General Question

Cruiser's avatar

Sugar now is considered to be toxic by some in the medical community...will you now change your eating habits?

Asked by Cruiser (34783 points ) April 2nd, 2012

Last night, 60 minutes presented a segment which featured this Dr. Robert Lustig a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, who believes the high amount of sugar in the American diet, much of it in processed foods, is killing us.

I have heard similar studies in how the body today is overwhelmed by the amount of sugars in the many forms and manifests in a lot of preventable diseases.

Even before this story aired, I have cut out alcohol and am on a low to no carb diet and have never felt better. This story last night has prompted me to continue to look into this matter and brings to mind an project my 12 yr. old recently had to do for his health class. His assignment was to read all the ingredient labels on the food he ate and look for the “sugar” content. Any time sugar, corn syrup or ”....-tose” was one of the top 3 ingredients, it can be considered a desert! We had a lot of deserts in our house.

Fascinating story and curious if this would cause any other jellies to make changes in their food habits.

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71 Answers

tedd's avatar

In huge doses anything is dangerous to us. Sugar is in a lot of our foods, but honestly a lot of the ones that contain outrageous levels of sugar the ones we already knew were bad for you.

I don’t go to McDonalds, or drink a pop, expecting it to be good for me. Hopefully this just makes people a bit more aware of the health hazards associated with junk food.

elbanditoroso's avatar

The so called experts change their opinion on what is healthy and what is not, every couple of years. Studies and statistics can prove nothing. (See: global warming)

I eat fairly healthy as it is – I’m not going to change my habits because some new study contradicts some old study which contradicted an even older study.

Trillian's avatar

Yeah, but it’s so crunchy and yummy!
I seldom get real sugar in anything anymore. I keep some for the rare occasions that I bake cookies. I have splenda in the big anchor hocking jar for coffee, and eat my cheerios plain. But every so often I use it in my cappuccino or on a bowl of cheerios. It gives a different taste and texture. So I guess I changed that so long ago that I now don’t get enough to worry about.
I’ve been thinking about cutting gluten out of my diet, and probably will do that within the next 6 months. There are enough substitutes out there now. That is a decision I came to based on thought and anecdotal evidence.
I have no intention of letting anyone rain on my occasional sugar parade.

jerv's avatar

Processed food is always a problem, and things have gotten far worse since many companies decided to cheap out and use high-fructose corn syrup (which our bodies can’t process) in place of sugar in many things. Note also that everything we have tried to use in place of sugar is even worse than sugar?

But I tend to east a bit more naturally anyways. For instance, i use butter instead of spreadable plastic (margarine), and eat cheese instead of processed cheese food product. I also go through a lot of carbs, partly for endurance, and partly because low/no-carb diets cause more problems than they solve in the long run.

Then again, the air is killing us, and the socio-economic part of life makes some people wish they were dead anyways, so I just shrug my shoulders at this alleged news. And no, I’m not changing my eating habits :p

jaytkay's avatar

I’m not going to change my habits because some new study contradicts some old study which contradicted an even older study

There were studies advocating a high-sugar diet?

tom_g's avatar

@jaytkay – Exactly. This thread seems exactly like this one in which people argued that science is worthless.

marinelife's avatar

I did years ago.

funkdaddy's avatar

It is definitely educational to check out labels and see the sugar content, but rules like “anything with sugar in the top 3 is dessert” don’t lead to any better understanding of the problem. Sugars are already listed on the labels, in grams and as a percentage of the daily recommended values, along with serving size, in grams.

Everyone should vary their diet and see what works for them. Most people will feel better with less sugar than average, and probably even less than “recommended”, but a crusade against all sugar will yield other problems.

Can we at least agree that “toxic” is overstating the problem and just as sensational as any counter claims?

gambitking's avatar

Been very wary of it lately, indeed. Especially HFCS (hi fructose corn syrup), which is the worst of them.

syz's avatar

Everything in moderation.

Look around – clearly we weren’t meant to exist on such a high fat, high sugar diet.

Keep_on_running's avatar

I’ve been monitoring my sugar intake for years. I’ve always thought sugar is worse than we think.

Cruiser's avatar

@funkdaddy I agree with you but would also argue the fogginess of just how manufacturers do list these ingredients. People look for the word “sugar” and if it is not there, they then can assume all is good.

My Chobani Raspberry Non-Fat Greek Yogurt sitting here on my desk lists 19 gms of “sugars” but the ingredient list it is no where to be found and I then have to “assume” that evaporated cane juice or vegetable juice are the sources of these 19 grams of sugars.

JLeslie's avatar

I saw the 60 minutes episode last night and the MRI scans were ver interesting. What I wanted to know when watching it is if the happy chemicals in our brain are released with almost any food? I liked that the scientist said HFCS and sugar are the same, I have believed that always. Also, they did not say all carbs, just “sugar” with a mention that whole fruits have sugar content also, but have the added fiber to slow digestion.

The recommendation for sugar intake daily in the clip was very low I remember, something like 100 grams a day for women.

I found the information persuasive, but leaving me with questions. I don’t believe sugar calories are worse than fat calories for weight gain, which was basically pointed to in the piece, but I certainly think both are bad when eaten in too much quantity.

For me the information presented just reinforces what I think anyway. Whole foods are best. Eating foods made from scratch and limiting sugars and added fats also a good idea.

geeky_mama's avatar

I saw that 60 minutes. It made tremendous sense to me. It does make me want to watch my sugar consumption. I plan to make dietary changes. I agree very much with the summary @JLeslie gives above.

I am on medication for heart disease – but have never been overweight, and have always done some moderate exercise. It makes me wonder if I missed the culprit – sugar – all along.
I plan to improve my diet (to not include processed foods and reduce my sugar intake) and wonder if this change might help improve my cholesterol levels (which have never been “good” – even since it was first tested in my late teens) and blood pressure.

A side note on the MRI findings.. where they likened sugar to drugs:
As a teen I drank a lot of soda pops. When I went to live with my aunt and uncle (who were missionaries in Japan) they joked that they couldn’t afford my Coke habit (my favorite was Cherry Coke, but Coca-Cola was a fine substitute – and I drank at least a six pack a day)..so they suggested a detox.

I agreed to try – and my aunt prepared me healthy meals and cut out all processed sugars and soda pops. I was so sick – shaking, vomiting and physically ill for about a week that I never went back to drinking pop again. I have often said that it truly reminded me of the sort of thing a drug addict might go through in detox…and was truly frightened by the uncontrollable shaking and pain I had to go through (I remember being curled in fetal position on my bed most of that week)...all just to readjust to less sugar & caffeine in my daily diet.

Both of the babies I carried can’t stand pop – have never liked it. (Is it possible I passed along a food aversion in utero?)

El_Cadejo's avatar

Here’s a better question. What isnt toxic?
anything in excess will kill you.

ragingloli's avatar

“Well of course too much is bad for you, that’s what “too much” means you blithering twat. If you had too much water it would be bad for you, wouldn’t it? “Too much” precisely means that quantity which is excessive, that’s what it means. Could you ever say “too much water is good for you”? I mean if it’s too much it’s too much. Too much of anything is too much. Obviously. Jesus.” – Stephen Fry

Moegitto's avatar

Regardless of what people opinions are this is another form of people using a subject to gain some form of exposure. Sugar has been “bad” since the 80’s, hence the artificial sweetener explosions (splenda and the likes). But no “scientist” will cover the fact that artificial sweeteners cause Multiple Sclerosis in people (mainly Aspartame), but you see diet soda’s all over the place. Sugar is the same as alcohol, ok in acceptable doses. Also you can’t avoid sugar, crap is in everything. Even some meats…

JLeslie's avatar

@geeky_mama I think your detox horrible experience had much more to do with sudden caffeine deprivation than sugar withdrawal.

I grew up drinking coca cola and I was thin. I probably drank around 24–30 ounces a day. Less than you, but significant.

I have high cholesterol, genetic in my family. If I reduce my cholesterol intake by half daily, my cholesterol plummets. For me the simple way to do it is no egg yolks, and no obviously bad dessert foods, along woth not increasing other cholesterol foods. My cholesterol drops about 50 points in a month doing that. 270 to 220. Cutting sugar does seem to effectively lower my tryglicerides to normal levels. I have had my cholesterol under 220 by really closely monitoring my cholesterol intake to less than 30 mg a day. Eating hydrogentated fats does not seem to increase my cholesterol, but I do think those fats are not good for you. If I eat butter instead of margarine my cholesterol shoots back up. Cholesterol in, cholesterol up for me. I bet you too.

Cruiser's avatar

@geeky_mama I was floored by the doctors comment in how the brains reaction to sugar was akin to the same response the brain has to heroin!

tranquilsea's avatar

I’ve never really liked sugar. I hate the way it makes my teeth feel fuzzy.

I agree with other posters that too much of anything can be fatal. There is too much sugar in the average diet but I’m doubtful that this new study/semi-revelation will be very impactful with the general public.

cookieman's avatar

No – because I already limit my sugar intake as I am a diabetic.

Processed foods, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup are the worst. Enriched white flour too as it basically becomes sugar.

I try to avoid all of these as much as I can.

As you can imagine, I’ve tried a ton of sugar-free chocolate chip cookies in the search for a worthy replacement.

Nullo's avatar

I’d say that it’s misleading to flat-out say that sugar – which is kind of important – is “toxic.” It’s old news that lots of sugar is bad for you.

6rant6's avatar

I have promised myself that yesterday was the last day I would eat processed sugar.

That makes 30 times this year.

serenade's avatar

With all due respect to the opinions above as well as commonsense thinking about excesses of consumption, I think the name of this game is saving HFCS by “lowering the tide for all boats.”

I hate to cast another cynical vote for politicized science being passed off as pure science, but has it really taken science until 2012 and to a point in our history of food consumption where 90% of the “food” around us contains some kind of sugar/sweetener to produce this landmark discovery? You would think all this great science would be applied before the FDA or whoever saw this stuff fit for human consumption.

jaytkay's avatar

There’s a political agenda behind curbing sugar consumption? Whose?

john65pennington's avatar

Where were these results, way back in the 40s, when I was born?

I have successfully eaten candy bars and sugar-sweetened tea for 68 years and I am still a healthy person.

Only believe half of what you see and none of what you read. Good motto.

Facade's avatar

I cut back on the amount of sugar I ate a few years ago after reading about how it can affect you. I try to only use agave, honey, and other minimally processed sugars. Things like maple syrup, molasses, and honey are actually beneficial to eat, but I agree that the white sugar in most sweet foods today is counterproductive in maintaining good health.

Cruiser's avatar

@john65pennington I think there is a component of this story/issue here the doctor is scratching the surface on and that is in how our access to food laden with sugar is what has changed the most. When you and I were youngins, processed foods were laden with fats as fats taste great and the fat craze had not yet hit. But then in the 80’s when all things fat became evil, the doctor here pointed out the food industry took out the fats and the food tasted like crap and instead pumped them full of sugar. So in a sense you may have simply avoided consuming the incredible amounts of sugars my kids are now exposed to. I mean it is in so much of what we can by and hidden under all sorts of cryptic names on food labels.

I think this is one of the points this doctor was trying to make.

JLeslie's avatar

@Facade I have a hard time believing other liquid sugars are any better than white sugar when it comes to sugar levels in the body. Maybe if chemicals are used in the process of refining it might affect our health in other ways, that I can see. Fructose is fructose, not much different than glucose. It all gets broken down into the same thing pretty much in the body.

RocketGuy's avatar

Follow the money – who wants us to eat more sugar vs who wants us to eat less.

Facade's avatar

@JLeslie It’s not about liquid vs. crystals. It’s about how the body breaks the different sugars down. Agave, for instance, is broken down in a more productive way than regular white sugar. There’s plenty of info about this on the net.

downtide's avatar

I eat so little sugar (and not much processed food either) so changing my diet wouldn’t be necessary.

tinyfaery's avatar

Pfft. One of the very few things I like about living is sugar. Not giving it up. No way.

JLeslie's avatar

@Facade My point was I think liquids and crystals both dissolve so fast, are absorbed so fast, they go right into the blood stream. Carbs/sugars start digesting in the mouth they are taken in so easily. The 60 minutes report basically said there is no difference between high fructose and sugar and I would guess wherever you are getting your info they believe HFCs is the evil of all sugars. I’m just saying what I believ, you don’t have to agree. I do think natural is better than processed, whatever food we are talking about, but not for sugar and weight gain, just to steer clear of chemical processes.

SavoirFaire's avatar

The statement “sugar is toxic” suggests that more than trace amounts would be poisonous. We could not live were we to be deprived of all kinds of sugar, however, as sugar is literally what fuels the cells in our body. As such, the statement “sugar is toxic” is false.

If we are talking about vast amounts of sugar, on the other hand, then the quote posted by @ragingloli is apt. It should come as no surprise that too much of anything is too much. The interesting work that science can do is telling us what is too much, and journalists can help scientists along in that work by not misrepresenting what they say.

MilkyWay's avatar

Quite honestly it won’t make much of a difference to me. I’m just gonna carry on eating like I’ve always done…

josie's avatar

I do not eat much refined sugar. Still, sugar is a carbohydrate, and you can’t live without carbohydrate, so we all eat some of it. The level of refinement is the issue.
But, once upon a time, people drank the same water that they shit in. Then they found out it was a bad idea, and stopped doing it. It didn’t happen over night. Eating lots of sugar is probably bad for you. Someday, people won’t do it, as long as they are free to seek the truth and speak it.

Cruiser's avatar

@SavoirFaire By definition I think the Doctor is within the boundaries of using the word toxic to describe the damaging effects of consuming too much sugar. Water is toxic if you drink too much too quickly. That said, Dr. Lustig is not applying the term loosely or flippantly and has a ton of solid research to back him up. The most compelling is the chemical reactions that occur both on the cellular level and in the brain on a neurological level and the damage that occurs in both as a direct response to high levels of “sugars”.

I may be biased here as heart disease is a genetic component in my family lineage and have both high blood pressure and out of whack cholesterol levels despite a solid diet and exercise program. I find his argument of sugar/carbohydrates “toxic” effect compelling and why I posted this question earlier today.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Cruiser Water is toxic in excess, but water is not toxic. Similarly, sugar is toxic in excess, but sugar is not toxic. Nobody doubts that too much sugar is bad for you. Few people are likely to doubt that excessive sugar can have toxic effects. That does not justify the flat statement that sugar is toxic.

Cruiser's avatar

@SavoirFaire In that case I can think of very few things “toxic” that are toxic in small doses so I would argue the Doc can use toxic and sugar in the same sentence. Just as one could use mercury, arsenic, radiation, water and sugar as examples of substances as that won’t kill you in small doses. Again the definition of toxicity is the degree to which a substance can damage a living or non-living organism and the adverse affects of which are dose dependent.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Nope. Raw sugar is better for you than artificial sweeteners, especially those containing aspertame.

Edit: I want to add that I do actually know too much sugar is bad, and because of my children’s physical reactions to it, I limit their intake more than I do my own. I have been talking about the dangers of too much sugar and HFCS for years, but many thought I was insane.

What I mean about not changing my diet is that I don’t buy foods with a lot of sugar anyway, and I REFUSE to start using artificial sweeteners, because that would be more unhealthy than the amount of sugar my family does eat.

Moegitto's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate THANK YOU! That stuff is bad, artificial sweeteners that is. I’m a diabetic, and my blood sugars are almost too low. I drink regular sodas but I never buy canned drinks, I buy the bottles so I can pour it in a cup and keep a good measure of my drinking portions throughout the day. Balance is the way of life, that’s why Vegans have to do soo much to stay healthy, humans need meat and avoiding that need brings unneeded health problems. Low Carb diets also damage your body, so the matter of what you need less of is not ELIMINATING something but REDUCING it. When I was first diagnosed as a diabetic the doctor and the nutritionist said “go on a diet of 2600 calories a day, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, any snack consisting of sugar shouldn’t go over 14g of sugar, eat Fiber, and macaroni and cheese”. I almost laughed when they said that, macaroni and cheese has high carbs, I thought I was supposed to avoid that? Then they explained that foods in combination react differently than foods by themselves, Pasta is a carb but cheese has fiber. This would cause my body to metabolize the food slower and in turn avoid a sugar spike. Avoid all “internet doctors” or word of mouth statements. Unless it’s a doctor telling you something is bad to your face I wouldn’t believe something just on face value. I can see a PhD or Doctorete degree in the doctors office when I’m face to face. Some guy saying “Sugar is Toxic” on TV or the internet isn’t going to change my way of thinking. If we all remember those same “doctors” said AIDS couldn’t be spread in certain ways then that little boy gave a girl the virus by kissing here on the school yard, and neither had any cuts or sores.

What I’m trying to say is gossip is toxic… :P

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Cruiser I think the difference between sugar and your examples is that your examples do not really have a normal amount. We need water to live. We need sugar to live. Calling either of them toxic without qualification, therefore, is plainly false. The same cannot be said about mercury, arsenic, or radiation. In the last of these cases, however, it is also incorrect to say that radiation is toxic: we are constantly exposed to radiation, but it does not kill us. It is certain kinds and certain amounts of radiation that are dangerous. Simply saying “radiation is toxic” is also incorrect.

gondwanalon's avatar

Sugar is getting a bum rap. Our bodies need sugar in order to function. Like so many have stated above it is when sugar is consumed in large quantities that it become un healthy. Anything become toxic if the amount and or concentration is great enough.

The real toxic aspect of most people’s health is not sugar but excess food and drugs coupled with general lack of exercise.

funkdaddy's avatar

@Cruiser – You simply can’t claim it’s toxic in the same way arsenic and mercury are.

A lethal dose of arsenic is 70 to 200 milligrams (one fifth of a gram) – source

A lethal dose of mercury is 1 to 4 grams, a relatively tiny amount – source

If you ate 4 grams of sugar and had a chance to keel over, that would be toxic. Sugar is a food and your body breaks down all carbohydrates into sugar, so you’re hardly able to classify it as a poison. It is trickery. It’s for headlines.

—————-

From the 60 minutes report

Dr. Robert Lustig: We love it. We go out of our way to find it. I think one of the reasons evolutionarily is because there is no food stuff on the planet that has fructose that is poisonous to you. It is all good. So when you taste something that’s sweet, it’s an evolutionary Darwinian signal that this is a safe food.

That’s from the doctor himself. It doesn’t sound like he thinks all sugar is toxic, just too much.

The report goes on to try and connect various studies but the pattern seems to be that the interviewer will throw out a wild statement, the scientist answers more cautiously, and then they move on. An example when discussing the dopamine release sugar consumption causes

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: So far be it for people to realize this ‘cause sugar is everywhere, but you’re saying this is one of the most addictive substances possibly that we have?

Eric Stice: It certainly is very good at firing the reward regions in our brain.

The scientist seems a little more guarded there, no?

Maybe because dopamine is released by a lot of things including such other killers like music, sex, exercise, and anything else that makes you happy.

Oh yeah, and cocaine. Because “sugar is like cocaine” is a lot more interesting than “sugar is as addictive as exercise!”.

The scientists seem to be doing good work, in areas that hopefully will lead to recommendations that people can follow. This would be a great platform to get their message out, but it gets distilled down to a few sensationalized sentences. So far the only recommendations seems to be best summarized as moderate your sugar intake.

As written and summarized by the original doctor being interviewed in his recommendations…

Dr. Robert Lustig agrees—we need a balanced diet—but his idea of balance is a drastic reduction in sugar consumption. To that end he co-authored an American Heart Association report recommending men should consume no more than 150 calories of added sugars a day. And women, just 100 calories. That’s less than the amount in just one can of soda.

150 calories is about 37 grams of sugar a day (25 grams for women). To me, it doesn’t sound like he really believes sugar is “toxic”, it sounds more like he’s decided he needs to get his message out, and if he needs to overstate things to grab someone’s attention, he’s OK with that. After all it got him on 60 minutes and ultimately will lead to greater exposure for his actual recommendations which seem to be reasonable.

I hope in the next 20 years scientists in general start teaming with someone to write an accurate and digestible summary of their studies, papers, and findings, presented for the general public rather than relying on marketers and media for that purpose as they do now. All most people will remember about this story is “Sugar is Toxic” and so the resulting discussion seems to be about that.

Example – Sweet and toxic: Is sugar really ‘poison’? at the Today show

I think it only contributes to the public distrust that science is always touted as “hot new studies” rather than a steady, constant march towards better understanding.

Cruiser's avatar

@SavoirFaire I think a large part of this dynamic is attempting to wrap ones head around the notion that something so innocuous as sugar can be presented and considered as toxic. Again the brain scans and lab studies of the damage to blood cells and subsequent formation of small lipids that will clog my arteries makes for a pretty compelling argument that sugar may be sweet but it very well could be that perennial wolf in sheep’s clothing. And with all that I have read and as I have asked here, I will be checking over my food choices with regards to the source, type and amount of sugar I pump into my body..

Cruiser's avatar

@funkdaddy I do agree with your cynical appraisal of media exploiting a topic such as this. But IMO it may require a shock and awe approach to something that is so pervasive in out society as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. I mean the experts here have pegged this problem to be a ONE TRILLION dollar preventable problem!! Think Cigarrettes, think Alcohol, think seat belts…things that are used and abused freely in our society yet directly responsible for so much harm if abused. But the message for sugar is the same for these other things and simply saying that too much sugar is bad for you will not inspire change in the average Joe’s life.

Unfortunately, the smoker will smoke up till that day of lung cancer diagnosis, the alcoholic will drink until their liver fails, they lose their job, house and spouse, people will drive without seat belts until they break ribs in an accident and people will down sugar until their cardiologists tells them they need bypass surgery once their blood pressure is low enough to survive the surgery. I am guilty as charged on all accounts but I was and am smart enough to recognize the damage these accepted practices have done to my health and made the changes and not because out of the blue it dawned on me but because of in your face technicolor articles that gave you compelling evidence that these fun, enjoyable things were going to kill you if you keep using them.

So if it takes using the word “toxic” to jump start a discussion on something that could be very impactful in many peoples lives, IMO I say go ahead!

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Cruiser My objection is not to the idea that sugar can be bad for you. I have no trouble with that and have removed a great deal of it from my diet. Indeed, I did so over a decade ago. My problem is with falsely presenting science in a sensational manner. That was the relevance of the comic link I posted: “sugar is toxic” is alarmist and false; “sugar in large quantities is toxic” is sensible and true.

Cruiser's avatar

@SavoirFaire For decades that same “harmless” argument “WAS” made by the tobacco companies.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Cruiser Yes, and it was a lie. But one of the reasons it was so large of a lie is because they had evidence that even the occasional cigarette was bad for you. No one here is saying that sugar cannot be harmful, however. We are only suggesting that the claim be properly qualified and not sensationalized.

Cruiser's avatar

@SavoirFaire Hmmm…I will have to put on my marketing thinking cap to see what better message can be used to convey how consuming large quantities of sugar, marketed and sold to a mostly unwitting consumers who are oblivious to the potential harm of something so sweet and yummy as sugar that can cause obesity, diabetes, heart disease and promote cancerous tumor growth. Maybe a small print pamphlet in a plastic holder in the doctors waiting room is a better way to approach this. I will also write 60 minutes are suggest they stick to less controversial subject matters in their prime time programming. ;)

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Cruiser By your logic though I can claim EVERYTHING is toxic.

Cruiser's avatar

@uberbatman I think that was the point I was trying to make to illustrate how and why IMO it is appropriate the doc can use the word “toxic” within the context of his research. We can debate this all ad-nauseum and frankly I prefer not to.

People are free to ignore compelling research as to the possible damage consuming what industry may consider “normal” amounts of sugar can do the their body just as they are free to smoke, drink a quart of vodka a day and eat pesticide laced produce and hormone infused meat products all because the FDA says small amounts of these things are A-OK for us. Plus I am sure there is a Sugar Super PAC forming as we speak to push back on this research.

The key here is we are free to what we please with our bodies and as long as we have unlimited Government Health Care to fix our bodies we were free to abuse while we were young and reasonably healthy.

kara_t's avatar

I live in Singapore, but we have relatives in the US and go there every year and indeed there seem to be lots of overweight people in the States including kids and really young people. I think a lot has to do with the skyhigh daily calories intake the average American consumes and sugar certainly plays a role in that. I personally avoid eating sugar and saturated fat and have at least 70% of my meals meat-free (but do eat plenty of fish and absolutely love sushi). As for fast food style foods, I don’t think I had more than 5 hamburgers in my entire life and haven’t been in a McDonalds for many many years.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
SavoirFaire's avatar

@Cruiser Marketing? How about just telling the unvarnished truth while neither exaggerating nor trivializing the results of these studies? Is that really too much to ask of people nowadays? I’m all for controversial programming, but I’m not for sensationalism in the news. It must surely be possible to warn people that overconsumption is bad without pretending that one of the necessities for life is actually a poison.

RazorsEdge's avatar

I stopped eating sugar after watch the movie Fat Head. It’s better to eat saturated fat than sugar – plenty of books expose the lipid-cholesterol heart disease myth. Now I eat saturated fat.
Worse than sugar is fructose. Fructose has to go through the liver (think of an alcoholic) so it’s an additional burden on your organs. So HFCS is toxic.

Cruiser's avatar

@SavoirFaire Ok….how do you unvarnish the simple new fact that sugar is toxic to the body?? Put your own spin on this if you will?? Please make sure you have all your factoids supported by links so everybody here and on my blog can see your version of this new reality!

funkdaddy's avatar

I think only one link is needed

Food

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Cruiser It’s really easy: instead of using “sugar is toxic” as your headline, you use “sugar is toxic in high doses” or even “sugar is toxic at lower levels than you might think.” That tells the truth without mistaken implications.

Cruiser's avatar

@SavoirFaire That is precisely why I include a link to the whole story AND a lengthy description so there is nothing left to misinterpretation and hopefully avoiding the truly unnecessary and distracting path you chose to pursue. I present the 1st paragraph of my description you apparently missed…

“Last night, 60 minutes presented a segment which featured this Dr. Robert Lustig a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, who believes the high amount of sugar in the American diet, much of it in processed foods, is killing us.”

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Cruiser Have you gone this whole time thinking my comments are about your title for this question? They are not. My comments are about how 60 Minutes decided to advertise this.

Cruiser's avatar

@SavoirFaire My bad.. I misinterpreted…“It’s really easy: instead of using “sugar is toxic” as your headline, ” as MY headline of my question.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Yeaaa but you did say my blog first. Implying you wanted to know how YOU could better write the 60 min thing.

jca's avatar

People often think that if they don’t drink soda or they avoid desserts they’re successfully avoiding sugar. Sugar is in so many things now. Eat a hamburger on a bun with ketchup, bun has sugar in it, so does ketchup. That’s just one example. Make a salad, put salad dressing on it: read the ingredients label. Salad dressing probably has sugar in it. People drink Vitamin water, Snapple, people are drinking that crap all day long. Parents give their kids juice that is labelled “100% fruit juice.” Read the labels – it’s 100% juice and sugar. Unless you’re eating totally unprocessed foods, sugar is very hard to avoid.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca Even if it is 100% juice, the juice itself is sugar. Coca cola and orange juice have almost equal amounts of sugar, even if no sugar is added to the juice. I pt seemed to me the 60 Minutes clip was talking about “sugars” not just white crystal sugar,

jca's avatar

@JLeslie: Yes, I understand. That’s my point. Not just sugar in a bowl, not just sugar as we think of it as in sodas and cereals, but sugars in many forms in many types of foods. I know the juice itself is sugar, and then they add to that, more sugar.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca I think we are miscommunicting. Maybe not. Are you saying sugar in the ingredients? If it is 100% fruit juice no sugar is added, but the nutritional label will still list a high sugar content. Some “juices” do have sugar added, especially fruit drinks.

jca's avatar

@JLeslie: I think we are. I know sugar is in the juice, as sugars occur in fruits naturally. I know those will have a high sugar content on the nutritional label. I’m saying many fruit juices and drinks have added sugar (i.e. Juicy Juice, Ocean Spray, other brands that I don’t know because i don’t drink that stuff). I am referring to added sugars on the ingredients label. I was also referring, in my orignal post, to sugars being in things you would not think of as having sugars in them, such as hamburger buns, crackers, stuff like that. Processed foods that add sugars to enhance flavors, and so when people say they avoid sugars, they often are referring to sodas and cereals, not thinking of the sugars added to these other things that we don’t think of as needing sugar.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca I agree with everything you just wrote. It was your statement about 100% juice, that was where I got confused. 100% is 100%. They can add trace things like vitamins and minerals and still call it 100%, but not sugar. I mean maybe technically they could add a trace amount of sugar, less than 1%, but it would be nothing in the scheme of things.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Cruiser No worries. I could have been clearer.

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