Monday, April 1, 2013

It's the Sugar, Folks -

"Sugar is indeed toxic. It may not be the only problem with the Standard American Diet, but it’s fast becoming clear that it’s the major one."

Wait - but it's just another epidemiological study, right?  LIke the one AC lambasted on Friday?  Yes, it is, but that does not mean it's wrong!  And, sometimes folks are out to get the one that's paranoid.

This was a unique epidemiological study; not many meet these requirements:

"...and it satisfied the longstanding “Bradford Hill” criteria for what’s called medical inference of causation by linking dose (the more sugar that’s available, the more occurrences of diabetes); duration (if sugar is available longer, the prevalence of diabetes increases); directionality (not only does diabetes increase with more sugar, it decreases with less sugar); and precedence (diabetics don’t start consuming more sugar; people who consume more sugar are more likely to become diabetics).  The key point in the article is this: “Each 150 kilocalories/person/day increase in total calorie availability related to a 0.1 percent rise in diabetes prevalence (not significant), whereas a 150 kilocalories/person/day rise in sugar availability (one 12-ounce can of soft drink) was associated with a 1.1 percent rise in diabetes prevalence.” Thus: for every 12 ounces of sugar-sweetened beverage introduced per person per day into a country’s food system, the rate of diabetes goes up 1 percent. (The study found no significant difference in results between those countries that rely more heavily on high-fructose corn syrup and those that rely primarily on cane sugar.) This is as good (or bad) as it gets, the closest thing to causation and a smoking gun that we will see. (To prove “scientific” causality you’d have to completely control the diets of thousands of people for decades. It’s as technically impossible as “proving” climate change or football-related head injuries or, for that matter, tobacco-caused cancers.)

"But as Lustig says, “This study is proof enough that sugar is toxic. Now it’s time to do something about it.”  The next steps are obvious, logical, clear and up to the Food and Drug Administration."

While I of course disagree with FURTHER government intervention in health and diet (after all, the government is the reason we all chose sugar over fat the last forty years), I'm a big fan of not overdosing yourself on sugar, as regular readers can attest.  Gary Taubes made this case very strongly and this study is if anything a validation of "Good Calories, Bad Calories".
The path through sugar to diabetes and all of the diseases of the west is well trodden and open to all - take the road less travelled by.

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