How an Industry Got Us Hooked on Sugar: A Timeline

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1943

As a reaction to wartime sugar rationing, the Sugar Research Foundation forms as an industry lobbyist organization.

1953

The organization, now named the Sugar Association, distributes $3 million in research grants to study the healthfulness of sugar.

1963

Coke and Pepsi introduce their first diet sodas, Tab and Patio. The sugar industry responds with a campaign to ban artificial sweeteners.

1967

British physiologist John Yudkin releases studies proving that sugar elevates triglyceride levels, which can raise heart disease risks.

1973

Senator George McGovern calls a Senate subcommittee hearing on sugar's connection to diabetes and heart disease.

1975

The Sugar Association hires a PR firm. The tagline for its ad campaign: "Sugar. It isn't just good flavor; it's good food."

1985

With sugar-lobby-supported nutritionists on its advisory board, a USDA report claims that "too much sugar does not cause diabetes."

1988

Citing 20 years of studies, Surgeon General C. Everett Koop says that dietary fat leads to heart disease and obesity.

1992

The USDA's Food Pyramid nearly eliminates fats and stresses sugary grains. Packaged low-fat foods often replace fat with twice the sugar.

2003

The World Health Organization (WHO) advises that only 10 percent of calories should come from added sugar. Big Sugar threatens to cut WHO's funding.

2014

Global Energy Balance Network is established. Funded by Coca-Cola, it claims that lack of exercise, not diet, causes obesity.

2016

WHO advises widespread taxes on sweetened drinks. Its president recommends consuming no sugar at all.