The Secrets of Sugar

The Secrets of Sugar

2013, Health  -   42 Comments
Ratings: 8.30/10 from 355 users.

For many of us, sugar provides an instant feeling of warmth and comfort. We identify it as an essential component of great tasting foods, and of blissful culinary gratification. Its presence is unavoidable, even in foods that promise higher levels of nutritional value. In many corners of the globe, the human desire for sugar seems unquenchable. In fact, one would be hard-pressed to find an addiction more commonplace than the one we experience for sugar. But it's an addiction that could be killing us in record numbers.

The documentary titled The Secrets of Sugar examines this addiction and its perilous impact on the well-being of our global society. Extensive research has pinpointed sugar's culpability in a number of our most common and life-threatening ailments, including high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and even Alzheimer's disease.

The weight loss craze which began taking shape in the 1980's originated as an attack against fat. Yet, even in a climate where the public enjoys unprecedented access to low or no-fat foods, the rates of damaging disease remain alarmingly high. "Which is worse: the sugar or the fat? The sugar, a thousand times over," asserts Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist who serves as one of the film's key interview subjects. In his view, sugar is a poison and serves as a recipe of destruction for people of all ages. As a leading crusader against the dangers of sugar, Dr. Lustig faces an uphill battle in altering existing practices within the food industry and educating an unsuspecting public who falls prey to their tactics.

According to the observations presented in The Secrets of Sugar, these tactics include ambiguous or misleading nutrition labels, fuzzy science, and the mounting of an advertising campaign unmatched in scale even by the likes of the tobacco industry.

Without a change in public consciousness, the prevalence of sugar in our daily diets threatens to heighten disease epidemics to an even greater degree, and may eventually lead to the bankruptcy of the entire healthcare system within the United States and Canada. By exploring an issue that too often remains obscured, The Secrets of Sugar seeks to ignite a movement among its viewers to rectify this disturbing trend before it's too late.

More great documentaries

42 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Thomas

    Too bad this site has removed the documentary SUGAR INC. It covered the war between fat and sugar and the sugar lobby in DC. Censorship abounds.

  2. Natalie

    As a neuroscientist, I have a really hard time believing the rat/water maze component of this report. Firstly, the platform is supposed to be SUBMERGED/HIDDEN. Secondly, based on behaviour, I'd question whether the first rat was pre-trained and the 2nd (North American Diet) rat was naive to the maze (i.e. first time.). Even rats that have cognitive damage don't chase around the outside after training - that's indicative of the first time they are put in the water....

  3. Jamie

    I was interested in this until I found it to be yet more keto diet propaganda. These dangerous fad diets are based on a lie-- a study that was done years ago which was misinterpreted. But the media took it and ran, stating "butter is back!". Actually the finding of the study showed that refined carbs are no better for you than saturated fats, BUT they are both bad for you! For anyone interested in health and diet, look up Joel Furhman, MD. I have found him to be the best source of scientific based info.

    1. Rich

      Jamie, I'm sorry you think this is keto propaganda. Show me where I can find the research that this is lies. I've done my research and read about 30 books on carbs and sugar from very famous drs. I will show you my proof if you can show me yours.

  4. Thor

    Eliminate Porn and Sugar - then you are on your way to Valhalla !

  5. DustUp

    Sugar Blues, a book released in 1986. Now 2018. It would seem after 32 years people prefer sugar to health.

    If you want something sweet and/or cold try berries or frozen berries instead of sweets or ice cream. Compare the calories. Amazingly low calories for berries. Looking back, the combination of processed cream and sugar is what messed up my innards. Ultimately my poor choice to abuse it. Still trying to undue the damage from abusing processed ice cream. It is unfortunate that back when I did that ice cream was relatively cheap. Now I see some pints at $5. I never would have paid that. Much like some cigarette smokers quitting due to the price. It seems some of the corporations have determined that enough people have become addicted that they can now gouge people for their product. Same for most junk food.

    Like us, microbes have a hard time resisting sugar. Therefore mixing a good microbe killer with sugar could be a good way to dispatch them and the things they cause, like tumors and cancers and other diseases. Might need a metal and mineral stripper like EDTA chelation to strip away the calcium shells that certain little bacterias protect themselves with; some attaching to artery walls causing reduced blood flow and inflammation. Strips away some of the chemtrails inhaled and ingested too.

    The fellow who mentioned that we couldn't have designed a better way to kill our selves if we were alien invaders wanting to eliminate us (GMO, toxic foods, etc) sure nailed it. However, I will take it a step further. They are "alien" thinkers, these Rockefeller and other elitist types actually do want to eliminate us in their population reduction plans.

  6. Tana

    Oh for f**k sakes, that first family in the documentary... you can't honestly think all that junk that was put in the carts were healthy. With such stupidity, it baffles me how they survived that long. Do some f**king research! Gee, it'd just be awful if they actually had to READ books and other forms of information to learn something about nutrition.

  7. Paul

    Cupid Stunt: What continent do you think Canada is on? LOL Canadians are Americans as well,.....North Americans. They are not citizens of The United States of America.

    1. Gary

      as are are Brazilians... yada yada...

  8. common sense

    Educate yourself. Self Responsibility. Let the free market take care of the corporations and let the zombies fall.

  9. Cupid Stunt


    nothing American about it. this is from a Canadian news documentary series called "The Fifth Estate" which aired last season. hence the Canadian subjects within...

    over-consuming sugar is not an American problem, it's a modern-day human problem!!

  10. Cupid Stunt

    you could't be more wrong. at best your theory could be a marginal subtext for this documentary.

    it's really about the true harm that sugar is to the body. in particular, it is a major inflammatory substance (which in itself the actual cause of arteriosclerosis....not a high cholesterol diet) and a huge burden to the future health programs of the world unless we fight back with our dollar against these corporations and their underhanded motives for profit against it's very own consumer-base.

  11. Max De Luca

    While I agree with the fact that sugar is pretty toxic when eaten in large amounts and we do consume a lot of sugar in the US, I really don't like where they get their facts from. Many studies on just about everything tend to be biased towards a certain outcome or unintentionally flawed. The one lady who stated she checked for other causes, I tip my hat to for her thoroughness, but i can't say the same for the other studies.
    However, my biggest problem is their claim that over 100 million North Americans are diabetic or pre-diabetic.
    Here's the problem: North American has a population of over 500 million. That means out of five or six people, one of them is diabetic or pre-diabetic.
    Yet, despite all of my relatives on both sides of my family, all of my friends and their buddies, all of my classmates that I can recall, all of my co-workers and guests at my former place of employ, and everyone I've ever met in my life, I've known less than ten people who are diabetic or pre-diabetic for sure. If I include people who are likely to be
    Here's the kicker: that's out several hundred to about a thousand people. (I use to live in the city until recently. For those of you who live in the city, don't tell me you haven't meet and talked to several hundred people and gotten to know them somewhat.)
    According to their numbers, I should know more people who are diabetic.
    So where did that number come from?
    This is my problem with these documentaries; while they have a really well intended message, they butcher up the facts to make themselves appear more righteous and the other guy (if there is one) look to be in the wrong.

    1. Kelley

      Many people are prediabetic and don't know it. Over weight, flabby and not working out....... I doubt all your relatives and friends are fit and on point for weight.

  12. bluetortilla

    Your scaring me, sugar!
    Very sensationalist. Jeez, processed sugar is addictive and bad for you. Processed food is garbage. Doesn't everyone know that? Guess not.
    I'm still gonna put a teaspoon of sugar in my coffee. lol

  13. Thrall

    Now I see why they say African Americans in the USA has the highest chance. :(

  14. ConroyDawn

    Pure, White and Deadly, by John Yudkin is a great book, years ahead of time. Great Read.

  15. fk_censors

    I did not give it as high of a rating as the rest of viewers. My main issue: there was all sort of information about the risee in sugar use in processed products since 1960, but no explanation as to why it happened. Why did the food companies start adding sugar to all the foods? There has to be some logical explanation.

    There was also no mention of health effects of sugar from unprocessed sources (honey, fruits). So this doc told me a lot of things I knew, I learned a bit more, but it left a few really basic questions unanswered.

    I liked the fact that there was no general conclusion or solution offered, and I think that's how a documentary of this sort should be presented - shed light on a subject and let the viewers make up their minds. I am very wary of government solutions to what is ultimately a problem of choice (and I never understood why many who think corporations are run by power-hungry corruptible people have more faith in government, which is also run by power-hungry corruptible people). Educating the public - like the test family in this documentary - is the best solution to poor nutrition.

    Disclaimer: I avoid processed foods, never drink soda (unless it's rum and coke, but then I'm already making the choice to go all out), and I am very wary of the dangers of sugars, and processed foods in general.

    1. sugar-donkey

      " Why did the food companies start adding sugar to all the foods? There has to be some logical explanation."

      Well, if you add sugar to a food product it firstly, works as a preservative, secondly, makes even the most bitter fruit more palatable for our changed taste-buds (e.g. cranberries) and lastly, makes you addicted to the food! Sugar has the same effect on your brain as cocaine!

    2. Annie

      Sugar is 8 times more addictive than cocaine. It helps companies get people hooked on sugar and sell them more processed junk food.

    3. Morty

      It did explain why it happened, the bliss effect; for selling more product.

    4. jd

      From my understanding back in the 1950's Pres. Eisenhower had heart surgery and the topic of heart disease became the national topic. Everyone was looking for the cause...two prominent scientist presented different view scientist said Dietary fat was the cause....the other scientist said that "sugar" was the cause. Needless to say by the late 1960's ...the "sugar" scientist lost the debate...and the USA went thru a massive anti-fat surge (and even to this day) and the processed food companies began removing fat from all products ....however in order to make the foods appealing, and to keep calorie content the same.....the use of sugar increased drastically!

      With all of the anti-fat low fat campaigns in full effect for the last 50 years...Heart disease is still on the rise in this country...the problem is and always has been...."sugar" Even Time magazine last year had to acknowledge that "fat" aka is good for us...
      From Time Magazine article: "For years, the advice from the USDA has been to reduce the level of saturated fat in your diet, in order to lower your overall cholesterol. However, a new meta-analysis published in the Annals of Internal Medicine has thrown that whole approach in to question.

      The removal of fats from our diet has led to an increase in consumption of carbohydrates and processed low-fat alternatives, which has contributed to record levels of diabetes and obesity."
      Talk about fat having the last laugh......and sugar has been laughing all the way to the bank...and us to the grave!!

    5. donna

      the reason why companies put sugar into all foods is simply money. Sugar is cheap and a great filler of food. Sugar is also addictive so it keeps you coming back for more.

  16. signalfire1

    If you were an alien race bent on taking over the planet surreptitiously and completely, you wouldn't come down blasting from giant war machines - you'd scout out the inhabitants, discover their weaknesses and then load the environment with poisons specific to those you wanted to eliminate - chemicals in the air, water and soil, specialized crops that lacked nutrients and were genetically modified to be both poison and to take over indigenous natural crops, you'd make them completely dependent on outside sources of poisonous energy and communication (nuclear and EMF fields) and then you'd sit back and wait 50 years. Time's almost up! We couldn't have done a better job of letting ourselves be wiped out if we'd planned it ourselves...

  17. Pascalore

    After 15 comments, I thought that more would get what this documentary was really all about but only two did, Kansas Devil and Jake Harris. Substitute ANY other sell-able item and the story is the same whether consumable or utilitarian. It is ALWAYS and EXCLUSIVELY about MONEY and as long as the entire worlds money supply derives from fiat (central bank) currency, the story will never change.

    Debates about the pros and cons of the product lead nowhere just as debates about political parties, corporate malfeasance, corruption, deforestation, pollution . . . EVERYTHING begins and ends with FIAT CURRENCY, how it is created and who controls it. All the rest is a byproduct of the manipulation of money both in quantity created and the imitation value associated with it - including the supposed value of precious metals. NONE have actual value and all are manipulated by the money system. Resources do have utility, but the devastation of the planet is caused not by the need for the resource, but the need for the money that the selling of the resource provides the devastator.

  18. Kansas Devil

    The message I heard in this documentary is that the consumer has 2 choices.
    Either cook their own foods from raw materials or submit to what the food industry makers available.
    There is no way the food industry will risk any profits by changing the sweet spot in the food flavor they manufacture and cave in to the nutrition experts.
    The medical insurance companies don't care, they just adjust their rates to maintain profit.

    The politicians don't care as long as corporations keep shoving money into the political system and buying votes.
    Consumer apathy ensues.

  19. charley coryn

    Excellent, don't miss this one if you care at all about your health.

  20. Bir Singh Yadav

    sugar addiction is result of our eating- by- the- clock rather than eating- by- the- hunger life style. our body cries out for sugar even as intestines are full of food because food was ingested without hunger and hence blocked by body body's intelligence as unwanted. instead of blaming sugar, which in fact kick starts our low energy system, we should change our food habits and eat only and only when really hungry. birds eat no sugar but have double the level of sugar as compared to humans, and that suits them well.

  21. Jake Harris

    We are all bamboozled by big business. We are the only animal that drinks milk past infancy. What's up with that? Pick any other animal and ask people if they would drink its milk. It's all money driven.

    1. Paul Gloor

      Drinking milk past infancy isn't all that remarkable given that we are opportunistic eaters, omnivores, and capable of developing systems of supply.
      Lactase persistence (lactose tolerance) is just a side effect of using milk as a viable protein source. The mutation that enables us to ingest large quantities of milk so long into our adulthood originated in and around Europe quite some time ago. Bovine milk just happens to be an easy to acquire source which makes it prime market material. Goats milk, yak milk, horse milk, even human breast milk can be found if you look and are willing to pay for it, each has their own taste due to their unique formulations. Same for the staple dairy products like yogurt, cheese and butter.
      The world would be a terrible place without cheese, I love my poutine every once in a while.

    2. Kansas Devil

      Dairy is a tasty source of vitamin D and calcium, more so in raw milk.
      When you live on a farm in northern climates, your sources of nutrition can be limiting.
      When you live in semi-arid climates, your sources of liquid can be limited.
      It only makes sense that humans would take advantage of any nutritional source.

    3. Peyton

      Actually milk isn't a very good source of calcium. Most doctors advertise it because some calcium is better than none. Calcium comes from plants that absorb nitrogen in the ground. Cows pass on only some levels of calcium found in grasses. So the best sources come from leafy greens, broccoli, baked beans, etc.

    4. ConroyDawn

      Skim milk is the problem. Non homogenized whole milk is a different food altogether. You need the fat in the milk to get the calcium. It's the combination of homogenizing which changes the proteins and the low fat dogma that causes the problems with milk.

  22. Todd Morrow

    Wow the anti-sugar activist is all healthy and bright-eyed, and the sugar industry apologist sounds unhealthy and out of breath, and she looks pasty. I'm surprised they put her on.

  23. Robyn

    What happened to honesty, transparency. Isn't that the job of governments to protect us people against bullies like corporations? Oh I forgot, they are a corporation.
    Do our children account for nothing? Children are our future is not a cliche and I wonder who our governments are working for as its not us. 80 years ago they knew about sugar and the experiment still went ahead.

    1. Todd Morrow

      Somewhere there's a good read or video about a corporation as a psychopath; they behave like one. As another example, they make artificial sweeteners out of random industrial chemicals that just happened to not kill x% of the mice within a certain time period. And make us eat it. Honesty and transparency were never part of the deal since day one.

      They also regularly, as a group, publish "scientific" articles in favorite of (wine, coffee, you name it) and bandy them around the press like the bikini-clad lady announcing the rounds in a boxing match, and the naive end of the press, hungry for a "ready made" story, gobbles it up.

      However, astonishingly, some corporations (like Google and Tesla and SpaceX) are still basically good, so there is hope.

  24. bionara

    So American. I watch these documentaries, about these people, and honestly think "isn't this all obvious"? So naive as a consumer base. It almost makes me angry.

    Ps I know this featured Canadians but you know...same land mass!

    1. zee788

      There is no fundamental difference between Americans and others. Only the hubris that apparently comes with being a non-American is of a slightly different variety.

    2. Todd Morrow

      I think our US govt is more in the hands and of corps and less independent than Euro govts, as seen by their forward thinking initiatives that they succeed in where we fail, don't you think?

    3. JJ

      "Which is worse: the sugar or the fat? The sugar, a thousand times over," asserts Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist who serves as one of the film's key interview subjects.

    4. Paul Gloor

      I still wouldn't discount the statement. Don't take his word for it, but think it over. There is a vast amount of obvious health effects you can correlate to draw your own conclusions and ask your own questions.

    5. Kansas Devil

      and then he goes on to talk about how sugar affects the liver. It's up to you to understand how important the liver is. I think that is the missing element of his discussion. He didn't explain far enough.