The Secrets of Sugar – the fifth estate

The Secrets of Sugar – the fifth estate

October 13, 2019 100 By Ewald Bahringer


(♪♪♪)>>Gillian: It’s sweet. It’s seductive. Is it deadly? Tonight the dangers of sugar.>>I think that sugar is a main contributing factor.>>Gillian: Serious new warnings from serious people.>>The more I learn about it, the more it scares me.>>Gillian: Also tonight, what the sugar industry has tried to hide.>>Strategies that I thought the tobacco companies made up back in the 50’s, actually some of those, the sugar people had done even before that. (♪♪♪)>>Gillian: When the Breedon family goes shopping, like most Canadians, they try to buy healthy.>>Let’s go… Up, up, up.>>Gillian: But, like most Canadians, they don’t always succeed. They’re busy. Meals have to be quick. And then there’s keeping the kids happy.>>It’s either Lucky Charms or the Mini Wheat Chocolate?>>No I want the Lucky Ones.>>Okay, Lucky Charms? Okay.>>You want one that looks like half a moon or you want one that looks like a full…>>Gillian: A lot of what they eat is processed. They assume it’s nutritious but they’ve never paid much attention to what’s in the food they buy, have no idea how much sugar is hidden in it.>>All right, guys, I want you To kind of start by telling me a little bit about some of the groceries that you got today.>>Gillian: Registered dietician Jacelyn Pritchard is about to help them figure it out.>>Have you guys ever taken a look at any of the nutrition labels or really paid attention…>>The label on this Nesquick cereal says there are 10 grams of sugar in 3/4 of a cup. But who ever just eats 3/4 of a cup?>>How many of those would go into your bowl to make up your bowl of cereal?>>For me? Um…I’d say probably like 8 or 9.>>8? Okay.>>Gillian: That’s a lot of cereal….and as Jonathon Breedon is about to find out, an awful lot of added sugar.>>So in your serving of cereal of about 8 of these servings, you’re looking at about 20 teaspoons of sugar added. Of non-nutritional value.>>That’s a lot.>>Yeah.>>Gillian: So let’s start at the beginning. What do we mean when we say sugar? Well, whether it’s the white stuff you bake with, or the brown stuff you sprinkle on your oatmeal, whether it’s honey, molasses, syrup, maybe the high fructose corn syrup you’ve heard of. There’s a lot of that in things like pop, chemically it’s all pretty much the same thing. And we do consume a lot. On average in this country, 26 teaspoons of sugar per person, per day. That’s 40 kilos a year, the equivalent of 20 bags. It’s what sweetens the products and spikes the profits of some of the most powerful, and familiar companies in the world. The food industry is one of the biggest manufacturers in North America, nearly a trillion dollars in sales every year, and it couldn’t do it without sugar. (♪♪♪)>>Sugar is one of the essential basic ingredients used in 99% of the processed foods out there.>>Gillian: Former industry executive Bruce Bradley has worked for some of North America’s biggest food companies.>>It’s something that can drive a lot of taste in the products and a lot of appeal for consumers, so it’s one of the basic building blocks.>>Gillian: And make no mistake, the amount of sugar in our food is no accident. The food industry goes to great lengths to figure out what makes us crave a product — the exact combination of ingredients it calls the “bliss point.”>>You know everybody asks what is the bliss point? Dr. Howard Moskowitz, he’s a long time food industry consultant, known as Dr. Bliss.>>The best way I can do it is to give you an example. Do you drink coffee with sugar or with milk?>>Gillian: With milk.>>So if you add more and more milk you like it more and more up to a certain point where you like it the most and then add a little bit more milk, and you say oh, it’s too milky and my gosh, and add a lot more milk and it’s horrid. So it’s Goldilocks, it’s the middle, it’s the best one. It’s the level where you like the product the most.>>Gillian: A Harvard trained mathematician Moskowitz uses models to test people’s reactions to different versions of a product. Once he’s found the bliss point, the product hits the shelves. From soda pop to spaghetti sauce, his magic makes money.>>Everybody wants to sell just a bit more. How do you get that immediate increase in acceptance? Those in the know realize you can add a little sugar.>>Gillian: A little? The first thing to know is that 4 grams of sugar is one teaspoon. So with that in mind, let’s look at some products. It’s no surprise Coca Cola has a lot of sugar. 40 grams a can. That’s 10 teaspoons. But much of the sugar we eat is hidden in foods we don’t necessarily think of as sweet. This oatmeal, 3 and 3/4 teaspoons of sugar a bowl. This vanilla flavoured yogourt, nearly 5 teaspoons in just half a cup. You can find sugar added to bread, soup, all kinds of condiments. Hot dogs. This chicken dinner, labelled Healthy Choice, has 5-and-a-half teaspoons of sugar in every serving. Is this the result? There’s no question as our consumption of sugars has grown so have our bodies. Canada doesn’t keep good statistics so we’ve used American ones. And those stats raise the troubling question: Are we changing our evolutionary shape. Here’s the line showing our sugar consumption for the last 50 years. Here’s the number of people who’ve become overweight and obese. Now look at this line, it’s for cases of type 2 diabetes. And this one, diseases of the heart. Back in the ’80s and ’90s we used to blame a lot of those problems on dietary fat. But then we started taking fat out of our foods. Did the incidence of disease go down? No. So that got a lot of doctors and nutritionists asking why. The answer, according to an increasingly vocal group, is sugar.>>Which was worse, the sugar or the fat? The sugar a 1000 times over.>>Gillian: Robert Lustig, doctor, author, medical professor, and one of the leaders of the anti-sugar campaign.>>The fact is, our food supply has been altered and adulterated under our very noses and in plain sight over the past 30 years.>>Gillian: In addition to treating obese kids Lustig is a YouTube sensation. His lecture on sugar has been seen by nearly 4 million people around the world. And he doesn’t pull his punches.>>The fat’s going down, the sugar’s going up and we’re all getting sick.>>Gillian: You use words, you use poison, you use toxic.>>Certainly I use those words and I mean them, this is not a hyperbole, this is the real deal. Everyone thinks that the bad effects of sugar are because sugar has empty calories. What I’m saying is no, actually there are lots of things that do have empty calories that are not necessarily poisons.>>Gillian: Poisonous, he says, because of what too much sugar does in our body. So let’s take a look at that. Sugar is made up of two molecules: One called glucose, here in blue, the other fructose, in red. When they separate in our gut, the glucose circulates throughout our body feeding our muscles and our brain… but the fructose goes right to our liver. And its in the liver where all kinds of problems begin.>>When you metabolize fructose in excess, your liver has no choice but to turn that energy into liver fat, and that liver fat then causes all of the downstream metabolic diseases.>>Gillian: We’ll tell you more about those diseases in a moment. But first let’s talk about your brain. Too much fructose, says Lustig, shuts down the part of your brain that tells you when you’re full.>>It doesn’t get registered by the brain as you’re having eaten. So, if you take a kid and prep him with a soft drink and then let him loose at the fast food restaurant, does he eat less or does he eat more? Turns out he eats more.>>I think there’s a long way to go before, um, the literature is sorted out.>>Gillian: Phyllis Tanaka speaks for the biggest food companies in Canada. She doesn’t buy Dr. Lustig’s theories and doesn’t think consumers should either. I think it’s more important that we step back and look at how do we look for ways to educate and help consumers fit sugar into a healthy dietary pattern.>>Gillian: But the industry sure doesn’t make it easy. Look at this breakfast bar. There’s sugar near the top of the ingredient list. But there’s four more sweeteners. Did you know that chemically they’re all the same? Then there’s this tomato soup. who knew it would have added sugars too? How is a consumer supposed to know that healthy, old, tomato soup has three-and-a-half teaspoons of sugar in a cup?>>Well, how did you figure it out? By the nutrition facts table.>>Gillian: I figured that out because I’ve spent a lot of time recently learning about what a gram of sugar is and how to read these labels. Do you think most people know how to do that?>>In the last couple of years, we engaged with Health Canada on a campaign called the nutrition facts education campaign in large part as a commitment to help Canadians understand how to go into the grocery store and make informed choices.>>Gillian: But surely there is a way to warn people who might be interested in this that a cup of this, of this soup, brings you three-and-a-half teaspoons of sugar.>>To what end though?>>Gillian: Well, if they have decided that as part of their healthy diet they want to eat less sugar.>>Well, let me see. Then they would use this same label.>>Gillian: The only information on the label is 14 grams of sugar in half a cup. Do you know what that means? You shouldn’t have to be a dietitian to figure out how much added sugar you’re eating, but it helps. Jaclyn Pritchard has added up all the sugar Jonathon eats in a week. It’s pretty scary.>>This is your week’s worth of sugar intake then. So this is equivalent to 245 teaspoons of sugar.>>That’s a lot of sugar.>>Gillian: When we come back, what all that excess sugar might be leading to. (♪♪♪) (♪♪♪)>>That’s two grams of sugar.>>Gillian: Having discovered just how much sugar is in their food, the Breedon family is on a purge.>>Okay, the Kraft Zesty Italian has one gram of sugar in this one…>>Gillian: They’re still surprised at the kinds of Products that contain sugar. But they’re also determined, all of it, out it goes. Of course, they still have to eat. So to help them learn about life beyond processed foods, we’ve made them a deal. For three weeks we’ll provide all of their meals professionally made without any added sugar. They’ll stick to the diet and submit to medical tests.>>Lucky Charms ain’t so lucky any more.>>Gillian: They’re only in their mid-twenties but according to medical standards both Jonathon and Anna are technically obese. Five-year-old Ruby is hovering on the edge. We started our experiment by having their blood tested and analyzed by obesity specialist, Dr. Dan Flanders. The family, he says, is heading for trouble.>>Looking at these results, I would say that I’m very concerned. Quite frankly, if they don’t make meaningful change to their lifestyle relatively soon, there’s a higher chance that they’re heading for a life of lousy quality of life and early death.>>Gillian: Like most of us, getting fatter and sicker, the Breedon’s might be forgiven their nutritional ignorance. But the food industry has known, and discussed, links between processed food and disease for decades. It was Minneapolis. 1999. Obesity was only an emerging problem back then, when the heads of America’s biggest food companies arrived for a rare meeting. Among them, the heads of Kraft, Nabisco, Nestle, Coca-Cola and General Mills.>>These are executives, who normally are fighting each other for space on the grocery store. They don’t get together very often. But, in ’99, they got together to talk about obesity.>>Gillian: Reporter and author Michael Moss. He described the Minneapolis meeting in his best-selling book.>>And they had been pulled together by a cabal of insiders within the industry, who had increasingly become concerned about, um, both the industry’s responsibility for, and culpability for, being blamed for obesity.>>Gillian: They gathered at the Pillsbury Company headquarters, 31st floor. The message they got was uncompromising. And it was delivered by two of their own: Michael Mudd, a top executive at Kraft, and Jim Hill a leading nutrition researcher. In a slide presentation obtained by the Fifth estate the two men gave it to the bosses straight.>>A national epidemic.>>Gillian: There were too many warnings Mudd told them, before drawing a parallel designed to make them uncomfortable. Tobacco companies had recently settled a massive lawsuit in face of evidence their product caused disease. Did the food industry, he asked, want to be next?>>If anyone in the food industry ever doubted there was a slippery slope out there, I imagine that they’re beginning distinct sliding sensation right about now.>>Gillian: Graphics drove home the point. Maps showing obesity rates rising and spreading across the country like a rash.>>What are the health implications of all this? Studies show that obese individuals are at a higher risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and cancer.>>Gillian: Topping the list of contributing factors: The ubiquity of inexpensive, good-tasting, super-sized, energy-dense foods. In other words, the very foods the C.E.O.s were in charge of selling. The two men were hoping for money to study the link between food and obesity. Instead they got a tongue-lashing, starting with Stephen Sanger, the head of General Mills.>>He was rather furious at Mudd for bringing this to them and blaming them for this, and his defence was, “Look, we already offer consumers a choice. If they want low fat this or low sugar that, we have those products in the grocery store. We feel we’re already being responsible, both to consumers from a health perspective, um, but also to Wall Street.>>Gillian: In other words, they didn’t want to know. Now, it’s one thing to silence troublesome voices in their own companies. Michael Mudd eventually left the food industry out of frustration. But the people who profit from sugar have proven themselves very adept at crushing dissenting voices everywhere, including in the halls of science.>>In front of us day by day are increasingly more and more very tempting foods.>>Gillian: His name was John Yudkin, a British nutritionist who in 1972 wrote a book the sugar industry did not like. “Pure White and Deadly” was a culmination of decades of research, according to his son Michael, that led Yudkin to what were then controversial conclusions.>>He started to wonder and late in the 1950s whether sugar might be a culprit in the increase in heart disease.>>Gillian: More significant than fat, which was the prevailing opinion at the time?>>Certainly more significant than fat, certainly more significant than fat, but that sugar was also involved in a number of other undesirable conditions, particularly diabetes and obesity.>>Gillian: That thesis soon put Yudkin in direct conflict with big sugar’s biggest apologist. This man, American nutritionist, Ancel Keyes. Keyes would later be exposed as having been funded by the industry, but not before he helped destroy John Yudkin’s reputation.>>And as early as the 1950s he had started producing publications suggesting that dietary fat was a problem.>>Gillian: Award winning science writer and author Gary Taubes.>>Keyes successfully managed to taint Yudkin with this smell of quackery. And then on in, anyone else for the next 20, 30 years who did research on sugar was accused of being just like Yudkin.>>There was a systematic campaign to discredit or ignore his work.>>Because of the actions of the sugar industry in the 70s virtually no research was funded. You have this idea that if you study sugar, you’re just like Yudkin and he was a quack.>>Gillian: But that’s remarkable. I mean, what you’re saying is scientific investigation into the link between sugar and disease ground to a halt?>>It ground to a halt.>>Gillian: When we return, the science is back. What happens when you take healthy students and feed them too much sugar? (♪♪♪) (♪♪♪)>>Gillian: It’s week one of “The Fifth Estate” Sugar Challenge.>>Just look at recipes that actually help reduce the sugar in your diets.>>Gillian: And the Breedons are getting a cooking lesson. Chef James Smith is teaching that real food, all the fruits and vegetables and grains of a healthy diet, can also be fast and delicious, without any added sugar at all.>>They use specific ingredients that will change up and that will lower the sugar and lower the processed foods in your diet.>>Gillian: And that may prove a good thing, because after decades of silence there is new scientific research linking sugar to all kinds of chronic disease. (wind blowing)>>Gillian: Jonathan’s blood work suggests he may be on the verge of getting one. Dr. Dan Flanders.>>His results suggest that he’s pre-diabetic. That his levels have been high and that if we don’t make some changes to his lifestyle soon, diabetes is coming.>>Gillian: Today in North America it’s estimated more than 100 million people are diabetic or pre-diabetic. Dr Robert Lustig is quite sure he knows why.>>So I can actually categorically say to you that sugar is the proximate cause of diabetes worldwide and we have hard and fast data to show that.>>Gillian: His data come from his own study, done over a decade, comparing diabetes rates in 175 countries with peoples’ diets.>>And we asked the question: When you adjust for all of the factors that we know are relevant, what about the food supply predicts diabetes rates, worldwide? Answer: Sugar. And only sugar.>>These studies are generally considered a weak level of evidence. A lot of other things have happened at the same time.>>Gillian: Toronto researcher Dr. John Sievenpiper. He argues Lustig’s methodology is seriously flawed.>>Methodologists would tell you there’s a lot of potential bias, I could give you one example. Over the same time as sugar has gone up, so has bottled water, but there’s no real biological plausibility in the link between bottled water and overweight and obesity. So it’s not a, I don’t think, a sound finding. But we have to be careful in putting too much of the biological plausibility in wanting to believe patterns that we see.>>Gillian: His point is it’s hard to know what causes diseases. And ethically can’t induce it to find out. But you can test for markers, warning signs that disease may be coming. And that’s what they’re doing here, at the University of California at Davis. (♪♪♪) (wind blowing)>>Gillian: In this lab, students are the guinea pigs. The scientists are feeding them sugar to figure out if it raises the markers for heart disease. That drink contains 25 percent of her daily calories, as high fructose corn syrup.>>Look at this…>>Gillian: Every time they’ve run the test, says Dr. Kimber Stanhope, the results have been the same.>>We saw increases in visceral adiposity, that means–>>Gillian: What’s that?>>That’s the fat within the abdominal region. This is the fat surrounding the liver and the intestines, and the kidney. This is the fat that is associated with increased risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.>>Gillian: The Breedons know that fact. Anna and Jonathon have already been diagnosed as having fatty livers, which puts them at risk for raised insulin and triglyceride levels. That’s the fat in our blood. When Dr. Stanhope tested the blood of her college guinea pigs, healthy kids with healthy livers, she was shocked by how quickly they saw problems.>>We definitely in two weeks see increases in the risk factors for cardiovascular disease in the blood.>>Gillian: Just in two weeks?>>In two weeks.>>Gillian: But those kinds of studies don’t impress everyone. After surveying a number of studies, including Dr. Stanhope’s, that look at sugar and heart disease, John Seivenpiper sees no reason for alarm.>>What we find when we look at those trials very carefully is that as long as you match for calories, fructose does not behave differently than does any other form of carbohydrate, namely starches or refined starches and glucose. Now, that’s not to say that they’re benign, because I don’t think we should be having a lot of refined starches or glucose. But it’s not behaving any differently.>>Gillian: Stanhope can’t speak to the other studies but says she tested for all kinds of things, and it was only the fructose that caused the problems.>>If I had results as strong with regard to a food additive, a brand new food additive and then I started producing these results, they would — that additive would get pulled pretty quickly.>>Gillian: That’s how strong these results are?>>I think they are. (wind blowing)>>Gillian: In the world of cancer research, Lewis Cantley is a rockstar. Five years ago the Cornell University professor was chosen to head a scientific dream team. A group of America’s top cancer specialists brought together to supercharge the search for a cure. His findings may not be embraced by everyone but in the cancer world, when Cantley talks, people listen.>>Gillian: Let me ask then, do you believe that sugar consumption causes cancer?>>I think yes. I think that eating too much sugar can definitely increase the probability of cancer, and also make the outcome of people who already have cancer, uh, worse.>>Gillian: So how? Well, let’s review what sugar is made of: One molecule glucose and one fructose. We know that when there’s too much fructose in the liver, it sets off a chain reaction. The pancreas produces more insulin. What Cantley now believes is that excess insulin changes cancer tumours, telling them to gobble up the glucose.>>What we’re now learning is that some of the cancers, particularly those cancers that correlate with obesity and diabetes, often have insulin receptor on the cancer cell. The tumour, by expressing the insulin receptor, tricks the glucose into going into the tumour, rather than the muscle and fat. And as a consequence, the tumour can use that glucose as a fuel to grow.>>Gillian: So if sugar can fuel existing tumours and make them grow, can it also cause tumours to form in the first place? The science on that isn’t as clear. Yet. But Cantley is taking no chances.>>It scares me, yes, I think if definitely — I don’t, you know, I will eat fruit, fruit has sugar in it obviously. Uh, but if I can avoid any sugar at all, and any drinks that I drink, or foods, I try to avoid processed foods, ’cause it’s hard to find one that doesn’t have sugar in it. I certainly avoid sugar when I can. (wind blowing)>>Gillian: One of the criticisms of the anti-sugar scientist is that too much of their “evidence” comes from animals, not humans. That said, here at Brown University in Rhode Island they’re doing studies they think should make a lot of humans nervous. This rat is perfectly healthy. put him in a vat of water and he finds his way to safety, every time.>>5.2.>>Gillian: Now, look at this guy. What he’s been eating is the equivalent of a North American diet, complete with all the fats and sugars we regularly consume. he doesn’t know where to go. his brain has been damaged.>>These rats were totally normal, and then they turned into demented animals. They don’t remember they’re learning after even a day. And as the challenge gets harder and harder, they fail more and more, just like a human with Alzheimer’s disease.>>36.2.>>Gillian: In this lab the belief now is that Alzheimer’s is really diabetes of the brain, linked to insulin levels which can be affected by too much sugar. Professor Suzanne Delamonte.>>Insulin resistance, we now know, can occur in any organ. It can occur in the muscles. that’s what diabetes is. It can occur in the liver, that causes fatty liver disease. It can occur in the ovaries, that’s polycystic ovary disease. And it can occur in the brain, and we think that’s Alzheimer’s.>>Gillian: Now it’s important to remember that none of this research represents the scientific main stream. The case against sugar has not been proven. Associations on both sides of the border for Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, including Health Canada and the FDA they all know about this research and yet but none of them are warning about links between sugar and disease. But there is one important group that is raising the alarm. The American heart association now recommends that people cut back on added sugar, dramatically. Women should have no more than 6 teaspoons a day. Men 9. Don’t forget the total sugar intake in this country per person is 26 teaspoons a day. And yet, the Canadian food industry remains unimpressed.>>We’ve talked to people who are quite convinced that there is a relationship, a correlation, between sugar and diabetes and heart disease, cancer, dementia. What happens if those people are right?>>Uh, at this point in time, I’m comfortable saying that the science just isn’t there to support a role in chronic disease.>>Gillian: When we come back, government goes on the attack.>>If your kids drink one bottle of soda a day they’re eating the equivalent of 50 pounds of sugar a year, the equivalent of 50 pounds of sugar from just one soda a day.>>Gillian: And big sugar strikes back. (♪♪♪)>>Everywhere you turn somebody is telling us what we can’t eat. (♪♪♪) (♪♪♪)>>Gillian: World wide, there are few industries more powerful than the processed food industry, or the sugar industry that feeds it. And yet for all their power, we know remarkably little about how they work. Cristen Couzens is determined to change that. As a community care dentist in Colorado she’d always been interested in sugar, but it wasn’t until she unearthed a stash of documents from a sugar company that had gone out of business, that she got a peek into a very secretive world.>>The first folder that I pulled out opened up to a memo. The blue letterhead of the Sugar Association. And it had the word “confidential” underneath the letterhead. And I just looked at that and I, oh my G– you know, what have I found?>>Gillian: What she’d found was a directive from the ’70s, a memo to industry executives about a newly published scientific white paper; a paper that concluded sugar was not only safe, but important.>>It was clear after reading further that the Sugar Association had funded this white paper called, “Sugar in the Diet of Man,” and they were trying to make it appear that it was an independent study.>>Gillian: Among the more than fifteen hundred pages she uncovered, there were some Canadian ones too. An account of a sugar industry meeting in the ’70s in Montreal, that included frank talk about heart disease.>>The greatest threat to sugar consumption is in the field of nutrition, it says. More particularly in view of comments that have been recently made on the influence of sugar on atherosclerosis.>>Gillian: So they were worried?>>They were worried, as far back as 1971.>>Gillian: What does that say to you?>>They’ve known for a long time.>>So I took this paper and crossed out where it said “tobacco” and put in “sugar” and looked to see if I could find similar tactics that the sugar industry was using.>>Gillian: Today Couzens is pursuing her research at the University of California in San Francisco. And she’s doing it under the tutelage of someone to whom it all sounds familiar.>>The amazing thing I learned from her was that strategies that I thought the tobacco companies made up back in the 50’s, actually some of those, the sugar people had done even before that.>>Well, you know now, we have 83 million pages of history documents that’s on the internet.>>Gillian: Stan Glantz is famous in litigation circles as the man who first publicized secret tobacco industry documents that proved cigarette companies knew their product was dangerous. In the new sugar documents, he sees lots of parallels.>>Well, one parallel is just trying to undermine science. Another one is working to try to attack and intimidate scientists and others who are coming up with results that these big corporate interests don’t like. Another one is trying to subvert sensible regulation.>>Gillian: The sugar industry Has decades of practice in that. In 2003 the world health organization in Geneva was looking at a resolution recommending people reduce their sugar intake to just 10 percent of what they eat. It had broad appeal among health experts, but then the industry weighed in.>>The sugar industry went to their friends in the US congress and they got these very influential congressmen to write letters and say that this is simply unacceptable. And in fact, that the US would, you know, pull it’s funding from the World Health Organization if this report continued.>>Gillian: Five months later the recommendation quietly disappeared. Having seen the movie before, Stan Glantz says we can’t afford to let it happen again.>>We wouldn’t have a tobacco epidemic if there wasn’t a tobacco industry. We wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic if there wasn’t an industry that was making a lot of money selling sugar and fat and salt and things like that. And to me the bottom line is that one of the key disease vectors for non-communicable diseases is big corporations. And I think we’re going to have to have to get these big Corporations under control.>>It has become a bit of a moral issue, when you see the — how far we’ve come.>>Gillian: Bruce Bradley, who used to help run a number of those corporations, agrees.>>This isn’t a blip, this isn’t a minor, oh, we just had a minor course correction. We’re on a completely wrong trajectory with our health.>>Gillian: What’s the answer then?>>I think the honest answer is that we need government to step in and to become an advocate for consumers.>>But sugary drinks are a big reason …>>Gillian: But look what’s happened when governments have tried. Earlier this year New York City passed a law banning super-sized sugary drinks.>>If your kids drink one bottle of soda a day, they’re eating the equivalent of 50 pounds of sugar a year, the equivalent of 50 pounds of sugar from just one soda a day.>>Gillian: Industry’s response, to ridicule Mayor Michael Bloomberg as an overbearing nanny. The law was later overturned by the courts. (♪♪♪)>>Everywhere you turn somebody is telling us what we can’t eat.>>Gillian: But advocates keep on trying. Two weeks ago in Washington, congressmen calling on the government to help consumers by demanding better labels. And at the very least, recommending a daily limit for how much sugar is safe. In Canada and the U.S., those limits exist for other ingredients like fat and sodium. Manufacturers must say what percentage of the recommended daily limit their product contains. But next to sugar, nothing.>>Would your association representing the big food manufacturers in this country would they accept, uh, upper limit of how much sugar Canadians would, should eat?>>I think that’s kind of hypothetical because …>>Gillian: Well, people are putting on the table saying, this is one way to, if you want to curb the amount of sugar people are eating, this is one way to start doing that.>>I think the industry actually has responded to the need for, uh, a diverse supply of foods out in the retail marketplace.>>Across our portfolio of more than 650 beverages we now offer 180 low and no calorie choices.>>Gillian: Today, even Coca-Cola, the world’s largest sugar user, knows it can’t ignore the health debate anymore.>>We like people to come together with something that concerns all of us, obesity. Coca-cola and every …>>Gillian: But the bottom line hasn’t changed: If you’re getting sick from what you eat, it’s your fault.>>For people to blame the consumer, to blame the victim in all of this just as the tobacco companies blame the 12 year olds they go out and addict, it’s just not fair because people aren’t given the information that they need if they’re trying to make a good choice.>>Gillian: As with tobacco, at some point it will all come down to lives and to dollars. The reckoning, warns Dr. Lustig is coming.>>Bottom line? There will be no money left by the year 2026 for anything else because diabetes will have chewed through all the healthcare dollars. There will be no health care in 13 years here in America if we do nothing and I’m sure Canada is right behind.>>Gillian: For three weeks the Breedons have been eating the food we’ve supplied.>>How much steak you want, Anna?>>Gillian: They’re still eating the kinds of food they like, as much as they like. The only difference none of it’s processed and none has added sugar.>>Then eat some of mine because it’s not too hot, hot.>>Gillian: So has it made a difference? The moment of truth. In three weeks Jonathon lost one-and-a-half inches around his waist. 8-and-a-half pounds. Anna’s weight is down too and her waist, where all that dangerous fat can accumulate, is down by 5 inches. And what effect did all that have on their bloodwork?>>I’m Dr. Flanders, nice to meet you. Okay, Jonathan, I am glad to say there’s some real signs of things improving. If we have a look at your cholesterol level, it has actually gone down by 10 per cent which is fabulous. Your triglycerides have gone down by 20 per cent. Okay so Anna…>>Gillian: Her results are equally good. And while our three week experiment is far from scientific proof of anything, Dr. Flanders is pleased.>>So this is some evidence that the changes that you’ve made to your eating are helping to make your body happier, healthier. This is fantastic news. This is really great.>>Well, when we first started the project, I thought the change would be, like, really little. like, I wouldn’t see anything. But to see how dramatically its changed, means to me, like, that it’s really good.>>It was a big change, at first it was hell, but good results. I’m happy. (♪♪♪)