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Sun Aug 18, 2019, 12:32 PM

The sugar that saturates the American diet has a barbaric history

as the ‘white gold’ that fueled slavery.

'Domino Sugar’s Chalmette Refinery in Arabi, La., sits on the edge of the mighty Mississippi River, about five miles east by way of the river’s bend from the French Quarter, and less than a mile down from the Lower Ninth Ward, where Hurricane Katrina and the failed levees destroyed so many black lives. It is North America’s largest sugar refinery, making nearly two billion pounds of sugar and sugar products annually. Those ubiquitous four-pound yellow paper bags emblazoned with the company logo are produced here at a rate of 120 bags a minute, 24 hours a day, seven days a week during operating season.

The United States makes about nine million tons of sugar annually, ranking it sixth in global production. The United States sugar industry receives as much as $4 billion in annual subsidies in the form of price supports, guaranteed crop loans, tariffs and regulated imports of foreign sugar, which by some estimates is about half the price per pound of domestic sugar. Louisiana’s sugar-cane industry is by itself worth $3 billion, generating an estimated 16,400 jobs.

A vast majority of that domestic sugar stays in this country, with an additional two to three million tons imported each year. Americans consume as much as 77.1 pounds of sugar and related sweeteners per person per year, according to United States Department of Agriculture data. That’s nearly twice the limit the department recommends, based on a 2,000-calorie diet.

Sugar has been linked in the United States to diabetes, obesity and cancer. If it is killing all of us, it is killing black people faster. Over the last 30 years, the rate of Americans who are obese or overweight grew 27 percent among all adults, to 71 percent from 56 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control, with African-Americans overrepresented in the national figures. During the same period, diabetes rates overall nearly tripled. Among black non-Hispanic women, they are nearly double those of white non-Hispanic women, and one and a half times higher for black men than white men.

None of this — the extraordinary mass commodification of sugar, its economic might and outsize impact on the American diet and health — was in any way foreordained, or even predictable, when Christopher Columbus made his second voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in 1493, bringing sugar-cane stalks with him from the Spanish Canary Islands. In Europe at that time, refined sugar was a luxury product, the backbreaking toil and dangerous labor required in its manufacture an insuperable barrier to production in anything approaching bulk. It seems reasonable to imagine that it might have remained so if it weren’t for the establishment of an enormous market in enslaved laborers who had no way to opt out of the treacherous work. . .

It was the introduction of sugar slavery in the New World that changed everything. “The true Age of Sugar had begun — and it was doing more to reshape the world than any ruler, empire or war had ever done,” Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos write in their 2010 book, “Sugar Changed the World.” Over the four centuries that followed Columbus’s arrival, on the mainlands of Central and South America in Mexico, Guyana and Brazil as well as on the sugar islands of the West Indies — Cuba, Barbados and Jamaica, among others — countless indigenous lives were destroyed and nearly 11 million Africans were enslaved, just counting those who survived the Middle Passage.'>>>




---The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are. Read all the stories.'

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/14/magazine/sugar-slave-trade-slavery.html?

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Reply The sugar that saturates the American diet has a barbaric history (Original post)
elleng Aug 18 OP
safeinOhio Aug 18 #1
SharonAnn Aug 18 #2
SCVDem Aug 18 #3
dixiegrrrrl Aug 18 #4

Response to elleng (Original post)

Sun Aug 18, 2019, 03:17 PM

1. A few years ago

I got stuck at a RR crossing and was watching tanker car after tanker car go by. Train slowed down enough to read the sides of the cars. They were all full of corn syrup. Almost cried. I had thought they were carrying crude oil.

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Response to elleng (Original post)

Sun Aug 18, 2019, 07:02 PM

2. And fixing our sugar prices artificially high distorts the market, makes corn syrup more affordable

If we didn't have such a high tarriff on imported sugar, but paid the global rate for it instead, we'd pay much less for it. And, the high fructose corn syrup wouldn't be the more affordable sweetener.

Lifesaver candy moved to Canada some years ago because they didn't want to use corn syrup and wanted to make their candy affordably. So, they moved their production to Canada where they could buy sugar at world commodity prices.

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Response to elleng (Original post)

Sun Aug 18, 2019, 07:26 PM

3. I prefer Mexican Coca Cola

It costs a bit more but it's made with Real Sugar!

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Response to SCVDem (Reply #3)

Sun Aug 18, 2019, 09:26 PM

4. And it satisfies.


HFC in soda doesn't, at least to me, when I have a rare soda.

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