Does it seem mind boggling at times to cipher through the amount of popular press on the subject of sugar? What can you believe? It would seem that powerful lobbyists have suppressed the science for a very long time. However, times are changing and eye-opening scientific studies are revealing some shocking information.What I have to share here, in short, is just my interpretation. I can’t encourage you enough to read the scientific journals yourself to know what to believe or not.
My brother-in-law, Pete, and my brother, John, both share my strong interest in the science of nutrition and recently shared an article, pulling me into their conversation. Back in 1972 a British professor of nutrition, John Yudkin, sounded an alarm on sugar in his book, “Pure, White and Deadly”. He wrote, “If only a small fraction of what we know about the effects of sugar were to be revealed in relation to any other material used as a food additive, that material would promptly be banned.” The book did well, but Yudkin paid a premium for it. The food industry and notable nutritionists of the time successfully destroyed Yudkin’s reputation and his claims died with him in 1995.
Enter, Robert Lustig, a paediatric endocrinologist at the University of California who specializes in the treatment of childhood obesity. He gave a 90-minute talk in 2009, titled Sugar: The Bitter Truth, which has now been viewed more than six million times on YouTube. According to Lustig, the last three decades have seen a shift from an emphasis on “low fat” to a more serious look at the effects of sugar, especially in relation to obesity, heart disease and diabetes. With stakes this high, it is important that the public become more educated about the true science behind sugar.
Obesity in the United States has more than doubled over the past four decades — nearly two-thirds of adult Americans are overweight or obese.1 How can this happen with all the attention from the health profession, the media, and mass educational campaigns about the benefits of eating healthy and exercising? So here are a few things that happened.
Food manufacturers responded to the directive against fat by selling us low-fat products loaded with sugar! Why? Well, because they had to taste good, right?!?! There was a plethora of studies, many flawed, but none-the-less marketed in yet another political endeavor to promote their product – be it healthy or not. One example was “The Seven Countries” study published in 1970 showing the correlation between intake of saturated fats and deaths from heart disease. It was very interesting to take note at who was behind the study and why they picked the countries they did. They left out France and, what was then, West Germany knowing that these countries had relatively low rates of heart disease, despite living on diets rich in saturated fats. Years later, the Seven Countries study’s lead Italian researcher, Alessandro Menotti, went back to the data, and found that the food that correlated most closely with deaths from heart disease was not saturated fat, but sugar. Wow!
I could not be more passionate about this topic — the addictive aspects, the cravings, the effects on blood sugar levels, skin reactions, the history, and the hidden secrets. Stay tuned to hear more from me on this subject! Meanwhile, I will leave you with one thought. Sugar should be consumed in strict moderation. Your health depends on it. I challenge you all, to use myfitnesspal.com or similar food app to track your intake of sugar grams just for one day. Being aware is the first step. You will be surprised. Look for more information to help break this down into easily understood knowledge in future blogs. You know you will hear from me again on this subject! And, I welcome any and all comments! Let’s keep this conversation going.