Relevant to our soda post (“Pseudo-variety”: Soft Drink Industry Structure) JWagner points us to this video from Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology.



Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, explores the damage caused by sugary foods. He argues that fructose (too much) and fiber (not enough) appear to be cornerstones of the obesity epidemic through their effects on insulin. Series: UCSF Mini Medical School for the Public [7/2009] [Health and Medicine]

Category: Food and Drink, Video

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

7 Responses to “Sugar: The Bitter Truth”

  1. rtalcott says:

    Definitely worth the ~ 90 minutes…

  2. weidenaa says:

    An astounding and masterful presentation. It will blow your head off.

  3. favjr says:

    This is the most informative video I have watched in the past few years. I tell everyone I know who has any interest in health or has children that they must watch it. Cuts through a lot of pseudo-scientific bullshit in no uncertain terms. I am happy whenever I see it publicized.

  4. super_trooper says:

    @weidenna. My head just blew off.

  5. daemon23 says:

    Great presentation. A quick google found this criticism of it, however: . Overall, the critic’s complaints seem fairly reasonable, though I’d have to read more of the studies to feel more confident in one or the other.


    BR: Not at all impressed with the criticism — he posits a calorie is a calorie, despite Lustig doing an excellent job explaining the science as to why that is not true.

    Also, Lustig explains why fruit — with the fiber it contains is okay, and why fruit juice aka fructose is problematic.

  6. daemon23 says:

    @BR: I can’t argue the biochemistry point–that’s an element of the metabolism of sugars I’d been looking for for quite a while, annoyingly absent from any discussions of the relative merits of HFCS and sucrose I’ve read–but I am concerned about the cited studies and statistics. Mr. Aragon goes through a number of studies which show results which do not agree with what Dr. Lustig claims. Unfortunately this merely outlines my ignorance on the subject, as I have no way offhand of evaluating the breadth of the research on the subject out there. Was Mr. Aragon cherry-picking? Was Dr. Lustig? I can’t tell. In the balance, I’m inclined to give Dr. Lustig the benefit of the doubt, as I believe him to be the more likely of the two to know more about the state of current research; I’m merely concerned that Mr. Aragon might be correct in claiming that most studies do not support Dr. Lustig’s views.

  7. jwagner says:

    Science is a process to reveal truth out of natural chaos and it works well, but the more complex the system the more difficult is is to tease out truth. It becomes nearly impossible in a system as complex as the human body and nutrition.

    As an engineer who has spent a lot of time reading about nutrition and doing some personal “metabolism hacking” I read Aragon’s criticism fairly carefully. Aragon’s critique does contain a number of good points – satiety, for instance – but overall after watching Lustig twice and reading Aragon twice, I really don’t see a lot of disagreement. Lustig DOES address context and dosage, but there’s a limit to the information you can pack into a 90 minute powerpoint and that was not his focus. Some of Aragon’s misses:
    - He seems to fully endorse thermodynamics in diet: calories in vs. calorie out => (change in weight). It’s generally true, but not in extreme low carb diets. Try it yourself, Atkins-style diets do work if you’re dedicated enough to put yourself in ketosis. And I do buy the fact that insulin facilitates weight gain.
    - The Japanese diet – there really isn’t much added sugar in their traditional diet. I’ve spent time there and had Japanese visitors here and the amount of added sugar they have in their diet does not compare to ours. My visitors have commented on the sweetness of our food and skipped desert.
    - I just don’t buy that added sugar calories have over time. (I really don’t understand the spreadsheet Aragon links to back up that point. Tallying the columns b-h per row on the “Sugars” page of the spreadsheet points to a 52% in Added Sugars – column I is not a sum of columns b-h. What am I missing?)

    In the end, I think Pollan (In Defense of Food) has it right: Nutrition is complicated and we aren’t able to usefully deconstruct it on a component basis. Eat unrefined foods and you’ll generally be OK, e.g. brown rice before white, wheat bread before white, and sugar is about as refined a food as you can get so just avoid it. That’s easy enough and doesn’t require remembering a bunch of dietary science when you have a menu in your hand. And I add a personal rule: Anything you do on the weekend does not count.