I recently attended the International Sugar Organization’s annual conference in London, hoping to hear Dr. Francesco Branca of the World Health Organization explaining the rationale for the WHO’s recommendations on how much sugar people should eat, and see what response he got from the assembled sugar industry representatives and how he responded to that. As a reasonably independent observer (CABI publishes Sugar Industry Abstracts, but does much work on nutrition and health as well) I was looking forward to this. Unfortunately, however, he didn’t turn up due to other commitments, and sent a video presentation instead.
You might expect that producers of sugar and producers of other sweeteners would see each other as rivals, and there is indeed evidence of this. For example the ‘Truth About Splenda’ website, provided by the Sugar Association which represents sugar beet and cane farmers in the USA, emphasises the presence of chlorine atoms in the artificial sweetener sucralose (marketed as Splenda), and includes a link to a site comparing sucralose to bleach and DDT. On the other side of the debate, although www.sucralose.org doesn’t say anything very contentious about sugar (it’s true that sugar causes tooth decay and sucralose doesn’t), the sucralose industry has a history of arguably misleading advertising in the form of the slogan ‘made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar’.