Sugar, A Toxin?

Candy BarSugar is as American as apple pie.

What would a birthday be without a sugary birthday cake? Being raised in the culture of sugar, we give our kids cupcakes to share in school. We grab a cookie, candy bar or soda for that 3PM energy boost at work. Sugar is just empty calories, right? It’s not as toxic as cigarettes or alcohol.  Sugar doesn’t kill you, right? Well, maybe.

Even as I write this, I almost feel blasphemous about what I’m about to say – but after reading much literature on the subject, I have to agree with Robert Lustig.  He says, “It’s not about the calories. It has nothing to do with calories. [Sugar is] a poison by itself.”

In April 2011, the cover story for the NYT Magazine section was titled, Is Sugar Toxic?  Written and researched by Gary Taubes, an independent investigative journalist in health policy, it was a revue of the exhaustive research done by Robert Lustig, author of Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease.

Who’s eating the rest of my 200 pounds of sugar?

In the early 1800’s, the average American consumed about 40 pounds of sugar annually.  In 1986, that consumption had risen to about 75 pounds annually. The current estimate is about 200 pounds annually. I eat next to zero sugar, so many other people are eating the rest of my 200 pounds.

We currently know that one out of every three Americans is officially obese. Type 2 Diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions, especially in our children. This is the first generation of kids who are likely to die at an earlier age than their parents.  By now, many of us have at least heard of Metabolic Syndrome, high glycemic foods, insulin resistance and BMI, even if we don’t know exactly what all that means. I’ll cover these terms and more in future articles.

Wonder how we can eat so much sugar?

Consider this. 1tsp of sugar equals about 4.2 grams. So that bottle of cola with 44 grams of sugar contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar (divide 44 by 4.2 which is equal to about 10 teaspoons)!  A candy bar with 24 grams of sugar is almost 6tsp!

cookieAnd that small, 4 o’clock cookie, with perhaps only 19 grams of sugar, has 4.5tsp.  It adds up fast.

I’m convinced about the rightness of Lustig’s arguments .  Please, at least read the Taubes article to see what you think. And keep checking back here. I’ll be writing more that can open your eyes and give you information to help you take back your sustainable health and longevity – and have some FUN with the process!

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