Alec Baldwin Interviews Robert Lustig

Alec Baldwin gave up sugar and pasta.

Listen to the whole thing, but I found this bit about sugar and corn markets interesting:

Robert Lustig: In 1980, the second worst hurricane in American history. Hurricane Allen, it wiped out the entire Caribbean sugar crop. And the food industry, especially the beverage industry, ran scared. They said ‘Where are we gonna get the sugar for all the soft drinks?’
Alec Baldwin: Right. It was an unreliable market.
Robert Lustig: Exactly. And they started introducing it and they started upping the dose and by 1985 the transformation as complete.
Alec Baldwin: Is the process of getting table sugar from cane sugar more labor intensive and more expensive than the high fructose corn syrup process?
Robert Lustig: By a lot.
Alec Baldwin: ‘Cause high fructose corn syrup comes from corn.
Robert Lustig: Right.
Alec Baldwin: And the corn market and the corn supply in this country is far more plentiful and far more reliable than the cane sugar supply.
Robert Lustig: Correct. Sixteen percent of all of the corn grown in American today ends up as high fructose corn syrup. So we have boatloads of it.
Alec Baldwin: Right.
Robert Lustig: And it’s cheap. And because it’s cheap it started finding its way into things that never had sugar before, like hamburger buns, hamburger meat, barbeque sauce, ketchup, salad dressing. I mean pretty much everything you can imagine in the store, indeed Barry Popkin at the University of North Carolina has just done a study that shows that 80 percent of the food items, there are 600,000 food items in America, 80 percent of them are laced with sugar, added sugar.
Alec Baldwin: Do you think that they understood back then that sweetening the bun – was it just about taste?
Robert Lustig: They knew that when they put it in, we bought more.