Dr. Robert Lustig, Endocrinologist and Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California-San Francisco
Dr. Robert Lustig is an endocrinologist and professor of pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California-San Francisco. In this video, he sits down with CrossFit’s Rory McKernan to explain sugar’s toxicity, outline the stakes of sugar consumption and offer suggestions for addressing the ongoing sugar crisis. “Sugar is toxic,” Lustig explains. “It proffers a set of biochemical alterations that are detrimental to human health—unrelated to its calories.” In this way, Lustig says, sugar “is very much like alcohol,” and chronic metabolic diseases associated with alcohol are becoming prevalent in children with high-sugar diets. When asked about the state of pediatric medicine in the United States, Lustig says, “We have a problem.” Because the food industry has negatively influenced nutrition science for the last 45 years, many people still abide by the mistaken belief that a healthy diet is attained by regulating calories and saturated fat. This misconception has led to a rise in chronic metabolic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes in adult and youth populations. People who believe they are making healthy choices and avoiding sugar are nevertheless affected by the crisis. “Even though you might not be sick,” Lustig says, “society is.” In the final third of the video, Lustig outlines the necessary steps for enacting a societal intervention. These steps include educating the public, approaching sugar as an addictive substance and calling Type 2 diabetes what it is: “processed food disease.” The CrossFit Journal — (http://journal.crossfit.com)
Barbadians love sugar and this is no secret. We are known also as the amputation capital of the world and the high incidence of non communicable diseases is also no secret. There is evidence more Barbadians are buying into good diet and exercise albeit at too sluggish a rate.
Sugar cane was king in Barbados from the beginning, however the preferential treatment sugar received is no longer a reality, but the industry’s infrastructure is still present, still no one with the authority seems to want to make a definitive decision as to how to progress the sugar cane industry. The value is no longer in the sugar but now in the sugar cane, to let a whole industry go to waste is such a shame when few well spent dollars can go a long way towards making the sugar cane king again.
In retrofitting the Barbadian sugar cane industry rather than letting it run to waste, everyone benefits, the first cry was for farmers to diversify to other food crops and stop planting sugar cane, while ‘diversifying’ is the answer, to stop planting sugarcane is not. The removal of any established industry is not wise. The decline in value of sugar is not from internal forces, and should serve as a reminder to all that it is best for Team Barbados to be as self sufficient as we can be. The diversifying should be done with the products that we get from sugar cane. We should focus on products that can be consumed locally and maintain or increase the value of the sugar cane crop. They are many alternative products but the two worth perusing are bio fuels and bio plastics.
Barbados has no other natural deposit of fuel present capable of meeting the islands need; currently we import US $29 million per year in fuel. Ethanol, which comes from sugar cane, can be used to offset such a large amount of money being sent abroad. Research shows that one dry ton of sugarcane bagasse can generate 80 gallons of ethanol. In 1999, 500,000 tons of sugarcane were produced (not dry). In theory that is between 20-40 million gallons of ethanol we could have produced. What to do with this ethanol? We mix it with gasoline and sell it direct to the consumer.
Prime Minister Patrick Manning has vowed that sugar workers will never return to cutting cane as long as he is Prime Minister. “That is going back to slavery,” said Manning, whose statement brought strong criticism from two of the major stakeholders in the industry yesterday.
It seems that Prime Minister Patrick Manning listened to the now deceased Prime Minister Errol Barrow of Barbados when he delivered the ‘no cane blade’ speech. The announcement by Prime Minister Patrick Manning that his party, the People National Movement (PNM) is committed to dismantling the sugar industry has sparked a raging debate in Trinidad and Tobago on the eve of a general election to held on November 05, 2007. As you would expect the rival opposition political parties, the UNC Alliance and the COP have announced differing positions; if elected they have promised to pump millions of dollars into the gasping sugar industry. Our readers should be interested in this development because there is a parallel that can be drawn to what is happening in Barbados. The Barbados government has been struggling to make the correct decisions concerning the future of the sugar industry over the years. Depending on whom we listen to they are some who suggest that Barbados should follow T&T’s lead.