In a stunning new graphic designed to inform average Americans about the dangers of sugar consumption, Seattle, Washington area Website designer Emily Turner asserts that sugar is as addictive as cocaine.
Turner designed “Nursing Your Sweet Tooth” for public use just months after a widely-watched 60 Minutes television program hosted by popular health reporter Dr. Sanjay Gupta called, “Is Sugar Toxic?” aired on CBS. The graphic also comes just months after anti-sugar activist Dr. Robert Lustig, who was featured in the 60 Minutes broadcast, published “Public Health: The Toxic Truth about Sugar” in the journal Nature.
Turner is not a nurse and is not a health care professional, but her work as a designer certainly helps spur the public discourse about sugar and the potentially deadly effect added sugar has on the human body. With font that mimics the distinctive swirl of Coca Cola and prominent placement of a peppermint-patterned tooth in her graphic, she slyly implicates the soda and candy industries; and, simultaneously, she employs irony to reference the high the human brain experiences when sodas and sweets are consumed.
But Turner goes beyond the more obvious providers (or pushers) of added sugar in the American diet. According to her graphic, fruit drinks; and grains including cookies, cakes and pies, as well as sliced bread; and dairy desserts and milk are among the top 6 “biggest culprits” that add potentially toxic and addictive sugar to the American diet.
With researchers like Dr. Lustig and others suggesting that sugar is linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer, sharing Turner’s easy-to-read graphic throughout Indian Country may help save lives. Brain scans indicate that consumption of sugar triggers the dopamine, the pleasure chemical, in the brain. Hopefully, Turner’s graphic will help more of us use other parts of our brain to resist the addictive effects of sugar and improve wellness.