Sugar - A Chronic Toxin? - What Your GP Doesn't Tell You Podcast
Dr Robert Lustig argues sugar is driving an epidemic of illness and death
The latest episode of What Your GP Doesn’t Tell You is now available on Apple, Spotify and other podcast platforms. You can sign up to the podcast mailing list at What Your GP Doesn't Tell You. This is a fortnightly podcast, the next episode is due on Tuesday 22 November.
While most people recognise that eating lots of sugar is probably not going to do us much good, endocrinologist Dr Robert Lustig goes rather further. He argues that we need to see sugar not just as empty or fattening calories, but as a chronic, addictive toxin.
Lustig says that sugar is fuelling an epidemic of chronic and metabolic disease, from diabetes and strokes, to cancer and heart disease, which is costing hundreds of thousands of lives.
No sugar is ever going to be good for us, but he argues that the sugar fructose is a particular concern. It is found in fruit but as long as you are eating whole fruit and not fruit juice it’s not this fructose which is the problem, you would have to eat huge quantities for that to be an issue. It’s the fructose found in table sugar which is 50% fructose and 50% glucose, products such as high fructose corn syrup, and in many ultra-processed foods, which Lustig believes is the greatest hazard.
As he reveals in this extract, fructose causes the same fatty liver disease in children as that seen in alcoholics.
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Lustig contends the two other critical problems is the accelerating effect that fructose has on the ageing process and its potential to cause addiction.
A worrying development is the impact that large amounts of fructose can have on the unborn child and as a result an increasing number of babies are now born obese.
And Lustig highlights how artificial sweeteners rather than helping improve your health may actually make it worse because they drive insulin levels up, which creates weight gain and long term can lead to metabolic syndrome or illness. Medical conditions that affect all of us not just the overweight.
In the podcast, Lustig explains that the answer to all of these problems is to stop eating so much sugar and ultra-processed foods, and instead eat real food that protects the liver and keeps the gut healthy. He reveals what we need to eat to stay healthy and explains that prevention is not just better than cure - it is the cure.
Dr Robert Lustig is a Professor emeritus of Pediatrics, at the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco. He has written a number of best selling books about the dangers of sugar, refined carbohydrates and metabolic illness. And his research and clinical practice have focussed on childhood obesity and diabetes.
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