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Toxic Sugar: Fantastic Video on the Obesity Epidemic!

Is sugar toxic and the cause of the obesity epidemic? Here’s a great new video called Toxic Sugar. It’s a recent segment from the major Australian science program Catalyst, on ABC.

It’s arguably the best 18-minute introduction ever made on the true causes of the obesity epidemic. The program features the #1 enemy of the sugar industry: professor Robert Lustig. Also appearing: science writer Gary Taubes and obesity expert professor Michael Crowley.

See it and then tell your friends. This needs to be seen by a lot of people.

Here’s a few comments:

Low fat, high sugar

Misguided low-fat advice is blamed for the increase in sugar intake. For example: low-fat mayo has six time more sugar than normal mayo. And let’s not even talk about sweetened low-fat yoghurt. “You might as well eat candy” says professor Crowley. The sugar is hiding everywhere today. Says Lustig:

…virtually every food item in the store that has a food label, it has some form of sugar!

By the way: did you have a glass of fruit juice this morning? If you did, you are aging seven times faster! Source: once more the quotable dr Lustig (I’ve no idea where he got that exact number).

Carbs -> insulin -> fat

What’s the problem with carbs? Too much bad carbs (like soda) easily leads to the secretion of too much of the hormone insulin, making your body store more fat.

Trying to control your weight – by just eating less and exercising more – in that situation will be a life-long uphill struggle. Eventually almost everybody loses.

The “set point” misconception

I have one objection towards the end of the show. Crowley claims that the body has a weight set point. Lose weight and the body will try to return to the original weight. This is a common misconception.

The truth is that the body tends to return to your original weight IF AND ONLY IF you return to your original lifestyle! There is no quick-fix that works forever.

To lose weight long-term you need a long-term lifestyle change. Avoiding excess sugar is a great first step.

Blaming the food industry

The program ends by laying the responsibility for the obesity crisis on the shoulders of the food industry.

While that may be partially true we can never expect them to solve this problem. It’s never going to happen. Read the excellent book “Salt, Sugar, Fat” and you’ll appreciate why: they simply can’t stop producing profitable junk food by themselves. If they try another company will quickly steal their market share.

The entire industry has to be forced to change.

Where to start

Here’s what you can do: See the video above and then spread it to your friends, so that they too understand. That’s a great start.

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73 Comments

Top Comments

  1. However excess carb consumption nor sugar consumptions aren't the only reasons for the obesity epidemic. They are players, but there have been many lean high-carb consuming populations.

    There's been ZERO lean populations eating unlimited amounts of processed food loaded with refined sugar and starches.

    Why has some populations stayed lean consuming a high percentage of unprocessed high-fiber and low-sugar carbs? Here's why:
    http://www.dietdoctor.com/why-are-asian-rice-eaters-thin

    Read more →
  2. Murray
    This video is a product of journalism. Anything I have been involved in where I had inside knowledge of the facts, the media coverage typically gets only half the facts right. A very good article will get 80-90% right. Journalists are typically not well educated and go for a "story" which means they distort according to their political agenda, they write propaganda. That is their stock in trade.

    This film is a good example of propaganda. But big food, big pharma and big government are running a propaganda war and only propaganda will counteract it. Decades of obvious clinical results made no dent. So when Dr.Lustig says a glass of juice makes you age seven times faster, this sticks with people. It makes a difference. Citing 15 random control trials will not make a hoot of difference. Is this unethical. Well, it is a half truth. I expect that for the brief time that blood sugar soars after drinking a glass of juice the rate of glycation is seven times higher, but normally the blood sugar normalizes, so it is misleading because the typical listener interprets the statement to connote a much longer period of accelerated aging. So, call it a noble half-lie. This is what to expect once journalists get involved.

    Reply: #38
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All Comments

  1. FrankG
    That makes sense Murray... I figured your children were not actually smoking rather than drinking soda but given the choice I daresay it is easier in this day and age, to not smoke than it is to avoid drinking soda.

    For my own son as a teenager we had the discussion that the occasional soda as a treat was OK, but if he was thirsty, first he would drink water.

  2. Richard David Feinman
    If it turned out that the paper you cited on sugar and diabetes were totally false and misleading, would that make you seek more information? My comments on Basu, et al. are on the PlosOne site
    http://www.plosone.org/annotation/listThread.action?root=63857
    Interestingly, the rebuttal (anonymous but possiby from the author) does not answer my objections but rather is an ad hominem attack including technical double talk ("confuses an added-variable plot with unadjusted correlations....")

    I provided a link to the figure from the paper:

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/37202414/Fructose_Basu_RG_plot-2.png

    The data were unaltered butI color coded it to show that there is essentially no correlation at all. You don't need to be a statistician. If you look at the figure, you can see that it is just as likely that when sugar goes up, diabetes goes down, or when sugar goes down, diabetes goes up, as it is for the direct correlation.

    If you made a similar plot of tobacco vs. lung disease, Murray's mother would fall in the green zone but she would not have much company.

    Murray, your daughter will explain it to your.

  3. ZellZ
    Someone here said that Dr. Lustig is against LCHF. Well, that is Not what *I* got out of his book, "Fat Chance" so maybe that person who wrote that better go back & re-read, if he or she read it in the First Place, which may be doubtful. Dr. Lustig is not for any one diet in particular. He says in his book that they all can work well, including a vegetarian diet, depending on the individual in question & what his or her health needs are. What he Does Actually say in his book (& Elsewhere) is that all *successful* diets have a few things in common: 1. lots of fiber & 2. very to extremely low sugar.
  4. ZellZ
    People who attack Dr. Lustig on his weight are the lowest of the low, and are also being quite stupid. The man may not be stick thin like some of those scary looking vegan doctors are, but he's Hardly fat. He looks normal, like a man with a regular build, but he's mentioned that when he was in medical school, he overate due to all the stress & that it has been very difficult for him to take off the extra weight, and we all should know why that is: the body loves to gain & hates to lose, in many if not Most people! So, to attack the good Doctor because he's not a damn scarecrow is just egregious & disgusting & shows that the attackers are very afraid, indeed, of the powerful way Dr. Lustig communicates his info & data. And too bad if they don't like it. Naysayers are a drag, but they are Not going to stop a man as committed to the cause of good health as Dr. Lustig is! (This weight obsession w/Dr. Lustig also shows what an anorexic mindset the world has taken on. Kids, let's review the facts, as Dr Lustig has explained: 20% of Fat People are Healthy whereas 40% of thin people Are Unhealthy. Got it???? Good)!
  5. Ron
    I have been following the LCHF now for over 6 months and I know that I have finally found the secret. I have no other than you to thank for this, so Thank You.

    I have struggled for over 20+ years with weight and am now confident I have found what works for me. I no longer am hungry, I eat only when I feel the need, and food is no longer the center of my existence.

    Yes I eat to live but I NO longer live to eat !

    I have tried doing atkins (successfully I might add) loosing 50+ pounds and kept it off for over 5 years. But it was not as easy as it seems. I still had cravings and they were hard to overcome. Then life happened and unknowingly to me I gained slowly over the course of years. That's a bit of a fib I guess, I did notice but the addict (sugar) in me kept creeping in.

    Well I found myself in the same place I was now for the Third time in my life. the first time I lost over 50lbs I did it with a low fat starvation diet in high school...witch landed me on a one way ticket almost to the doctors. Thankfully my body wouldn't allow it to get to that point and I finally caved and ate. We all know where that led.

    Second was with Atkins and I have to give the man credit he was on the right track but it just didn't go as smoothly as I felt that it should. See I do believe that we are all just mammals, our body's are designed to process things in OUR environment and common sense states that if we are not adapt to something the chances of adverse effects are great,be it positive or negative only time will tell. I'm sure that time has told its tale just look around you.

    Now here I sit writing this comment and I cant express enough how strongly I feel about this. I have no more hunger pains, I do not crave sugar and as a matter of fact it is repulsive. I cant describe it unless you are an ex smoker (3 years for me now ! another topic) If you ever smoked then quit than you will understand that even a hint of smoke will almost bring you to get sick. It makes you feel sorry for subjecting your close non smoking friends to it.

    I am not at my goal weight yet witch I might add that this is the weight I was when I was in the Army, as a Tanker. Yup I got to blow stuff up everyday, man I miss it. I worked out and trained everyday of my life back then and I am confident I will be back in my uniform by next summer. I have not begun to work out, I also didn't workout till the end of my Atkins diet run. It seems that working out is not the answer to weight loss.

    I personally feel that when you eat as your body, ( think about that for a second ) was/is intended that naturally things become balanced. Things start to click and fire on all cylinders. What happens to your car or truck if you mistreat It ? I may not have a plaque on my wall to justify my statements but I have something stronger life experience long term self experimentation and with personal results that are amazing.

    I just hope that we can get everyone else to wake up and see that sometimes people are wrong, and they didn't know the consequences of there actions when they made them, and not only that with the knowledge they had at the time they may have just been making the decision that they felt to be right for everyone. Now on the other hand If these people did know what they were doing would that be just cause for premeditated murder ?

    Maybe I'm stretching or maybe I'm flat out wrong, but I feel that the best years of my life were lost not due to anything other than miss information from our media and government offices.

    Well Thank You Again if you have questions contact me

  6. bill
    ZellZ said:

    "Dr. Lustig is not for any one diet in particular."

    Yes. That's what we're saying. He's all over the place.
    Nobody could possibly get out of his book that
    LCHF is the way to go, or that it's even good.
    Nobody could possibly get anything useful out
    of his book at all.

    And pointing out a quote OF HIS OWN is in no
    way attacking him.

  7. david
    I'm not in the medical or scientific profession. Just a reasonably intelligent technician(comms), a member of the public who was lucky enough to hear David Gillespie ("Sweet Poison" author) on the ABC Conversations show 2 or 3 years ago. He answered some perplexing questions I had about diet and weight loss. And I have since seen many hours of You Tube and read a few books and magazines (including Andreas) about sugar, fats and nutrition.
    What we must not forget is the forum that the Lustigs and Taubes of the world are communicating in. They get just a few minutes on TV (or write books) to convince Joe Public to seriously start thinking about and acting on their nutrition. And to start convincing their governments to diminish the influence that large food and drug companies have over them. Coming up with a few well chosen lines that do that and also convince their peers of the science world would be impossible. Lets face it even our pollies communicate their message with 3 word slogans that they repeat over and over, week after week, year after year. I am sure Lustig also meets with other professionals for hours on end and get into whats going on at a cellular and molecular level, but that is not the forum we see them in. Most often the converts to LCHF online, on dvds, in books etc have come to it one step at a time. eg hear Prof Lustig, get sugar out of their diet and in their journey learn all the other stuff and adopt those things into their lifestyle.
    My unscientific explanation to people: For maybe hundreds of thousands of years we roamed around the wilderness looking for food. Think about wandering through the forest - you will find very little sugar (carbs of any description really) and polyunsaturated fat to eat and mostly your nutrition will be animal protein and fat. Don't forget you may be living in a group of 50 or more and you have to think about the months and years ahead. You certainly will not find bags of sugar and bottles of vegetable oil lying around. Our biochemistry must be perplexed at these refined foods when its trying to work out what the heck they are and what they should do with such a huge amount of them.
    Back to my enlightenment. I've been quite active all my life. I'm 57 soon. Played footy and run marathons. So knowing how much hard exercise you need to do to burn not many calories it couldn't be exercise. When I was a kid in the 60s and 70s nobody was out running or walking the streets for exercise, there were no gyms or boot camps or personal trainers. The only people who exercised hard were the footy players and they never lost heaps of weight over their 8 months of training. Some jobs have changed but most are as sedentary as they always were. The other quandary was the Atkins Diet - In the short and medium term - it worked. That went against every message we had received for 20 or 30 years.
    Unless you have experienced it you cannot understand breaking the addiction to sugars, or that the cravings really do disappear, what real hunger is and knowing you have eaten enough, I didn't beleive it till it happened. I don't think I had really experienced either for nearly 40 years. And how much better real food tastes.
  8. ZellZ
    bill, you just proved again you have no idea what you are talking about re: Dr. Lustig's book, "Fat Chance", when you write:

    "Nobody could possibly get out of his book that
    LCHF is the way to go"

    Really???? Is that why he put one of his patients on such a diet, bill? It's in the book - the book that you say you've read, but Clearly you have NOT read - or read very thoroughly.

    Of course, if Dr. Lustig were completely against a lchf diet, he would also Not agree to appear on Jimmy Moore's podcast at least two times, and likely three times. Of course, he's Also done that.

    Like I said, Dr. Lustig is not against any diet, really, except an unhealthy one, full of simple carbs & sugars & devoid of fiber. A lchf diet is not such a diet.

    bill, you just want to attack Dr. Lustig, or, to take a more generous view of your views, you just have no idea what the book "Fat Chance" actually contains.

  9. bill
    ...he eats a bagel each morning...
    ...he says he can't lose 40 pounds...

    I have no idea what I'm talking about...

    Okay...

    Jimmy Moore had Ornish on and McDougall
    (the starch solution) on, and that proves what?

  10. bill
    Oh, and ZellZ:

    Please cite chapter and verse in his
    book where he says he placed someone
    on an LCHF diet.

    ...waiting...

  11. Kristine
    Oh Jen, what a wonderful story!! A massive congratulations to you :D I too have been trying for many years to get pregnant (including 9 failed IVF cycles). I am hoping and praying that, like you, giving up grains and sugar and eating LCHF, that my prayers may finally be answered. I have lost 10kgs (in around three months) and my BMI is now just under 40. It's stories like yours that give me hope...even though I have just turned 42 :o
    Good luck, and again, congratulations!
  12. ZellZ
    Re: bill, Jimmy Moore likes & respects Dr. Lustig, unlike those others mentioned. I do not have "Fat Chance" in front of me, at this time, to cite chapter & verse, as you demand (as if that would convince you, anyway). I read the book then returned it to my local library & have not purchased my own copy yet.
    However, each chapter of "Fat Chance" has a small, descriptive paragraph where Dr. Lustig writes of his various patients & it is in one of those small chapters where Dr. Lustig writes that one of his patients was put on a low carb diet.
    He also writes that he's Not For or AGAINST any diet in particular, as they all can work or Not work, depending. If that is not evidence enough for people like bill to be called out for stating what they don't know about the book, all I can do is just let it go, because if people want to attack, rather than understand, that is just more of the internet mindlessness that too many engage in.
    The info is all in "Fat Chance" & if you missed it, that is your own fault, not mine. I know what I read. And I also know what Dr. Lustig has said to Jimmy Moore: he's not a Proponent of the low carb diet, to the Exclusion of all other diets. He thinks that each person has to be assessed for what diet they need. In his book, he Clearly States the pros & cons of all the various diets, Including low carb & which type of person, with which health issues will most benefit from each diet.
    So do Your homework, bill, before you say Dr. Lustig is against low carb. You completely over simplified to the point of lying about the man & his views, especially as he put a patient on the lchf diet, so you Clearly have No Clue about this man. You need to go back to the book & re-read the whole thing if you really give a damn about what Dr. Lustig is talking about.
    I Strongly suspect you do NOT.
  13. ZellZ
    I like that Dr. Lustig is honest about that bagel he has in the morning. He could Easily lie about it, but he doesn't. He's a busy doctor, also a father, & he probably works at a hospital where it's doubtful they have whole grain bagels on hand - REAL whole gain - and the fact that he's not perfect just means he's human, like the rest of us, but in terms of his Knowledge, that has Nothing to do w/his morning bagel, as should be obvious to anyone who can think his or her way out of a paper bag.
  14. bill
    ZellZ, who couldn't cite chapter and verse, said:

    "as if that would convince you"

    Well, that would convince me that he put someone
    on an LCHF diet, which he didn't.

    You are confabulating a low carb diet with an LCHF
    diet.

    He is in no way in support of an LCHF diet.

    Get over it.

  15. bill
    Oh, and ZellZ:

    Are you really saying that he'd be better off
    on a "REAL whole grain" bagel?

    You misunderstand the whole point of
    this website.

  16. Richard David Feinman
    It's not the knowledge. Isn't it that he is telling the rest of us what to eat and he gives the impression of not having control of his own diet? I would never fault anybdy for personal behavior but he says he doesn't eat sugar and he's not happy with his own weight? I think that's what bothers people. My own concern is that he is making a pitch on the basis of biochemistry but that biochemistry is not accurate. Anybody read my paper? It's shorter than Lustig's book and while some is technical, I address the relevant points.
  17. Lizzie
    The golden words are told about 6min 30 seconds in. The words we've all been waiting for!!
  18. Sundance
    The video is actually frustrating . For most of the video it talks about sugary foods and focuses on sweets. Candy bars, cup cakes, cookies, soda. Most people understand sweets are fattening. Many people would walk away from this video and simply conclude "ok so I won't eat candy or soda".

    FEW PEOPLE UNDERSTAND the carbohydrate connection to weight gain. Few people think carbohydrates are "sugar". Potatoes, Wheat, Rice these are considered "natural". In fact they are probably the main culprits of American Weight Gain. It's not sweet foods it's refined carbohydrates, yet the video barely mentions it.

    A slice of bread is not sweet!
    Mashed potatoes are not sweet!
    French Fries are not sweet!
    Pizza is not sweet!
    White Rice is not sweet!

    And yet they are all high-glycemic, fat producing, addictive substances. I think they could have done better at addressing a major culprit - non sweet refined carbohydrates.

    Reply: #69
  19. Glen0
    Couldn't agree with you more. They were my sentiments while watching this program but the thing to be aware of is the ABC (Australian broadcasting corporation ) is funded by the Australian Government and has a long history of telling half truths to stir some action without to much disruption. The Wheat industry in Australia has too much to lose if people knew the truth. Sugar is an easy scape goat to point the finger at to get the attention away from the truth about fat.
  20. Libby www.ditchthecarbs.com
    This is the best short documentary I have seen yet. It gives those who are new to LCHF a summary of why sugar and carbohydrates are so bad for their metabolism. If it has been sensationalised, great. That's only what the media does every time a well researched paper supporting LCHF is rubbished. Excellent.
  21. J. Palmer
    They are ignoring the MSG....
    My father was overweight with type 2 diabetes, but after reading pharma research papers into MSG we learned that in even tiny doses it causes a hyper-pancreatic response that dumps insulin into the system. So we went through his cupboards, 90% of the food had MSG in one form or another, sometimes 3-4 times under different chemical process names, we threw it all out. 2 months later he had lost 40 lbs, and his diabetes was basically gone. His blood sugar levels stabilized, he got more energy, and the weight has stayed off, he is 78 yrs old. We shared this information with our family members, pointed out that light products had 4-5 times more MSG and it was causing a vicious circle for those trying to diet. 1 year later my aunt, and three cousins lost a whopping 273 lbs collectively. So yes, sugars are bad, but they are not the only thing in this equation, and if I could figure this out, what is the scientific communities excuse?
  22. Mary, The Diabetes Lady
    My husband has been a type II diabetic for over 35 years. In 2002 his doctor put him on insulin. He started with 5 units - 15 months later he was up to 43 units! His weight ballooned to 280 pounds for a man 5' 10". Severe neuropathy in both his feet limited his walking to only about 75 feet at any one time. He was irritable, quick to anger and not much fun to live with. He had a hypoglycemic episode while driving and hit the concrete dividing strip on the interstate.
    In 2003 after reading Dr. Richard Bernstein's book, "Diabetes Solution" I decided to find out more about low carb. I read and continue to read everything I can find in books, online and at lectures.
    I created a program for my husband that he and I could live with. In 2003 my husband went on our program. He came off of insulin within 3 months and has never looked back. He was losing weight so fast, at one point, he asked me if I thought he was ill! I told him that I didn't think so, that I thought he was getting better.
    Within 9 months he lost 80 pounds and a few years later he lost 20 more for a total weight loss of 100 pounds. He has kept it off.
    Within one year of starting a low carb lifestyle (it's NOT a diet), his severe and painful neuropathy was gone! He walked in 2 5K races and finished.
    Low carb lifestyle has enabled my husband to come off of insulin, lose 100 pounds, eliminate painful neuropathy in his feet, eliminate diuretics, eliminate pain medications, eliminate statins. The best part of all is that he is full of energy and vitality at 75 years of age! He was older when he was 62!
    We teach classes on How We Beat Diabetes to share with others what we did, what we read and how we continue to thrive on a low carb lifestyle. The results for people who attend our classes is nothing short of a miracle...but it's not a miracle it's just knowing what to do and then doing it.
  23. Mary, The Diabetes Lady
    I have to add something. As I scanned the comments I can see that some people do not believe that low carb lifestyle is correct from a nutritional point of view. I must say that first of all that's old nutrition thinking but there are those who will never be convinced and who will debate this until they drop (probably from eating too much sugar :) sorry I couldn't resist).

    Dr. Phil McGraw has a quote that I believe applies to the people who want to insist that they are right and that low carb is wrong. He tells his guests that they are "right-fighters" and asks them "Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?"

    To the naysayers I would suggest this. Try the low carb lifestyle for 2 weeks. See what happens. Before you ever try it however, you must first learn about what low carb really is all about. I would suggest a great book, "Living the Low Carb Life" by Dr. Jonny Bowden. Easy to read and very informative.

    Here are a few more: Gary Taubes book, "Why We Get Fat", Dr. Rob Lustig, "Fat Chance", Drs. Jonny Bowden and Stephen Sinatra, "The Great Cholesterol Myth, Dr. Mark Hyman, "Blood Sugar Solution", Dr. David Perlmutter, "Grain Brain" or go youtube.com and put in any of these authors and hear what they have to say about how to count carbs and why.

    Then live low carb for 2 weeks. You don't have to tell anyone so in case we are right and you are wrong, you don't need to even fess up. You can just tell yourself, "hey I feel so much better it's amazing."

    If you are doing low carb the right way, you will NEVER EVER be hungry during the day. NEVER. Your energy levels will go through the roof (I felt like I was on amphetamine's - I had a brief experience in the 60s when my OB put me on them when I was pregnant - oh what we didn't know then), you will lose weight if you are overweight and you will lose it effortlessly.

    Do you want to be a right-fighter or do you want to be happy?

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