Sugar Bribery Made Fat the Bad Guy!

Sugar Bribery Made Fat the Bad Guy!


Oh boy guys! Did you hear about the sugar scandal of the sixties!?

I almost couldn’t believe it when I first read this but it’s all over the news. According to some recently discovered documents, we now know that the sugar industry paid $50,000 to 3 Harvard Scientist (who accepted it, which is also a problem) in the 1960’s to deemphasize the link between sugar and heart disease and instead put all of the blame on fat and cholesterol!


Over 50 years later, this $50,000 bribe caused the entire American society to suffer from obesity due to misleading information? Our USDA dietary guidelines were guided by this info. This is the data that is responsible for shaping those food pyramids you learned about in elementary school.

old food pyramid usda


Fats and oils are on top, with the USDA recommending us to “use sparingly” while it’s ok to eat more servings of bread, cereal, rice, and pasta (all processed stuff) than vegetables! That is INSANE!

So what happened?

During the mid sixties, studies were being published saying that high sugar diets were the cause for heart disease in America. When the Sugar Research Foundation (aka today’s Sugar Association) caught wind of that, they were not happy – as it would lead to lower sales on their sugar-filled products. So what did they do? They paid 3 Harvard scientists the equivalent of today’s $50k to write a 2 part scientific review in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1967 saying that fat and cholesterol caused heart disease, not sugar.

And guess what?

That’s how the low fat diet trend started!


And it’s only NOW that people are beginning to be less scared of fat. I grew up my entire life having low fat everything because that is what “being healthy” meant to my mom and dad. That’s what the documentaries, news segments, books, and interviews all said. But no one could have known better. We were fed the wrong information because some shady people decided to be selfish and greedy.

The crazy thing is…one of the scientists later became the head of nutrition at the USDA!

So what do we do now?

I suggest what I’ve always suggested: eat more veggies, drink more water, and cut down on processed foods. As far as what’s better – carbs, protein, fat? It’s starting to look like completely cutting out one category will not work for the long run. So find your own balance, and don’t be scared of any category – including fat. Healthy fats from salmon, nuts, avocado etc. are good for you! Just don’t overeat.

Now, I think it is very important to understand sugar. Why is it so bad for you? And are all sugars equal?


A lot of people ask about the sugar in fruit versus other kinds of sugar, from the white table variety, to maple syrup and honey. It’s a valid question. In truth, a regular soda and two slices of watermelon have nearly the same amount of total sugar; about 40 grams. But a sugar is not always a sugar, just like a calorie is not just a calorie. Quality matters, a lot. Conceivably, one could lose weight eating 1,200 calories per day of Cheetos. And people have done so, just to prove a point. But at what cost? The inches might come off, but the risk of cancer, heart disease, slowed metabolism, muscle loss, diabetes, high cholesterol, inflammation, ADD, fatigue and sleep disruption could be the side effects.

So when we discuss sugar, we need to think along the same lines. The sugar in veggies, milk products and fruit in grams might equal those in a piece of cake, but the difference is, the former can protect you against cancer, fight free radicals, fill you with fiber, help build muscle, fight inflammation, clear up your skin, satiate you and lower your blood sugar. The latter is straight sugar with no dietary benefits and a long list of huge drawbacks.  So what do you think? Are the sugar grams in M&M’s the same as the sugar grams in an orange?

Yes, there are instances where overall sugar needs to be monitored, and where a low-carb lifestyle is needed. Diabetics, those with insulin resistance, people looking to go ketogenic, and even someone looking to lose weight, might need to reduce even natural sugars. But most people eating a well-balanced diet (and yes- this means as many, or more, veggies than fruits) can eat some fruit daily without worry. If you’re out of balance, relying on multiple pieces of fruit per day and not eating veggies, it’s time to get in some greens with those sweeter fruits.

My rule of thumb is: can I have a green veggie now instead of fruit? If I’m at home and wanting to crunch on something with my almond butter, then the answer is probably yes, I can have celery. Other times, the swap isn’t possible, and in those instances, I eat that fruit without guilt or worry! If I’m running out the door, an apple works better than cauliflower, ya know!?

My goal is to diversify. The nutritional power of vegetables is unparalleled, and the trap for most people is, there’s less sweet satisfaction, or more prep that’s involved with them, so they neglect veggies completely and eat fruit with wild abandon. So just to reiterate: the sugar from fruit is not bad! Fruit has incredible benefits and healing properties, but just like everything in life, you need to strike a balance.

fruit smoothies

So why have some people freaked out and demonized ALL sugar??

Let’s face it; our country is suffering from obesity like never before. Even though we know better, we simply are not DOING better. Portions at restaurants are outrageously large, sugary foods are inexpensive (and addictive) and the cancer-sugar connection is a scientific fact. It’s no wonder sugar has a bad rap. It should! However, narrowly judging foods by only 1-2 criteria doesn’t tell the whole story. If our criteria is: “I can eat anything with less than 10 grams of sugar” we think “it must be ‘good’ for me, so I’m going to eat it and not think twice about it.” Logic like that cuts out entire food groups (like some veggies, fruit, grains and dairy), all of which contain some fabulous health benefits for longevity and beauty!

Using that logic, grapes can be compared to a can of soda. Two cups of grapes contain as many sugar grams as the soda. But the comparison doesn’t tell the whole story: the beautiful tale of a cute little jewel of a fruit that contains fiber, resveratrol, flavonols, carotenoids, vitamin C and anti-inflammatory properties (among dozens of others), as compared to the straight sugar and chemicals in soda! According to the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, strawberries actually help with glucose metabolism,  lower lipid levels post-meal and help decrease plaque in the arteries. There’s no way sugar can claim that!


Added sugars ARE a problem, and they’re hidden in foods like ketchup, BBQ sauce, cereal, flavored yogurt, and beverages. 80% of food items in American grocery stores contain added sugar, so check your labels! Be cautious of concentrated natural sugars found in juices and dried fruits too. While they do contain some vitamins, they’re nowhere near as healthy as fresh fruit. 5-6 dates contain 32 grams of sugar.  Yes, it’s natural sugar, but you’re missing out on fresh fruit’s long list of benefits. The same goes for juice, syrup and honey. The lack of fiber allows the sugar rush into your system faster, so even though it’s natural, you don’t benefit the same way. A little is ok from time to time, but just be mindful!

And let’s get REEAAL up in here for a minute and use common sense. People have been eating fruit for millions of years without any issues. We have adapted to taking in small amounts of fructose found in nature. What we haven’t adapted to is the onslaught of added sugar in nearly everything that’s man-made. Nature gave us sugar to enjoy in the form of carrots, sweet potatoes, blueberries and melon, so don’t turn your back on Mother Nature. Simply choose her over processed foods.

If you’re still interested in cutting your added sugar intake, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is the sugar in this food mostly added sugar or natural sugar (from fruit, vegetables, dairy)?
  2. Are there sneaky sugars in this food under a different name (corn syrup, fructose, sucrose, sorghum, glucose, etc)?
  3. Is this food choice providing empty calories, or are there some nutritional benefits?
  4. Is this food choice bringing me closer to my goals or further away?
  5. Is there a vegetable I could be grabbing instead?
  6. Is the rest of my diet sensible today?
  7. Am I over-consuming dried fruits or juices, and can I reduce this in favor of the real thing?

Let me know in the comments what your thoughts are on sugar and also…the sugar scandal! It’s wild!



39 thoughts on “Sugar Bribery Made Fat the Bad Guy!”

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  1. says:

    Important points in this article that we should be aware of about how sugar bribery made fat the bad guy. This would really be a huge help. Thanks for sharing this great article.

  2. Jessie says:

    Why does the chart have added sugar for fruits and vegetables. They contain natural sugar, not added.

  3. Marla Savage says:

    So what is the updated food pyramid really supposed to look like? How many servings of everything should I really be eating?! There’s so much conflicting information. Can you do a post about that? I know you said to find your own balance in this post, but I would love a guideline.

    1. Alanna says:

      This is a science-based recommendation (as compared to the US government recommendation).

  4. Marvin Charbon says:

    I could not agree more–if more people would focus on eating more vegetables and drinking water, and then including lean protein like white meat chicken along with healthy fats from nuts and seeds, they would be fine.

    Of course, we can all have the occasional treat, but, that is what it should be occasional–not daily.

    To learn more about getting in shape, check this out when you have a second.

  5. Kathryn St John-Shin says:

    Is it bad that seeing that picture of a donut and an apple made me want…a donut? ^_^; Apples actually make me queasy. It’s weird. I always thought it could be the sugar content? Because enough grapes will make me feel the same and they’re supposed to be full of sugar as well.

  6. Tish says:

    Sugar is sooo addicting and in my opinion I think it’s added to everything so that we crave certain foods and as a result, buy more of those foods, which then makes more money for the sugar industry peeps. I think what you say about everything in moderation is KEY–when I cut desserts out of my diet that’s ALL I wanted to eat!!! When I added them back in (small amounts of course) the cravings have gone away almost completely. Everything in moderation! I think a focus on healthy eating (fruits, vegetables, meats, healthy fats, and a few treats now and then of course :)) is the way to go.

  7. Very helpful post! Thanks for shedding light, Cassey!

  8. Alie says:

    I’m surprised you only just discovered this information about sugar Cassey. I thought it was pretty much wide spread knowledge now, particularly in the nutrition and health industry.
    I stopped eating sugar 3 years ago and lost 5kgs without even trying. The only changes I made were to cut all sugars – even fruit – and eat more healthy fats. Now I might have a piece of fruit as a treat, but it’s not a daily thing.
    There are some great docos about sugar, including That Sugar Film, which will totally put you off eating or drinking sugar.

  9. Deda says:

    NEGATIVE: I like coffee with powdered creamer and granulated sugar. I also drink coke and other sugary drinks. I eat a lot of tortillas, pupusas, and other carbohydrates (my mother insists on eating tortillas with every meal).

    POSITIVE: I love love love vegetables! My mom makes the best beef stock-vegetable soup. We have a garden with chipilin, banana’s, lemons, habanero, papaya, and avocado! I eat veggies several times a week. I am making a conscious effort to drink at least two bottles of water a day. I try to work out everyday (blogilates calander of course), and move whenever I can!

  10. Mariana yoshimoto says:

    Cassey, we’ve been lied to by the dairy industry too.

  11. Harry says:

    Wow this is so disheartening. You would think that institutions like this would have our best interests at heart but sadly they don’t. So many people have been impacted by this. It makes you wonder what else aren’t we being told.

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  12. Coolio says:

    Hi there, great artical! Have you watched the documentary ‘That Sugar Film’ it talks exactly about what you are saying. Very interesting, modern, recent and great for young people to understand. Thanks Cassey!!

  13. StephanieR says:

    I could not agree more with this article. It is so clear what a poor understanding everyone has about sugars. Personally I love your clean eating approach Cassey!
    p.s. I assume you meant sorghum syrup not just sorghum in general (because sorghum flour is a great alternative for those who can’t digest wheat!)

  14. Allegra says:

    The documentary on Netflix about sugar is called Fed Up and talks about a lot of what you mentioned in this article. There is a portion that talks about how school lunches have been affected and that makes me sad 🙁 Pizza, Chick Fil A and other restaurants are being brought in for students to eat and the old cafeteria style is being done away with.

    I think you are so right about eating in moderation. I eat sugar and sweets sometimes because I’m not going to let food take over my life! That being said I don’t go crazy because I am a nurse and I see every day what unhealthy lifestyles lead to as older adults. I don’t want diabetes!!

  15. Nikki Williams says:

    Cassey needs to do her research on dairy products. What do you think makes a little baby calf turn into a 2,000 pound cow?? MILK! Milk does not help you get skinny. Even “low fat” dairy products. Even though some people may hate the Kardashians, Khloe cut out all dairy products to help her lose weight, and it worked!

  16. Andrea Santos says:

    The amount of problems sugar creates on our bodies is just unbelievable.. I have found beverages that come without sugar and are actually functional, have extra benefits on our bodies. I am really happy with them and they have helped me being more healthy and fit. I recommend them to anyone. Here is the link if you would like to see some of these products:

  17. Aline says:

    What people do for money … it’s insane!

    Actually milk isn’t good for you, especially not for your bones. Because milk is acid and how your body breaks it down: it uses the calcium from your bones. So milk does actually the opposite what it’s ‘supposed’ do to

    1. Allison says:

      Actually milk is a base… if it were acidic it would taste more like orange juice. It is also 90% water with the rest being essential vitamins and minerals the body needs to grow and nourish.. hence why mammals all drink milk as babies.

      1. Giulia Imbriani says:

        Because they are babies and that’s their food… but animal adults don’t drink milk. Aline is right, milk is acidic, as lemons are actually alkaline when you eat them. In fact, one glass of 1 part lemon juice (real lemon juice) and 1 part water as first thing in the morning everyday helps to detox your liver! Milk and all dairy products are not suitable for adults, any type of milk (cow, goat, human…) as they are, as you pointed out, meant for babies (cow, goat, human…) 🙂

    2. Sofia Williams says:

      Milk is very slightly acidic, with a pH between 6.5 and 6.7; barely lower than that of water. And, the calcium and vitamin D content of milk are good for your bones, which is why dairy replacement products are fortified with vitamin D and calcium. While consistently high dairy intake might not be “good” for you–and it really depends on your genetics and how your body processes dairy as an adult–, there are countless other dietary habits and genetic factors that come into play with vitamin and mineral absorption, and how certain foods affect each individual. I know it’s easy to get caught up on certain sides of nutrition, diets ,or lifestyles, but it really isn’t that black and white. Each person’s dietary needs are different depending on genetics, age, lifestyle, and medical conditions. So saying that one food is “bad” for you or doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do may be true for one person, but not another. 🙂

  18. Rawan Krayem says:

    But.. bread isn’t bad for you.. its carbs. Its good for you. As long as you are eating the Whole grain kind, there is fiber and stuff that good for you. Its white, empty of nutrients, bread that is bad for you …. am I correct?

    1. Rawan Krayem says:

      I love bread <3

    2. kayla sweeney says:

      Whole wheat and Ezekiel breads aren’t bad for you, they’re “healthy complex carbs” (according to Cassey’s 28 Day Reset, and science). I think the point Cassey was trying to make is that you shouldn’t be eating more bread than veggies!

      1. Rawan Krayem says:

        Oh ok thank you so much

  19. This is why Fruits and Veggies shouldn’t be in the same food group! Sugar is sugar, no matter how natural and so fruits are just like the breads group except they’re simple sugars.

    I eat a keto genic diet so my pyramid is much reversed with veggies on the bottom/oil on the bottom!

    1. Nikki Williams says:

      Not at all. Artificial sugars are stored as fat. Sugars from fruits are not.

      1. I will kindly disagree with this.

  20. Elise says:

    Unfortunately it is all about the money. It is more profitable to keep the country sick than healthy. The national average cost of having diabetes is $13,700 PER PERSON. Twice as much as someone without diabetes. It’s scary.

  21. Jasmin U. says:

    Sugar is also a huge problem in Germany. I would appreciate an extra tax or something to control food industry to produce healthier options. I am also angry about how unhealthy snacks for children are, how cheap bad foods are (or that it’s allowed to produce that crap) and that it is advertised! Some people on budget only consume such food, although it wouldn’t be more expensive or time-consuming to cook clean. So costs for health insurance funds increase (also because we’re getting older) because of consequences of bad eating and less excercise…

    1. Clara Hudson says:

      also, people on low incomes don’t always have the knowledge on how to eat cleaner even if it is doable. That type of clean eating education is rarely discussed among the lower SES populations, especially in the South where I live.

  22. Gail Galloway says:

    Great Blog. It is sad when greed takes over the judgement of people in position of trust.

  23. sara beth walsh says:

    If you have not seen the documentary Fed Up, Netflix it IMMEDIATELY! SO informative and goes in depth re: this cover up and the sugar lobby etc.

    1. Nikki Williams says:

      Fed Up is an AMAZING documentary!! It also explains why sugars from fruit and artificial sugars are not created equally!

  24. Megan says:

    I can attest to this being 100% true. I am healthy, thin, and in my mid 20s, but I am predisposed to very, very high cholesterol because of genetics. All the doctors I saw told me to cut down on red meat, dairy, etc., which is probably good anyway, but no one told me to cut out sugar (they were more eager to prescribe statins). A few months ago, my husband and I got rid of all food items in our house containing added sugar. And after just two months, my cholesterol lowered 50 points! This could also be due to a more frequent workout schedule, but I believe sugar was a big culprit in my high cholesterol.

  25. Cindy says:

    I honestly really love reading your blogs and I wish you can post more so I can learn someday daily, or weekly. Or every other day would be best 🙂

  26. Chrissycub says:

    Ahh the sugar scandal! Never knew, followed it to a T. That explains why I was a chunky middle schooler lol!

  27. Chrissycub says:

    Ahh the sugar scandal! That’s why I was a chunky middle schooler lol!