Eating Ourselves to Death/Farming Ourselves to Bliss
(If you don't want to read my short excerpt skip to the bottom and listen to the podcasts linked there.) According to Dr. Robert Lustig as neuroendocrinologist and Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, at the University of California, San Francisco , sugar is the main cause of diseases like type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and obesity, and is our number one enemy.
In an interview with Alec Baldwin on the WNYC podcast Here's the Thing, Dr. Lustig goes on to explain how modern society has been consuming insurmountable amounts of sugar.
According to Dr. Lustig sugar, in the form of high fructose corn syrup, found its way into our foods because of sugar shortages after Hurricane Allen wiped out Caribbean sugar crops in 1980. Being a cheap alternative to sugar cane, high fructose corn syrup slowly was included in more and more foods in America.
Eventually it found it's way into things that before, did not have sugar in them such as hamburgers, ketchup, barbecue sauce and bread, and according to Dr. Lustig, 80% of food items sold today have added sugar in them in the form of high fructose corn syrup.
Lustig blames corporate American interests for the lack of change in the world's food landscape from the side of government.
Dr. Lustig even goes on to compare sugar consumption to drug addiction.
"When you get a dopamine rush you get pleasure, and sugar does it the same way as all those drugs of abuse... we know how that works out for all these drugs of abuse, turns out sugar does the same things."
Towards the end of the interview Lustig says that he has hope for the future because people are "getting it".
One of those people is Dan Barber, chef at Blue Hill Farm/Restaurant and a proponent of locally and sustainably grown foods.
In an interview on the podcast On Being, he talks about how industrial farming, through monocultures that are genetically designed for large outputs, is the bane of food in America today.
He makes the point that foods grown in genetically diverse environments and in naturally tough conditions not only taste significantly better, better are much more nutrient dense.
He goes on to connect sustainable choices with ones that are not only ethically significant but also appeal to our own desires for tastier food.