That Time I Worked For the Sugar Industry…

That Time I Worked For the Sugar Industry…
From Nerd Fitness - May 9, 2017

Hey, I was young. I didnt know any better!

And the money was good. So, how could I turn it down? As a high school kid, you make money any way you can, even if its something youre not thrilled about.

And thats how I ended up spending two summers with my older brother Jack working for Coca-Cola, which I talked about on Steves Instagram:

Thats right, your boy Stevea guy who once wrote an article explaining why Sugar is Worse than Jar Jar Binksused to work for the enemy!

For two summers, my brother and I would wake up at 5AM, put on the sweet Coke polo shirts pictured above, hop into our Coca-Cola cars (old station wagons with Coca-Cola logos on the side), and stock shelves full of Coke products for 50-60+ hours a week on Cape Cod.

Now, hopefully you know that the above enemy comment is in jest.

If you happen to be currently employed by Coca-Cola or a company that sells products or services that are unhealthy, I dont mean to pick on you or your employerkind of. After all, Coca-Cola is a company that aims to make a profit by selling products that are delicious. I get it. Give me an ice-cold Mexican Coke made with real sugar in a glass bottle on a hot day, and its heaven. I also know they donate lots of money to charity, employ thousands, and do plenty of good things, and blah blah blah.

Okay! Now that thats out of the way

Twelve years after working indirectly for Big Sugar and sevenyears after starting Nerd Fitness, I now know just how detrimental sugar can be to our health, and it brings me to the point of todays article!

We know sugar is bad for us (right? I hope?), but I wasnt aware just how insidious this stuff has become in society and until I learned the history behind sugars rise in our day-to-day livesand the rise in our obesity rates.

The History of Sugar

The history of sugar is both fascinating and pretty messed up. For starters, in the 1960s the sugar industry actually paid scientists to downplay the connection between sugar and heart disease and instead promote saturated fat as the culprit.

Screw facts and data; theres money to be made!

This is how we ended up with hilariously depressing ads like the one below from the 1970s, touting sugar as a great path to weight loss and healthy living:

If you know anything about sugar, you cant help but look at that ad and start laughing. Use sugar to help you BUILD willpower? And NOT overeat. Seriously!?

Fortunately, these days were MUCH better off and way smarter, and silly tricks like that cant work anymore.


Wrong! As pointed out in The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes: Academic researchers in 2015 were doing the bidding of Coca-Cola by taking its money to fund a Global Energy Balance Network and shift blame for obesity away from bad diets, and instead only focus on not enough exercise.

We know here at NF that you cant outrun your fork (its one of our Rules of the Rebellion), and you cant out-train a bad diet, so telling people to ONLY focus on exercising more without worrying about what you put in your bodies is horrible advice.

Luckily, this group was shut down amidst widespread scrutiny and pressure by the public!

Also, pesky things like facts and experimentation kept getting in the way.

With all of the information coming out about how unhealthy soda can be in recent years, soda sales have steadily dropped to 30 year lows. This is AWESOME news, but dont expect Coke and Pepsi to go quietly into the night.

Like any animal or company thats been cornered or attacked, theyre adapting and fighting to stay relevant.

Thus, the strategy theyve adopted is marketing healthy soda alternatives to find another pathway to connect their sugar water with our bloodstreams.

If youve picked up a Vitamin Water, a Naked Juice: Green Machine, or a Smoothie King fruit smoothie lately, and patted yourself on the back for making the healthy choice, your head is in the right placebut your blood sugar level will say otherwise!

These beverages, despite everything youre told on their labels and what they advertise, are as bad for you (or worse) than drinking a soda:

At least when you drink a soda you know youre making an unhealthy choice!

Shame on these other companies for convincing you their products are pure and healthy when they often have as much or more sugar as a can of Coke.

If youre currently pissed off that youve been dutifully chugging Vitaminwater for the past few months instead of soda, assuming its healthier, I dont blame you! The marketing and packaging leave you no choice BUT to assume its healthy and good for you.

Whats as funny as it is depressing is that even Coca-Cola executives themselves know their healthy marketing of these beverages is horseshit.

In 2015, when taken to court over the unsubstantiated health claims of Vitaminwater, Coca-Cola actually used the following defense (seriously): No consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking Vitaminwater was a healthy beverage.

I read that quote and my eyeballs almost fell out of my head. Are you furious yet? I am. Lets fix it.

How to Not Let Sugar Run Your Life

I get it. Sugar is awesome. Its delicious and makes us happytemporarily.

It also makes us fat.

And holy **** is it addicting. It targets the pleasure centers in our brains, and is more available now than it has ever been in the history of our species. Unfortunately, our lizard brains have not adapted to its widespread availability instead of scarcity, which means our bodies cant say no or just a little. This means we can ACTUALLY get hooked on the stuff. There are even studies that claim sugar can be as addicting as cocaine.

So the solution is simple: do more cocaine, less sugar!

Hahahaha, kidding. Im not a doctor, and I dont currently have pants on as I type this, but my advice would be to probably avoid both sugar and cocaine as much as possible.


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