Readers of National Geographic who are accustomed to reading about exotic animals and locations may be disappointed when they pick up their August addition. Rather than lions and tigers or Mount Everest being featured on the cover, the top story for this new addition will profile a humdrum foodstuff: Sugar.
While some may find the article’s 1,400 word history of sugar a dazzling read, the key notes are devoted to convincing people that a perfectly safe food ingredient is the modern-day plague. Robert Lustig makes an appearance to shill for his dubious theories, which gives an idea where the piece is going.
According to one Richard Johnson it’s not even your fault that you decided to lay on the couch and watch television all day. No, it’s the sugar that kept you watching Animal Planet instead of hiking the wilderness:
[Americans] eat too much and exercise too little because they’re addicted to sugar, which not only makes them fatter but, after the initial sugar rush, also saps their energy, beaching them on the couch. ‘The reason you’re watching TV is not because TV is so good . . . but because you have no energy to exercise, because you’re eating too much sugar.’
In Lustig’s and Johnson’s view, sugar controls your mind at every twist. It’s an appealing view for the food cops, since it denies personal responsibility and empowers trial lawyers, but it lacks scientific validity. Researchers from Cambridge University investigated this notion of “food addiction” and determined that “criteria for substance dependence translate poorly to food-related behaviors.”
You would think a publication like National Geographic would use the concern about obesity as an opportunity to get everyone more interested in exploring the great outdoors. But as we see on an all-too-frequent basis nowadays, it’s just another Food Police hit piece on Americans’ favorite sweets.