Is sugar (fructose) a poison?

Robert Lustig, MD of the UCSF division of endocrinology and metabolism has become one of the more vocal and credible critics of the pervasive dietary sugar, whether it be in the form of table sugar (sucrose, which is a glucose and fructose molecule bound) or high-fructose corn syrup (a manmade glucose and fructose product). In a viral video of one of his lectures, which we edited down to 30-minutes focusing on the fructose metabolism, he explains how fructose is a poison to the body and the cause of the obesity epidemic around the world.

Prior to 1975, humans were not exposed to high-fructose corn syrup. Sugar makes food sell better, so for profit and political reasons, the ingredient has wound up in most drinks and foods we consume, including foods one would not expect to have sugar, such as bread and meat. A recent lawsuit forcing Taco Bell to reveal the ingredients of its “meat” revealed that sugar is a component. Every item on the McDonald’s menu, with the exception of coffee, tea, fries, and McNuggets has fructose in them. A can of regular soft drink or sports drink has more than 8 table spoons of sugar in it.

Americans, on average, consume 63 pounds of sugar per year. Along with sugar increases, the reduction of fiber and addition of trans-fats is what Dr. Lustig calls the adulteration of our diet.

In his full-length lecture, Dr. Lustig gave a lengthy biochemistry explanation of how fructose is processed mostly in the liver, unlike glucose from starch that can be used by all organs of the body. Once in the liver, the main molecule that fructose is converted into is VLDL fat, which goes straight to one’s body fat storage depots and also causes atherosclerosis.

Another byproduct of fructose metabolism is uric acid, which results in lower nitric oxide (NO). NO is crucial for normal blood pressure as it causes vasodilation. Dr. Lustig asserts that fructose is a major cause of the hypertension epidemic as well as obesity.

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2 Responses to Is sugar (fructose) a poison?

  1. It’s difficult to get knowledgeable people today on this subject, but you sound like you know what you are talking about. Thanks for this informative post.

  2. L says:

    I like BatteryPark.TV’s health tips. They are to the point, informative and touch on topics of the day. I would like to add to the Glucose / Fructose topic. The original technical term Fructose refers to only those natural occurring sugars found in fruits. The Body has its own safety mechanism. There is only so much Fructose that the intestines can absorb: have more and a sick feeling will ensue signaling the person to stop.
    Food industries have found a way to modify ‘sugars’ such that they are more readily absorbable by the body in order to use them as fillers and sweeteners and lift the cap on how much of them we may ‘feel’ like eating. A case in point is corn syrup which at last is being labeled as modified corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup. Thus contributing immensely to the obesity epidemic. It is useful to be aware of this distinction.

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