Opinions

Sugar: A white poison

Sufyan Awan
Student, University of Agriculture Faisalabad

There was a time when people eat Healthy homemade sugar (gurr) and live a long, healthy life. Then suddenly a new scientific approach introduced and it totally put us apart from health and harmony, in villages specially, and started to produce White sugar. Within few decades, sugar industry spread, not only in developed, but also in developing countries and Developed countries always have perfect legislations for introduction of innovations but this might not be the same in developing countries, which always accepts innovations with open arms, due to loose legislation management.

Main Question is where does white sugar come from? The main source of white sugar is sugar-cane. In history, sugar-cane was reportedly cultivated in around 6,000 BC by the people of New Guinea. They formerly used it for chewing purpose. From here, it spread to India in 500 BC and then in 11th century it was spread to China and Africa. Christopher Columbus brought the sugar-cane to New World in 1493 and, in 16th-17th century, to Europeans. In South-Indies, human started sugar-cane cultivation in between 18th and 19th century. Sugar consumption in England was increased up to 15%. Now-a-days, refined sugar is used in different bakery, drinks and industrial products etc.

World Scenario:

In 1950’s, about 12% American were obese and increased up to 35% in weight in 2000’s. Similarly, in United Kingdoms, 6% were obese in 1980s now this amount has increased up to three times. Till 2016, two-third of Britain’s population was facing obesity (Type-2 diabetes).

In Pakistan:

In Pakistan, sugar production is 6 million tones and the consumption is 200,000 tons (USDA Analysis, May, 2017). Sugar is the 2nd largest industry in Pakistan after Textile. The estimated per capita consumption of sugar in Pakistan is 25 kg which is highest in Asia comprising China with 11 kg, India with 20 kg and Bangladesh with 10kg per capita consumption.

Disadvantages:

According to groups of doctors, nutritionist, and biologist, “Sugar is a toxin that disturbs the Body organs, hormonal cycle, as well as, it is the main cause of weak willpower, which are the major problem of our generation, now-a-days” (Mark Batman). Furthermore, major drawbacks of sugar are obesity and metabolic disorders, like diabetes as one third of American, 12.5 million children are obese and in 2011 about 12 million American had the illness. Sugar is one of the major causes of Heart disease and obesity (John, 1972). By combing the two documents from 1950s and 1960s, Researcher from San Francisco and University of California reported that Sugar industries diverting the attention of Sugar consumers away from Heart diseases, fat and cholesterol caused by it, by promoting and sponsoring the researches in favour of sugar.

The major sources of energy for our body are Fats, carbohydrates and proteins. The more palatable and useful carbohydrate is sugar. Sugar is also called childhood alcohol as one third American children are obese. A growing body of scientific evidence is showing that fructose can trigger processes that lead to liver toxicity and a host of other chronic diseases. Robert Lusting said that; ‘Sugar is the alcohol of child, and that’s why children today are getting the diseases of alcohol-type 2 diabetes and fatty liver diseases’

Here the question arises that our ancestors consume sugar but they never faced such kind of problems? Simple answer is that Nature never provide them sugar for whole year, they consume sugar from fruits which was available only for few months, but now, human is in full access to sugar. Today more than 70% commodities are sugar based. A lot of countries and cities banned the alcohol and tobacco at childhood level. But still children have more cases of fats, obesity, liver and heart diseases why? Because main thing in their diet is sugar and sugar based commodities. Now-a-days, in many parts of the world, people are consuming an average of more than 500 calories per day from sugar alone (‘the global sugar glut’).

Sugar usually causes the diseases related to Metabolic syndrome i.e. diabetes, hypertension (Todays most common in Pakistani new generations), Aging process enhancement, it also causes toxic effects on liver just as in case of alcohol. The United States spends $65 billion in lost productivity and $150 billion on health-care resources annually for morbidities associated with metabolic syndrome. Seventy-five per cent of all US health-care dollars are now spent on treating these diseases and their resultant disabilities. Another research conducted in 2013 including 175 countries clearly showed that sugar intake directly increases the diabetes risks. The study also found that participants who consumed approximately 17 to 21 per cent of their daily calories in the form of added sugar, had about 38 percent higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, compared to those who got roughly 8 percent of their total calories from added sugar. Recent and mounting scientific evidence clearly proves that sugar — and flour, which raises blood sugar even more than table sugar — is biologically addictive. In fact, it’s as much as eight times more addictive than cocaine.

 

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