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Sugar & The Environment

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Joined: 23 July 2008
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    Posted: 27 August 2008 at 10:25pm
Asalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barrakatehu,

Ever wonder why sugar is so inexpensive?  Well, we're paying its true cost in more ways than one.  Here's why you should be concerned about your consumption of sugar and what it means for our global environment.   I was shocked to find this out.  Please share it with others.  The context of this post is from 2 sources:  From the magazine VegNews  (Sept/Oct. 2008 edition) and East Bay Natural Pages - downloadable here: (Oct. 2007-March 2008 edition)

Sugar beets.  That's right, not regular beets, from which we derive vitamin C, iron, and potassium, but sugar beets from which we derive- you guessed it-sugar is a subsidized crop.  Sugar beets require four times the land that sugar cane does.  Sugar beets cost taxpayers $242 million in subsidies from 1995-2006.  (VegNews, p. 44)

In the past two years there has been growing acceptance that global warming is real, that the environment is deteriorating, and that we must do something about it.  It is more commonly acknowledged that our lifestyle choices have dire consequences for the planet, as well as our own physical and mental health.

Global warming, deforestation, species extinction, air and water pollution, and the dramatic loss of biodiversity, along with the huge increase of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, respiratory illnesses, depression, learning disabilities and more, are degenerative conditions either caused or exacerbated by the choices we make.

Looking for relief, hundreds of billions of dollars are spent each year to attack, treat, or "cure" these ailments, all the while failing to address the true cause.

But what if we knew the cause(s)?  Would we really do something about them?  How much are we willing to change?

There may be no one cause, but there is at least one thing that contributes to all the environmental and health concerns mentioned here, and a lot more.  And that is sugar.

Sugar (sucrose), the regular white granulated stuff (and high-fructose corn syrup) is perhaps the most dangerous food ingredient on the planet, and may be responsible for more environmental destruction than any other agricultural commodity.  Sugar suppresses the immune system, leaches the body of potassium and magnesium, increases the appetite, and is addicting.  Plainly put, it is not fit for human consumption.

Globally, we consume around 300,000,000,000 pounds of sugar annually, and each year this total increases by 6,000,000,000.  Can you wrap your head around these numbers and imagine how many rainforests and tropical habitats have been destroyed, and the land, air and water pollution caused by the burning fields and intensive use of chemicals in this process?

With sugar consumption comes an increase in appetite.  The standard portion size of many foods and beverages has increased 40% from just 20 years ago.  In the average three meals, many people now eat the equivalent of 5-6 meals a day!

It is no wonder obesity and diabetes are global epidemics.  Over a billion people are overweight, with about 150 million obese, and over 230 million with diabetes, compared to just 30 million in 1985.

This is a staggering statistic, but with one action we can reduce global warming and our environmental impact, reduce world hunger, lose weight, reduce or eliminate the use of many medications for diabetes, heart disease, and other sugar-related illnesses, save lots of money, and greatly increase personal and planetary health and well-being. 

That is simply to STOP (or greatly reduce) eating and drinking sugar, including most artificial sweeteners and those foods that contain sugar additives.  Support groups such as Food Addicts in Recovery ( are having great success and are there to help if needed.  We are one strung out species, and it may be very difficult to kick the habit as we struggle with our need for a sugar fix.  But we can.   (Rubin, Jerome, East Bay Natural Pages, p. 2)


Edited by love - 27 August 2008 at 10:29pm
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