The evidence that sugar is poisonous was first presented by Dr. John Yudkin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Yudkin) in the 1970s. In the 1980s and 90s the case against sugar was dismissed by nutritionists and the "fat is bad" craze gained a full head of steam. Since then fat consumption is much lower, but obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart disease continue to kill us at excessive rates. In fact, obesity is increasing alarmingly. A recent lecture, Sugar: The Bitter Truth (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM) by Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_H._Lustig) lays out the modern case against sugar and vindicates Yudkin's early pioneering work. The New York Times recently published a long, lay-accessible research article by Gary Taubes on the subject in a piece entitled Is Sugar Toxic? (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html) The basic theory runs like this: concentrated sugars (sucrose and fructose) are metabolized in the liver where the biochemistry of fructose (in a manner very similar to the biochemistry of ethanol) leads to hypertension, new fat deposition (de novo lipogenesis), increased triglycerides in the blood (hyperlipidemia), fatty liver, insulin resistance, leptin resistance (the hormone that tells your brain that you ate enough), and obesity. Most of these symptoms are collectively called the metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is implicated in causing diabetes, heart disease, and possibly even cancer.
After a short presentation on the work of Yudkin, Taubes, and Lustig , we will begin a broad-ranging discussion on the science of the case against sugar, the science of health research in general (how do we know what causes disease?), what individuals can do to improve health, consumer education, agricultural and public policy issues, &etc.
I would welcome a co-organizer to make a short presentation on other angles of the issue. Send me e-mail ([masked]) to coordinate if have expertise and can present on some part of this multi-faceted issue.
Disclaimer: I read Yudkin's book "Sweet and Dangerous" in the late 1970s or early 1980s and have been an outspoken "sugar is toxic" advocate ever since.