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Oct1-11, 07:36 PM
I wouldn't worry about it. It's all about "everything in moderation".
It seems Lustig isn't taken very seriously.
In other words, a healthy diet includes plenty of nutrient-rich foods, few nutrient-poor foods and a pinch of sugar to help it all go down. Sugar isn't the "white death" of lore. It's a dietary element that's packaged in foods, healthy and unhealthy alike.
That's a message most experts don't buy, including the NHMRC review panel and Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist with the University of California at San Francisco. "Saying sugar is not a problem would be laughable, if it weren't so dangerous," he claims.
According to Lustig, sugar is the driving force behind metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors including, hypertension, cholesterol abnormalities, an increased risk for clotting and resistance to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar, fats and proteins.
Brand-Miller rejects this. "Robert's views are based on studies that used extremely large amounts of fructose, not realistic amounts," she says.
Shrapnel goes further: "This guy is saying sugar causes metabolic syndrome. It doesn't. However, excess dietary carbohydrate, sugar or starch, can exacerbate some of the characteristics of the metabolic syndrome. That's very different."
But it's not just two against the world. Increasingly, public health experts such as the University of Melbourne's Rob Moodie are widening the diet debate.
"The claim that sugar is not a dangerous substance per se is right," says Moodie, who chaired the National Preventative Health Taskforce until it wound up last April. "But sugar is the major contributor to the energy or calorie overload. The whole debate is about portion size, the amount of food. There's not one evil or one magic bullet in this debate."
Lustig and Taubes are propagating the ONAAT fallacy. Like Atkins and others who have come before them, they appear to be dualists who divide the spectrum and subtleties of food into good vs. evil; and iconoclasts who get attention by challenging conventional wisdom.
The redundant aspirations of dietary dualistic iconoclasts over a span of decades have done us no favors. This good vs. evil foodview invited us all to cut fat and eat Snackwell cookies; then to cut carbs while ignoring trans fat. We could waste a lot of time and squander a lot of health finding more, equally silly places to go.
Calories, of course, do count; they are a measure of energy, and their role is rooted in the laws of thermodynamics. It is the overall quality, and quantity, of our diet that matters to health- not just one villainous or virtuous nutrient du jour. We should, indeed, eat food, not too much, mostly plants. The work we need most urgently is about what it will take to get there from here.
As dietary guidance, the vilification of one nutrient at a time has proven as flighty as hummingbirds, propelling us from one version of humbug to another. My advice is to grasp firmly your common sense, and stay grounded.