Shockingly sugar is as toxic to the body as alcohol

As part of my quest to find the best diet for heart health, I’ve been investigating the three macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat). While looking at carbohydrates, I have come across this YouTube video by Dr. Robert Lustig, which was subsequently covered in an article in the New York times. When the April 2011 piece called Is Sugar Toxic? appeared, the video Sugar: The Bitter Truth had been seen roughly 800,000 times. Since then, it’s been viewed almost 2.5 million times.

I can’t recommend viewing this 1.5 hour video enough. It provides strong evidence that over the last 30 years, “the fat’s been going down… the sugar’s been going up… and we’re all getting sick” – Dr. Lustig speaks convincingly about the impact generated from the incredible push in the 70’s towards the “low-fat” diet. We slowly increased our ingestion of sugars (low-fat tastes bad without sugar!) over time, and now this world-wide emphasis on a low-fat “healthy” diet has counter-intuitively generated the highest levels of obesity every before seen. It would seem that the low-fat approach to dieting is not working.

It apears that a calorie is not a calorie is not a calorie. We should consider the metabolic implications of what we put in our mouth vs. simply treating food as inert substances with caloric numbers attached. Lustig argues that we must look at the path that sugars take and the byproducts that are created when they breakdown in our bodies.

The metabolic pathway of fructose is frightening. Among many things, it increases the negative cholesterol indicators, increases hypertension, and decreases our ability to feel full, so that we continue to eat more than we should. Dr. Lustig makes a very clear case for how fructose, which is found in almost every packaged food today produces almost exactly the same toxins that are produced when alcohol is metabolized by the body. The main difference being that there is no buzz from the fructose breakdown, we shockingly feed fructose to children and obviously we do not treat fructose with anywhere near the level of caution or legally controlled access with which we approach alcohol. That is scary, as this video makes it very clear that the lack of restraint surrounding this toxic substance is killing us in droves.

So it appears that my heart healthy diet will not contain a lot of sugar. While I haven’t finalized my new heart-healthy diet yet, I’m going to take immediate action to reduce my sugar ingestion – particularly of fructose, while increasing my fiber intake.