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Hocus Pocus: Reframing Sugar

Feb 15, 2008
As I was surfing the web today I came across a banner ad that said, "Skip artificials. Go natural. Sugar: sweet by nature. Only 15 calories per teaspoon."

Whoa! Clear, strong, and yet, somehow, completely absurd.

Here's what I gleaned from the ad: artificial is bad, natural is good. Mother Nature is responsible for sugar, the perfect sweetness of sugar. Why would mother nature harm us?

The banner ad linked to the main page of the campaign which offered up a taste comparison of sugar versus artificial sweeteners. Apparently, sugar, just like a crisp apple, is natural and has been around since 200 B.C.

On the other hand, artificial sweeteners, AKA "phonies" are made by chemists (evil) and developed in the last half of the last century. How can you trust something developed in the last half of the last century? I mean, seriously, it's all so new fangled.

(Pay no attention to all the non-chemical, all natural sweeteners such as molasses, honey, Agave syrup, maple syrup or barley malt sweetener, which have no impact on the human body's glycemic index and are therefore far healthier than sugar and far less damaging for diabetics. The website does not include these in their graph.)

I suppose it's possible I'm being overly sensitive as a result of my brush with death as a result of sugar poisoning (which I take total responsibility for as an adult with the ability to choose between what is or is not healthy). This reframe, however, did irritate me.

We have a great many industries that are being bombarded by bad press in the recent years (for good reason)--the tobacco industry, the fast food industry, meat and dairy industries, oil and gas industries. Our use and reliance on all of them isn't doing our bodies or the earth any good, but we all partake to an extent.

Sugar used to be considered a luxury item. Now it's in almost every product you find on the shelves of your supermarket.

But take heart. According to www.gonaturalsugar.com, "The sugar in a bag at the store is sucrose, exactly the same as the sucrose you find in a piece of fresh fruit. Sugar is not a substitute for fruits and vegetables."

Indeed. . . 'Sugar is not a substitute for fruits and vegetables.'

At the top of the ironically named "Sugar and a Healthy Lifestyle" page it says, 'Sugar is more than a "fun" food ingredient, it's an essential one you can consume with confidence.'

Interesting. Essential? Reading this sentence about granulated sugar being essential is deceptive and fraudulent and yet it's a fabulous reframe of a deadly substance.
About the Author
Kenrick Cleveland teaches strategies to earn the business of wealthy clients using persuasion. He runs public and private seminars and offers home study courses and coaching programs in persuasion strategies.
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