- Culture is a word for the ‘way of life’ of groups of people, meaning the way they do things…
Why is it so difficult to cut back on, avoid, or cut out sugar in America?
The simple answer: It’s everywhere and in everything.
But the answer is so much more complicated. Sugar is a part and parcel to our way of life.
- It’s on every menu in every restaurant where we eat.
- It’s an acceptable gift for birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.
- It is a major focus for weddings, wedding showers, baby showers, Halloween, Easter, and Christmas.
- Sugar is at almost every checkout counter at every store.
- It’s in children’s snacks (I’ll talk more about this).
- It’s added to almost all processed foods in the grocery store.
- Sugar is added to almost every fruit juice.
- You cannot eat a sauce at a restaurant that doesn’t have added sugar.
- Almost every salad dressing, condiment, yogurt, cereals, bread, soups, and on and on and on have added sugar.
- Employers and supervisors reward employees with sugar.
- Girl Scouts peddle sugar every year.
- Schools turn into “sugar pushers” by getting you to buy chocolate bars for the band.
The Culture of Sugar and Kids
It’s difficult to take a child anywhere and not be confronted with sugar.
The “kids deal” at the movie theater includes a soft drink with sugar.
The kid’s meal at Dairy Queen includes ice cream.
Take your kids to the zoo and you will find “sugar shacks” sprinkled throughout the animals.
There are candy dispensers at the entrance of most stores, malls and restaurants.
Banks give your kids suckers at the drive-through.
Grocery stores give kids free cookies at the bakery.
The Sugar Culture and Advertising
Kids are on the internet and watch lots of TV. Advertisers take advantage of this.
The American Psychological Association warns, “Food ads on TV make up to 50 percent of ad time on children.” These ads, they go on to report, “are almost completely dominated by unhealthy food products (34% for candy and snacks, 28% for sweetened cereal, 10 for fast food, 1% for juice, and 0% for fruit and vegetables).”
Kids 8-12 are exposed to nearly 8,000 food ads per year.
The lines between ads and games on the internet have become very blurred, making it very difficult for children to know the difference. Only half of all eight-year-olds were able to recognize the advertisements they were watching on the internet.
As it turns out, high sugar cereal is one of the most frequently advertised food products to children.
The APA also warned parents that advertising is creeping into American Schools. Ads are showing up everywhere.
How much money is the food industry spending to get children to eat more sugar? In the early 2000’s the amount was staggering:
$792 million Breakfast Cereal
$765 million Candy
$549 million Soft Drinks
$330 million Snacks
This is the Culture of Sugar in America!!!!
This is a modern problem that did not exist 100-150 years ago.
Early Humans did not have this problem. Frontier humans did not have this culture. Even Pre-TV Americans did not have this culture.
It’s a modern social problem and it’s getting worse, not better.
I’m driving myself crazy. The point I’m making is that sugar is so pervasive in our country and so ingrained into our traditions, gathering places, and our social engagements that its very, very, very difficult to avoid and cut out.
I’ve been off “added sugar” for 2 months. Not 100%. That’s nearly impossible, but I’ve avoided sweets and anything that has added sugar.
I feel like I’ve been swimming upstream, against the dominant Culture of Sugar.
And I’m healthier, thinner, and feeling better. I’m loving it!
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