Sugar Showdown: Your Health, Katie Couric, and the Food Industry

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Katie Couric’s recent documentary Fed Up and her challenge to Americans that they attempt going sugar-free for ten days got us thinking about sugar, diets, addiction, and weight. It turns out we aren’t the only ones. The movie and challenge were meant to raise awareness of what is in our food and teach people to pay attention to what is written on nutrition labels — but not everyone agrees with the claims.

The International Food Information Council Foundation issued a press release fact checking certain claims made by the movie. It reached the conclusion that the movie is undermined by incorrect statements, and that it misses a larger picture by only focusing on sugar. The Daily Meal points out that the council has ties to large food manufacturers, like Coca-Cola. “FedUpFacts” was launched by the Grocery Manufacturers Association to defend food manufacturing companies and promote the work they have done — such as cutting calories from products — to try and pitch in against obesity. This is true; in January, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announced that sixteen companies sold 6.4 trillion fewer calories in 2012 than what was sold in 2007. 

So is any of this focus on sugar worthwhile? Additional calories are, after all, why people gain weight. If those are being cut, does this sugar scrutiny matter, and is it really that detrimental to our health. Or, like the International Food Information Council Foundation states, is too much attention being give to one specific ingredient? Like so many things in life, it depends on who you ask.

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