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Fri, 19 Apr 2013
Sugar vs Cocaine
# 08:34 in ./general

An article in The Telegraph on Friday covered a familiar topic: just how bad sugar can be for us. It's called Sweet Poison to drive home the message.

Emphasis here was on addiction as the driver, so nothing completely new to people familiar with recent research and articles about food reward and brain/body chemistry. Sugar's in almost everything, and one of the worst aspects is that it can be hard to avoid because it's hidden (that is, not clearly stated on the label).

Dr Robert Lustig, famous for his YouTube hit, Sugar: The Bitter Truth has a book out and is quoted here :

Lustig explains that instead of helping to sate us, some scientists believe that fructose fools our brains into thinking we are not full, so we overeat. Moreover, excess fructose cannot be converted into energy by the mitochondria inside our cells (which perform this function). “Instead,” he explains, “they turn excess fructose into liver fat. That starts a cascade of insulin resistance (insulin promotes sugar uptake from blood) which leads to chronic metabolic disease, including diabetes and heart disease.”

Regarding High Frustose Corn Syrup, an especially egregious ingredient in some "food" :

As a liquid, it is also easier to blend and transport. In particular, it is used in low-fat foods (which would otherwise taste, says Lustig, “like cardboard”). His theory goes a long way to explaining why the low-fat diets which rose to popularity in the Seventies have coincided with a rise in obesity and related illnesses.

From David Gillespie, author of a book called Sweet Poison, we hear :

The average Briton is consuming more than a kilo – 238 teaspoonfuls – a week"

Really? So can you account for this? Where is it all coming from? Hidden sugar.

And as far as an addiction :

The more he learnt, the more Gillespie was determined to do something about his own eating habits. “I stopped eating sugar and immediately started losing weight – without adjusting anything else about how I lived.”

For Gillespie, the weight started dropping straight away, but the sense of addiction took a little longer to go: “At the two-four week mark I noticed I was no longer craving food and in particular I could leave things which I would have found difficult to bypass before.

Like any addiction, to break free requires discipline and it is easy to lapse and fall back into the same habits as before. A modern supermarket is well designed to tempt you into breaking any vows you've made ....

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