More Evidence For The Toxicity Of Sugar

Almost a year ago, The New York Times reported on Dr. Robert Lustig’s theory that the amounts of sugar present in the typical Western diet is toxic, because it causes heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome and probably cancer. Since then, it’s been confirmed that sugar consumption does indeed raise the risk of heart disease, and Lustig and his team have begun lobbying that the government regulate sugar like it does alcohol.

The heart of Lustig’s theory is that in nature, sugar is locked away inside fibrous fruit, which makes it impossible for us to eat too many sweets. But in these modern times, through the wonder of technology, we can cheaply extract the sugar like heroin from poppy, then add it to everything under the sun because it tastes good and acts like a preservative: drinks, desserts, bread, sauce, peanut butter, etc, etc, ad nauseam. As a result, the amount of hidden sugar we actually eat is so heavily disguised, that we don’t even notice the raw quantities we eat — quantities that would make us sick in the form of table sugar, and quantities that would be physically impossible to eat solely from fruit.

This past Sunday, 60 Minutes got into the game too, with a segment featuring Dr. Lustig and other scientists, all telling us why they’ve quit eating added sugar:

  • A study at UC Davis showed that within two weeks of eating 25% of their calories in the form of high-fructose corn syrup (which is the same thing as sugar), subjects had increased levels of LDL cholesterol and were are higher risk for plaque in their arteries, as well as heart attacks.
  • A Harvard professor and biochemist explains how eating sugar increases the risk of cancer: a third of common cancers have insulin receptors; eating sugar causes insulin to spike, which in turn is ingested by the receptors on tumors, which fuels the tumors and causes them to grow
  • A neuroscientist shows, via fMRI brain scans, how sugar activates reward centers in the brain in the same way that drugs like alcohol and cocaine do, which makes it very addictive. As with those other drugs, people also develop a tolerance to it, and need more and more to get the same pleasure from eating it.
  • A spokesman for the sugar industry is skeptical, and says the science “is not completely clear”.

See also:

From 60 Minutes, via a vigilant reader


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