Call on the Surgeon General to Curb Sugar Consumption

As 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of the Surgeon General's landmark report on smoking and health, now is the time to urge the Surgeon General to advise the public on the science behind another health threat facing our society—the overload of sugar in our diet.

From diabetes to heart disease, we are seeing an unprecedented increase in diet-related chronic illnesses throughout the country—much of it due to eating too much sugar—often unnecessarily added to our food products, as our report, Sugar-Coating Science and the new film, Fed up, uncovers. Yet how can we make smarter decisions about our health when the food industry is spending billions of dollars to obscure the science of sugar's health effects, market sugar-laden foods as healthy, and block policy efforts that are common-sense measures for our health?

It's time to loosen the food industry's grip on policy efforts meant to protect public health from the effects of sugar. We will need trusted, influential voices for science and health to join us in pushing back against deceptive tactics and pushing towards evidence-based food polices that protect our health.

Urge the Surgeon General to use his influence to commission an authoritative report on the health effects of added sugars in our diet to help shape our nation's policies on sugar consumption.

Please make your letter personal by adding in your own thoughts and concerns. Every letter makes a difference, but customized letters have the greatest effect.

Read our reports, Added Sugar, Subtracted Science and Sugar-Coating Science, to learn more.

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Please send this message to the U.S. Surgeon General

Dear Dr. Vivek Murthy,



We are facing a health crisis throughout the United States from diet-related chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, in large part due to the consumption of unhealthy foods often loaded with added sugar. The average American consumes more than 82 grams of added sugar a day, more than three times the recommended levels. (i, ii) Moreover, the people most affected by these health issues are our children and minority and economically disadvantaged communities.

The science and public health communities recognize the urgent need to address this mounting problem. (iii) But food industry groups with sugar interests have worked to obscure the science about the adverse health impacts of sugar consumption and undermine policies that would address this public health concern. For more information, see: www.ucsusa.org/addedsugar.

I urge you to help combat misinformation by aligning our food policies with mounting public health evidence and with what science tells us is healthy.

Please commission and release a comprehensive report on the health effects of excessive added sugars in our diet and issue a call to action to encourage health policies that curb consumption of sugar.

Footnotes:
(i) Johnson, R. K.; L. J. Appel; M. Brands; B. V. Howard; M. Lefevre; R. H. Lustig; F. Sacks; L. M. Steffen; J. Wylie-Rosett 2009. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 120:1011-1020. Online at http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/120/11/1011.full.pdf, accessed May 23, 2014.
(ii) World Health Organization. 2003. Diet, nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases. Geneva, Switzerland. Online at http://whqlibdoc.who.int/trs/who_trs_916.pdf, accessed April 20, 2014.
(iii)See the July 2012 letter, organized by CSPI with sign-on from many prominent health, medical, and consumer organizations and experts ( http://cspinet.org/new/pdf/letter-to-sec-sebelius.pdf) and the recent April 2014 letter from several public health experts and municipal public health departments both calling for a comprehensive Surgeon General report on the issue.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]