Claim: ‘Can sugar really be toxic? Sadly, yes’

Sugar consumption is linked to diabetes by scientific misconduct, not science.

Max Pemberton writes in the Telegraph (UK):

By the time you have finished reading this sentence, one person in the world will have died from type 2 diabetes. Two more will have been newly diagnosed with it. Yet it is a condition that rarely excites or interests the public. It has a slow, insidious progression that is interlinked with obesity, and as a result this disease is considered an abstract, boring and largely self-inflicted condition. While it’s a killer, it’s not a killer in the dramatic and attention-grabbing way that other conditions such as cancer and infectious diseases can be. But given the huge personal and economic impact it has, we should be taking type 2 diabetes much more seriously.

According to a startling commentary in the journal Nature, by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, sugar poses such a health risk – contributing to around 35 million deaths globally each year – that it should now be considered a potentially toxic substance like alcohol and tobacco. Its link with the onset of diabetes is such that punitive regulations, such as a tax on all foods and drinks that contain ”added’’ sugar, are now warranted, the researchers say. They also recommend banning sales in or near schools, as well as placing age limits on the sale of such products.

I have to admit my first response on reading the headlines generated by this article was to roll my eyes as I tucked into a king-size Twix, and denounce the suggestion as yet another example of health fascism. Sugar? Toxic? Oh, please, give me a break (or preferably a KitKat). But the truth is that there is compelling evidence that sugar is hugely dangerous, because it is a contributing factor in the twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes faced by developed countries…

Read Pemberton’s entire column.

Sugar is linked to diabetes by scientific misconduct, not by science.

8 thoughts on “Claim: ‘Can sugar really be toxic? Sadly, yes’”

  1. I suspect there will come a time when the preponderance of evidence will point to excess calories as the main culprit behind diabetes rather than dietary sugar per se. We simply cannot escape facts resulting from thermodynamics and the hormonally modulated chemical equilibria of the human body. I’m a bit of a human laboratory due to my enjoyment of long-distance running. When I run long distances (>20 miles) I can tell fairly quickly when my blood sugar is getting low. I can usually predict with a fair degree of accuracy how many calories I need to consume to run effectively at a given distance. On days when I do not perform a long run I cut back on calories otherwise I can “feel” the additional weight gain which is more due to accumulation of water than fat. Yet, on those days when I load up on carbohydrates in preparation for a long run I consume about the same amount of calories as some of my non-running colleagues. Most people (and I suspect diabetics) over-consume calories because they like the taste and feelings of satiety that comes from eating. I like eating too but I also like running and experience has told me that I simply don’t need much food on days when I’m behind a desk. Over-consumption of calories is complicated by hormones and neurotransmitters that stimulate appetite. We need sugar to survive just like we need the sun. However, we must rely on individual prudence rather than a Statist overlord to decide how we use our resources.

  2. This is a good example of the death of common sense. They attack the substance instead of the abuse of the substance. Whatever happened to a “balanced diet”?

  3. DITTO – I am a type 2 diabetic (MODY.) Sugar (or any food for that matter) is not evil or the cause of obesity and/or diabetes. There are a plethora of contributing factors, singling out a certain food is simply disingenuous.
    One interesting contibutor, is the witch hunt against fats. They are essential to your diet, slow sugar absorbtion and contribut to SATIETY. Nanny them out of your diet and people tend to consume more starches (carbs.)

  4. Water is very dangerous to health. Especially distilled water. Drink 2 liters of the stuff and your brain explodes. It is really getting tiresome to read ‘open door’ articles.

    My granny used to say: everything that has ‘too much’ in front of it is bad for you.

  5. If diabetes and obesity were as simple as sugar, they would have been cured long since.
    The fact is that these and several other ‘endemic’ diseases of civilization (cancer, allergies, hypertension, CFT, etc.) are so complicated that nobody knows what causes them. This indicated to me that there are likely either multiple possible causes (as in the case of cancer – genetic damage can be the result of many diverse factors), or a cause that is totally unexpected (as in the case of gastric ulcers, which were attributed solely to ‘stress’ until the role of Helicobacter pylori was discovered).
    Sugar is just the latest in a long list of dietary ‘demons’ being blamed for major health problems – that same has happened to fats, proteins, salt, sodas, eggs, red meat, white bread, processed foods, etc. The whole process reeks of grasping at straws in desperation.

  6. Will the Organized Misanthropes jump the shark when they ban CANDY?

    Will we live to see the end of ice cream?

    Susan, your appraisal is slightly off. There is a significant difference between
    spaghetti and chocolate cake. It is the rate of introduction of sugar into the
    blood stream. Yes, if you eat alot of spaghetti, it can have the same impact
    as chocolate cake, as described by glycemic index, but spaghetti /= cake.

  7. Dr. Richard Bernstein, himself a type I diabetic, and author do The Diabetes Solution (not cure but a way of dealing with diabetes that allows a person to live to a healthy old age) makes the point over and over that ANY excess carbohydrates are dangerous to diabetics including whole wheat bread, cereal and fresh fruit. The carbohydrates all turn into glucose and can cause dangerous increases in blood glucose If you are diabetic. Diabetes is defined as the inability of your body to produce enough insulin to conver t the sugar to fat. The same people who have been pushing us t o eat a high carbohydrate diet now tell us that you can single out sugar from all the other. Carbs and you will be fine. It is a lie. A low fat diet is almost always a high carb diet. And, for people whose bodies are genetically predisposed to store fat iit will make you fat. Moderate amounts of carbs are fine for most people and your body doesn’t care if it is sucrose or starch. A plate of spaghetti can have the same impact on your blood sugar as a piece of chocolate cake.

  8. Sugar, like any food, should NOT be abused. But we don’t need the Govt. to tell us so. WATER could be toxic, if too much is drunken at one time. I like sugar-substitutes like Stevia-leaf extract, which diabetics are probably told they could substitute for sugar, to get a “sweet-taste.”

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