Sickeningly Sweet – Must See Video on Obesity

Obesity is not just about calories. Dr Robert Lustig makes that clearer than ever in the second short episode of the high quality UCTV-series “The Skinny on Obesity”.

The bad guy? Sugar.

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15 Comments

  1. It bothers me a little that he only talks about "regular" sugar (and mentions HFCS sometimes). I think it would be good to also emphasize all the starches. Unfortunately they are everywhere too ...
  2. The video mentions Kelly D. Brownell and also Elissa Epel
    Readers may be interested in this presentation from
    Kelly D. Brownell, Ph.D. The Nation's Response to The Obesity Crisis: Food, Food Policy, and The Courage to Act allow an hour.
    and
    Elissa Epel's free PDF paper here Stress may add bite to appetite in women: a laboratory study of stress-induced cortisol and eating behavior

    Those who have been considering the possibility Lustig may be fundamentally correct but not entirely for the reasons he cites, may like to read the section in this paper discussing Additional dietary factors associated with consumption of HFCS full text free PDF.
    A macroepigenetic approach to identify factors responsible for the autism epidemic in the United States

  3. Billy
    @Dina
    Starches are made up of two glucose molecules, which are metabolized throughout your entire body. The problem with sugar and HFCS is they contain fructose which is only metabolized by your liver. Around 20 to 30% of fructose is directly turned into fat. That does not happen with glucose unless you overeat or under exercise. It happens regardless with fructose. For a much more extensive explanation see Dr. Lustig's lecture The Bitter Truth found in entirety on YouTube.
  4. Mike W
    "There is no foodstuff on the planet that has both fat and carbohydrates". What a bizarre statement. I guess Dr. Lustig has never heard of milk, a very fundamental, natural foodstuff for all mammals. Or peanuts. Or walnuts. Or etc. I'm sure he knows better - he's tripping himself up (and damaging his credibility) when he tries to reduce his message to pithy soundbites.
  5. Alexandra M
    Mike W - I agree. I groaned when I heard that. Avocados with 15 grams of carbohydrate (mostly from fiber) were the first thing I thought of!

    Sometimes I wonder if anybody fact checks this stuff, or if Lustig just such an intimidating personality that nobody would ever say to him from behind the camera, "Oh, come on, Bob - you know that's not true!"

  6. FrankG
    "...and sugar, because of its unique composition, is the only food on the planet that is both fat and carbohydrate at the same time.."

    I agree with the above comments regarding these confusing and very sweeping statements from Dr Lustig, and I wonder if you are able to ask him for clarification, please Andreas?

    I suspect that he is not so much talking about the dietary content of the food per se (because evidently sucrose/table-sugar does not contain any fat) but rather he is talking in terms of the way the food/energy is partitioned once it has been digested. He does go on to explain how the fructose in sucrose begets fat in the liver.

    In broad terms I can see how an avocado is more fat than carbohydrate -- particularly in terms of BG effect -- but it is not precise to say it does not contain both.

    ---

    Just to add that there are detractors in the blogosphere who will make much of these statements and it would be a shame to lose the overall message because of the banshee shrieking from some who like to just spread dissent.

  7. Alexandra M
    "Just to add that there are detractors in the blogosphere who will make much of these statements..."

    Exactly. That's why you can't be too careful with your fact-checking. On the first video, one commenter objected that the painting shown with "This is what plague looks like," was not, in fact, a depiction of the Black Death. He was right about that - the painting is called The Triumph of Death (but wrong in thinking that it was actually a depiction of Hell).

    Perhaps there is no way to avoid mistakes or ambiguities completely, but I think many could be avoided by rehearsing the presentation in a room full of pushy, skeptical nit-pickers who keep asking "What do you mean by that?" and "Hey, wait a minute! What about milk?"

    I volunteer! ;-)

  8. moreporkplease
    I think it's important to remember that when Dr. Lustig says "carbohydrate," he isn't thinking about fibers or natural sugars (an orange, an avocado). He means Fructose, capital F.

    What he's trying to say - and I agree that he could refine his presentation to make it both simpler and more clear - is that few if any "real foods" have large amounts of both fat & fructose. Oranges, peaches, berries, aren't known for their large amounts of fat! :) Pork belly doesn't have fructose naturally. :)

    But processed junk does. I was really surprised after watching this episode to go to the store and look at a loaf of cheapstore-brand white bread. I expected to see sugar as a minor ingredient. But it wasn't! I saw HFCS as a top ingredient! The list was wheat, malted barley, various vitamin additives, HFCS, then soy oil, a pile of dough conditioners and preservatives, with yeast towards the end.

    That's what Lustig is discussing. And for chips, snack cakes, cookies, canned foods, etc etc. it's now the same.

  9. Alexandra M
    "...with yeast towards the end."

    Did you know that a lot of cheap, mass-produced bread doesn't actually use yeast as a rising agent? That would take too long, so they just whip air into the dough. The yeast is only there for "bread flavor."

    / off topic

  10. Paula
    Evidently this isn't the only time Dr. Lustig has played fast and loose with biology. Here's a link to Dr. Richard David Feinman's critique:

    http://rdfeinman.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/wait-a-minute-lustig-the-th...

    Be sure to read the comments, too.

  11. Alexandra M
    "I agree that he could refine his presentation to make it both simpler and more clear..."

    More clear, yes. Simpler - I think he's trying to make it too simple already.

    "Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein

  12. Billy
    The fact is there are many obese children out there. It is not simply because of their lack of exercise because children do that. I don't even think it is entirely the parent's fault. A lot of parents are either uninformed or cannot afford food that is not processed. These children are being forced to eat garbage that all has sugar in it. If you truly want to learn more I encourage you to watch his full lecture on YouTube entitled Sugar: The Bitter Truth. If it doesn't change your outlook, then you are hard-headed and hard-hearted.
  13. I guess the end justifies the means. Lustig is on a crusade against the junk food industry. Fructose and HFCS are the main culprits, not all carbohydrates. Although we may not agree with all the details and how he presents them, many of us probably agree with the final message. A propaganda film? Maybe, but that does not have to be bad, as long as you agree with the final conclusion.

    The war of the Diets
    http://www.docsopinion.com/2012/04/war-of-diets.html

  14. Laura
    Ehi all
    Professor Feinman I finally got around watching this episode...few minutes in and i find msyelf disagreeing with LUstig......he said that NO fruit in nature has both carbs and fats......He names coconut (NOT A FRUIT but a SEED which has BOTH like most nuts in fact) and avocado of which even the lowest sugar Haas variety has 1.7 gr of net carbs but up to 7 gr total carbs!!! SO!!!
    Then the gem that FRUCTOSE is the fat in cane sugar.....I shall not go there
    Ok I have to agree now that he has become the Ancel Keys of sugar and therefore blinded to the truth by his own conviction in the righteausness of his idea...hence not a reliable impartial source on information but basically misleading biased propaganda....pity that people whith the power to speak and influence others often go astray in their own direction.....
    sigh.....
  15. Laura
    Has the below been circulated already?
    One for fructose I say.....I love it! Let's hope LUstig is infact wrongat least when it comes to fructose in a natural context....

    Fructose might contribute to the hypoglycemic effect of honey.
    Erejuwa OO, Sulaiman SA, Wahab MS.
    SourceDepartment of Pharmacology, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 16150 Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia. erejuwa@gmail.com

    Abstract
    Honey is a natural substance with many medicinal properties, including antibacterial, hepatoprotective, hypoglycemic, antioxidant and antihypertensive effects. It reduces hyperglycemia in diabetic rats and humans. However, the mechanism(s) of its hypoglycemic effect remain(s) unknown. Honey comprises many constituents, making it difficult to ascertain which component(s) contribute(s) to its hypoglycemic effect. Nevertheless, available evidence indicates that honey consists of predominantly fructose and glucose. The objective of this review is to summarize findings which indicate that fructose exerts a hypoglycemic effect. The data show that glucose and fructose exert a synergistic effect in the gastrointestinal tract and pancreas. This synergistic effect might enhance intestinal fructose absorption and/or stimulate insulin secretion. The results indicate that fructose enhances hepatic glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis and storage via activation of hepatic glucokinase and glycogen synthase, respectively. The data also demonstrate the beneficial effects of fructose on glycemic control, glucose- and appetite-regulating hormones, body weight, food intake, oxidation of carbohydrate and energy expenditure. In view of the similarities of these effects of fructose with those of honey, the evidence may support the role of fructose in honey in mediating the hypoglycemic effect of honey.

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