The Toxic Truth About Sugar

The Toxic Truth About Sugar

Is sugar a poison? Professor Lustig’s the number one enemy of the sugar lobby. According to him sugar is clearly poisonous in larger quantities. Now Lustig’s published a well written article in the prestigious scientific journal Nature.

The negative health effects of todays sugar consumption can no longer be ignored he argues. It’s time to act against sugar like we’ve acted against tobacco and alcohol.

From the article

The problem with sugar isn’t just weight gain:

Authorities consider sugar as ‘empty calories’ — but there is nothing empty about these calories. A growing body of scientific evidence is showing that fructose can trigger processes that lead to liver toxicity and a host of other chronic diseases. A little is not a problem, but a lot kills — slowly.

A new problem:

Evolutionarily, sugar was available to our ancestors as fruit for only a few months a year (at harvest time), or as honey, which was guarded by bees. But in recent years, sugar has been added to nearly all processed foods, limiting consumer choice. Nature made sugar hard to get; man made it easy.

Time for a political intervention?

I recommend the three page article, it’s well worth reading. But you should avoid it if you get allergic symptoms from talk about taxation on food. Lustig argues that we need to use the same tools against sugar as the ones we use against tobacco and alcohol.

Unfortunately the time’s probably not ripe yet for drastic political measures against sugar. It’s a shame because such interventions would likely result in major gains for public health, just like they have already in the fight against smoking and other poisons.

Nature: The Toxic Truth About Sugar

Comments by CNN / TIME.

The cause of obesity

Is too much sugar the main cause of common obesity? Here’s a video interview I did with professor Lustig a few months ago:

More Lustig

The Real Cause of Obesity

Obesity and the trouble with sugar (lecture from August last year)

Soda and diabetes – a coincidence?

Taubes in NYT: Is sugar toxic?  (includes Lustig’s greatest hit with almost 2 million views on YouTube)

54 Comments

  1. Great read indeed!
  2. Isobel Riel
    Anyone calling for a war on sugar deserves to have their door kicked in, their family held hostage, their belongings ransacked, their home destroyed, their life ruined.
  3. Let's have the government take drastic measures to intervene in our diet, except this time we'll demonize sugar instead of saturated fat. Sounds like a great idea, I'm sure nothing can go wrong if the governments just take the proper advice this time.
  4. Milton
    I've seen some of Lustig's talks on YouTube, and he's very articulate and a very good speaker. But the message comes off as misleading, because it's like there is the part that is intended to grab your attention (sugar is TOXIC) and then there is the disclaimer (in large doses). There are a lot of things that are otherwise healthy and necessary for life that become life-threatening in high enough doses.

    His primary message regarding sugar is both valid and important. Sugar, in both "regular" and highly-processed forms, has become a large part of modern diets, and that's a bad thing. I guess that calling it "toxic" (and I believe that in one of his talks he specifically calls it "poison") will grab people's attention, but then it feels like showmanship. And the sugar lobby (which is already running an advertising campaign here in the US) will play the victim of a smear, by pointing out that sugar isn't a poison. Who do you think people are going to believe? Especially people who have grown up on sugary treats while being told that fat is the problem?

  5. Alexandra
    I'm not a libertarian or anything, but certainly the idea of more government intervention in health recommendations makes me nervous. As Sean suggested, it might end up not being the first time a well-intentioned effort resulted in unforeseen consequences!

    Personally, I prefer not to see anything (that isn't criminal) demonized, including alcohol and tobacco. It should be enough if people understand that certain things could have negative health consequences without bringing moralizing and disgust into it.

    What I want is to be able to do is to go to Google scholar, type in "sugar linked to heart disease" and find 20 clinical studies demonstrating the connection. I'd much rather work on getting the scientific/medical community to accept these ideas instead of running straight to the government before all the evidence is in. I absolutely believe that the evidence is there to be found, but we need to accumulate a lot of if before it starts to make a dent in the anti-fat message.

  6. Alexandra
    Oh, and thank you for providing a link that doesn't go to a paywall (like some of the others I tried today did)!
  7. Greg
    The U.S. government hasn't really drastically intervened to reduce fat consumption. The USDA essentially only provides "information" (such as the dietary guidelines) to that extent. Any actual intervention that we DO have right now is promoting sugar consumption, indirectly via corn subsidy. Dropping corn subsidy and, optionally, flipping to a tax on added sugar (as defined by Lustig in this paper) would end up being an equal and opposite reaction to the current market forces exerted by government.

    As I like to say to my lay-friend who is interested in this topic, HFCS is indeed the problem - not because it's different than sugar, but because it's so damn cheap.

    We won't get a tax on sugar, though. Everyone is addicted to the stuff. And how could we tax sugar and not tax fat, which "everyone knows" is the problem - even though it isn't.

  8. Great post Dr. Eenfeldt.
    I would generally prefer fewer nutrition-based federal regulations (e.g., pizza is a vegetable?), and Lustig’s opinion seems extreme at first glance. However, this IS an “epidemic” with which we are dealing, and I’d much rather see a tax on added sugars than saturated fat.
  9. Jyoti
    Whether the intervention recommendations posited by Dr. Lustig are possible or not, likely to be enacted or not, the true benefit of the article comes from the association he poses between alcohol, tobacco, and sugar. Rather than suggesting government intervention, I suggest that we advertise this connection. We know that alcohol and tobacco kill over time and in large doses, so pairing these two with sugar will get people to start thinking about sugar and its effects. If we can get people to start making the change on their own, it'll be a lot longer lasting than government intervention and be politics-free.
  10. mezzo
    Let's keep the government out of this, please. Every time they meddled with nutrition they made an utter and absolute mess of it. And please remember: once a tax is levied you will NEVER get rid of it again.
  11. Does anyone really think that a tax or other governmental action limiting sugar (or carbohydrates for that matter) is even remotely politically viable when there's an industry that's worth billions a year at stake? Change for the better will only come from the bottom up. Homo sapiens non urinat in ventum.
  12. Politicians and bureaucrats need to stay the hell away from anything to do with diet, whether fat, sugar, or ANYTHING ELSE HAVING TO DO WITH NUTRITION, because they know LESS THAN NOTHING about the subject. Government thugs have no place telling me what to eat, or even advising me on food choice.

    One of the biggest problems we have is that governments have too much power, which invites corruption, and also invites meddling in people's lives -- like the "fat tax."

  13. I don't believe in government "sin taxes" or other such measures on foods (how often has the government gotten it WRONG???) either, but I love that this proposal is drastic enough to have gotten people's attention. Thanks to the article we are finally starting to get some dialogues going in mainstream media about the destruction caused by the way sugar is used in processed foods and marketed to children.

    Perhaps this is our generation's "Modest Proposal".

  14. I whole heartedly agree with the dangers of sugar

    but I strongly disagree that the solution is more government..

  15. If we're going to tax cigarettes and alcohol, why not sugar which hurts many more people. At least that would get the message out there. Of course taxation won't stop people from consuming sugar, but at this point we have fifty years of high-level promoting sugar/refined carb consumption. It takes some leverage to make changes when something like this is so out of balance. I know that actions, like limiting advertising and major taxation, taken to curb tobacco use which was everywhere when I was young--we could even smoke in college classrooms if the professor did in the 60s--made a difference, and encouraged millions to quit smoking.
  16. NM
    Whenever I become attracted to libertarianism, I just need to look at the small-minded tetchy responses like those to this. post, and am again recoiled from it. Thomas Hobbes was correct: however often government is a force for idiocy, it can be our most powerful way of managing civilisation amidst huge heterogeneous populations.

    And, as ever, the simple-minded libertarian castigates all government whilst giving mega-corporations carte blanche: as if they somehow are immune from the corrupt and corrupting concentration of power.

  17. Alexandra
    As Greg suggested (#7), ending corn subsidies would be a great intervention. People would squawk at the introduction of a tax, but ending subsidies would have the same effect, raising the prices of processed food. And the libertarians could all get on board because cutting corn subsidies would eliminate $20 billion of "wasteful government spending." Win, win.
  18. Isobel Riel
    NM: When was the last time a corporation said, "If you don't eat sugar, I'll blow your brains out"?
  19. Mike W
    Maybe the authors of this article were just trying to draw attention to the issue rather than propose realistic solutions. A ban on all TV advertising of products with added sugar? Really? And in the same paragraph where they suggest taxing sugar-added foods, they admit that the tax would have to be 100% to have an effect on consumption. 100%! Ain't gonna happen.

    I'm one of those folks who believes in government intervention only as a last resort. Maybe with sugar we're at the last-resort stage. If so, focus on where we'd get the most bang for the buck: soda. That supposedly accounts for about half the average teenager's sugar consumption. Ban it from schools, restrict its sale to minors, don't allow food stamps to be used for it. That's a start, let's see if it makes a difference before we try something more drastic.

  20. p01
    Personally if I avoid grains I find it very hard to consume large quantities of sugar. I wonder what would happen if I sweetened my teas with sugar, but I'm not tempted to try it, although 10 teaspoons a day would probably not destroy my liver. At all.
  21. Tax Sugar....My Arse........What Will The Masses Eat.......ohhh yeh.....ASPARTAME AND OTHER POISONS.

    i must say tho i do like Mr Lustigs Work.

    All Lifes Very Best All The Time.

  22. Alexandra
    How I do love capslock gibberish!
  23. moreporkplease
    Here in the US we really have to face reality. And the reality is 50% of the population with pre-diabetes or full T2D by 2020. That's just 8 years away.

    The impact of this is substantial: one reliable estimate will put the cost at US$3.35 trillion (http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/11/23/us-unitedhealth-diabetes-idUSTRE6AM0NH20101123) - this is 20% of our current GDP on diabetes alone. We literally cannot wave our hands about this - it poses a serious threat to our nation's pocketbook.

    To warble on about "no new taxes" or "personal responsibility" or "no government" is not a real answer to this clearly visible cost tsunami, now only 8 years away. Because honestly much damage has already been done to adult Americans, and they will soon manifest their diabetes - in all its terrifying expense.

    With our lax labeling laws and the current unintelligibility of existing labels (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749379706002819), it is nearly impossible for the average American to avoid hidden sugars and "-oses" in foods.

    Community health and education programs are proving challenging, as well. Studies show that patient and community education can gain attention, but aren't enough to change behaviors (that is, a poster isn't going to break your addiction!).

    To the anti-Lustig crowd I return the challenge - so then, with this crisis clearly in front of you, what *effective* evidence-based program do you propose? I would love to see URLs here.

    (*crickets crickets crickets*) :)

  24. Sanddog
    I avoid hidden sugar every day.

    Treating the populous as a bunch of gibbering morons who must be protected by "their betters" from themselves isn't the answer.

    People need access to accurate information and they need to care about their health as opposed to seeing disease as an inevitability that is outside their control. The idea that you can eat what you want, do what you want and pass the bill onto your neighbors is one that must end.

    When you remove responsibility from individuals, you force everyone to suffer the consequences.

  25. @moreporkplease

    Like OHMIGOD, externalities. I love how statist bootlickers take this one concept from economics. We have to save people from themselves because it costs society too much money. Never mind that the obesity crisis was created by government intervention in the first place, we obviously need more government intervention to fix the problem.

    There's no null hypothesis for this sort of thinking. You want a url, try this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Null_hypothesis
    The Flying Spaghetti Monster exists, prove that I'm wrong with a url.

  26. moreporkplease
    It's ok Sean, I don't expect you to be a public health professional - but the vitriol is unnecessary. :) That you can't make a plan or offer an argument doesn't mean one is impossible.

    Lustig is well aware of Cass Sunstein's "Nudge;" (http://nudges.org/?s=obesity) he's working with a public policy professional here. You will see that several of Lustig's ideas are quite in line with Nudge, such as changes to the physical environment and changes to signage.

    The problem is that health care is a funny good, and its peculiar nature when combined with well-known human cognitive biases means that incentive-based experiments - such as cash-back wellness programs - don't work as well as we'd hoped. Much this may be due to the biology as well. . .again, a cash-back plan won't reduce the biological basis or effects of an actual addiction.

    Despite what his detractors say, Lustig has no interest in being a social engineer. As he says, the social engineering has happened already in the form of regulatory capture - Big Ag gets the subsidies - the FDA & USDA market the grain, rules are never enforced, etc.

    Here's an interesting short video in which Lustig addresses this common charge against him:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffoOeW5wZ9s

    I'm still seeking those URLs by the way. Behavioral economics has many useful ideas.

  27. Jan
    Why does it come down to money. Can't we just simply make good decision and just eat and cook cleaner food. Eat sweets in moderation!! Sugar is in everything but I think it is time for us to hold ourselves responsible for making better choices and leave the politics out of it. They will stop if we stop.
  28. @moreporkplease

    Statist bootlicker, is that vitriol? I thought it was a valid description of someone who wants the state to intervene even more to fix what it screwed up in the first place?

    You are right, I'm not a public health professional, thank God (I mean the Flying Spaghetti Monster). My background is in science and engineering. This means I have had to deal with realities instead of hand-waving and unicorn farts.

    Yes, Big Ag and Big Pharma are classic examples of regulatory capture. A statist sees regulatory capture and thinks, "Gee, let's fix this with more taxes and regulations, only this time we will call it by some trendy name like, uhm, nudging."

    Despite what his followers say, a sugar tax is just another form of social engineering. That should be obvious to anyone who has a couple brain cells to rub together, but it isn't, since neither you nor Lustig don't strike me as stupid. Unfortunately, the alternative is more nefarious.

    Just as I hold this extremely antiquated view that free speech should apply to all forms of speech, even the ones I disagree with, I also define social engineering as all forms of manipulating people's behavior by taxes, subsidies and regulations. I'd like to see people eat less sugar, I just don't want the government to force, or uhm, nudge them not to.

    As far as the addiction aspect goes, I could care less. Are drugs addictive? Has all the destruction from the War on Drugs been worth it to save people from themselves? What about alcohol, is that addictive? How did Prohibition work out?

    Of course, none of my points are valid because I didn't provide a url.

  29. FrankG
    At least removing the subsidy from corn would start to "level the playing field". Moving it sideways to encourage farmers to grow a greater variety of crops and livestock could help too -- after all it is not the corn-farmers who reap the benefits of the subsidy... that all falls into the pockets of the food and drink manufacturers who profit from cheap and abundant HFCS.

    I'm also not a fan of taxes to coerce behaviour -- especially when those taxes could be aimed at the wrong foods (for example the recent Fat Tax in Denmark) BUT I do see a role for Government in setting policies which protect the interests of the general population over that of big corporations.

  30. "BUT I do see a role for Government in setting policies which protect the interests of the general population over that of big corporations."

    That is the LAST thing you should expect from government. The problem is that power attracts corruption.

  31. jake3_14
    Sean,

    I am opposed to gov't. intervention on this issue as you are, and for many of the same reasons. But I concur with the assessment that you're being vitriolic. "Statist bootlicker" and "obvious to anyone who has a couple brain cells to rub together" are not neutral comments. They're designed to inflame and attack people, not issues. I'm not suggesting that you back off one bit in your opposition, merely that you focus it solely on the issue at hand.

  32. moreporkplease
    I still want to love cash-back wellness programs. It seems like those that have been tested shared some rough features - you pay the insurance co-pay/premiums, you follow the doctors advice, the measurement of whatever improves, you get back US$300 (or so) of your insurance premium at the end of the year.

    These don't seem to work so great, however. Is it because $300 isn't enough to motivate behavioral change? Or is it that a year is too long to see the reward?

    How much would it be worth to a non-LCHF T2D person to become low-carb? Would we need to offer them US$500 a month, paid every month under threat of a refund if their sugar numbers creep back up?

    Considering the average cost of treating a T2D in the USA is apparently just under US$12,000 a year, 500 a month would still leave a nice savings for the insurance companies and the public. Or should we increase the bonus by also paying folks a premium for every drug they manage to drop? The Victoza is US$500 out-of-pocket for most people; those who are covered for it apparently co-pay about US$50-75 depending on the plan. The insurance apparently matches that in many plans.

    If you can get yourself off the Victoza, should you get your $75 back as well? And $75 more for every blood pressure med, and purple pill you drop? So ideally folks could get as much as US$725 a month back?

    Would that be enough to motivate T2D and pre-diabetic folks to adopt LCHF? It seems like a substantial amount and being paid once a month seems as if it would overcome the human biases against long-term risk/reward thinking.

    I'm also thinking that this plan should be a part of every health care option in the US; maybe it should also be automatic opt-in, and require a double opt-out in writing and a phonel interview with your insurance provider.

    If you can get your kids to switch to a healthier lifestyle with measurable results as well, then you should also get a family bonus - since it's most important to attack childhood obesity, maybe getting your kids on-board should be worth another $300 a month?

    How much cash-back would motivate you or your non-LCHF relatives to get their children over to LCHF? We should ask around. I'd be very interested in hearing answers.

    Again, if anyone has any URLs to more studies on nudges or cash-back wellness, please provide! :)

  33. @jake 1234

    I'm 100 percent convinced you are real and not a sockpuppet of moreporkplease

  34. LCHFinTX
    This is what the US government is telling us is healthy! Quite scary - we need to find the right balance of government intervention because it is a powerful force and has a hand in everything.

    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002469.htm

  35. Maggan A
    #34

    scary indeed - we just need to reed the first line

    "Carbohydrates are one of the main dietary components. This category of foods includes sugars, starches, and fiber." :-O

  36. Jen
    You don't need to tax sugar; just stop subsidizing it.

    That'll both improve health and get the Libertarians to stop yammering for a minute.

  37. Margaretrc
    What @ Jen said.
  38. Suzie
    Morepork #32,
    Assuming you try for the cash back, why would the average person do LCHF when conventional wisdom says the only way to get healthy is HCLF?

    Unless people are educated, they do not know the science and they would assume the government does. That's the problem. The government can get a message out like "avoid fat and eat healthywholegrains" apparently very effectively. The issue is to get them to get their message based on science instead of politics. It will never happen since money talks louder than science, so in reality government is best kept out of nutrition areas and lots and lots of other places too.

  39. FrankG
    It frustrates me that "Government" seems to be this faceless monolith that has a life of its own and is immune to anything we might do to change it.

    When did elected representatives stop having to answer to their electorate?

    Are we really so powerless to effect change? Perhaps if we assume that we have no voice we create a self-fulfilling prophecy? Might the reverse be true also?

    Instead of complaining about "Government" why not do something about it... lobby your representative (and his opposition if there is one)... let them know your opinion... if enough voters do the same then they have no choice except to listen... or they risk not getting elected next time.

  40. No gains for "public health" are worth giving up the right and ability to make your own choices. If you want change, what's wrong with trying to *convince* people instead of ramming your ideas down their throat by force? In the end, that is all the government is--force. It has no other mode of operation.

    If you empower a body, no matter how well-meaning, to promulgate ideas, ANY ideas, by force, all you are doing is setting yourself up for the day when the state arrives at your door to take your children away because they're too obese. Or because the state dislikes your sexual practices. Or your religious practices.

    Besides, do you really want to go around announcing that your ideas are so worthless that you can't get people to adopt them by any means OTHER than pointing a gun at them, or at least, at their wallet?

  41. jake3_14
    Ms. Snow, your absolutist position inevitably leads to unintended and undesirable consequences. For example, I think it's a great idea to ensure that we breathe clean air and drink clean water. Using your philosophy of using only persuasion to achieve this, we shouldn't require car manufacturers to install any pollution controls on cars nor require pork producers to treat their effluent but merely tell them that those would be good things to do, based on the evidence.
  42. moreporkplease
    Dear Suzie:

    Current cash-back experiments that I can find have been run by universities, HMOs, and private insurers. A slight majority of the USA health care system is private - that is run by private insurers, companies that contract with insurers for benefits, HMO/PPOs, and those few companies that are self-insured. Perhaps you're not American and don't know this. :)

    Those who offers the cash-back plan have the ability to set the incentives and goals. So these so far have been relatively private-market experiments - only a few states have Medicaid/Medicare waivers that allow them to experiment as well, but I can't find the results of any state- level cash-back experiments. If you have an URL, please share!

    Considering that the horrifying epidemic of T2D is coming at us, the issue isn't to sit and engage in sterile abstract debates or name calling. The diabetes is real, and the cost will hit us like a brick in a sock. My advice is to *pull the rope sideways* instead of wasting time in the same old tug-of-war, which never produces a solution.

    So I asked the receptionist at my job how much it would take to get her to give up sugar. "That's impossible," she said. So I said, "what about $500 a month?" "Wow," she said, "Sure - except it's in everything and you often don't know." Bingo.

    So here's where the private-public partnership comes into play. Here's where the FDA, USDA, Mrs Obama et al. stops wasting time with "My Grain Lobby Plate" and starts developing a clear, exact food label. If you think about it, you really don't need the USDA to do more than that - the label. The rest we can handle with incentives.

    For the Social Security/Medicaid/Medicare set, HHS & the SSA can increase benefits and offer cash-back on the Medigap policies - half to the insurers, half the recipients. Or better yet, give the states waivers so they can do it on a regional basis. Both of these structures will survive even into 2014, so it's worth doing the experiment.

  43. Suzie
    Moreporkplease,
    I agree that the experiment is worth doing. Giving people a bigger incentive than better health (i.e. money) will probably achieve more results since our society seems to base its priorities on personal financial gain more than anything else (only said with a pinch of sarcasm). As you said, the government should give you a nutrition label with everything on it. Why is our country (USA) one of those that do not get to know when we are eating GMO? Why can't we buy raw milk in my state? It's because of the same reason we are told to eat healthywholegrains and avoid animal fats - big-money corporate interests rule. Sometimes the consumer does win like organic labeling, but even this has been abused. Instead of the small independent farmer you think of when you see "organic", a large number of these products are from just another large corporation with undesirable farming practices.

    FrankG.,
    I agree that representatives should represent the people, but they don't. From what I've seen (and I may just have ignorant friends and relatives), most people appear to vote by party line (Dems or Repubs) and they love their incumbents. Ask anyone why they specifically like a politician (other than maybe the president), they won't be able to name a single policy the politician advocates for or has passed on their behalf. Our people need political as well as nutritional educations. The people need to get organized so they can change the government. That isn't going to be easy as "Occupy Wall Street" didn't seem to accomplish much. That makes it easy for Big Pharma and Big Agriculture to buy off the politicians with bribes . . err, I mean campaign contributions. All we are going to get is "My Grain Lobby Plate" as Moreporkplease termed it.

  44. FrankG
    I agree with above comments regarding the current state of politicians but that still does not convince that we should accept it as inevitable. The voting pubic does need to take a more active role in deciding their own destinies.

    I don't agree that the only option open to government is "force"... is the corn subsidy an example of "force" or of "policy"? Who benefits from that policy and who suffers?

    No-one is forcing us (at gun point, for example) to eat processed/packaged food mostly made up with cheap fillers like HFCS and corn-starch and yet the USDA guidelines (a government body?) and the food polices in regard to the production, distribution and sale of food, makes processed, packaged foods (packed with HFCS etc...) ubiquitous, cheap and, according to government sanctioned guidelines, it is the healthier choice to make.

    This is policy not force at work, and we need to take the policy-making process away from the rich and powerful lobby groups (Big Ag/Pharma/Sugar) that currently control them.

    It's easy to see how this works: lobby group sponsors politicians favourable to their needs with campaign funds, politicians support policies favourable to the lobby group, lobby group makes higher profits and sponsors more politicians.. and so it goes on.

    Then look at who actually writes the policies... compare a list of government policy-makers with the employees of "Big Ag/Pharma/Sugar" and over time you will see a revolving door system where the same names go back and forth between the two lists... the proverbial "fox in charge of the hen-house" scenario..

    Do you ever stop to wonder about the blatant conflict of interest inherent in a system where the USDA is promoting what we should eat; under the guise of what is healthy for us? Stop for a second and remember that "USDA" stands for the "US Department of Agriculture". Surely their job is to safeguard and promote the interests of USA food producers? How does that translate to "healthywholegrains" being good for us? Good for us or good for the bottom line? Except that is short-sighted because it really isn't good for the Country's bottom line; as the cost to the nation's health is rapidly becoming a bottomless pit.

  45. Isobel Riel
    If you don't obey, and the end result is you being murdered, that's pretty clearly force.
  46. Diane
    I say end the corn subsidies (and soy and oil and all the others, too) and use government to enforce truth in labeling, the ingredients must ALL be listed with the quantities plus there needs to be information you can easily obtain to see how the ingredients are made. Then let us decide where we spend our money and what we put in our bodies.
  47. Thank you for asking the hard questions. Im glad he explained some of the supposed arguments against insulin. I agree also that insulin been an appetite suppressant in the short term makes sense as its telling the person to stop eating because you just did. Great interview.
  48. It's interesting to note that sugar doesn't appear in the historical record until AD 500 and it's widespread use wasn't until the late 1700s by Europeans....
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_sugar
  49. @jen says: That's the ticket, and not just with sugar but all subsidies which have destroyed family farms and made corp farmers bigger, richer, greedier, with one of the biggest lobbies. Strange that most of our US "small gov't" supporters have no problems with these massive subsidies for agri-biz and the defense industry.
  50. sten65
    "End corn subsidies" would all here and also most questioned Americans agree with, with just a tiny bit of information. But the Sugar lobby managed to bring it in and it is using the money not only to make more money but also make sure the subsidies stay. The power or the lobbies in the US cannot be underestimated. The lobbies are the politicians paymasters ( Well Paid board member places, jobs when not re-elected, what have you?) . After the recent ruling by the supreme court allowing unlimited political contributions on top of existing "redefined bribes", corporations will continue to buy decisions and elections, just a bit more legal than before. Sadly. Keep blogging while it is free!
  51. Phocion Timon
    If we're going to get government involved in this sugar mess, we might as well continue with Conventional Wisdom. They are both usually wrong and when the gubmint gets involved, it all goes to hell in a handbasket.

    Getting a bunch of know-nothing, self-serving politicians and bureaucrats involved just is not the answer. I try to keep politics and knowledge separate but I admit my opinion of Lustig dropped a few points when I saw he desires government intrusion.

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  53. policyvoter
    Everyone wants to politicize every issue!!! This is not about politics its about information to control your health. Our American diet is high in starch and sugar. The veggies that are promoted are high in starch. The solution is in the produce section of the grocery store swap turnip roots for potatoes.... chop cauliflower as a replacement for rice.... omit as much bread and pasta as possible. Use high fiber grains such as flax seed meal in lieu of oatmeal..... sweeten with Splenda... use 1 slice of high fiber bread in lieu of 2 slices of white bread... this is easy stuff people.... Guess what I am not hungry.... The rest of my diet stayed the same... chicken, seafood, steak, pork chops, bacon, cheese, etc....

    I did this and went from 185lbs to 137lbs. I started on Sept 19 2011 and today is March 31. I was pre hypertensive, major knee and hip issues, lethargic, constantly caught colds and my brain was foggy.... also I developed sleep apnea.... I am only 39 years old but I was on my way to a heart attack, stroke, diabetes, knee replacement and I had to sleep with a breathing machine on every night.

    I currently do not have any of those problems anymore. I have changed my diet. I still indulge in a piece of cake once a week and a few hershey dark chocolate kisses during the week. My desire for sweets have plummetted.

  54. Alexandra M
    Dr. Lustig is being interviewed on CBS's 60 Minutes tonight (in the US). Plenty of ignorant commenting already going on at the CBS website!

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8601-18560_162-57407128-0.html

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