In case you missed it in comments, a reader recommended this documentary about sugar from 1986. I’d never heard of it before, and obviously it wasn’t popular enough when it aired to make much of an impression on the public, considering what’s happened since then.
I was pleased to see Dr. Linus Pauling mention that there’s no correlation across populations between saturated fat intake and heart disease, but there is a correlation between heart disease and sugar. Too bad the anti-fat hysterics weren’t listening. We’ve spent another 25 years since then shooting at the wrong target.
The only place the documentary went off the rails a little was when it got preachy about how many advertisements for sugary foods are directed at kids. Yes, that’s right, kids see a ton of ads for junk foods. But unless I’m missing something here, they don’t respond to those ads by getting in their cars, driving to the store, and spending their hard-earned money on Lucky Charms. Their parents do that for them.
I was also amused when the host announced near the end that new federal rules would soon require food manufacturers to list the amount of sugar and other ingredients on food packages – the implication being that people would respond to the labels by consuming less sugar. Yeah, that worked out really well, didn’t it? Now, of course, the same happy prediction is being made by those who want to force restaurants to display calorie counts. You’d think they would have learned their lesson, but as Milton Friedman once said, in government failure is usually viewed as a justification to do the same thing again, only bigger.
By pure coincidence, I happen to be in the middle of an audiobook narrated by the host of this documentary, John Rubenstein. He’s an excellent reader who can change his voice quite dramatically. He even goes a good version of a rough-and-tough, deep-voiced cop.