Societal Control of Sugar Essential to Ease Public Health Burden, Experts Urge
Sugar should be controlled like alcohol and tobacco to protect public health, according to a team of UCSF researchers, who maintain in a new report that sugar is fueling a global obesity pandemic, contributing to 35 million deaths annually worldwide from non-communicable diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Non-communicable diseases now pose a greater health burden worldwide than infectious diseases, according to the United Nations. In the United States, 75 percent of health care dollars are spent treating these diseases and their associated disabilities….
Sugar, they argue, is far from just “empty calories” that make people fat. At the levels consumed by most Americans, sugar changes metabolism, raises blood pressure, critically alters the signaling of hormones and causes significant damage to the liver — the least understood of sugar’s damages. These health hazards largely mirror the effects of drinking too much alcohol, which they point out in their commentary is the distillation of sugar.
Worldwide consumption of sugar has tripled during the past 50 years and is viewed as a key cause of the obesity epidemic. But obesity, Lustig, Schmidt and Brindis argue, may just be a marker for the damage caused by the toxic effects of too much sugar. This would help explain why 40 percent of people with metabolic syndrome — the key metabolic changes that lead to diabetes, heart disease and cancer — are not clinically obese.
“As long as the public thinks that sugar is just ‘empty calories,’ we have no chance in solving this,” said Lustig, a professor of pediatrics, in the division of endocrinology at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and director of the Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health (WATCH) Program at UCSF.
“There are good calories and bad calories, just as there are good fats and bad fats, good amino acids and bad amino acids, good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates,” Lustig said. “But sugar is toxic beyond its calories…
…”We’re not talking prohibition,” Schmidt said. “We’re not advocating a major imposition of the government into people’s lives. We’re talking about gentle ways to make sugar consumption slightly less convenient, thereby moving people away from the concentrated dose. What we want is to actually increase people’s choices by making foods that aren’t loaded with sugar comparatively easier and cheaper to get.”..
- Societal control of sugar essential to ease public health burden (eurekalert.org)
- Is There a Growing Concern About Fructose?(Food, Facts, and Fads)
In the 1800s and early 1900s, the average American took in about 15 grams of fructose (about half an ounce), mostly from eating fruits and vegetables. Today we average 55 grams per day (73 grams for adolescents)…
…HFCS produced significantly higher fructose levels in the blood than the sugar-sweetened drinks. The HFCS drinks also increased uric acid levels implicated in blood pressure. In this study, the HFCS drinks also resulted in a 3 mm Hg greater rise in systolic blood pressure….
…Another recent study found that teens that consume large amounts of fructose in foods and beverages show evidence of heart disease and diabetes risk in their blood…
…The Institute of Medicine (IOM) also found that diets with more than 25% of caloric intake from added sugars from processing were associated with significantly decreased levels of essential nutrients (e.g., calcium, magnesium, and zinc) in some population groups….
- Public Health Burden Could Be Eased By Societal Control Of Sugar (medicalnewstoday.com)
Drinking Large Amounts of Soft Drinks Associated With Asthma and COPD (ScienceNewsToday)
- Sugar Should Be Regulated Like Alcohol And Tobacco Say Scientists (medicalnewstoday.com)
- UCSF scientists declare war on sugar in food – San Francisco Chronicle (sfgate.com)
- Sugar: Should Feds Make It A Controlled Substance? (aarp.org)
- Tax and regulate sugar like alcohol and tobacco, urge scientists (junkscience.com)
- Tax and regulate sugar like alcohol and tobacco, urge scientists (guardian.co.uk)
- Should Sugar Be Supervised or Treated As Toxic? (tellsworld.wordpress.com)
- Why Banning Sugar Will Not Solve Obesity (drsharma.ca)
- Sugar as harmful as tobacco, alcohol, experts say (smh.com.au)
- Sugar tax needed, say US experts (bbc.co.uk)
- Report calls for ‘toxic’ sugar to be regulated like alcohol, though not everyone agrees (theprovince.com)
- Tax ‘toxic’ sugar, doctors urge (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
Soda’s Evil Twin – The Dangers of Fruit Drinks (Infographic) [With Added Item on Environmental Degradation by Soda Manufacturer Processes]
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