Protectionist Laws for Florida’s Sugar Industry cost us both dollars and health. In the Journal of Clinical Investigation (May 2009), researchers at the University of California, reported that the widespread use of fructose may be directly responsible for some of the ongoing increase in rates of childhood diabetes and obesity. The protectionist laws for Florida’s Sugar industry (and those subsidies for corn growers in the mid west), have made fructose (corn syrup) a more economical sweetener than glucose (table sugar). The UC study showed that consuming fructose-sweetened, instead of glucose-sweetened, beverages increases abdominal fat and decreases insulin sensitivity in overweight/obese people. Worse yet the participants in the study who consumed fructose-sweetened food showed an increase of fat cells around major organs including their hearts and livers, and also underwent metabolic changes that are precursors to heart disease and diabetes.
Noted economist, Walter Williams, currently the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., in response to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius quote, "The U.S. government plans to increase funding to battle obesity and views healthcare reform as an opportunity to encourage better eating habits," professor Williams said, “Rather than spending money and attacking the food industry, the secretary and others concerned with the health of Americans ought to go after the U.S. Congress.”
Ever watch the TV commercial for Corn Syrup? The one where they ask what’s wrong with using high fructose corn syrup, implying that there is nothing wrong with it and it’s as safe and secure a sweetener as table sugar. Kimber Stanhope researcher at UC Davis found that "This is the first evidence we have that fructose increases diabetes and heart disease independently from causing simple weight gain. We didn't see any of these changes in the people eating glucose." Confirming this, Dr. Gerald Shulman and fellow researchers at Yale University School of Medicine have found that diets with significant high-fructose corn syrup lead to elevated risks of high triglycerides, fat buildup in the liver and insulin resistance.
The corn industry point to studies that show there is no difference between corn syrup and sugar. But we can easily trace the increase in the use of corn syrup and the increase in obesity, diabetes, and other health problems associated with high triglycerides. Concerning the Princeton study released in February of this year, researcher Nichole M. Avena says "Our findings lend support to the theory that the excessive consumption of high-fructose corn syrup found in many beverages may be an important factor in the obesity epidemic." The corn industry disputes these finding, but in the 40 years since the introduction of high-fructose corn syrup as a cost-effective sweetener in the American diet, rates of obesity in the U.S. have skyrocketed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 1970, around 15 percent of the U.S. population met the definition for obesity; today, roughly one-third of the American adults are considered obese, the CDC reported.
Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) and the Florida Sugar Growers have given millions of dollars to politicians. The result is artificially high sugar prices and artificially low corn syrup prices. The cost of sugar is 25% to 35% less in Mexico than in the U.S.A. That with cheaper labor has resulted in US candy manufacturers moving to Mexico. But it’s not just the cost of labor that made them move. Life Saver’s candy, a namesake American product, is now made in Canada where labor costs are similar but they save $10million dollars per year.
Protectionism for Florida sugar and subsidies for Midwest corn are adding to the pockets of the corporations who have bought off your representative with political patronage. The results are predictable, you paying more for sugar, use more of a subsidized product, and worse yet, the use of artificially less expensive corn syrup in place of good old table sugar has resulted in measurable health problems. Walter Williams is correct we should be going after congress and the Florida legislature whose excessive rules and regulations hurt Floridians and all Americans.