First Global Warming - Now Global Sweetening!

From the same sort of academic busybodies who gave us the ever-popular global warming panic comes a new prediction of catastrophe.  This newest ginned up rationale for enabling Liberal-Progressive-Democrats (L-P-Ds) to have more control over the behavior of ordinary citizens hasn't been given catchy name yet, so rather than wait for the mainstream media to compare notes on JournoList, let's all agree to call sweetening

Yes, my friends, President Obama's fellow travelers within the progressive movement have decided that they have to find a new excuse for imposing government controls since climate change (née global warming) failed to achieve their overarching goal of controlling the car you drive; the fuel you're allowed to use; the type of light bulb you are allowed to use; and, after they get the "smart grid" in place, how warm you'll be allowed to keep your home.

Apparently, three researchers from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) have decided that sugar must be regulated in the same way in which tobacco and alcohol are regulated.  The three scientists, Dr. Robert Lustig, Dr. Laura Schmidt, and Dr. Claire Brindis, voiced their view in an opinion piece in the journal Nature that was published February 1, 2012, titled "The Toxic Truth About Sugar."  They argue that it's a misnomer to consider sugar just "empty calories": "There is nothing empty about these calories. A growing body of scientific evidence is showing that fructose can trigger processes that lead to liver toxicity and a host of other chronic diseases. A little is not a problem, but a lot kills -- slowly."

"We are in the midst of the biggest public health crisis in the history of the world," declared Dr. Lustig.  "And nobody even gets it. Nobody understands how important this is because they don't consider it 'public health.' They consider it 'personal responsibility.'"

Dr. Lustig is a professor of pediatrics and director of the Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health (WATCH) program at UCSF.  His co-author, Dr. Schmidt, is professor of health policy at UCSF's IHPS and co-chair of UCSF's Clinical and Translational Science Institute's Community Engagement and Health Policy Program.  This is a very weighty title which sounds a lot like Community Organizer for Invading Your Health Privacy.

In the article, Dr. Schmidt claimed that she and her cohorts were being very sensitive to individual freedom of choice.

We're not talking prohibition. We're not advocating a major imposition of the government into people's lives.  We're talking about gentle ways to make sugar consumption slightly less convenient, thereby moving people away from the concentrated dose. What we want is to actually increase people's choices by making foods that aren't loaded with sugar comparatively easier and cheaper to get.

Isn't that reassuring?  They advocate only a minor imposition of government into people's lives.  Perhaps that's somewhat akin to being just a little bit pregnant.  And isn't it wonderful that they want to make "foods that aren't loaded with sugar comparatively easier and cheaper to get"?  It's embarrassing to never have realized that sugar and candy companies were the reason why a stalk of celery is so hard to find...and costs as much as a new Volkswagen.  No, come to think of it, most sugar-free foods are a lot cheaper than those with sugar, right?  Unless they used to have sugar, and now manufacturers charge more after they label the same food "sugar-free."  Feels a lot like paying more for unleaded gas, doesn't it?

The third of these three scientists, Dr. Claire Brindis, who is the director of UCSF's Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, addressed the issue of the problem they face in getting people to change their behavior, saying, "We recognize that there are cultural and celebratory aspects of sugar. Changing these patterns is very complicated."

Most people would agree with Dr. Brindis.  Cultural norms would be impacted to such an extent that very few would recognize said norms anymore.  Imagine, if you will, an Easter basket filled with carrots and celery.  And gentlemen, imagine just where you would be sleeping if you brought home a heart-shaped box of sugar-free sweets for your sweetheart.

Flag-bearer for LPDs though it may be, the New York Times had an article on February 1, 2012 concerning the article these three professors had published in Nature -- and for once, credit must be given to the Times for allowing one of its writers, K.J. Dell'Antonia, to stray (if only a little) from LPD orthodoxy.  The comments appearing below the article itself are a veritable smorgasbord of LPD bumper stickers, calling for the regulation of sugar and tossing in every other item on the perpetual LPD wish list, including salt and all things not fair trade (to say nothing of taxing sugar and applying every penny of tax to pay for universal health care).  One particular gem reads:

Tax sugary food and use the proceeds to cover the excess costs of treating diabetes and obesity. Problem solved.

Didn't the government claim that taxing cigarettes was going to go toward paying for the treatment of pulmonary diseases?  How did that work out?

It seems that the LPD technique of using "scientists" to front their drive for total control of every aspect of your life is being repeated.  One can only wonder which "scientist" these political control freaks will put forward in their next scheme.  Professor Harold Hill, perhaps?

Jim Yardley is a retired financial controller for manufacturing firms, a Vietnam veteran and an independent voter.  Jim blogs at, or he can be contacted directly at