Is Sugar Bad For You?

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I read three interesting articles on the health effects of sugar, which can be found linked below:

"Is Sugar Toxic:"
"Sweetener Myths:"
"Sugar is bad For Your Health:"

It is generally acknowledged that Americans eat too much sugar. But what types of sugars and how much, if any, is considered good for your health? We go to the internet for the answers, but who can you believe? Our job as scientifically literate citizens is to be able to figure out the accuracy and bias of any new information we come across.

I found "Is Sugar Toxic" to be free of errors or logical fallacies. Everything discussed had clear references to scientific studies, and all the names involved with them. Gary Taubes thoroughness made me confident that what I was reading didn't have a strong bias.

In "Sweetener Myths" I was reading the answer to a question about what the difference was between sucrose, fructose, and other types of sugar. Their answer was "sugars are all the same" at which point they referenced "a New York University nutritionist and author Dr. Marion Nestle admits, "the body can hardly tell them apart." The fact that the doctor had to use the word hardly tells me that there is a difference, and the motivation of the author is to get me to ignore that difference.

When I was reading "Sugar Is Bad For Your Health" I noticed the line "The body's attempt to use [refined sugar] results in the formation of toxic substances such as abnormal molecules containing five carbon atoms." To me, mentioning abnormal molecules is a way to confuse the reader and talk over their heads, thus making them believe your argument without understanding it. This lessens the credibility of this article, whether it's true or not.

I'm not trying to argue one way or the other on this topic, because if everyone approaches the available information scientifically, little argument is needed.

For a more in-depth and scientific look at this topic you can watch a very popular lecture given by Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology.


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I actually laughed reading this. Pointing out logical fallacies and other errors in media is always a good time. I used to work at a GNC and this was a common question for me. I'd always respond, go a day eating absolutely no sugar, then go a day eating nothing but sugar (then I'd tell them to not try that because it's incredibly unhealthy). Point being, our bodies need sugar to work, but in excess it's unhealthy. Same concept with protein. Media over emphasizes how healthy protein is. What they forget to mention is if too much of your diet consists of protein for too long, you can die from protein intoxication. Moderation is the key.

Personally I’m one of those people that when an article sounds fishy in any way I just stop reading and discount it so kudos to you for finding words like hardly and pinpointing the confusing chemical mumbo jumbo. The answer everything is good in moderation is an answer that makes people antsy. I think it is human nature to want to know exactly what we should or should not have even though this is one of those things that HUGELY varies between people. It is hard to tell everyone they need to look at things scientifically though, the majority of people aren’t trained to look at things scientifically like we are being taught. We can hardly fault them for their inability to think that way.

It would be interesting to determine whether sugar or aspartame (the sugar substitute used in diet drinks) is worse for your health. I guess there's some evidence that shows diet drinks are worse for people in the long run due to aspartame.

Really cool article! I like that you objectively examined each article and that you could find deeper meanings behind what the articles said and that you yourself don't become biased in the blog.

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This page contains a single entry by pete3428 published on April 13, 2012 11:00 AM.

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