New documentary “Sugar Coated” reveals a secret PR campaign and its disastrous impact on health.
We weren’t always so unhealthy.
Until 1980, approximately 12-14 percent of Americans were obese, but by the end of that decade the number had about doubled, reaching 22-25 percent. Similarly, diabetes rates tripled over the last 30 years to produce 347 million worldwide cases. Obesity has become an epidemic, affecting children, putting a strain on our health-care system and introducing previously unheard-of conditions such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
In the ’70s and ’80s, scientists and the media engaged in a lively discussion about the health effects of sugar versus those of fat. Scientists pointed to the links between high sugar consumption, diabetes and heart disease.
“All of a sudden this debate sort of stopped,” said Michèle Hozer, director of the documentary “Sugar Coated.”
By the ’90s the low-fat craze swept the country, and consumers became fat-phobic, ignoring the high amounts of sugar that went into making the low-fat treats.
“And I thought, ‘Well, what happened? Did we get this collective amnesia? Why did this debate stop?’” Hozer asked.
In “Sugar Coated,” Hozer reveals her answers.