Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pure White and Deadly, Revisited

John Yudkin published this book (http://www.amazon.com/Pure-White-Deadly-Sugar-Killing/dp/0143125184/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1390226626&sr=1-1&keywords=pure+white+and+deadly) in the 1970s, and was ridiculed by his learned peers.  It's taken the science from then to now to catch up.  But as these studies are demonstrating, he was right. The toxicity level of sugar is very, very low and the health impact is catastrophic.


Refined sugars (e.g., sucrose, fructose) were absent in the diet of most people until very recently in human history. Today overconsumption of diets rich in sugars contributes together with other factors to drive the current obesity epidemic. Overconsumption of sugar-dense foods or beverages is initially motivated by the pleasure of sweet taste and is often compared to drug addiction. Though there are many biological commonalities between sweetened diets and drugs of abuse, the addictive potential of the former relative to the latter is currently unknown.

Methodology/Principal findings

Here we report that when rats were allowed to choose mutually-exclusively between water sweetened with saccharin–an intense calorie-free sweetener–and intravenous cocaine–a highly addictive and harmful substance–the large majority of animals (94%) preferred the sweet taste of saccharin. The preference for saccharin was not attributable to its unnatural ability to induce sweetness without calories because the same preference was also observed with sucrose, a natural sugar. Finally, the preference for saccharin was not surmountable by increasing doses of cocaine and was observed despite either cocaine intoxication, sensitization or intake escalation–the latter being a hallmark of drug addiction.


Our findings clearly demonstrate that intense sweetness can surpass cocaine reward, even in drug-sensitized and -addicted individuals. We speculate that the addictive potential of intense sweetness results from an inborn hypersensitivity to sweet tastants. In most mammals, including rats and humans, sweet receptors evolved in ancestral environments poor in sugars and are thus not adapted to high concentrations of sweet tastants. The supranormal stimulation of these receptors by sugar-rich diets, such as those now widely available in modern societies, would generate a supranormal reward signal in the brain, with the potential to override self-control mechanisms and thus to lead to addiction.

While experimental and observational studies suggest that sugar intake is associated with the development of type 2 diabetes, independent of its role in obesity, it is unclear whether alterations in sugar intake can account for differences in diabetes prevalence among overall populations. Using econometric models of repeated cross-sectional data on diabetes and nutritional components of food from 175 countries, we found that every 150 kcal/person/day increase in sugar availability (about one can of soda/day) was associated with increased diabetes prevalence by 1.1% (p <0 .001="" a="" activity="" after="" aging="" alcohol="" and="" are="" as="" associations="" at="" availability="" behavior="" biases="" but="" by="" calories="" cereals="" changes.="" confounded="" confounders.="" controlling="" correlated="" declines="" degree="" diabetes="" dietary="" differences="" dose-dependent="" duration="" effect="" explain="" explained="" exposure="" fibers="" food="" for="" fruits="" impact="" in="" including="" income.="" independent="" independently="" individual="" level="" manner="" meats="" modified="" no="" not="" obesity.="" obesity="" of="" oils="" on="" or="" other="" overweight.="" overweight="" period-effects="" physical="" population="" potential="" prevalence="" rates="" sedentary="" selection="" several="" significant="" significantly="" socioeconomic="" span="" statistically="" subsequent="" such="" sugar="" testing="" that="" the="" total="" types="" urbanization="" use="" variables="" variations="" was="" while="" with="" yielded="">

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