CEO David Kopp on his #BreakUpWithSugar
As a father and a consumer, I have become outraged about sugar. There is a phenomenal cost which sugar has inflicted on me, my family, and on society. Our diet is making us chronically sick. For the first time in modern history, we’re raising children with shorter projected lifespans than their parents. Twelve-year-olds are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, they’re testing positive for the early markers of heart disease, and 1 out of 3 are considered overweight or obese. A key driver behind all of these shocking health trends is diet, and in particular, the massive amounts of sugar we are consuming every day — often without knowing it and under the influence of duplicitous sugar marketing.
My wife first suggested that I should cut back on sugar. She told me that my friend Tim had lost 20 pounds, mostly by cutting out sugar. I wasn't compelled. Then I saw Tim. He looked great and said he felt better and had more energy. But I loved dessert.
The outrage began to creep in when I finally learned the science. The body can't fully metabolize refined sugars. The liver simply turns it into fat.
So I broke up with dessert. For a couple weeks, it was hard. But then a funny thing happened. People could put a cookie in front of me after dinner and I felt no desire to eat it. I had been addicted to sugar. And now I wasn't. This was outrageous. Why didn't I know that sugar, just like alcohol and nicotine, was addictive?
Now, I wanted to #BreakUpWithSugar, not just with dessert. I started reading labels. That all-natural, organic smoothie? Fifty-four grams of sugar — more than the entire recommended daily allowance of sugar for a man. That cup of yogurt? Twenty-five grams of sugar, or approximately the entire recommended daily allowance for a woman. I was outraged, but I was also confused. Why is there so much sugar in our food?
This is where the outrage really lies: Much of what we’ve been taught about nutrition is just wrong. Based on faulty and biased studies influenced by sugar marketers, we demonized saturated fat and cholesterol as the key drivers of preventable chronic disease while ignoring the risks of excess sugar consumption. Healthline research has revealed that these early pseudoscience strategies of Big Sugar were just the tip of the iceberg. Much like Big Tobacco, Big Sugar has paid legions of lobbyists and funneled donations to researchers willing to ignore the facts that sugar is both addictive and toxic to the human body.
At this point, I also realized that we at Healthline, the fastest growing digital health website, had been as culpable as anyone. We reach nearly 50 million people a month and we weren’t educating our readers either. So we and all of our readers have an opportunity to not just #BreakUpWithSugar, but to educate our friends and neighbors.
If you’re outraged, talk to your family and friends, share an article, or tell us your #BreakUpWithSugar story. Skipping dessert or your daily blended coffee isn’t easy, but the science is clear: Excess sugar is making us sick and we need to break the habit.
To our healthier, stronger future.