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Is Sugar Toxic?
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Usagi Miyamoto



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:08 pm    Post subject: Is Sugar Toxic? Reply with quote

In graphical form, what the average American eats in added sugars:



Gary Taubes in The New York Times Magazine wrote:

On May 26, 2009, Robert Lustig gave a lecture called “Sugar: The Bitter Truth,” which was posted on YouTube the following July. Since then, it has been viewed well over 800,000 times, gaining new viewers at a rate of about 50,000 per month, fairly remarkable numbers for a 90-minute discussion of the nuances of fructose biochemistry and human physiology.
...
The viral success of his lecture, though, has little to do with Lustig’s impressive credentials and far more with the persuasive case he makes that sugar is a “toxin” or a “poison,” terms he uses together 13 times through the course of the lecture, in addition to the five references to sugar as merely “evil.” And by “sugar,” Lustig means not only the white granulated stuff that we put in coffee and sprinkle on cereal — technically known as sucrose — but also high-fructose corn syrup, which has already become without Lustig’s help what he calls “the most demonized additive known to man.”
...
If Lustig is right, then our excessive consumption of sugar is the primary reason that the numbers of obese and diabetic Americans have skyrocketed in the past 30 years. But his argument implies more than that. If Lustig is right, it would mean that sugar is also the likely dietary cause of several other chronic ailments widely considered to be diseases of Western lifestyles — heart disease, hypertension and many common cancers among them.

I love sugar. And that's why I'm fat, have high blood pressure, and lousy cholesterol numbers.

Bother.
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Mr_Moustache



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm... interesting. I'm actually now writing a paper on carbohydrate addiction (or cravings). I m not sure yet, but there seems to be some evidence in favor... and besides, we already know that simple carbs are bad for a long time right?

But that they are bad doesn't make them toxic.
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mouse



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i just read the article - gotta say, it has me worried (and i'm not that fond of sugar). the argument is that fructose goes straight to the liver to be broken down, and so if you get a lot of fructose, you end up with a fatty liver, and that leads to insulin resistance and an over-production of insulin and all sorts of problems. glucose, on the other hand, is broken down by all cells. so by that logic, simple carbs that are converted to glucose wouldn't be so bad - it's when you let them meet up with fructose you have to worry.
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Snorri



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mouse wrote:
i just read the article - gotta say, it has me worried (and i'm not that fond of sugar). the argument is that fructose goes straight to the liver to be broken down, and so if you get a lot of fructose, you end up with a fatty liver, and that leads to insulin resistance and an over-production of insulin and all sorts of problems. glucose, on the other hand, is broken down by all cells. so by that logic, simple carbs that are converted to glucose wouldn't be so bad - it's when you let them meet up with fructose you have to worry.


Simple carbs are also really bad.

Because while glucose can be broken down by all cells it is the insulin-spike that actually matters. Insulin tells your cells to store up all that glucose as fat which for the slim person isn't terribly important because that fat will be used up when not eating. (also glucose travels to your liver first just like fructose)


But if you're fat and still eating a lot of carbs the fat won't be used because super-awesome insulin will tell all your fat-cells to remain super-fat.



It is in fact quite interesting because I've read stuff by Taubes a lot and he never actually contradicted the very basic stuff I learned at med-school.
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't forget that sugar is also addictive to boot.

That said, I'd like to see a better breakdown of those numbers, they smell bullshitty to me. I'd estimate that the numbers are WAY higher.

Lastly, wasn't it a sugar plantation the last known place of slavery in the US by a corporation?

And Muslims and Jews think pork is the devil's food... Wink
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know about being toxic, but it'll kill me!
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Usagi Miyamoto



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darqcyde wrote:
That said, I'd like to see a better breakdown of those numbers, they smell bullshitty to me. I'd estimate that the numbers are WAY higher.

A little Google-fu finds this link to a press release about an added-sugars database by the USDA:
http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2006/060227.htm

The sources they cite for the 74 pounds a year in added sugars are roughly a decade out of date, so it's possible the numbers are a bit higher now, but I don't know that they'd be a lot higher. There hasn't been much change in Americans' dietary habits since then overall. And remember, this is an average, both of Atkins dieters and those who haul around 7-Eleven Mega Gulp containers. When it comes to what is actually in our food, I think the USDA numbers should be pretty reliable.
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CTrees



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hitler ate sugar.
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Unnamed?



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mouse wrote:
i just read the article - gotta say, it has me worried (and i'm not that fond of sugar). the argument is that fructose goes straight to the liver to be broken down, and so if you get a lot of fructose, you end up with a fatty liver, and that leads to insulin resistance and an over-production of insulin and all sorts of problems. glucose, on the other hand, is broken down by all cells. so by that logic, simple carbs that are converted to glucose wouldn't be so bad - it's when you let them meet up with fructose you have to worry.


While I agree wholeheartedly that sugar consumption in general is a severe problem in this country, I'd hesitate to place the blame so largely on the transition to fructose corn syrup. While there is some evidence of fatty liver development in certain animals models, numerous studies have come up with inconclusive evidence about the dangers of fructose over glucose intake. I am not arguing in any way against the fact that fructose is bad for your health, but it's bad probably because it's just a sugar. The idea that fructose is significantly worse for you than glucose has not been shown conclusively yet. However, I will do a complete 180 on this if something conclusive comes up about the dangers of fructose-specific metabolic pathways.

I'd still like them to go back to glucose though. It tastes better.
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trustedfaith



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey guys, speaking of sugar -- anyone want a Krispy Kreme donut?
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Usagi Miyamoto wrote:
Darqcyde wrote:
That said, I'd like to see a better breakdown of those numbers, they smell bullshitty to me. I'd estimate that the numbers are WAY higher.

A little Google-fu finds this link to a press release about an added-sugars database by the USDA:
http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2006/060227.htm

The sources they cite for the 74 pounds a year in added sugars are roughly a decade out of date, so it's possible the numbers are a bit higher now, but I don't know that they'd be a lot higher. There hasn't been much change in Americans' dietary habits since then overall. And remember, this is an average, both of Atkins dieters and those who haul around 7-Eleven Mega Gulp containers. When it comes to what is actually in our food, I think the USDA numbers should be pretty reliable.

Well, what I mean is people who eat 0 or near zero amounts of sugar shouldn't be factored in at all. I want to see what the median and modal averages are as well. I'm also pretty sure, going by cookie and candy recipes alone, that their is easily a significant amount of the population who eats several factors greater than what is presented.

Also, is it just 'sugar consumed' or is it 'sugar processed by the the body'. things like simple starches and alcohol are going to up the overall amount of sugar molecules actually being processed. I think the way that the numbers are being examined might unintentionally be making the situation seem not as bad as it really is.

On the plus side this whole article makes me glad that I now, and for a while, use Splenda in my coffee...then again maybe I should still worry.
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Michael



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

trustedfaith wrote:
Hey guys, speaking of sugar -- anyone want a Krispy Kreme donut?


you people and your crazy foreign foods
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zeezee



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 3:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


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trustedfaith



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know sugar is really bad for me. No matter what 'ose you put at the end of it - it's bad. It just sucks that sugar is in a lot of things I love to eat. I cut it out now -- but I love those Cinnabons from the mall, my favorite ice cream is butter pecan, and peanut butter and anything chocolate is delicious.

I think most people would agree with the assumption that it is bad for you -- toxic even. The problem with sugar is that everything in its category is temptingly tastey.
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We evolved to seek out fats and carbs... it's just in the wild they're a lot harder to come by. Thanks to being able to manufacture our own foods, the things that used to be rare are now plentiful. So, really, it's not just society's fault people are fat... it's the very first society's fault we're fat. Damn you, agriculture and animal husbandry! I'm suing Mesopotamia.
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