According to The New York Times’ Gary Taubes, who isn’t a scientist but is a journalist obsessed with the topic, the recent uptick in anti-sugar sentiment in nutritional (and lay) circles isn’t without basis. In fact, he goes so far as to essentially answer his headline question “Is Sugar Toxic?” in the affirmative.
Taubes also uses the findings of California-based medical researcher Robert Lustig to back up his rather alarmist message, connecting sugar and HFCS (that would be high fructose corn syrup) consumption to a slew of undesirable conditions and killer diseases. Take heed, sugar junkies. —KA
The New York Times:
This brings us to the salient question: Can sugar possibly be as bad as Lustig says it is?
It’s one thing to suggest, as most nutritionists will, that a healthful diet includes more fruits and vegetables, and maybe less fat, red meat and salt, or less of everything. It’s entirely different to claim that one particularly cherished aspect of our diet might not just be an unhealthful indulgence but actually be toxic, that when you bake your children a birthday cake or give them lemonade on a hot summer day, you may be doing them more harm than good, despite all the love that goes with it. Suggesting that sugar might kill us is what zealots do. But Lustig, who has genuine expertise, has accumulated and synthesized a mass of evidence, which he finds compelling enough to convict sugar. His critics consider that evidence insufficient, but there’s no way to know who might be right, or what must be done to find out, without discussing it.
If I didn’t buy this argument myself, I wouldn’t be writing about it here. And I also have a disclaimer to acknowledge. I’ve spent much of the last decade doing journalistic research on diet and chronic disease — some of the more contrarian findings, on dietary fat, appeared in this magazine —– and I have come to conclusions similar to Lustig’s.
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