essay four draft
June 5th 2012
Sugar, the Frenemy of the Century
In Chapter 32, "What Is News" in Age of Propaganda, Elliot Aronson and Anthony Pratkanis describe the hidden selectivity of news: "On any given day, the world is full of happenings such as wars, riots, consumer frauds, spelling bees, family violence, scientific achievements, political speeches, and human sorrows and happiness. Obviously, the news media cannot (and does not) cover all these events." Consumer frauds and scientific achievements are examples of the censorship concerning the food industry and the general knowledge of food content's correlating affects on our body to the average person from the mass media. Obesity levels have skyrocketed in the last three decades, as well as cancer rates. The association among sugar content in food to obesity and cancer is no coincidence. The FDA should set regulations on sugars content in food to counter the rising rates and better improve the general health of the public.
Its common knowledge that fast food chains are the obvious example of unhealthy food. Although, we may discount that fatty, sugary, over processed food is all around us. Sugar creeps into our cupboards and mouths in unsuspecting items, such as bread, peanut butter, fruit snacks, granola bars, and juices. According to the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs; Jan-Mar 2012 issue, as of 2010 nearly 70% of adults in the United States are considered to be overweight or obese. (Fortuna) This level has risen progressively since the mass manufacture of fast food chains as well as boom of processed food. Since the FDA issued official information about the fat content in fast food in the 1950’s and began setting regulations in the 1970’s, the sugar content in food has increased. In conclusion, there is bound to be a backlash of all the added sugar, specifically glucose, that is been put into food since the fat regulations. This could lead to a more severe spike in the obesity epidemic, leading to elevated diabetes levels, heart disease, and possibly cancer. The FDA putting a cut off level of content of sugar in foods could prevent disease.
As scientific information about fat and sugar’s affect on our bodies have become more widely known, so has the knowledge of cancer growth. Glucose, basic table sugar, is a potential fix for tumors. “"Akt's [protein which promotes glucose metabolism] dependence on glucose to provide an anti-cell-death signal could be a sign of metabolic addiction to glucose in cancer cells” says Dr. Rathmell of the Duke University School of Medicine as shown in a 2012 study. As the affect of glucose is now the front runner of examination concerning its health affects, studies are all recent and in the developing stages, as was the fat research in the 1950’s. As scientific studies concerning glucose's affect on our bodies, and cancer cells, there is suggestion that tumors feed off glucose. With the rising level of glucose in our foods, this in turn could lead to higher cancer rates. The FDA putting a limit on sugar, specifically glucose, content in food could prevent this.
One may argue that sugar cannot be solely to blame for obesity, nor is there solid evidence for glucose’s interaction with cancer cells in the body. Unhealthy foods have been readily available since the socio-manufacturing shift from family owned farm to CEO owned chain store. Essentially, the fat and sugar content in our food has not changed through the ages, simply the content is now made evident due to the FDA requirements of food labels. Concerning the cancer research being in its early stages, the hard evidence is simply not there to blame glucose as the cause or contributor at all. Studies of glucose’s correlation with cancer cells have only been around for the last two years, and at this stage is more of a theory than scientific fact. The government systems, such as the FDA, should not be allowed to regulate based off elementary facts and studies, whereas imparting on our freedom as manufacturers and consumers with little to no solid evidence for a certain products biological consequences. It's a constitutional right to be able to consume whatever an individual so pleases!
While “unhealthy” food has been around since the market producer shift, the amount of consumption of processed and fast foods has increased dramatically within the last three decades. According to the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, in 1993, about 38 percent of total food expenditure dollars were spent on food away from home. This amount increased to 42 percent in 2001. (Raloff) Cancer research has been around since the 1920’s, and ever since, new information concerning cancer cells, its production, carcinogens, treatments, and biological affects have been the on the forefront of doctor’s research. While, there is still no known cure for cancers, doctors are learning more about why cancer infects and what its affecting factors are. Glucose is the new interest for the last two years, and the newly gained knowledge on its affect on cancer cells has promoted even more studies. As far as individual rights are concerned, the FDA regulations would be specifically on fast food and processed food. There is no way to set laws on what is being consumed, therefore, one can still consume as much sugar as they desire. With the FDA regulations in place, mass production of excessive sugar content in fast food and processed foods would be lessened, as well as the consequences of a diet with too much sugar.
Censorship and filtration of information via media is found concerning all types of issues, food and health science included. With obesity being at epidemic levels currently, as well as cancer levels on the rise, there is no doubt our diet has its affects. Since the fat ration, food has been pumped with sugar. This increased level of sugar in our diet is a leading reason for food-related disease and even potentially a cancer influencing factor. The FDA regulating the amount of sugar allowed in fast foods and processed foods could curb the rise of life threatening diseases.
Duke Medicine News and Communications. "A Potential Sugar Fix for Tumors." - DukeHealth.org. Web. 04 June 2012.
Fortuna, Jeffrey L. "The Obesity Epidemic And Food Addiction: Clinical Similarities To Drug Dependence." Journal Of Psychoactive Drugs 44.1 (2012): 56-63. Academic Search Complete. Print. 4 June 2012.
Pratkanis, Anthony R., and Elliot Aronson. Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion. New York: W.H. Freeman, 2002. Print.
Raloff, Janet. "Americans Eat Faster, And More." Science News 165.24 (2004): 381-382. Academic Search Complete. Print. 4 June 2012.