1950s: British physician John Yudkin writes many articles showing that dietary sugar is associated with increased risk for cancers, heart attacks and death.
1960s: The chairman of nutrition at Harvard Medical School tells me directly and writes extensively that Yudkin is wrong and that sugar is safe.
1995: Yudkin dies, still considered a quack by many members of the medical profession.
2009: Yale Professor Kelly D. Brownell, a good friend, writes in the New England Journal of Medicine proposing a tax on sugared beverages. He says that sugared beverages may be the single largest cause of the obesity epidemic and that an excise tax of one cent per ounce could reduce consumption by more than 10 percent.
2010: The American Heart Association and the World Health Organization warn that excess sugar in food contributes increased risk for weight gain, diabetes and heart disease.
2013: A New York State judge prevents New York City’s landmark ban on oversize sugary drinks, just one day before it was set to take effect.
June 2015: San Francisco city officials unanimously approve an ordinance requiring billboards or other advertisements for sugary beverages to include the language: “WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”
July 2015: The beverage industry sues in federal court to try to halt the San Francisco ordinances requiring health warnings on soda and other sugar-added drinks.
July 2015: Researchers analyzed data from 62 surveys involving 611,971 people from 51 countries and found that sugared drinks were linked to more than 184,000 deaths from cancer, diabetes, heart attacks, and obesity throughout the world each year (Circulation, July 2015). Each day, half of all North Americans drink sugared drinks, such as sweetened sodas, fruit drinks, sports/energy drinks and iced teas.
July 24, 2015: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed that, to reduce heart disease, all foods with added sugar have labels listing the amounts of added sugar and recommended restriction levels. The proposed rule set the intake of added sugar for packaged food and beverages at no more than 200 calories a day, or 10 percent of the 2,000-calorie diet generally used for nutrition guidance. That would limit sugar to 13 teaspoons of added sugar (a 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola has 10 teaspoons.). Big Sugar worked to defeat the proposal.
Today: Watch how Big Sugar works to convince you that sugar-added beverages are perfectly healthful.