Bad Sugar

I did pretty bad on the health quiz , 2/10 correct. I found the statistic about the black man’s life expectancy in Harlem to be the most surprising.  At first I thought it made sense because of all the prevalence of drugs, gangs, and guns but when it said the real reason is because of heart disease and diabetes I was pretty surprised.

I picked the case called Bad Sugar, it tells the account of the implementation of irrigation canals and dams up the Gila river and how these projects directly effect life downstream. Water was diverted from the upper Gila to support white settlers, farmers, and miners and their interests. However, down the Gila river the water had run out, there was no longer any water  to grow crops, get out in the field and work, barely any to even drink. The Pima Indians were dying from starvation because of this.

After the dams were implemented, specifically the Coolidge dam the case mentioned, the government began supplying the Indians downstream with government commodities such as cheese, beans, and refined starch among other things. All of these items were non traditional foods and high in refined sugars and unhealthy fats. But since there was no water there was nothing else to eat or grow so they had really no other choice than eating these government supplied commodities. The Pima were no longer dying from starvation but diabetes II, the video said the Pima Indians were 7.5 times more likely to develop diabetes II.

I’m sure there are non-genetic factors that can explain the increased risk for diabetes II among the Pima, but I kind of want to look at it like a sort of U.S. eugenics strategy to rid the U.S. of its aboriginal people. The reason i say this is because early in the video they said that they tested native Pima/Gila populations for diabetes II before the dams were built and there was a very, very low percentage of the population with the disease. If these people got tested before the dams were built, I would assume our government knew about the disease. Maybe not the exact causes or the genetics behind it but they certainly knew what some contributing factors were. Then supplied these people with the government commodities for around 50 years – just enough time for a full generation or two of people to be acclimated to the government introduced food. (Like how at the end the one guy talks about fried bread and how its labeled as a traditional Indian food but in reality it came out of the commodity food program — basically they tried to do the best they could with the food they were given. Over generations it became apart of the culture.)

 

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