Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Is Sugar Toxic?

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the toxic-is-delicious dept.

Medicine 1017

a_hanso tips an article by Gary Taubes in the NYTimes Magazine that evaluates claims from Dr. Robert Lustig's virally popular lecture on the negative effects of sugar on peoples' health. (YouTube video of the lecture.) Taubes discusses the science behind the claims and the odd willingness of people to accept Lustig's arguments without further inspection. Quoting: "When I set out to interview public health authorities and researchers for this article, they would often initiate the interview with some variation of the comment 'surely you’ve spoken to Robert Lustig,' not because Lustig has done any of the key research on sugar himself, which he hasn’t, but because he’s willing to insist publicly and unambiguously, when most researchers are not, that sugar is a toxic substance that people abuse. In Lustig’s view, sugar should be thought of, like cigarettes and alcohol, as something that’s killing us. This brings us to the salient question: Can sugar possibly be as bad as Lustig says it is?"

cancel ×

1017 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Yes, it's toxic... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862392)

just ask an authority on this topic, and that of health in general, for that matter: Ray Kurzweil.

Re:Yes, it's toxic... (1)

definate (876684) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862540)

Really? Ask Ray Kurzweil [wikipedia.org] ? Really?

The only slightly relevant thing I see he has to do with topics of this matter, is that he created some software to help people with disabilities, and others which attempted to help people learn about medicine.

Am I missing something here? He seems like the most random possible choice for someone to consider an "authority" on the topic.

Re:Yes, it's toxic... (1)

tsalmark (1265778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862634)

You might have missed the "Work on nutrition, health, and lifestyle" section. He seems to be waging an over the top battle with sugar. Though I don't think many would consider him a sane authority on it.

Re:Yes, it's toxic... (3, Funny)

ClimberPunk (241268) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862744)

Yea, but he was on the Colbert Report. [colbertnation.com] So that makes him like 1000x more authoritative on any topic than an expert in the field, and at least an order of magnitude greater than someone who slept in a Motel 6.

Sugar is not only toxic but it's addictive. (0)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862398)

It is very much like other toxic substances. So I agree it should be treated as a toxic substance, at least when the form of sugar is an unnatural processed form, such as corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, or other.

The obsession with sweet flavor is part of a marketing campaign not unlike the Chinese use of MSG. MSG is not considered healthy now is it?

There is no reason why the human body should ever consume processed sugar. If you need sugar, get it from an organic natural substance or don't consume it at all. Sugar are empty calories and processed sugar is only added to foods to make it addictive. Sugar is a scam, a toxic substance, and high fructose sugar should be relabeled rat poison because that's what it does to rats.

Re:Sugar is not only toxic but it's addictive. (3, Informative)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862462)

Fruits are loaded with sucrose, glucose, fructose, and dextrose.

Are you telling people not to eat fruit? or are you saying that crystallizing the sugars from it somehow makes sugar molecules poisonous?

MSG is just crystallized glutamate from seaweed. You get glutamate from lots of places.

All you're saying here is that people shouldn't eat food.

Now, if you want to modify it to say people shouldn't eat large quantities of something that they can only get in small quantities in nature, you might have a point. But otherwise you sound like a nutritional Chicken Little.

Re:Sugar is not only toxic but it's addictive. (2)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862536)

Just stop breathing for about 20 minutes.
You'll soon find the answer to all the radical arguments.

Re:Sugar is not only toxic but it's addictive. (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862548)

[......] are you saying that crystallizing the sugars from it somehow makes sugar molecules poisonous?

Concentrating it certainly makes it more hazardous.

Organic vs processed (toxic) sugar. (0, Troll)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862572)

I'm telling people not to eat processed sugar. Fruit is organic sugar. The sugar in fruit is not the sugar in breakfast cereal. Processed sugar is a slow acting poison. Organic sugar in small amounts is like salt in small amounts.

The problem is processed sugar has replaced organic sugar. So when we talk about sugar now, we are talking about high fructose corn syrup because that is the most common form of sugar in the American diet.

Re:Organic vs processed (toxic) sugar. (3, Informative)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862620)

Basically your whole point rests upon "natural" vs. "processed" but can you even highlight how it is dangerous?

The problem seems to be, by far, quantity consumed rather than the nature of the material, unless you can present some compelling proof otherwise.

Re:Organic vs processed (toxic) sugar. (2)

The Snowman (116231) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862688)

The problem seems to be, by far, quantity consumed rather than the nature of the material, unless you can present some compelling proof otherwise.

I can only speak for myself, not the parent, but HFCS is far more damaging than an equivalent number of calories from white sugar. Both are processed, one far more so than the other. Anyway, HFCS elicits migraines, while regular sugar just gives me a sugar high because I don't eat much sweet food or food with much sugar in it.

I have read that the highly processed sugars such as HFCS are absorbed by the body much more readily, providing a faster, higher sugar high. When your body has to expend energy to release the sugar molecules from naturally-occurring substances, you get a more even dose. If you are injecting highly processed sugars directly into your blood (i.e. a Coke), your body barely has to work at all and is absorbing more sugar faster than it would with a natural substance (e.g. eating an orange, pulp and all).

Re:Organic vs processed (toxic) sugar. (2, Informative)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862690)

Fructose goes to the liver. This is why it doesn't burn off immediately like sucrose.
So fructose is worse than sucrose. High fructose corn syrup is the worst form of fructose because it keeps insulin levels high for a long period of time, it prevents the body from burning fat as well.

Re:Organic vs processed (toxic) sugar. (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862670)

How is processed sugar chemically different from the sugar in the plant it's extracted from?

Do you know? Or do you not even consider that?

There is a precedent. Saturated fat from natural sources contains no trans-fats, but saturated fat made by hydrogenating vegetable oils has significant trans-fats (trans-fats are deformed fat molecules that a cellular system, whether vegetable or animal, wouldn't produce, but bubbling hydrogen through a vat of fat doesn't have molecular-level geometric control of the production process). Saturated fat is not bad for you but trans-fats are.

So is there something about the production of sugar in concentrated form that chemically alters it so that it has poison in it? What is the altered chemical? Has it been detected in the concentrated sugar?

Re:Organic vs processed (toxic) sugar. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862706)

All sugar is Organic. It's all made of long or short chains of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen.

Sucrose C12H22O11
Glucose C6H12O6
Fructose C6H12O6
Lactose C12H22O11
Galactose C6H12O6
Maltose C12H22O11

Can't see anything non Organic.

Re:Organic vs processed (toxic) sugar. (3, Insightful)

tsalmark (1265778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862738)

There is no Magic. The amount of sugar, be it sucrose, fructose or glucose of dextrose in the average North American Diet is a major problem, but processed of not; fructose is fructose, sucrose is sucrose etc, the chemical does not change, nor does your bodies reaction to it.

Re:Sugar is not only toxic but it's addictive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862578)

In his talk, he's pretty clear that fruit gets a pass because the fructose is packages with fiber, which triggers leptin (whereas fructose does not, leading to overeating). So, fruit is special. The minute you process out the fiber, it becomes bad (corn syrup in general).

Re:Sugar is not only toxic but it's addictive. (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862694)

So if I down a cube of fiber-con with my spoonful of sugar, am I safe?

Re:Sugar is not only toxic but it's addictive. (1)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862668)

The fiber in the fruit makes all the difference.

Re:Sugar is not only toxic but it's addictive. (2)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862754)

Sugar is toxic, but fiber is the "antidote". It causes the sugar to be released into the bloodstream more slowly so the liver can metabolize it properly. If you eat food with sugar in its natural form, for example fruit, it's absorbed more slowly. You can get a rough idea of how quickly sugar from foods is absorbed by looking at their glycemic index [wikipedia.org] . Essentially, whole fruits and vegetables have a low glycemic index, and precessed foods such as sugar, white bread, and white rice have a high glycemic index. People who maintain a low-GI diet have less incidence of diabetes and heart disease.

"Processed" vs. "Natural" is Magical Thinking (5, Interesting)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862494)

If you actually watch his lecture, it has absolutely nothing to do with processing. According to it, unprocessed pulp-free orange juice is JUST as bad as a can of Coke, because fructose (which is half of the natural-occurring sucrose polysaccharid) is processed like a toxin.

There is no need, and it would be unscientific, to introduce some magical theory of "processed" foods versus "natural"foods: if the chemistry is identical, the biology is identical. The lecture is well grounded in the science of biochemistry.

Fructose is processed like a toxin, that is true. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862598)

And I do not advocating drinking too much juice or eating too much fructose. Fructose gets processed by the liver and because of how its processed it goes directly to fat cells. It's very difficult to burn it off, and it generally high calories.

That being said you have to weigh the risks vs the benefits of the vitamins in the fruit, vs the amount of fructose you consume.

Honestly it would be better to take fruit vitamins of powdered fruit without any fructose or sugar, than to drink actual juice and get the fructose which the body generally does not need and will waste or convert to fat.

Re:Fructose is processed like a toxin, that is tru (3, Informative)

The Snowman (116231) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862746)

That being said you have to weigh the risks vs the benefits of the vitamins in the fruit, vs the amount of fructose you consume.

Don't forget the fiber. The rare times I drink sugar, it is something like orange juice with extra pulp. I'm not sure what it does for sugar absorption, but I do know two things. The insoluable fiber keeps me regular. Second, the soluable fiber will bond with the carbohydrates in the juice, so the cholesterol in the food I'm eating at the same time cannot do the same and enter my bloodstream.

Re:Sugar is not only toxic but it's addictive. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862498)

You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. People like you who swallow facts without thinking about them at all are far more harmful than any particular substance ever could be.

Re:Sugar is not only toxic but it's addictive. (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862504)

Rambling on about something being toxic does not make it so. If you wish to show something is toxic, start by applying bounds to your statement and show how it falls within them.

What you state seems less like something being addictive or toxic (sugar is addictive like water is) and more the symptom of people overeating cheap processed foods rather than any valid scientific argument. Much like Dr. Lustig's statements.

Re:Sugar is not only toxic but it's addictive. (2)

Catskul (323619) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862524)

If you read the article you will notice that they specifically state that HFCS is no better or worse than table sugar, and that they both get processed by your body in the same way. The difference between HFCS, white and brown table sugar (sucrose) is marginal and irrelevant.

Re:Sugar is not only toxic but it's addictive. (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862610)

Not only that, but the difference between white sugar and wonder bread is marginal and irrelevant. Given that, the difference between one sugar and another is less than negligible. HOWEVER, eating foods with sugar added IS worse for you than eating foods that contain sugar in some cases, because some other constituent of the food may help you regulate blood sugar. Raw honey is one of these foods; eating raw honey is better for you than eating pasteurized honey. Eating food with raw honey on top of it is better for you than eating food with honey cooked into it.

Re:Sugar is not only toxic but it's addictive. (1)

The Snowman (116231) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862630)

The difference between HFCS, white and brown table sugar (sucrose) is marginal and irrelevant.

If I drink a regular soda, even half a can, I will get a migraine. If I mix a drink such as lemonade with regular old white sugar, I get a sugar high, but no migraine. Even if I drink substantially more calories from sugar in the lemonade than a half of a can of Coke, it doesn't matter.

HFCS truly is a horrible substance compared to natural or even partially processed sugars. Maybe in the land of ivory towers they are virtually identical, but down here in reality, my body treats them differently.

Re:Sugar is not only toxic but it's addictive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862662)

Correlation != Causation. Sugar is not the only substance in that can of Coke.

Re:Sugar is not only toxic but it's addictive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862750)

I think you mean your brain treats them differently due to some weird media brainwashing.

Re:Sugar is not only toxic but it's addictive. (4, Informative)

kLaNk (82409) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862764)

There is research to indicate that sugar induced hyperactivity doesn't exist. You most likely get a "sugar high" because you think you'll get a "sugar high" or perhaps an allergy to lemons.

http://www.ccmr.cornell.edu/education/ask/index.html?quid=241 [cornell.edu]

Re:Sugar is not only toxic but it's addictive. (1)

Catskul (323619) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862776)

Have you considered that there is more than just sugar in Coke?

Re:Sugar is not only toxic but it's addictive. (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862626)

Metabolism of apolipoproteins CII, CIII1, CIII2 and VLDL-B in human subjects consuming high carbohydrate diets.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6952065 [nih.gov]

etc.....

Re:Sugar is not only toxic but it's addictive. (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862664)

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/126/10/2494.full.pdf [nutrition.org]

Clinical studies have demonstrated that although
low fat diets decrease plasma HDL cholesterol concen
trations (Garg et al. 1992), increases in plasma TAG
have been observed only with concomitant intake of
simple carbohydrates (Grundy 1986).

This is not the logic you are looking for (4, Interesting)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862406)

Calling sugar "toxic" is probably a plot to demean the word "toxic" and make tobacco less regulated.

Either that, or he's fallen for a more subtle form of the Dihydrogen Monoxide troll, perpetrated by the chemistry of sugar itself.

Re:This is not the logic you are looking for (3, Insightful)

devincook (1929234) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862526)

Calling sugar "toxic" is probably a plot to demean the word "toxic" and make tobacco less regulated.

+1 tinfoil hat award.

Nice.

Re:This is not the logic you are looking for (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862614)

Tobacco is still one of the leading causes of death in America and on Earth.

The people who produce it know that, but still work hard to increase its spread and use.

You think they'd miss a chance to repeal the laws that keep them from getting back the massive market penetration they enjoyed in the mid-20th Century?

No fucking way. They not only don't care if you live or die, but hope you do it by buying as much of their product as they can economically deliver to you.

Re:This is not the logic you are looking for (5, Interesting)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862534)

He's only really calling fructose toxic, and only when it isn't ingested with enough fiber to blunt its absorption. (So an orange is fine, but pulp-free orange juice will slowly kill you.)

Re:This is not the logic you are looking for (5, Insightful)

wsxyz (543068) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862580)

He's only really calling fructose toxic, and only when it isn't ingested with enough fiber to blunt its absorption. (So an orange is fine, but pulp-free orange juice will slowly kill you.)

In fact, I suspect the drinking of pulp-free orange juice over a span of 80-90 years is responsible for the near 100% mortality over that time span.

Re:This is not the logic you are looking for (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862544)

No, it's more probably a plot to demean the word "sugar" so that, eventually, they can package corn based processed sugars as "real sugar" rather than having to identify it as not exactly "real sugar" as we think of it.

Is Sugar Toxic (2)

errxn (108621) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862416)

Why, yes, when you shove about a metric ton of it up a lab rat's ass, yes, it's toxic.

Are all forms of sugar equally toxic? (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862528)

And what form of sugar is most popular in America? The most toxic "high fructose corn syrup" or the lease toxic cane sugar?

Re:Are all forms of sugar equally toxic? (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862562)

You seem to have latched on to this quite tightly. Can you explain why you buy so intensely into this belief?

Re:Are all forms of sugar equally toxic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862674)

Even water is toxic in sufficient quantities.

Re:Are all forms of sugar equally toxic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862658)

Wrong Glucose is the least toxic, it is the sugar most easily converted to energy, fructose is the hardest, cane sugar aka sucrose is in the middle

To paraphrase ButtHead (2)

seeker_1us (1203072) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862418)

If Sugar is bad for you, then howcome it's food?

Re:To paraphrase ButtHead (1, Insightful)

WillKemp (1338605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862448)

Sugar's not really food. It's a drug. The first drug of addiction for most people on the planet.

Re:To paraphrase ButtHead (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862570)

protip: People are inherently addicted to stuff that their body can break down into ATP. This includes fats and sugars (including sucrose and high fructose corn syrup). We call that stuff "food".

Re:To paraphrase ButtHead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862672)

Yes, right after another "drug" -- dihydrogen monoxide -- which everybody acknowledges is responsible for thousands of deaths every year due to overdoses.

Fine, no sugar at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862424)

I was taught to "Just say no" so I say he goes without any sugar what so ever so he can get is D.A.R.E. sticker. Also no eating things that get metabolised into sugar because that is just another way of getting your fix. Now, lets see how long he makes it...

Look elsewhere (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862426)

Having done no research on the matter apart from my own experience, I'd say it's because people who "abuse" sugar are more likely to also abuse more harmful things. I, for instance, will eat a candy bar when I'm staying up late. I'll also drink excessive caffeine and get less sleep than I should. Correlation, but not causation.

No (0)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862428)

This brings us to the salient question: Can sugar possibly be as bad as Lustig says it is?"

No. While refined carbohydrates like white sugar and white flour are things most people do use too much of, they're not half the problem HFCS, aspartame, and the potential organ damage from GMO corn. Priorities...

Re:No (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862500)

None of the results for Aspartame are conclusive.

Re:No (1)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862646)

I don't know about that... My lab mouse ate 52 lbs of the stuff and I must say I do not think he lived up to to his full potential.... I mean he just didn't seem to have that sparkle in his eye afterward...

Re:No (4, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862518)

potential organ damage from GMO corn

Oh please, tell me you have a source for that statement.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862702)

Diabetes alone was responsible for close to 4 million deaths in 2010 alone (diabetesatlas.org). Type 2 diabetes is largely attributable to overconsumption of sugar (sucrose or HFCS) and related simple carbohydrates. That's not including all the other forms of death and disease directly or indirectly attributable to sugar consumption.

Even IF you allow for the fringiest of fringe conspiracy theorists' view of aspartame as the mother of all carcinogens -- which I don't, there's no evidence for it, either in reputable scientific studies or in mortality/morbidity rates among diet soda drinkers -- it still can't hold a candle to that.

Frankly if every man, woman, and child drinking sucrose or HFCS sweetened soda switched to NutraSweet AND used it to wash down charbroiled burgers, we'd still save lives.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862708)

WOW! You're just a flood of pseudo-scientific garbage aren't you?
-There is not convincing evidence that aspartame is damaging.
-There is absolutely zero evidence at ALL that anything GMO is bad for us in any way.
-I don't know what HFCS is, but if you're track record is any indication, it's probably fine as well, but don't quote me on that one.

Re:No (2)

brit74 (831798) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862720)

> "potential organ damage from GMO corn"
I agree with Microlith: do you have a source for that? Additionally, "GMO corn" is not one thing. Are you suggesting that some are dangerous (based on individual studies of different varieties of GMO corn) or that GMO corn is dangerous simply because GMO == "Frankenfood", which would be a silly accusation to make?

Ja! (1)

aBaldrich (1692238) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862432)

Das ist lustig

water is toxic too (2)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862440)

In great enough quantities. It's called "drowning".

What about radioactive water? (0)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862480)

Radioactive water is more toxic than regular water just as high fructose corn syrup is more toxic than regular sugar.

Nobody is saying natural fructose from fruit is the source of the problem. The source of the problem is sugar is not a natural substance anymore. It's as if bottled water were being contaminated with unnatural radioactive substances and being labeled "vitamin water", if this "vitamin water" were causing cancer then yes water would be toxic too.

Re:What about radioactive water? (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862574)

I took radioactive water intravenously a few months ago.

Then the doctor ran a scanner around my body for several minutes, photographing the radiation density coming from my cardiac muscle.

Turns out my heart is fit as a Ferrari engine and needed no invasive intervention. Chalked the chest pains up to esophageal reflux. So now when I get one now, I eat half a Tums and immediately feel better.

Radioactive water is good for your health. So is Calcium, which not only strengthens your bones but tops off the stoichiometry of your neural and muscular depolarization channels.

Re:What about radioactive water? (1)

TheDugong (701481) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862638)

HFCS is radioactive?

Ray says it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862446)

Ray Kurzweil says it's bad

http://books.google.com/books?id=SqQ8O-xSqZwC&pg=PA123&lpg=PA123&dq=sugar+kurzweil&source=bl&ots=P2Ehbqn63H&sig=Wn90f02quca9PGRxpmJPaYLj_VM&hl=en&ei=UdasTZn1H4f0vwOT_JDxCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=sugar%20kurzweil&f=false

High fructose corn syrup is slow acting poison. It (0, Flamebait)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862452)

Peasants typically consume high fructose corn syrup because they cannot afford real sugar. Look in urban areas in the USA and look at what is being put in grocery stores and what they are eating. High fructose corn syrup is in everything. High fructose corn syrup is being used as a form of population control on the masses. Unlike some other substances it kills slowly over a period of decades. It is a proven slow acting poison, studies conducted on rats prove that rats fed high fructose corn syrup tend to develop heart disease become diabetic and die.

Why do they want the urban poor to die from heart disease and diabetes? It may sound like a conspiracy theory but think about it. And then think about why they also want to get rid of unions, cut people off social security, get rid of univeral healthcare, and cut spending on programs which save lives. The peasant poor in the USA are like cattle being culled, oh you expect corporations to treat human poor animals better than cattle? Look at a PETA video and see how cattle are treated.

Re:High fructose corn syrup is slow acting poison. (1)

Catskul (323619) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862552)

Normal sugar is just as bad. RTFA.

Re:High fructose corn syrup is slow acting poison. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862660)

I never said I agreed with the entire article.

ANYTHING in a large quantity (0)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862454)

can be toxic. I love it when these idiot professors, without any medical research to back it up, make some stupid claim that is inline with the current liberal culture. I remember back in the 70's when there was the alarm that saccharin would cause cancer, because they gave it to mice or some dippity-do nonsense. Then a couple years later, it was found that to reach the level of consumption that the mice were given, you would have to drink something like 800 diet sodas a DAY! Well, if it didn't cause cancer, it sure as d*mn well could kill your kidneys, that's for sure. Most likely another professor, that couldn't get a real job after college, so he just stayed in the ivory towers of a university, where anything that comes out of a book MUST be fact.

Slow acting poison. (-1, Troll)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862512)

Small quantities over a long period of time of high fructose corn syrup is toxic.

If you think otherwise, please continue consuming junk food and when you die from heart disease, cancer, or any of the common illnesses then blame your ignorance.

Re:Slow acting poison. (2)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862712)

Well put me in the ignorant group because countless research has been spent on this subject... HFCS (55% fructose - 45% glucose) is no worse than sucrose (50% fructose - 50% glucose)... That problem is the sheer amount of calories... Also, the only reason they there is slightly more fructose than glucose is simply because they found it tastes sweeter this way. Meaning, HFCS actually has FEWER calories then a similar sweeter that uses sucrose...

It's complete bullshit (2, Informative)

Sein (803257) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862456)

Lusting has been extensively debunked by Alan Aragon http://www.alanaragonblog.com/2010/02/19/a-retrospective-of-the-fructose-alarmism-debate/ [alanaragonblog.com] and James Krieger, amongst others; and Gary Taubes' carb hypothesis requires that obese individuals are capable of violating the laws of thermodynamics and the laws of conservation of mass so he's just reaching for something, anything that can vaguely support his bullshit claims.

Re:It's complete bullshit (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862586)

and Gary Taubes' carb hypothesis requires that obese individuals are capable of violating the laws of thermodynamics and the laws of conservation of mass

Which hypothesis, the one that carbs are what make you store fat? Because I think we know that pretty conclusively.

Re:It's complete bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862728)

Sure, carbs "make you store fat", candles "improve your reading ability", shoe size is "correlated with math ability".

Oh wait, carbs contain energy, which will be stored as fat if not used

Candles produce light which makes it possible to see the words

Shoe size increases through childhood and babies can't do math

But eating lard instead of a slice of bread to lose weight, sitting children in an empty room with candles to teach them to read, and concentrating on the kids with biggest feet as possible Math Olympiad entrants - those won't work because they involve being confused about what's actually going on.

Re:It's complete bullshit (1)

pilich (455704) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862724)

Gary Taubes' carb hypothesis requires that obese individuals are capable of violating the laws of thermodynamics and the laws of conservation of mass so he's just reaching for something, anything that can vaguely support his bullshit claims.

That's not what he's saying at all. He saying that eating carbs causes an insulin response, and increased insulin levels cause a body's fat cells to take in calories; to get fat.

You can read it in his book Why We Get Fat. http://www.amazon.com/Why-We-Get-Fat-About/dp/0307272702/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1303174076&sr=8-1 [amazon.com]

Re:It's complete bullshit (1)

soleblaze (628864) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862778)

The laws of conversation of mass? You mean the one that deals with a completely closed system? Our bodies are not a closed systems. Our intake of energy is not fixed. Our use of energy is not fixed. Our bodies are good at regulating how much energy we use. It's this whole metabolism thing people talk about and if you eat less, your body will start decreasing certain functions in order to preserve energy that's needed for other more essential functions. Calories In - Calories Used = Stored fat is too simplistic. Both the calories in and the calories out vary every day. Plus the body isn't 100% efficient at absorbing what we put in it. Weight gain is more a matter of hormones and has less to do with calorie intake. The hormones regulate what the body does with that energy once it absorbs it. It's also possible for the body not to absorb all the energy and instead pass it off as waste.

Depends (0)

ExploHD (888637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862458)

At certain quantities, it's as dangerous as dihydrogen monoxide

Re:Depends (-1, Troll)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862514)

If only I had mod points...

you'd be sporting a shiny -1 Redundant right now...

Re:Depends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862636)

it's better known as "similiar comment within minutes", fucking troll

Re:Depends (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862704)

That's what "redundant" means, coward.

Sugar is toxic (2, Informative)

WillKemp (1338605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862474)

Sugar is definitely toxic in high concentrations for some organisms - that's why it's used as a preservative. High concentrations of sugar kill many bacteria.

Re:Sugar is toxic (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862516)

But only as toxic as salt, of course - which is also a preservative. Their preservative action derives from osmosis. Like eating lots of salt, eating lots of sugar won't do you very much good - but the damage they do probably depends on how much water you drink.

Re:Sugar is toxic (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862784)

And vinegar, which is also a preservative. I suppose if you drink a gallon or two of vinegar you will obviously run into some health problems due to a change in your blood pH even before you have kill enough bacteria necessary for your digestive system to do its work.

Re:Sugar is toxic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862730)

Sugar preserves the same way salt does, by drawing water out. Something or other to do with osmotic pressure.

The research considers fructose toxic at any level in that it induces undesirable metabolic responses in any amount. He calls sugar toxic because all sugar contains fructose. Glucose, on the other hand, doesn't cause of any these issues. So the researcher is presumably not a believer in the Atkins diet. From what little I know of Atkins, he seems to be saying that all the ill effects of carbohydrates--per Atkins--really stem from fructose, not glucose (a potato, for example, is all glucose). Insulin resistance is a by product of extended fructose consumption, not glucose, supposedly.

The article also mentions that the researcher, while more-or-less sound within reason, bases all of his conclusions on others' research. None of this is based on his own first-hand studies, nor on any individual first-hand study. This is one of those meta analyses.

Ya... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862484)

Anything is toxic in high doses.

water is toxic too (1)

at_slashdot (674436) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862508)

Water is toxic too, if you drink too much you die. I've never heard of people dying or having problems from ingesting a moderate amount of sugar, that's why I don't find this very credible.

Re:water is toxic too (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862700)

I've never heard of people dying or having problems from ingesting a moderate amount of sugar, that's why I don't find this very credible.

So I discovered the video in question a bit over a year ago, and spent some time looking for an analysis, and didn't find one. (Fortunately, another poster in this dicussion posted a link.)

But if you had watched the video, you'd know that Lustig's assertion is that excess sugar consumption is a driver of diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and heart problems -- and if you think these don't kill, you haven't been paying attention.

Sugar: The Gateway Drug (5, Funny)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862588)

It starts off with a teaspoon of sugar in your coffee...

Before long, you're eating tons of it, snorting it, injecting it into the blood.

Then you need harder stuff...

Re:Sugar: The Gateway Drug (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862748)

> Then you need harder stuff...

Rock candy?

All substances are toxic. Take water for example. (0)

mmell (832646) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862592)

The standard tests to determine whether a substance is toxic is to dose rats with several hundred times the expected daily exposure (dose) of a substance. Thus, the carcinogenic/toxic effects are made extremely clear, which might not otherwise be so.

When this experimental technique was applied to water, the rats drowned.

Just another career path in the modern world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862612)

Saying that something that people are exposed to every day is toxic is step one. Then you have to somehow make a conspiracy out of it. Profit (and fame)!

The sugar lobby is worse than oil company lobbies (4, Informative)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862618)

One of the most pervasive and powerful lobbies in Washington is the sugar lobby. They're worse than the oil companies going after climate research when it comes to attacking anyone who raises questions about their product.

They started the PR push back in advance of the story. Expect more in the days to come.

Glucose anyone? (2, Interesting)

JazzyJ (1995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862624)

Given that glucose is what our bodies run on, I'd have to say no, sugar is NOT toxic to us. Is having too much sugar bad for you? Certainly. It's about balance. Too much of nearly anything (even water) is going to be bad for you.

Sugar Damages You (4, Informative)

TexVex (669445) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862628)

High blood sugar causes your body damage. It will destroy capillaries in your extremities and retinas, making you blind and gangrenous. Sounds pretty toxic to me.

Sugar is also necessary for the body to function. If you don't eat any, your body will make some. However, the amount actually required to function is very small. When blood sugar is kept at ideal levels, all is well and sugar is not killing you.

The problem is, people are eating way too much of it these days. Not just sugar, but starches that break down into sugar very quickly when eaten. This causes blood sugar spikes, provoking your metabolism to go into defense mode. That means a spike of insulin to control the blood sugar level quickly. However, this often overcompensates, leaving blood sugar low, which drives one to eat again, much sooner than is actually necessary. Plus, the excess sugar is stored as fat, and fat leads to insulin resistance over the long haul -- diabetes.

People need to eat more protein and fat, and choose carbohydrates that are absorbed into the system slowly. Keep the blood sugar on an even keel and you can break the cycle of endless hunger. You'll lose weight without having to diet, because you won't be driven to eat by the ping-ponging of your blood sugar level. And the fine structures of your body will sustain less damage from the blood sugar spikes, meaning you'll weather aging a lot better.

Type-2 Diabetes? (1)

brit74 (831798) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862780)

> "High blood sugar causes your body damage. It will destroy capillaries in your extremities and retinas, making you blind and gangrenous. Sounds pretty toxic to me."
I assume you mean this happens through type-2 diabetes?

Yes, it's toxic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862632)

Study funded by Splenda, Equal, and Sweet'n'Low.

Ask a diabetic (2, Insightful)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862640)

Almost all that we eat is converted to sugar by our own bodies. Protein is the exception. The catch is that carmelization occurs and this end product clogs our internal organs. It is one reason why older peoples eyes don't look as clear as when they were young. So yes sugar does help to kill you and there is nothing at all that you can do about it other than a mild state of starvation all your life. Prevention may extend life but it ruins the quality of life to such a degree that one almost must be perverted to maintain that degree of hunger.
            Whet we are seeing are people looking for a way to get attention and make money simply by spouting nonsense. Think about the extent of this phony evangelism. How many people have made money, one way or another, by selling diets and diet products? And every one of those diets and diet products was hot air with a liberal dose of lies melted in to the alloy. Yet simply lying and stealing money with false health claims is not enough to be put in prison these days. And the suckers keep right on lining up to lose their money. Whether it's the daily miracle cure for arthritis or the miracle weight loss method it is all nonsense.

Is water toxic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862682)

Yes, water is very toxic if you drink a toxic dose of it. What is the toxic dose of sugar? There are many types of sugars? What molecule are are we refering to? Without the "pesky" details we're just wasting our time.

Curious... (4, Informative)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862684)

Just how many people posting replies here have actually, you know-- watched the hour long presentation created by Mr. Lustig all the way through?

In the presentation, Lustig lists the metabolic pathway that fructose (The sugar he rants about) has to go through in order to be processed by the body, and explains why it is toxic in the quantities that people eat it in.

What is drawing fire here, is that lustig rightly mentions that sucrose is just a glucose and a fructose bound together by an ether bond, and metabolically speaking is practically identical to HFCS. (Something the corn refiner's association is also quick to point out.)

The real point of the presentation is to point out that the US population is eating considerably more sugar than it was 50 years ago, with a more than 300% increase in fructose consumption specifically.

He advocates reduction of fructose consumption, based on several cited studies he lists in his viral video presentation.

That said, armchair nerd pundits like us have no place to try to debunk such claims, since as far as I know none of us are licensed dieticians or physicians. As such, throwing useless arguments like "Dihydrogen oxide poisoning" around are non-sequitors at best, and pointless mud slinging at worst.

Having seen the presentation, and seen that he cites dozens of studies that can be independently examined, (and therefor verified), I feel that his presentation is of higher quality than say, a certain celebrity's rants about immunity shots and autism are. As such, it deserves more meaty rebuttles than what I am reading here on slashdot.

everything toxic in large quantities (3, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#35862726)

Any refined chemical is likely toxic as it is taken out of natural proportions, with natural protections, and concentrated to unhealthy dosages. An 8 ounce coke, for instance has 100 calories, all from refined sugar, and no fiber. Orange juice has the same calories, but also fiber which can regulate the sugar intake. Also most people cannot just drink orange juice all day.

take an apple, 50 calories sugar, 2 g fiber. Healthy food. Horrible fruit stipes, almost twice calories of an apple, less than half he fiber, and can be eaten endlessly.

A few bottles of coke, or fruit punch, several fuit strip snacks, basically what people think is an ok diet, and one has 2000 calories with no nutrition, and hundreds of grams of refined and concentrated sugar, much more than is healthy.

Obligatory Simpsons. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35862792)

At Goldsboro's Honey, two beekeepers discuss the day.

Beekeeper 1: Well, sure is quiet in here today.
Beekeeper 2: Yes, a little too quiet, if you know what I mean.
Beekeeper 1: Hmm...I'm afraid I don't.
Beekeeper 2: You see, bees usually make a lot of noise. No noise --
                    suggests no bees!
Beekeeper 1: Oh, I understand now. Oh look, there goes one now.
Beekeeper 2: To the Beemobile!
Beekeeper 1: You mean your Chevy?
Beekeeper 2: Yes.

The beekeepers track their bees down to Homer's sugar pile.

Beekeeper 1: Well, very clever, Simpson, luring our bees to your sugar pile and selling them back to us at an inflated price.
Homer: Bees are on the what now?
Beekeeper 2: Simpson, you diabolical...we're willing to pay you $2000 for the swarm. [starts counting money]
Homer: Deal!
                            [thunder crashes, rain starts]
Beekeeper 1: Oh, wait a minute. The bees are leaving.
Homer: No! My sugar is melting. Melting! Oh, what a world.
                            [thief spits out his tea]
Homer: [weeps] My sugar's gone...
Marge: [walk out with umbrella] I'm sorry, Homey.
Homer: It's OK, Marge. I've learned my lesson. A mountain of sugar is too much for one man.
                      It's clear now why God portions it out in those tiny packets, and why he
                      lives on a plantation in Hawaii.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?