Is Sugar Toxic?

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Is Sugar Toxic?

Post: #267342 Durgan
Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:55 pm

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magaz ... wanted=all

"Sugar scares me too, obviously. I’d like to eat it in moderation. I’d certainly like my two sons to be able to eat it in moderation, to not overconsume it, but I don’t actually know what that means, and I’ve been reporting on this subject and studying it for more than a decade. If sugar just makes us fatter, that’s one thing. We start gaining weight, we eat less of it. But we are also talking about things we can’t see — fatty liver, insulin resistance and all that follows. Officially I’m not supposed to worry because the evidence isn’t conclusive, but I do."

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Re: Is Sugar Toxic?

Post: #267351 demi
Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:09 pm

No, sugar is not toxic.
Sugars are essential to a healthy diet. Without any sugars at all in your diet you would die.
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Re: Is Sugar Toxic?

Post: #267353 gregorach
Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:15 pm

If you actually bother to read the article, you mind find that the question should be "is excessive consumption of fructose toxic?" But hey, why bother with nuance when we could just have another fight?
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Re: Is Sugar Toxic?

Post: #267354 Durgan
Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:39 pm

gregorach wrote:If you actually bother to read the article, you mind find that the question should be "is excessive consumption of fructose toxic?" But hey, why bother with nuance when we could just have another fight?


Discussion! The article covers most of the issues about sugar in a very presentable manner. Most people wont read the article, since is is more than one line in length.

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Re: Is Sugar Toxic?

Post: #267356 gregorach
Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:18 pm

Indeed. I found it very interesting and well-balanced, and it does tie in with a number of other things I've been hearing about recently, particularly the role of Insulin-like Growth Factor in a number of serious health conditions. I certainly tend to think that the average "western" diet contains far too much refined sugar and that it almost certainly has serious health implications, although I wouldn't perhaps go quite as far as your thread title might imply...
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Re: Is Sugar Toxic?

Post: #267357 Zech
Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:23 pm

It is a long article, but it's well written and very interesting. I've just finished reading it and I'm convinced. What I'm convinced of, as Gregorach says, is that consuming fructose at a rate faster than my liver can process it will lead to a fatty liver, which in turn will increase my risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. I'm prepared to accept that further research might prove that wrong, but for now, the evidence presented seems to support that.

On the other hand, I also agree with Demi that completely excluding all sugars from our diet would be a very bad idea indeed.

It's all about the dose, and as the quote you posted, Durgan, makes clear, even after a decade of journalistic research* on the subject, the author of the article doesn't know how much is too much. The title of the article, and of this thread, tends to imply that sugar in any quantity is bad, which the author doesn't claim.

*Love the use of that phrase, by the way. Not claiming to have done scientific research, but nonetheless a legitimate form of information-gathering.

I was also interested to learn that honey has a similar mix of sugars to high-fructose corn syrup.
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Re: Is Sugar Toxic?

Post: #267360 grahamhobbs
Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:11 pm

Zech wrote:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,On the other hand, I also agree with Demi that completely excluding all sugars from our diet would be a very bad idea indeed...................


As someone who has consciously avoided eating sugar (as in Lustig’s use of the word “sugar” to mean both sucrose — beet and cane sugar, whether white or brown — and high-fructose corn syrup.) for some 45 years, I can say I am fit and healthy and most people think I am much younger than I am.
Not only do I agree that it is bad for you but that it is totally unnecessary. Once you loose the 'taste' for it, you don't crave for sweet things, cakes, biscuits or whatever and you also realise how it is really just an addiction for people.

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Re: Is Sugar Toxic?

Post: #267361 Zech
Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:24 pm

The trouble here is that "sugar" is ambiguous. What I understood Demi to mean was absolutely all sucrose, glucose, fructose, and whatever other sugars there are, in whatever forms they occur in food. What you, with Lustig, mean is added sugar. I've no doubt that a diet with no added sugar can be very healthy, but a diet with absolutely no sugar at all? I'm not sure it's even possible! :lol:
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Re: Is Sugar Toxic?

Post: #267362 gregorach
Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:24 pm

Ah, the joys of terminological inexactitude...

Where demi and Zech are using the term "sugars", I believe they're both using it in the technical sense from organic chemistry. They are not referring just to to stuff you'd buy in the shop labelled "sugar" (or even that plus HFCS), they're referring to a whole class of carbohydrates found to some extent in most foods, and quite possibly also to the results of enzymatic degradation of starches during digestion. In that sense, you'd have to stop eating anything other than pure fat and protein to completely exclude all sugars from your diet.

EDIT: I see Zech beat me to it...
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Re: Is Sugar Toxic?

Post: #267368 marshlander
Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:20 pm

[quote="gregorach"]Ah, the joys of terminological inexactitude... quote]

Ah, but then are you quoting Churchill (Politition not dog) and you really mean circumlocution or just unequivocal/inaccurate? :lol:

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Re: Is Sugar Toxic?

Post: #267371 The Riff-Raff Element
Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:48 pm

Certainly, as I understand it, in principle one could follow a diet that included no simple sugars - mono & dipolysaccharides - provided that long-chain carbohydrates (ie starches) are included. In practice, eat a carrot or a bit of fruit and you'd be getting quite a bit in the way of simple sugar. The body would cheerfully extract all the glucose it needs for energy and for synthesis of other sugars it needs for biochemical purposes from starch. Again, in principle, since only the brain is wholly dependent on glucose for its energy requirement, it might be possible to exist only on fats and proteins, since limited supplies of glucose can be made from these.

But who'd want to?

The notion that excessive consumption of fructose (as in HFCS in processed foods) could provoke a response that could be referred to as "toxic" has been around for quite a while - certainly it was something I heard about at university in the 80s.
Last edited by The Riff-Raff Element on Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is Sugar Toxic?

Post: #267376 marshlander
Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:40 pm

Isn't everything, even water, bad for you in excess?
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Re: Is Sugar Toxic?

Post: #267379 Durgan
Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:22 pm

marshlander wrote:Isn't everything, even water, bad for you in excess?




The amount of sugar consumed is often hidden from the individual.
http://www.wholevegan.com/refined_sugar_history.html

Refined Sugar Consumption Trends in Past 300 Years:
In 1700, the average person consumed about 4 pounds of sugar per year.
In 1800, the average person consumed about 18 pounds of sugar per year.
In 1900, individual consumption had risen to 90 pounds of sugar per year.
In 2009, more than 50 percent Americans consume 1/2 pound of sugar per day, which is 180 pounds of sugar per year.

In 1890, obesity rate in US for white males, age group 50's only, were 3.4%. In 1975, the obesity rate in US of all population was 15%. In 2009, 32% of Americans are obese.

In 1893, there were fewer than 3 diabetes per 100,000 people in US. Today, there are 8,000 diabetes per 100,000 people in US.

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Re: Is Sugar Toxic?

Post: #267387 The Riff-Raff Element
Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:55 am

Durgan wrote:
Refined Sugar Consumption Trends in Past 300 Years:
In 1700, the average person consumed about 4 pounds of sugar per year.
In 1800, the average person consumed about 18 pounds of sugar per year.
In 1900, individual consumption had risen to 90 pounds of sugar per year.
In 2009, more than 50 percent Americans consume 1/2 pound of sugar per day, which is 180 pounds of sugar per year.

In 1890, obesity rate in US for white males, age group 50's only, were 3.4%. In 1975, the obesity rate in US of all population was 15%. In 2009, 32% of Americans are obese.

In 1893, there were fewer than 3 diabetes per 100,000 people in US. Today, there are 8,000 diabetes per 100,000 people in US.


I'm no statistician, but I agree there is a certain suggestive co-relation here.

There was a well-referenced American popular science book published in 2004 called "Fat Land" by a bloke called Critser that had a great deal to say about HFCS, palm oil, convenience foods, obesity & diet-related illness. I don't think it's any longer in print, but Amazon marketplace has plenty of second hand copies at competitive prices. He does a good job of explaining the biochemistry in clear English. The latest date he referenced was 2000 when 19.8% of Americans were considered obese, so the rise to 2009 seems staggering. I imagine similar trends might be observed elsewhere in the "developed" world.

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Re: Is Sugar Toxic?

Post: #267391 AnnaD
Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:06 am

Refined sugar is definitely bad for us and certainly not necessary in our diet. However, natural sugars found in fruit are fine as long as you don't go mad with them.

I removed sugar from my diet a few months ago, and now the only sugar I consume is from fruit. For as long as I can remember I have had a lot of trouble with motivation and getting things done, which has led to me dropping out of various college and uni courses, and just feeling lazy. When I cut out sugar, my motivation went through the roof, and for the first time ever I actually had the drive to do all the things I had always wanted to do, but just couldn't get the motivation for. I'm also sleeping better and my teeth look healthier. Now if I cheat and eat something containing refined sugar, my motivation disappears for about a week. Fortunately naturally occuring sugars in fruit don't have the negative effect on me.

My partner also recently cut out sugar, and he's been losing excess weight, has become a lot calmer and much less stressed and is generally happier. Our daughter also reacts badly to sugar. When she goes to her Granny's for the day, she always gets far too many sweets, something she doesn't get at home. So every Sunday night she comes home hyper, often angry, and unable to sleep.

From our experiences I definitely agree that refined sugar is very bad for us and should not be such a major part of everyone's diet. I'm also pretty sure we can survive perfectly well without any sugar in our diet. If we died without it, how did the human race cope in Europe when there was no fruit about in the Winter and Spring?


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