And speaking of sugar, is it really toxic?

The mainstream media just loves black-and-white, villain vs. Health Halo nutrition controversies.  So no surprise, they jumped on the ‘Sugar Is Toxic’ band wagon recently, based on the opinions of a doctor who is known for his strident views on sugar.  A 60 Minutes report featured Dr. Robert Lustig, who is on the warpath against sugar.  He claims that sugar is “killing us”, and that it’s responsible for all major diseases.  The report also claims that sugar makes cancer cells grow, because some cancer cells have insulin receptors, and insulin pushes glucose into cells.  That whole “sugar feeds cancer” hysteria has been around for awhile, and this kind of sketchy reporting just fuels that particular flame.

I’m not going to go over everything they said.  Here’s my 2 part opinion:

  1. Yes many people eat way too much added sugar every day, especially from soft drinks and other junk that has no place in the human diet.  And yes, if a person guzzles sugary foods and drinks in a short period of time, your body has to process that sugar.  A system that’s faced with too much sugar over and over again gets really efficient at stashing it away as fat.  A junky high sugar diet can make you fat, if you eat too many calories.
  2. Do some cancer cells use glucose, which is the sugar that fuels all your cells, especially brain cells?  Yes.  If you don’t eat sugar, will the cancer cells starve?  No.  You will still have insulin and you will absolutely still have glucose in your blood, because all your cells need it.  If you don’t eat foods that provide glucose, from carbohydrate, your body will make glucose from protein – either protein foods you eat or from breakdown of your muscle cells.

Eating sugar doesn’t make you more susceptible to cancer.  But eating a junky high sugar diet may make you more susceptible, because you’re not eating healthier foods.  So the overall advice you should take away from this media hysteria is this: if you rely on lots of sugary beverages and foods every day, you need to change that habit and start eating a less processed, lower added sugar diet.

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