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Introducing The Cupcake Cops


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introducing-cupcake-cops-rich-lowryNational Review:


Rich Lowry

First they come for the alcohol, then for the tobacco, then for your sugar.

When the day arrives when you have to undergo a background check and endure a three-day waiting period to enter a Dunkin’ Donuts, you can trace the loss of your unrestricted access to a Boston Kreme or French Cruller to this moment. Namely the publication in the journal Nature of an article calling for regulating sugar as a health hazard, although stopping “far short of all-out prohibition” (that would be too extreme).


One of the authors is Robert Lustig of the University of California, San Francisco, who hopes to be to the consumption of sugary beverages and foods what William Wilberforce was to the slave trade. He is not given to understatement. In a video discussion with his co-authors, he says that thanks to sugar and its contribution to chronic noncommunicable diseases like heart disease and diabetes, “we are in the midst of the biggest public health crisis in the history of the world.”

Bigger than the bubonic plague that killed off about half the population of Europe in the 14th century, in an epic demographic catastrophe? Bigger than the 1918 flu pandemic that killed as many as 50 million people? As soon as Coca-Cola becomes so toxic that it nearly instantaneously wipes out a large proportion of the world’s population and influences the course of civilization, well then, Lustig has a case.

There is a vigorous debate among researchers about how harmful sugar is, and Lustig — as you might imagine — takes the dire view. This fuels his push for “gentle ‘supply side’ control strategies” to limit the intake of sugar, including “taxation, distribution controls, age limits.” He and his co-authors imagine tighter “licensing requirements on vending machines and snack bars.” They muse about “zoning ordinances to control the number of fast-food outlets and convenience stores in low-income communities, and especially around schools.”


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