The Truth About Sugar

By Rachael Moeller Gorman, "Solving the Sugar Puzzle," September/October 2012

What’s good? What’s bad? How much sugar is too much? Here’s what the latest science says.

"There is no substitute for whole natural foods, a variety of foods, eaten in season. I read that xylitol, which is marketed as a natural sugar, is actually processed using toxic chemicals. "

Lustig laid out his hypothesis in a 2009 lecture for the general public called “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” at UC, San Francisco. The university filmed the charismatic lecturer. The video was posted on YouTube; it went viral. In 2011, The New York Times Magazine published a piece by Gary Taubes admiring Lustig’s theory. In 2012, 60 Minutes ran a segment on toxic sugar featuring Lustig. In December, Lustig will publish a book on nutrition, Fat Chance (Hudson Street Press), which includes his views on fructose.

Lustig presents a tempting, epic story of good versus evil, concluding in both his video and a recent commentary in the journal Nature that the government should regulate added sugar as it regulates alcohol. “Fructose is ethanol without the buzz,” he says. And we are riveted: as of summer 2012, over 2.5 million people had sat down in front of their computers and watched Lustig’s 90-minute lecture on fructose biochemistry, which he begins with a sort of arm-around-the-shoulder, conspiratorial tone: “I’m gonna tell you, tonight, a story.” We crave a good narrative with real answers almost as much as we love sugar. But does the science actually support Lustig’s theory?

Next: The Science of Sugar »

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