Perhaps it is fairly common knowledge that obesity, diabetes and heart disease are on the rise in this country. Perhaps it is also common knowledge that one of the leading causes of this is sugar consumption. What I didn't know until recently is that about 80% of commercially-produced foods contain sugar or its latter-day replacement high fructose corn syrup. We love sweet stuff and the sweeter stuff is, the more we buy and eat it. So why do we love sweet stuff so much?
As with just about everything else to do with our physical proclivities, the love of sugar is in our genes. We are encoded to love sugar because there is no (and has never been) an acutely poisonous food on the planet that is sweet. Essentially, we are evolved to feel that when a food is sweet, it's safe to eat. This, of course, comes from millenia past, when you couldn't possibly eat enough sugar to make you overweight (since it was only really available in fruit).
So what's happened here is that corporations that produce food have tumbled to this genetic fact and now make things sweeter because they know we'll want more of them. They are using our instinct for safety against us, to feed us something that is increasingly dangerous.
You can learn a great deal more from Robert Lustig, an expert on this subject, who gives a fascinating interview about it here. Learn more about the dangers of high fructose corn syrup and other corn-derived products in a highly engaging graphic presentation available here and created by www.LearnStuff.com.