Setting the record straight on sweeteners

Obesity and related diseases are serious. Nobody, particularly our members who grow and process sugar across the country, discounts that.

But, despite many of the assertions made in “Everything that’s bad for you has been restricted, vilified or outlawed. What does this mean for candy?” [Washington Post Magazine, Oct. 26], the only “war” sugar may have to wage is against media hysteria that drives consumer misinformation.

For the record:

• Agriculture Department data show that U.S. per-capita consumption of real sugar (sucrose) is 34 percent lower now than it was 40 years ago, while over the same period obesity and other metabolic diseases started to rise.

• More than 90 percent of the caloric sweetener supplied for beverages in the United States is high-fructose corn syrup, not sucrose, so zero grams of sugar were in the 12-ounce Coke referenced .

• Diabetes is not caused by consuming carbohydrates. The American Diabetes Association advises diabetics that sugar may be included in their diets provided that it is counted as part of their daily carbohydrate allowance.

Sugar in moderation can be part of a balanced, healthful diet and lifestyle and has been for thousands of years. And that’s a fact.

Andy Briscoe, Washington

The writer is president and chief executive of the Sugar Association.

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POSTED IN: Family Corner, In the News