Poisonous Sugar?

This one freaks me out a little bit…I’m one of those who has gone by the reasoning, “if putting a little sugar in something will make them eat it, that’s cool.” If this research bears out over time, I’m going to have to do some massive paradigm shifting…

From the New York Times Magazine: Is Sugar Toxic?

It’s a fairly long article. Worth the time you’d take to read it, though.  To summarize what I perceive as its main point: the science and scientists behind the article claim that sugar (whether refined cane sugar or HFCS) is metabolized completely differently from other carbs like potatoes, bread, pasta. While those other foods are metabolized by the whole body, the fructose-glucose bonding of refined sugars goes straight to the liver, which can only deal with so much at a time; if it gets too much, it immediately converts the excess to fat.

And because the research is ambiguous, the FDA has had to publish statements like “There is a lack of scientific agreement about the amount of sugars that can be consumed in a healthy diet.”–statements which marketers naturally take as a green light endorsement and statement that scientists have proven that there’s nothing wrong with eating sugar.

The scariest part comes near the end: the suggestion, not yet conclusive but fairly compelling, that our addiction to sugar may be aiding and abetting not just heart disease and diabetes, but also cancer. The reasoning: our over-consumption of sugar leads to insulin resistance, which causes our bodies to overproduce insulin. Insulin appears to be yummy food for many kinds of tumors (especially colon and breast), so giving them more of that to consume increases the growth rate of tumors beyond what our bodies can battle on their own.

This scares the underwires off me.

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Posted on April 21, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Scary stuff. Interestingly, Dr. Sears, the guy who wrote the Zone diet books said basically the same thing a long time ago and all the medical experts called him nuts when he said people need to stop eating carbs that rapidly metabolize. Thanks for the post & Congrats on the Top 25 contest.

  2. One thing this screams to me (as a former beekeeper) is that honey is the way to go. The bees have already broken most of those glucose – fructose bonds, so….
    The other thing it says is that high fructose corn syrup doesnt have many glucose – fructose bonds so what does THAT mean?
    Actually, tho I havent read this article, I imagine that it is more complicated than glucose – fructose bonds. I tend to think it is more likely the —ose itself -whether you are talking about a monosugar (glucose or fructose) or a disaccharide (maltose, sucrose, lactose, etc) it is the sugar itself that is the problem.
    And of course starch is simply a ipolymer of many glucose units. Since it’s glucose – glucose bonds are broken slowly, the liver or whatever isnt inundated with lots of glucose at any one time. Quite unlike ingesting sucrose or glucose itself.

    • (former beekeeper and former chemistry professor! :-))

      I guess it comes down to that cliche (cliches being cliches largely because they are true) about moderation in all things. We just eat too much sugar…

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