The rate of obesity in the U.S. started to increase in the 1970s, about the same time that manufacturers switched from sugar to cheaper corn syrup for their colas and other soft drinks. Now researchers say this may be because high fructose corn syrup?a food, like margarine, that is created in the lab and not found in nature?does not trigger the same appetite response in the body as sugar, so it’s more likely to make us fat.

Connoisseurs who remember the great taste of old-time sodas try to find Kosher Coke and Coca-Cola bottled in Mexico, where it’s still made with sugar. But these sodas may not just taste better; the cost-cutting measures of major manufacturers may be the leading cause of obesity in America. Obesity researcher Dr. George A. Bray says the rise in corn sweeteners is “coincidental with the epidemic of obesity. Body weights rose slowly for most of the 20th century until the late 1980s. At that time, many countries showed a sudden increase in the rate at which obesity has been galloping forward.”

Unlike glucose (sugar), fructose doesn’t trigger responses in the hormones that regulate your appetite and energy output, meaning it’s much more likely to be converted into fat.

“Fake foods” have been a major cause of disease in the past few years. Margarine, which replaced butter when it was scarce during World War II, was once touted by the American Heart Association as a miracle food that lowered cholesterol levels. It’s now been shown to do just the opposite and we’re warned not to eat it.

Despite being vegetarians, cows were fed protein in the form of the ground-up bones of other cows, leading to Mad Cow Disease.

High-fructose corn syrup made soft drinks cheap, especially after we could no longer import sugar from Cuba. Like all the other “fake foods” of recent years, it was created so manufacturers could cut costs and make more profit. And like the other fakes, it has ended up costing the public large amounts of money for treating heart disease, obesity and for Mad Cow monitoring.

What will they try to sell us next?

If we could see the future, maybe we could do something about it. This week on Dreamland,Dr. Bruce Goldberg tells you how! He also reads Whitley’s past?and future?lives, especially for subscribers.

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