Hello. This is 6 MinuteEnglish from BBC Learning English. I'm Neil and I'm Georgie. Would you like a cup of tea, Neil? Oh, yes thanks Georgie, with milkand three sugars, please. Three sugars, wow! You really have a sweet tooth – you like eating sweet things.Aren't you worried about your weight? Yes, but I can't say no to sugar. Just as our addiction to oilis causing a climate emergency,.
Our addiction to sugaris causing a health emergency for our bodies. Sugar gives us aninstant hit at the chemical hormone dopamine making us feel good, but in the long run causing obesity,tooth decay and diseases like diabetes. But how did our addictionto the sweet stuff begin? That's what we'll be discussingin this programme. And as usual, we'll be learningsome useful new vocabulary as well. Anyway, here's your tea, Neil.
I just put one sugar. Thanks, Georgie,I'll give it a try. Now, before we go on, I have a question for you. Sugar cane,which grows naturally in Asia, Africa and the Americas first cameto England in the 11th century. Back then it was an expensive luxuryitem affordable only to kings, queens and the very rich. So, which English monarch loved eatingsugar so much their teeth turned black? Was it a) King Henry VIII b)Queen Elizabeth I.
Or c) Mary Queen of Scots? I know Henry VIII was very unhealthy so I'll guess it's him. OK, Georgie. We'll find outthe answer later in the programme. Just now, I compared sugar to oil asthe world's most important commodity – a commodity is a product ornatural resource that can be traded, bought and sold. Today, economies, governments and warsare based on controlling oil, but in earlier centuries,the same was true of sugar.
For 400 years sugar, along with coffee and tobacco,was grown in slavery plantations and shipped across theAtlantic Ocean to Europe. By the time slaverywas ended in 1834, the demand for sugar in Europe andthe United States was at a record high. Here's Professorof international history Ulbe Bosma explaining more to BBC Radio 4programme 'Thinking Allowed': Sugar was already an extremelyimportant commodity in the 16th and 17th and 18th century,.
And in the 19th century we see a staggering growth of sugarconsumption in Europe and United States and so with that sugar becamethe fuel for human bodies whereas oil became the fuel for vehiclesin the 20th century. Professor Bosma talks about the staggering growthin the popularity of sugar. The adjective 'staggering'means shocking or surprising. Just like oil became the fuel for machine engines, sugar became the fuelfor the human body.
Fuel is a substance that is burnedto provide heat or power Trading companies had become richselling sugar grown using slave labour. When people began to realisethe health problems of sugar in the 20th century, these companies needednew ways to sell their product and began using sugar in foodwhich had previously contained none, food like bread, cereal and yoghurt. Here's Professor Bosma again,taking up the story for BBC Radio 4's 'Thinking Allowed'.
You can flood the market with a certaincommodity, with sugar in this case, but that still does not mean thatpeople will consume it. So the eating habitsof people had to change. People until the early 19th century,they had a few spoons of sugar per week, but not a kilo, which people consumetoday in many countries in the world. Sugar companies floodedthe market with their commodity. If you flood the market, you make a lot of your product availablefor sale, often at a low price. But just because something is cheapand easily available, doesn't mean.
People will eat it. So, sugar companies triedto increase sugar consumption by changing people's eating habits – the way a group of people eat, for example, which types of food they eat, how much of it,and how often. Instead of one or two spoonsof sugar per week, people started eating kilos, with resultswe see around us every day – worldwide obesity and heart diseasehave tripled in the last 50 years.
What's more becausesugary food is cheaper, it's often the poorest in societywho are worst affected. Hmm, maybe it's time to try havingyour tea without any sugar eh, Neil? And to reveal the answerto your question: which English monarch's famous loveof sugar turned their teeth black? I guessed it was thenotorious overeater, Henry VIII. Which was the wrong answer.I'm afraid, Georgie. In fact, during the yearsbefore toothpaste and dentists, those black stumpy teeth belongedto Queen Elizabeth I.
OK, let's recap the vocabulary we've learned from this programmeabout sugar, starting with 'a sweet tooth' – a fondness foreating sweet, sugary food and drinks. A commodity is a product ornatural resource that can be traded, bought and sold.Fuel is a substance such as oil or coal that is burnedto provide heat or power. The adjective 'staggering' meansvery shocking and surprising. If a company floods the market,they release a lot of a particular product for sale,often at a low price.
And finally, eating habits describe the waya particular group of people eat, for example, which types of food they eat, how muchand how often. Once again, our six minutes are up. Join us again soon for more trending topics anduseful vocabulary here at 6 Minute English. Goodbye for now! Bye!.