I am not sure how many of your read the NY Times or are fans of Gary Taubes, author of Good Calories, Bad Calories, but recently Taubes did a review of Robert Lustig’s lecture on sugar, called “Sugar: The Bitter Truth.”
The 90-minute lecture discusses the effects of sugar, high fructose corn syrup and epidemic of obesity plaguing us today. The lecture shown on YouTube has over 800,000 views and is gain popularity at 50,000 views a month. What makes this more exciting, as if chemistry lecture needs any help, is Lustig is a specialist on pediatric hormone disorders and is the leading expert on childhood obesity. In layman’s tems, he is an expert on the topic of obesity in kids. 800,000 views are not bad for a biochemistry lecture.
Taubes states…“The viral success of his lecture, though, has little to do with Lustig’s impressive credentials and far more with the persuasive case he makes that sugar is a ‘toxin’ or a ‘poison,’ terms he uses together 13 times through the course of the lecture, in addition to the five references to sugar as merely ‘evil.’ And by ‘sugar,’ Lustig means not only the white granulated stuff that we put in coffee and sprinkle on cereal — technically known as sucrose — but also high-fructose corn syrup, which has already become without Lustig’s help what he calls ‘the most demonized additive known to man’…”
The lecture boils down to our excessive consumption of sugar is the primary reason obesity and diabetes has skyrocketed in the past 30 years.
Taubes begs the question “Can sugar possibly be as bad as Lustig says it is?”
Lets make a few things clear; when Lustig refers to sugar he means sucrose (white, brown and cane) and high fructose corn syrup. These sweeteners are identical in terms of their biological effect and as Lustig puts it “…equally bad, equally poisonous.”
The article goes on to discuss the effects of sucrose vs high fructose corn syrup and if one is really more dangerous than the other.
“…In simpler language, how much of this stuff do we have to eat or drink, and for how long, before it does to us what it does to laboratory rats? And is that amount more than we’re already consuming? Unfortunately, we’re unlikely to learn anything conclusive in the near future. As Lustig points out, sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are certainly not ‘acute toxins’ of the kind the F.D.A. typically regulates and the effects of which can be studied over the course of days or months. The question is whether they’re ‘chronic toxins,’ which means ‘not toxic after one meal, but after 1,000 meals.’ This means that what Tappy calls ‘intervention studies’ have to go on for significantly longer than 1,000 meals to be meaningful…”
At the end, the studies and findings are inconclusive as they studies in rats don’t correlate to humans and it is impossible to isolate the factors of obesity and diabetes to sugar alone. High sugar consumption is just one of many makers, in a list of many like lack of exercise, that can lead to cancer and diabetes.
While studies are inconclusive for leading to an “all sugar could be harmful” stance, we do know that people who’s diet consist of loads of processed sugar, high fructose corn syrup are fatter. You don’t have to do a 90 minute lecture or write a book to walk the streets of find this out.
So…what do we do know for sure?
One – Taubes does a great job of laying out the problem and reviewing Lustig’s lecture.
Two – Lustig’s lecture is thought provoking and worth watching if you are attention span allows you to watch a 90 minute lecture on YouTube.
Three – As I got to the end of the article, I noticed a Google ad at the bottom of the page advertising High Fructose Corn Syrup. Stating, “What Does Scientific Research Really Say About HFCS?” I love the irony of life, you just get done reading a 9 page article written by Gary Taubes, author of Good Calories, Bad Calories, about Robert Lustig’s lecture on sugar and obesity. And there is an ad paid for by the Corn Refiners Association hoping you won’t read the article and will continue to buy products they are pretty sure will kill you.
Four – Diabetes is a disease of carbohydrates and sugar spikes insulin levels faster than the price of viagra at the AVN awards. There is a undeniable connection between diabetes, metabolic derangement, obesity and cancer.
Sugar has always scared me. In the last 3 years, gluten has scared me more. In 1999, I had a doctor friend who told me if I wanted to stay lean, I should get a blood glucose meter and check my blood sugar levels 1-2 hours post meal. He told me if I could keep my BS under 80 mg/dl, I would never pack on an ounce of fat. I was able to do it pretty easily as long as I stuck to certain foods. Recently, I went back to the blood glucose meter and I find it impossible to stay under 80 mg/dl if I eat sugar, sucrose or HFCS, any gluten or dairy products.
We know a diet that controls bloods sugar and keeping it low will help us stay clear of diabetes. Since obesity, diabetes and cancer are all linked it might make for a good practice to keep blood sugar in check and train your ass of to stay lean.
Keep an eye out for some site changes to CFFB and community.
What about Alan Aragon’s piece on fructose alarmism?
He makes some great points. I just read his review and it is on point.
If you check the site you can read a post I did on Fructose that states anything over 50 grams is harmful. We get into a dose related discussion and understanding what a small amount 50 grams is. About a bunch of grapes or 2.5 apples.
most don’t adhere to dosage recommendations.
So if dairy consumption spikes BS so much, is it not a sustainable dietary component? How much does a workout blunt the effects?
Sustainable for who? If you are talking about creating bigger, stronger athletes then you are talking about higher blood glucose levels and increased insulin response. That is what makes bigger people. Insulin is a highly anabolic compound in the body. If you spike insulin levels you will gain more muscle and size.
The problem is everyone wants to have their cake and eat it.
I want to be strong with great endurance. Even though, the training it takes it get very strong doesn’t play very much in muscular endurance.
I want to carry a ton of muscle and be very lean. It is very hard to walk around with 280 lbs of body mass and be 5% body fat.
I want to eat to gain weight and utilize the anabolic effects of insulin through spiking with dairy in the post workout meal, but I dont’ want to get my blood sugar too high because that might lead to problems in 50 years.
And I have always said, if you are trying to healthy and live a long life then lifting heavy weights and drinking milk is probably not your best bet, as big people do not live as long as little people. If you want to live to 100 years old, then weighing in excess of 200 lbs is not going to get you there. But you should probably realize drinking alcohol, living near the beach, eating seafood, having unprotected sex and driving all have their risks and you should avoid those too.
john you probably just convinced me to buy a blood glucose meter and start keeping a check on my own.
Slight add on to Clinton’s statement; CFFB says that drinking whole milk is one of the best things you can do for strength, but you say here that it is impossible to keep a low B-G level by consuming dairy products. I guess my question is how much is too much as far as milk is concerned? How much does it take to negate the effects milk has on B-G levels?
Where did I say that strength and a low BS are related? I said low BS leads to your body not storing fat. Where did I say getting ungodly strong have anything to do with health and keeping BG levels low?
Do you think squatting 800 lbs is healthy? Do you think playing in the NFL for a decade is going to extend ones life? Who are kidding here.
If you want to get strong and bigger you will have utilize insulin spiking in your diet. Post workout mainly. This is done with through dairy.
You guys get spun out about the craziest shit. I get 100 emails a day asking how to get bigger and stronger. Here it is. But like everything it comes at a price…higher BS levels.
And for reference, when I drink milk my BS hits about 140. When I eat something with gluten like pizza, it would 260.
You tell me what is worse.
Inspiring stuff. Thanks for the reminder that we all have choices, and having choices implies trade-offs. It’s easy to get wrapped up in strength training but it’s important to keep life goals in mind. For what it’s worth, I’m still choosing the strength route… but some perspective is much appreciated.
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John (and others),
Aside reading Alan’s post quoted by Joel, the comments on it should also be read. There are over 500 comments, including Lustig’s trying to debate with Alan’s (which he, Lustig, obviously lost).
Alan did a quick review on the debate and posted it on a link, adding some studies and quotes to other nutritiotinists.
Link > http://www.alanaragonblog.com/2010/02/19/a-retrospective-of-the-fructose-alarmism-debate/
PS – sorry for my english, not first language.
I’m probably gonna have to go buy a B-G meter as well
I plan to get big big and strong til I’m 60ish; after that I will have my grand children to remind me about my Blood Sugar levels.
I think your fructose calculations are off, you would need to eat 7 apples to get 50g of fructose, not 2.5, which is quite a difference.
Probably or we have bigger apples out here in CA.
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John, I like how you flat out state the reality of the size/strength and longevity dilemma. However, you did forget to mention that stronger people are harder to kill!
It seems like many people trying to “get fit” are constantly at odds with their own conflicting goals; primarily the “I want to be big and strong and also have an awesome six-pack.” Or as you state, “I want to be huge and live forever.”
I just did Rip’s Starting Strength Seminar (people, that was fucking awesome, you need to go) and predictably he came down on folks (guys and women) for being too skinny and afraid of a little fat and gave his usual drink milk spiel.
I didn’t get singled out, but I know if I want that 400+ squat I’m going to probably have to add some mass. What I won’t do at the ripe age of 44 is drink a gallon of milk a day however. There are ways to balance this out (I’m doing a paleo+whey+mountains of meat+ post-workout insulin spike) which I hope will be a safe, effective, albeit slower, method for me to get those strength/mass goals without just getting fat, and while keeping my blood sugar within fairly reasonable parameters. Sans pizza dude.
Nice. I count Uncle Rip as a close friend and talking to him often.
Strong people are hard to kill, and generally more fun.
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If I understood all the above comments correctly, know what the hell you’re trying to do before you set out on a dietary pathway. Once you have decided what you’re trying to do, utilize available information to forge a plan that meets your specific goals. In this case, 99% of us are trying to get stronger and need to incorporate some means that may sacrifice optimum (whatever that means when speaking of biology) health.
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