Is Sugar The New Health Food?
This morning I noticed another popular soda manufacturer displaying a proud “Now Made With Real Sugar” phrase on the soda can.
Great. No, really I do think this is a good thing. It's just that the spin that sugar is getting right now is quite amusing, it's as if the advertising executives from food manufacturers are trying to make sugar out as the new health food of 2010.
Back to the ad campaign though for a moment. The premise of this advertising campaign is of course that drinking soda with "Real Sugar" is a healthy choice in comparison to drinking soda with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Well, it's difficult to say how I feel about this kind of advertising, because on one hand, it shows that the campaign to inform the general public about the dangerous of HFCS has been successful and many manufacturers have now started removing HFCS from their products. I too have been warning my clients for a while now about the dangers of this particularly dangerous "frankenfood" so I am definitely happy... but just to a point.
Regular sugar definitely is less harmful to human health than HFCS, but not by much. It's important to remember that regular sugar and HFCS contain around the same amount of fructose and glucose, but HFCS is mainly made up of the "free" form of fructose which is what causes a wide array of health problems in humans.
I don't want to rain on anyone's parade here, but someone should point out that HFCS was only introduced on a mass scale starting around 1975 and good old fashioned sugar had been causing tremendous health problems for people around the world for quite some time before that. Obesity, dental caries and diabetes all predated the invention development of HFCS - The problems just of course got worse after its development.
Life is about finding a good balance, so some sugar in moderation if you're healthy is not going to cause you any problems. But, I have seen this "Now Made With Real Sugar" phrase on more than just soda's, it's even showing up on so-called "health foods" and I've seen organic food bars proudly displaying the "Now Made With Real Sugar" label too.
You can't blame the general public for buying into the advertising, I mean aren't there government organizations protecting us from greedy companies creating foods which will harm us? Actually, no.
I can see the scene already, a young kid drinking soda and his or her mom telling them: "You really shouldn't drink so much soda, it's not good for you". By now I think you can see the answer already: "Don't worry mom, it's made with real sugar now so it's healthy!"
Now I don't want to interfere with sugar becoming 2010's no. 1 selling health food, but I'm just saying...