In my childhood sugar was scarce. Restricted by a quota system, which is very typical in communist countries, sugar was only available by a special quota coupon. It was a luxury to have something sweet.
IMHO the problems in USA are not about any specific food, but of the consumption culture. People eat more than what they need. Eating is no longer for basic need, but for pleasure. Obesity and overweight are the result of such culture.
True yogis in India eat even less than what they need. Obviously such life style would not be popular in USA. :)