How We Have Been Deceived About Sugar

February 06, 2017

How We Have Been Deceived About Sugar

References:  New York TimesInt Jr of Health SrvWashington PostGary Taubes in The Case Against Sugar  Huffington Post,

Just about every mammal loves sugar. Of course we do. Through most of human history, it meant ripe fruit becoming available, just before the long dry season of either African drought or Asian/European cold. But in the last 200 years, sugar has become even more bountiful. Sugar was such a hot item, Arabs made a killing transporting it over deserts to Europe by camels. Columbus was all about finding places to grow sugar in the New World, as were all the European colonizers. The Caribbean was hot property, because of sugar. Our biology naturally drives us to seek sugar. Plain and simple.

What we haven't understood is the power of political money and "lobbying" to undermine our scientific process of inquiry. In America, our politicians carefully guard their re-election money sources and don't reveal it, but it is a pay-for-play game. And this game has been going on for almost 70 years before it has started to come unraveled. And you play a part in it because you love sugar. You and I both eat more food with sugar in it, and that rewards food companies to add sugar to everything. 

In fact, Lustig, one of America's premier sugar adversaries, has documented that 75% of all American foods have sugar added. And with your consent, the sugar lobby has been focused, nefarious, diligent, and successful. It has paid off politician after politician to intercede in just about every guideline every issued about food, to change the conversation with little phrases that shift the truth in a way that just isn't so. When the World Health Organization, a group outside the USA, tried to issue guidelines limiting sugar to just 10% of calories, the sugar lobby went crazy and got Senators to threaten to pull all funding from the WHO if those guidelines went through.

But it's worse than that. The shifting of blame to fat was the real win. We have spent decades fighting cholesterol, making a huge artificial industry about statins all because a few key American health leaders, paid off by the sugar industry, pushed us that way. Today, you can still see that effect when you go to the store and buy LOW FAT Yogurt, as though that was a good thing. Please, translate that LOW FAT label in your brain to be HIGH SUGAR, because that is the net effect. And you slurp it down happily. And you can see your waistline, gradually expanding. And all along, it was sugar to blame.

The proof is finally falling together. Metabolic syndrome, the underlying driver of heart disease, cholesterol, hypertension are each and collectively more tightly linked to sugar than anything else. Let me repeat that. Sugar, not fat is the core enemy. You obsess about cholesterol to your peril. It's sugar.

And what does the sugar industry say to that? Same old playbook. Deny, shift blame, "Calorie is a calorie", "Obesity is all about poor food choices and eating too much", and other stock phrases are all intended to deceive. And you go down.

The final deceit is all the alternative names for sugar. There are SIXTY ONE current names out there on food labels for sugar. And we are not always as clever as we think when we go for agave, barley malt, cane juice, mannose, maltol, maltodextrin, Desmara sugar, and some 50 other names for sugar. You will typically find 3-5 of them on any "healthy" snack bar, which in total makes sugar the number one ingredient in the bar.

Is there an amount of sugar you can safely eat? Well, not really. We are currently around 82 grams a day and close to 10-15 % of our calories from sugar. But many of us are getting more than that, and are sicker to show for it. The American Heart Association says to get down to One Ounce (100 calories) a day for women, for about a 75% reduction. (150 calories for men). If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, are overweight, have elevated bad cholesterol, worried about Alzheimer's, heart attacks or anything else, less would be better. Generally, any reduction, at any point, is better.

WWW. What will work for me. I'm having fun looking at all the goofy names for sugar on different packaged foods. They are out there. I've trained myself to see LOW FAT as HIGH SUGAR. And when I get off sugar and stay there, my HDLs start climbing. I'm back up to over 60 again. You could be there too.

Pop Quiz

1.  Panocha and Muscovado are safe sweeteners. T or F                Answer:   Sucker

2. Ok, how about Fruit Juice Concentrate? Safe ?                          Answer:     Double sucker

3. The Sugar Industry Lobby group will happily show you their lobbying dollars paid to your congressman. T or F                   Answer:   Wow, you really are trusting. No. But just about every congressman gets some.  Rubio and Sanders.  (The rest of the world calls it a bribe, we call it lobbying.)

4. US Senators threatened the WHO with withdrawal of funding if they didn't change their recommendations on sugar, lowering its use. T or F?    You can simply always vote for the worst option. That would be true.

5. I can safely eat sugar and not damage myself. T or F.     Answer:  False. At 15% of calories, you will have metabolic syndrome within a month. Longer at lower levels. How long do you want to stay well?