Diet Soda Warnings Coincide with Government Plans to Bail Out Sugar Industry

Root Beer Float on a hot summer day.
Root Beer Float on a hot summer day. | Source

Sugarland

Walgreen's has sugar on sale here this week, a 3-pound canister for about $1.50. Since the US Federal Government feels that Big Sugar is in economic dire straits and needs a 800 Million Pound Bail Out, I'd better get a few canisters, even though 1 pound of sugar lasts me for 1 year! Can sugar spoil?

Ohio refused a Stimulus payment of the same amount as the sugar bail out to build a new passenger train system, and I'd rather have the train than affordable sugar.

Increasingly, we see corn syrup talking the place of sugar in the hierarchy of ingredients in packaged foods, so perhaps this is the cause of the need for government intervention. Corn syrup is not a hero among people pursuing a healthier diet and lifestyle, but for me - I just don't like it taste and texture. In addition, sugar prices have risen in my market area significantly since 2010 and Caro light and dark corn syrups are simply much to expensive to purchase - for the same price, I can buy a pound of ground turkey or two or three pounds of vegetables.

At the same time, the price of diet and regular soda has also increased noticeably in my market area since 2010. For example, the store brand of 2-liter orange soda alternated between $0.59 and $.69 in 2010, $0.69 - $0.89 in 2011, and as much as $1.00 in 2013, with a many-weeks-long sale at $0.89 compared to the Coke brand orange soda at over $1.50.

Loose leaf and bag tea descended in price during those years, so iced tea - no sugar for me - is inexpensive. By the way, coffee by the 11-to-13 oz can is exorbitant everywhere except at WalMart and a local dollar store. It reminds me of the history of price-driving in the 1950s when US produced milk and coffee were dumped into the Gulf of Mexico in order to raise the price of both along the supply chain and in the grocery store.

About the same time, Coca-Cola invented an almost perfect artificial milk to be sold in the USSR only. We could use that here, especially if it was a workaround for lactose intolerance.

Now we are to believe that Diet Soda is Bad and Sugar is Good.

When I want bubbles, I enjoy some quinine water with lime and perhaps one soda every six weeks, so I'm more of a bystander. At the same time, I suspect a problem. If we all gave up sugar AND diet soda, the problem would be solved!

Sugar Chart (See Wall Street Journal Link, above)

THERE ARE WARNINGS THAT CANDY PRICES WILL GO UP IF SOMETHING IS NOT DONE TO HELP.  HOWEVER, CANDY PRICES SKYROCKETED ALREADY IN 2010!
THERE ARE WARNINGS THAT CANDY PRICES WILL GO UP IF SOMETHING IS NOT DONE TO HELP. HOWEVER, CANDY PRICES SKYROCKETED ALREADY IN 2010! | Source

The Sugar Is Falling!

Prices of individual candy bars in my market (Central Ohio) increased from about $0.59 in 2009 to $0.69 and then $0.89 in 2011. In early 2013, they ranged from $0.89 to $1.19 for the same 1.5 to 2.3 oz. serving. This reminds me of the late 1960s on a field trip when the kids started noticing that the candy bars no longer reached the ends of the wrapper - first a size reduction, then a price increase.

One day when I was not paying attention, the 5-pound bag of sugar in our supermarkets reduced in size to 4 pounds. Then it became harder to determine whether cane sugar or beet sugar was in the bag, beet sugar being cheaper to produce.

Still, the Sugar Industry is losing money (see graph above).

The same price increasing tactics happened in the 1970s with canned vegetables (bagged frozen vegetables caught up in 2012) and more recently, with canned tuna. Cans of tuna reduced from 6 oz. to 5 oz., and then increased in average price from $0.69 in 2010 to $0.89 - $1.29 at most grocery stores here. Aldis stores maintain a lower price, around $0.59.

Here's what the Wall Stree Journal says, in summary:

Since October 2012, American sugar companies borrowed $862,000,000 to finance their operations. (That's fine; farmers borow money every year, do they not?) However, some of the sugar companies cannot pay back their loans, because domestic sugar prices dipped by 18%, because the MidWest produced an over abundance of sugar beets and elsewhere, sugar cane crops were oversized as well. USDA wants to purchase 400,000 tons (800,000,000 pounds) of sugar.

Since the 1934 Sugar Act was passed and the US Sugar Program for loans to sugar producers became operational, taxpayers have paid billions upon billions of dollars in taxes to these ventures. By early 2013, some people could not even afford to buy a candy bar, let alone a diet soda.

Yet, obesity and Diabetes Type II continue to rise in percentage among our American populations. Does diet soda do that?

Sugar cane on a plantation.
Sugar cane on a plantation. | Source
Source

Diet Soda

Search Google News for "Diet Soda" and you'll find research results and opinions pro and con for the use of diet sodas in the daily diet as a refreshment or beverage with meals. Check Google Scholar or a large university journal database in your area, and you'll find much more research on both sides of the question. The prudent thing to do is to discuss this with your health practitioners and make your own decision based on your discussions and your own logic.

I do see that some consumers, knowing that a diet drink has 0 calories, will eat twice as much fattening, sugary food with their diet cola. Others purchase a low-calorie butter- or margarine substitute and use three times as much. It's the same type of thinking that convinces a gambler to keep on gambling, even though they are losing a lot of money, because at some point they won a small amount and have been playing with "the house's money" ever since. Somehow, it doesn't count against them.

Drinking too much soda, whether diet or regular, can damage the human body in a number of ways. One of these is kidney damage. Personally, the only thing different I have seen in drinking diet soda is that it causes a run for the restroom much too quickly, so too much of it must be detrimental to the renal system. In fact, there are many health reasons not to drink soda at all.

The possibility remains that some propaganda is targeting diet soda in an attempt to persuade consumers to drink either healthier drinks - or sugar-filled drinks that will help the Sugar Industry. The latter is ironic, since taxpayers have poured probably TrillionsUSD into the industry since 1934 already; now someone wants more of their dollars for sugar at the store as well.

It's just a possibility, but if a nation and/or its companies will pour milk and coffee into the Gulf of Mexico to drive prices up, trick consumers with reduced package sizes, their federal government loan money to the Sugar Industry, and pay some farmers not to grow crops on parts of their land - is it so far fetched? You be the judge.

One diet soda every 6 weeks is plenty for me, but there will likely always be quinine water.

Sugar beets
Sugar beets | Source

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Comments 11 comments

cathylynn99 profile image

cathylynn99 3 years ago from northeastern US

i'm going to email my congressman, senators and the president right now to ask them to change the ridiculous sugar industry supporting law.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

That's quick action! I agree that it's a lot of money to be putting out to help a rather unhealthy eating style.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

Disgusting, depressing and downright dumb. I refer, Patty, to this stupid government subsidy of the sugar industry. Quick, someone tell the NYC mayor to rescind that regulation that forces sweet soda drinks from 32oz to 16oz. We need to drink more sugary stuff quickly to head off the bailout!


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

I consume about like you do. In earthy circles we call white sugar "white death".

Now are we to believe that the stuff that goes into white death could not go into alternative biofuel, save the industry and the planet?


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States

This is a very interesting article. I have become a water drinker most of the time. I do still drink coffee in the early morning or a cup of tea, but I don't use sweeteners. I have read so many bad things about corn syrup, and when you read labels while shopping it sure is in numerous products. I have purchased one of the more natural sweeteners to try out, but I do not need it very often, so the jury is out. Excellent article!


kulewriter profile image

kulewriter 3 years ago from Florida

This Hub points out (with neutrality in its reporting) the overreach of government versus the natural ebb and flow of the marketplace, which is created by government subsidization of private businesses.

This is another "banks too big to fail" red herring, because government officials in the earlier stages of the sugar cane relationship with it were too small in their vision of the consequences that would arise out of propping up an unhealthy (for The People) industry -- just because one can grow sugar cane doesn't mean mean he should, or even must... just as we, faced with the existence of carbonated drinks laded with sugar or other sweeteners do not have to drink them.

Just because government has money to spend doesn't mean it has to spend it, either.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 3 years ago

Diet soda is bad for the health and so is a bailout of the sugar industry!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

Thanks to each of you for making new comments on this thread about a possible Sugar Bailout soon. It really does sound ridiculous to bail out something edible that has no Recommended Daily Intake, but probably should be "O", doesn't it?

I drive by two sugar beet processing plants in Mid-Michigan often and the air there stinks like dish cloths that have been set too long on the corner of the sink and forgotten - really putrid. That makes me wonder even more about sugar and what effects it might have on us.

Also, I wonder how much Easter Candy US shoppers will buy in the next two weeks? The prices on the holiday candy aisle in my local grocery look pretty high already.

Have a great week, Everybody!


ketage profile image

ketage 3 years ago from Croatia

Great Informative hub,

Sugar is Government subsidized in Malaysia, it only costs us about 0.56 cents per 2.2 pounds of sugar.

In 2010 Malaysia ranked 17 in the diabetics prevalence chart, while USA ranked 29. If I am not mistaken, Malaysia is in the top 10 now.

Of all the Industries the American government could have decided to bail out, I think this is possibly their worst choice.


LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

So let me get this straight, Patty. Your government is paying money to the sugar industry and encouraging Americans to purchase sugar, knowing full well that sugar actively contributes to obesity and your country's Type 2 diabetes epidemic.

I hope the govt is also putting money into hospitals and the medical system to cope with the fallout. And they'd better factor in all the other implications associated with a population that's too unfit to go to work within the next decade. Hmmm.

I admire your effort putting this hub together. Voted up +


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

ketage - That's a bad thing, to be so high in illness as is Malaysia. Your country is in my thoughts.

LongTimeMother - That's right. "Buy Sugar Now!" Coincidentally, we have more and more huge clinics going up that house only dialysis machines- lots of them.

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