The conclusion is that we should drastically reduce -- if not completely eliminate -- sugar from our diets.
Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondant and a neurosurgeon himself, interviewed several scientists, each of whom revealed shocking truths about the sweet stuff. All-too-brief overview:
- Dr. Robert Lustig, pediatrician and endocrinologist at UCSF, calls sugar a toxin and blames it for the rampancy of many common ailments in our society, including obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Because of their fructose levels, he equates sugar with high fructose corn syrup (I would add a caution against agave for the same reason). On youtube, you can watch his popular lecture, Sugar: The Bitter Truth.
- Kimber Stanhope, nutritional biologist at UC-Davis, has been conducting an intensive study, pointing at high fructose corn syrup as a driving force behind heart disease and stroke. Her research confirms that not all calories are created equal.
- Lewis Cantley, Harvard professor and head of the Beth Israel Deaconess Cancer Center, says that the sudden spike in insulin caused by sugar consumption fuels the growth of certain types of cancers, including breast and colon cancers. Cantley says not to eat sugar at all.
- Eric Stice, neuroscientist at the Oregon Research Institute, has been doing MRI scans to analyze the effects of sugar on the brain. His conclusions? That sugar is highly addictive, triggering reward responses in the brain, much the same as drugs like cocaine. And like drug users, we can build up a tolerance, causing us to eat more in order to achieve the same satisfaction.
Read it yourself for more juicy details. I've been reading information like this for years now, but not always from such mainstream sources, which is why I loved this report. Here are a few other articles I've enjoyed:
- Sugar, the Great "Food" Deceiver by Dr. Stan Gardner
- Refined Sugar: The Sweetest Poison of All by William Dufty (author of Sugar Blues)
- Is Sugar Toxic? by Gary Taubes
Because of what I've learned about sugar, we gradually eliminated refined sugar from our household. Among the benefits we've noticed: we feel better, we lost weight (especially initially), our tastes are far more sensitive, and we need much less sweetener to satisfy. We use natural sweeteners, but still quite moderately.
A few years ago, I'd wager no one could have beaten my husband in a war of the sweet tooth, so if we can do it, anyone can!