Only recently in the history of mankind have more people died from non-communicable diseases than from infectious diseases. The cause of these diseases is usually a combination of various factors, one of which is an unhealthy diet. With the emergence and spread of the modern Western diet, which now shapes eating habits in many regions of the world, overweight and obesity have increased enormously.
Since 1975, obesity has almost tripled worldwide. In 2016 the proportion of overweight people in the adult world population was about 39% , in Germany it is currently about 60% and a quarter of the population is obese. For those affected, this increases the risk of numerous serious chronic diseases of the metabolism, the cardiovascular system, the musculoskeletal system, and even an increased risk of cancer. This is compounded by social discrimination, feelings of inferiority and reactive depression. In the public perception, responsibility for overweight and obesity is often attributed to those affected and their behavior. Negative images in the media further reinforce the stigmatization.
The supply of food and beverages to the world's population is now dominated by a few multinational corporations. With the help of science, and taking into account man's preference for sweets, they have created highly processed foods that people find difficult to resist. These foods contain hardly any nutrients but rather high amounts of sugar. These products are marketed specifically towards children and from an early age they are accustomed to extreme sweetness.
The enormous influence of nutrition on health is common knowledge. Less well known is the positive impact that eating with company has on health. It is a universal phenomenon, practiced in all cultures and associated with pleasure and well-being. However, this is also subject to significant change. Less time is taken for eating and the number of meals eaten alone is increasing.
To prehistoric man, sweetness was an indicator of edibility. Its consumption was rewarded by the brain with happiness hormones: an indulgence they rarely experienced. That changed when sugar became a mass commodity on the shoulders of slavery and ecological exploitation. Millions of Africans have been trafficked and held in slavery to grow sugar cane, while indigenous people have been murdered or evicted from the growing regions. Even today, workers suffer from poor working conditions in sugarcane cultivation, putting their lives and health at risk.
The effects of this development on the environment can hardly be traced today. What is certain is that the ecology of entire regions has been irreversibly changed by the clearing of rainforests. Modern sugar beet, sugar cane and corn cultivation involves the massive use of pesticided and is a burden on the environment.
The interests of the economically important sugar, food and beverage industries are in contrast to the demands of the alliance of many medical professionals and their supporters who are calling for action against excessive sugar consumption. The industry rejects any resposibility and has defended its business interests for decades with all means of lobbying and even manipulating scientific processes. All of this has been done at the expense of the public's health.
Nevertheless, in recent years, high sugar consumption and the negative consequences associated with it have become a focus of attention for medicine, the media and, finally, politics. This is happening with good reason: sugar is at the heart of the Western diet and that is causing enormous and increasing global health problems.
Hardcover, hand-bound swiss broschure
19,5 x 26 cm
204 pages / 144 images