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The Secrets of Sugar - the fifth estate - CBC News

We've heard for years about the dangers of eating too much fat or salt. But there have never been recommended limits for sugar on Canadian food labels, despite emerging research that suggests the sweet stuff may be making more of us fat and sick. In the fifth estate's season premiere, Gillian Findlay digs into the surprising science - and the reaction from the food industry - to reveal The Secrets of Sugar. Has the sugar industry been hiding an unsavoury truth from consumers?

A small but influential group of medical researchers is stirring up the health debate, linking sugar not just to rising obesity rates but also to a host of diseases including cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

We put a family of four on a healthy diet to try to beat their sugar habit and track the surprising results. We talk to leading scientists – and their critics. And we ask the food industry why those ingredient labels are far from clear when it comes to how much sugar is really on your plate.

The Secrets of Sugar

By Ronna Syed and Allya Davidson

95 teaspoons of sugar. That’s how much sugar Jonathan Breedon, his girlfriend and their two children consume on average in a day. That’s not from eating cupcakes and tubs of ice-cream--- but from a fairly typical North American diet.

Like most Canadians the Breedons have no idea how much sugar they’re consuming. That’s because most sugar we consume is not added by the teaspoons in our coffee or over our breakfast cereal but hidden in processed food.

In a can of Campbell’s tomato soup? More than seven teaspoons.

In a bowl of vanilla flavoured Activia yogurt? Almost fourteen teaspoons.

And the Healthy Choice chicken pineapple microwave dinner? 5 ½ teaspoons.

The average Canadian consumes 26 teaspoons of sugar per day. That’s 40 kilos a year--- the equivalent of 20 bags.

Emerging science is connecting the high consumption of sugar in North American diets with the rapid spread of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

The food industry, which relies on sugar for most of its products, is one of the biggest manufacturers in North America. It generates nearly a trillion dollars in sales a year. But the nutrition labels on the back of the packages, don’t list a recommended limit to how much sugar people should consume in a day.

Posted by George Freund on August 9, 2014 at 6:38 PM 2299 Views