Jonathan J. Halperin
Jonathan J. Halperin
Designing Research, Communications
and Strategies for Sustainability

Reflections on Sugar

The thoughts below capture some aspects of my personal dilemma with sugar. Professionally, I also work with clients that manufacture products containing large quantities of sugar – while also working with foundations and nonprofits committed to helping Americans reduce sugar consumption. The conundrum is real; while no one wants to become sick or make anyone else sick, we live and work today within a tangled system of business decision-making and advertising, personal choices, and public consequences. Another blog, The Sustainability Trajectory, explores the challenges and opportunities over time as that system evolves – either predictably or in very disruptive ways.

  • I really like sugar.
  • I know too much sugar is bad for me.
  • The more I have the more I want.
  • I used to think honey was better than sugar.
  • I expect to find sugar in my Hershey Bar.
  • I did not know that one cup of condensed Campbell’s Tomato Soup also has 24 grams of sugar.

    Sugar Comparison Chart

  • I really like both those companies.
  • I thought fresh, organic, natural juices were good for me.
  • I realize now that sugars removed from the fibers that bind them into fruits are metabolized differently.
  • I am sometimes bewildered when I shop.
  • Is a smoothie, with fiber, better than juice?
  • The body metabolizes high fructose corn syrup differently from other sugars, but I am not sure I understand exactly how.
  • One calorie is not the same as every other calorie.
  • According to the CDC, diabetes can be prevented through “healthy food choices”; afflicts 28 million Americans; was the 7th most common cause of death in 2007; and cost us more than $174 billion that year in direct and indirect costs.
  • $174 billion is more than thirteen times the total GDP of Iceland.
  • Americans are heavier than ever before, myself included.
  • But people who are thin can also be very sick with metabolic syndrome.
  • FedUp, the new movie, is very sobering.



  • According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the average American eats 22 teaspoons or 88grams of added sugar every day – not quite 4 Hershey bars.
  • The FedUp challenge to not eat sugar is hard.
  • Because there is no nutritional value to added sugars, food labels don’t share an RDA – which might help us understand more about what we are eating and drinking, and what it is doing to us.
  • 80% of the 600,000 food products in the US contain sugar.
  • Coca-advertising budget in 2014 will be more than $4 billion.
  • Investors called for PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi to resign after she announced plans to focus advertising on nutritious products.
  • Dr. Robert Lustig’s you tube video on the dangers of sugar, The Bitter Truth, has over 4,600,000 views.



  • I am helping him build the Institute for Responsible Nutrition.
  • I really like sugar.
  • I know too much sugar is bad for me.
  • Have a nice day.

Jonathan makes connections that other people miss. Beyond an understanding of any single environmental issue or energy challenge, he knows how to use knowledge to drive change, how to bring the right players to the table, and how to reframe seemingly intractable problems to create space for new approaches. He’s a strategic thinker with a very clear sense of how things work.

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Feb 4

 Jonathan J. Halperin Retweeted Civil Eats
Jonathan J. Halperin added,
Pay attention. Pay very close attention. This is just the beginning.
Civil Eats
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USDA removes animal welfare reports from its website
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