Sugar High

By Mike Warkentin

In Columns, Nutrition

November 14, 2015

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Film examines sugar-industry documents detailing PR campaign that mirrors the Big Tobacco playbook.

Someone probably forgot to shred them.

When the Great Western Sugar Co. shuttered a factory in Colorado in 1976, its records eventually found their way to Colorado State University. You can find a detailed index here, and toward the bottom of the list you’ll note a series of entries related to the trade group The Sugar Association Inc.

Dentist Cristin Kearns did exactly that, and when she dug through the boxes she found the confidential sugar-industry documents that are at the center of Michèle Hozer’s documentary “Sugar Coated.”

Just over 90 minutes long, “Sugar Coated” uses the likes of journalist Gary Taubes and Dr. Robert Lustig to outline how increased sugar consumption is linked to obesity-related health issues.

“Sugar Coated” has to set the table for those who use the film as an access point to the sugar-obesity issue, and it does so at the expense of those who might want truly ruthless investigative treatment of an industry’s repeated and very successful attempts to influence governments and the public over several decades. Nevertheless, the film does a fine job of summarizing the whole issue for neophytes. Diet-conscious CrossFit athletes might find the scenes linking added sugar and obesity to be preaching to the choir, but that’s a minor criticism, and the reminder might actually be needed.

After all, the sugar industry has succeeded in yelling more loudly than science for about 30 years.

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1 Comment on “Sugar High”


wrote …

It's pretty unbelievable really. I wonder what the Sugar Associations playbook of 2015 includes? This story is a great reminder of how powerful the media is and to what stakes big corporations will go to influence public opinion for the sake of holding on to their profits. I am glad to see there is a strong grassroots movement for healthy living and healthy eating. I think good health is the greatest gift we have. This film needs to be in schools and needs to be seen by as many people as possible. Thank you CrossFit for sharing this film!

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