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Is The Sugar Lobby Losing Its Influence?

The decline may have started with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that sent jobs and dollars out of this country more than a decade ago. Lately, with artificial products like sucralose -- aka Splenda -- stealing attention and marketshare along with the hard-to-ignore plague of obesity that's rocked the health of this country, some believe the influence of the sugar industry is indeed on the wane.

Certainly, sugar appears to be the poster child for an assortment of evils, according to this must-read story in today's New York Times, one of my favorite newspapers in the world, and has contributed mightily to this perception.

The sugar lobby looks like it will prevent the passage of CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement), largely to protect an outdated quota system used in this country to protect farmers that inflates sugar costs by some $2 billion annually. But it comes at the expense of political clout -- the Bush administration has blamed the sugar lobby for CAFTA's stalemate in Congress -- despite the fact sugar is the single largest agricultural donor to political campaigns.

In turn, high domestic sugar costs have forced companies like the local Ferrara Pan Candy Company (I lived a few blocks away from them while attending medical school) to move their manufacturing abroad. All it would take for the sugar lobby to stop the fight: The end of taxpayer subsidies to farmers who grow corn, wheat, cotton, rice and soybeans to the tune of $19 billion annually.

The fact remains -- real or fake -- sugar does absolutely nothing for your health other than harm it, which is why reducing your daily intake of it along with grains is one of most simple and effective ways you can improve your health immediately.

New York Times June 2, 2005 Registration Required

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