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Discussion - Sugar is a Chronic Toxin

The evidence that sugar is poisonous was first presented by Dr. 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 by Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics 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? 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 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.

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  • CJ F.

    I wrote a summary of my sugar research: http://blog.cjfearnley.com/2011/07/21/sugar-is-a-chronic-toxin/

    Comments welcome.

    July 22, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    CJ really knew the topic. I also thoroughly enjoyed the discourse. It's always valuable when someone comes up with their own personal experiences or voices a difference of opinion. It was a great topic and even captured the attention of non members to add their inputs.

    July 12, 2011

  • CJ F.

    Gary Taubes' lecture at the Stevens Institute of Technology entitled "Big Fat Lies" gives excellent historical background and explains more effectively than I was able to do yesterday the idea that calories do not matter (that much): http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4362041487661765149

    July 11, 2011

  • Brian

    I mentioned I'd read that most of us in the US can already get sufficient water intake from food, and was told I could look it up and post it (presumably here, since I don't see a discussion forum). As cited by Snopes.com:
    "According to most estimates, that's roughly the amount of water most Americans get in solid food. In short, though doctors don't recommend it, many of us could cover our bare-minimum daily water needs without drinking anything during the day." http://tinyurl.com/btqsd

    July 10, 2011

  • CJ F.

    The Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academies, last looked at sugar in 2005 in the 1357 book "Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (Macronutrients)". Chapter 6 of the book is on Carbohydrates. I'm taking a few notes from it for tomorrow's discussion. You can browse the book or download individual chapters (with a free account) at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=10490

    July 9, 2011

  • CJ F.

    Fructose is probably the "dangerous" part of sugar (the glucose part is not being implicated in the sources I've seen). This review article by Luc Tappy and Kim-Anne Lê (Tappy was cited in the New York Times as the world's foremost authority on fructose biochemistry) lays out the current understanding of fructose in physiology: http://physrev.physiology.org/content/90/1/23.full

    I do not understand enough biochemistry nor physiology to comment effectively on the article. Can anyone help?

    July 5, 2011

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