What If There Was No Longer Any Sugar In The World?

What If There Was No Longer Any Sugar In The World_ In Brisbane At Precision Dentistry

Sugar. We see the word, hear it in our head and any number of thoughts occur.

For some there’s an automatic firing off of the American fictional band, The Archies 1969 hit of the same name times two. “Honey, honey” definitely follows (being the next line). It either peters out right there and then, or cannot possibly end until after, “You are my candy girl, and you’ve got me wanting you.”

It made the Billboard Hot 100, and the #1 song for that year. Sung by its titular cartoon band, it’s bubblegum-pop sweet, and that’s why it sticks.

Like plaque to an unbrushed sweet tooth.

Long-standing Los Angeles band Maroon 5 released a similarly named track in 2015, with rather a different vibe and words that would have had The Archies cartoon, comic and band rubbed out faster than the Viale Lazio massacre. No doubt The Rolling Stones would’ve celebrated in whatever socially responsible way they did back in the 1960s since it was their single ‘Honky Tonk Woman’ that ‘Sugar Sugar’ knocked from the top spot for four whole weeks.

Embarrassing, but rockin’ the irony with its B-side, ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want.’

Were it not for the The Beatles, the first late ’60s fictional band The Monkees loosely based on them, would not have enjoyed huge success and the subsequent downfall that lead to The Archies.

The Monkees were real people and real people (being Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork and Mickey Dolenz) create real issues with creative conflicts. That’s what ended them, and had manager Don Kirshner want a band he could completely control. Without that madness, The Archies would never have existed.

Not that it really did; but it would’ve had minus-existence.

The world had The Byrds, The Turtles, The Penguins, The Flamingos, The Animals, The Yardbirds, Crazy Horse, The Sparrows … so how The Archies got its name is anybody’s guess. AI could be put to the test on that one, but it’d need a disclaimer that it’s for entertainment purposes only, and whatever the result could ultimately become undisputed fact by the next long weekend.

What remains truly undisputed is the cost of sugar on our health. It’s also the main cause of dental cavities, and unbalanced oral microbiome that leads to gum inflammation and infections. In the UK alone, 48,000 tooth extractions took place in hospital in 2023. Patients were no older than 19, and the cost to the failing NHS converts to $US81.3 million.

‘Sugar’ is an unaccountable noun that is accountable for things it outright denies, or begrudgingly takes some minor responsibility for.

It’s a disyllabic as loaded as any drunken four-letter word with a plus-one; and none of them are a valuable export commodity for any country. (Aussie comedians don’t count.) For the more than half a billion people worldwide suffering from diabetes, sugar’s not only a dirty word, it’s a downright ineffable one.

Extraneous to that, and to those with the ‘Sugar Sugar’ ear-worm, other sugar responses are to unfailingly check every food label, endlessly watch YouTube for what is does to you, and what 30 days without it is like; or simply to crave it.

Chemically, sugar is a naturally occurring carbohydrate in many fruits and vegetables that the body breaks down into glucose – an absolutely necessary component for every organ of the body to have proper cell functioning.

Biologically, without this concentrated energy source we would cease to exist.

Consuming too many natural sugars isn’t healthy, but what’s impossible to gauge is all the added ones.

And there are a lot.

70% of the total global sugar production comes from just ten countries. This portion alone amounts to 124 million tonnes annually, with Brazil the biggest producer. Sugar and ethanol are seventh on its export earnings list, and worth $US11 billion to its $US2.33 trillion GDP.

Fourth on that top ten producers list, the US sweetens its GDP by $US20 billion a year.

No wonder sugar cane and sugar beet crops aren’t going to be ditched in a hurry, no matter the global ecological decimation, and human health crises caused.

Economically speaking, obliterating sugar from the world would mean a major financial hit for some countries, but how much would be balanced by the reduction in national health costs? Whale oil and baleen were once export products and nobody misses them now. We have, and can move on.

The short and sweet of the sugar industry is that it’s tobacco’s truculent sibling, both borne of brutality, colonisation and the slave trade. Owning a share in a sugar plantation was not the only way to make money; the extensive economic spillover meant high profitability at every one of its many processes, from plantation to palate.

For Britain, sugar’s huge influx of capital created a new class of merchant.

Plantation owners spent their new-found lolly on property and lavish lifestyles. Along with funding the Treasury, (insert jaw-drop here) industry, railways, roads, parks and burgeoning buildings were the trappings of this tooth-rotting trade. One-in-five of the vast, extravagantly furnished and decorated country houses of 18th century England currently under the National Trust, were built on the blood and sweat of sugar slavery.

With the slave trade protected by the royal family and parliament, between 1690 and 1807 an estimated six million enslaved Africans were transported on British or Anglo-American ships from west Africa to the Americas.

The business of sugar was, and always will be corrupt, highly regulated, and a deep honeypot of political influence.

Produced by more than 100 countries, it’s a subsidise crop to the tune of billions and billions of dollars. It carries enormous environmental costs we can no longer ignore, has historically relied on the exploitation of its labour force and continues to do so, and its now almost unavoidable high consumption is categorically linked to 45 negative health outcomes.

There are more than 400 aliases the food industry gives sugar. Four. Hundred.

Nothing that’s honest needs to do that.

It’s taken only five generations for us to go from consuming just a spoonful of sugar a week, to a kilogram. Such is its allure, its accessibility – and because of its stimulation of dopamine – its easy addiction.

Where once a rare luxury, it’s an item of mass production and overconsumption – whether you like it or not. More than 80% of all manufactured food items – including processed meats – contain added sugars. The only way to avoid its insidious occupancy is to avoid packaged foods.

Sugar is no longer a 16th century treat. It’s a 21st century threat.

What If There Was No Longer Any Sugar In The World At Brisbane In Precision Dentistry

Research shows that chronic sugar consumption creates as much damage to the brain as childhood abuse.

It overworks the planet, the physical labour of vulnerable people, and the beta cells fundamental to human life. Inside our pancreas is a mere two gram cluster of beta cells. That’s it; that’s all there is. Sugar is responsible for creating the metabolic stress of beta cell burnout, which leads to type-2 diabetes. It can happen to anyone.

540 million people worldwide can attest to that, with many, many more to come. And there’s no room here to get started on obesity.

In the 1960s the sugar industry paid scientists to promote saturated fat as the culprit of heart disease, and play down the proven sugar connection. Diabetes has been on the rise since 1980, declared an epidemic in 1994, and as it continues its upward trajectory, recent reports reveal that corporate distortion over the science of nutrition remains.

Well sugar me coloured and call me a Froot Loop … next we’ll be told Jughead Jones wasn’t real…

Processed food is a $US2 trillion industry. Dominated by ten multinationals, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are the top three, with nothing wholefood or healthy springing to mind with the mention of any of them. Their combined annual revenue is more than $US205 billion; comparable to the GDP’s of Algeria and the Bahamas holding hands.

‘Processed food’ is a vague term that the industry has figuratively and literally capitalised on for decades, in defence of its additive-laden output. Most of what is consumed today has to some degree, been processed. Milk is pasteurised; fermentation is a process; as are cooking and freezing. We get that; it’s no big deal.

But ultra-processed food (UPF) is different. Manufactured in ways that go far beyond what can be done in even the best equipped kitchen, UPFs make pseudo-health claims like “made with whole grains” – without having to say they were fried in palm oil, crushed, then mixed with refined flour and additives and glued into shapes with high fructose corn syrup.

All of it in order to keep us addicted to eating cheap and convenient anti-food that’s making us physically defective, mentally ill and emotionally unwell.

There is growing evidence for much broader risks than cardiometabolic and inflammatory diseases, dementia and a raft of other chronic conditions. It substantiates that there is nothing natural about the amount of sugar we eat – it’s the confection of political and commercial power.

Just in the US, as recently as 2022 the Sugar Cane and Sugar Beets lobbies donated almost $US8 million to Congressional lawmakers. Distributed in equal measure to Democrats and Republicans alike because those who are unethical are not necessarily stupid, the determination was more about seats on the Agricultural Committees than the side-issue of political affiliation.

These close ties to Congress are part of the necessary and ongoing and measures ensuring that any attempt to reform the industry will be futile; aided an abetted by huge amounts of research funding.

In an effort to help reduce tooth decay the National Institute of Dental Research (NIDR) began studying the effects of sugar on dental health. Due to the potential harm to the sugar industry, its funding strategy enabled it to control and modify all information accessible to the public.

Critically, the NIDR lost an opportunity to learn more about the connection between sugar intake and tooth decay. Even more significantly, Congress and policymakers based nutrition guidelines on the findings of vested interest research.

Whether or not there really was no sugar in the world anymore should be immaterial; what matters is knowing how damaged and damaging the entire industry is, from plantation to plate to pancreas, and deciding to personally have no part in it.

That’s the sweet spot.

Where food is concerned, we can choose conscience over convenience. A long list of ingredients means it isn’t really food it’s just a facsimile – like The Archies.

At least that was pure sugar, not sugarcoated.


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