Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Banning sugar?

this sculpture is in cambridge, in a park called the cambridge common, which is right behind the harvard university campus. i liked this sculpture, but did not really know why it was there. underneath the inscription you can still faintly see that someone wrote "yet they still do" (i think someone should repaint that, its a good addition that makes you think if you didnt when reading the first sentence).
it is a memorial to the great hunger in ireland. both the woman and the man have a child in their arms, and they depict separation due to hunger. the great potato famine was a period between 1845 and 1852. due to a potato disease, potatoes were not available, while a large part of the irish population depended entirely on the potato for food. 1 million people died, and another million emigrated from ireland, causing a significant drop in the population.
regarding food..., today i read an article in nature magazine in which the authors argue that sugar should be taxed, just like cigarettes and alcohol! they write that there are 30% more people obese than there are undernourished (although im not sure this is worldwide or US only). interestingly, while sugar is present in nearly every product, long-long-long ago sugar was only available during a short period of the year; in fruits during harvest, and in honey (but honey is guarded by bees... ). so.. evolutionary we are (still?) not used to taking in so much sugar, yet we all do.... (many people eat 500 extra calories a day, just from sugar additives in their food!! just look at the labels... especially here in the us many, many products will contain high-fructose corn syrup)
several governments are now thinking of taxing sugar, but while you dont need to smoke or drink to survive, everyone does need food..... im not sure making sugary things more expesive will help to reduce sugar intake. but maybe it will help the food industry? if sugar becomes something "bad"/expensive, maybe they will stop putting high-fructose corn syrup in everything?
sorry for the boring post, here is the entire article, which is in fact really interesting. if you cant get to the entire article, i can always send it to you... :)