60 Minutes: Is Sugar Toxic?

I do not watch much television. This piece on 60 minutes was mentioned to me by many people in the past few days, because it scared them, so I made an effort to watch it.


Here are my thoughts.

I found the piece interesting and it provided some good information to the public. Essentially, eating a diet that is high in sugar and/or refined carbohydrates contributes to chronic disease such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease.
I disagree that sugar and high fructose corn syrup are equally bad. Sugar consumption has gone down by 40% and has been replaced with an equal or greater volume of high fructose corn syrup. However, Americans are heavier than ever before. High fructose corn syrup is a highly processed food product, much more so than organic sugar, which is from crystallized cane syrup.
Dr Stanhope’s study where people were given 25% of their caloric intake from a high fructose corn syrup sweetened beverages just proves the point that it is not a good idea to drink those beverages. 25% of a 2000 calorie diet would be 500 calories and that is the rough equivalent of 3.5 cans of pop.
When Dr Gupta goes in for his MRI with a sip of soda and has his brain reward centres light up, that is understandable since the start of the piece lets you know that we are wired to like sweet tastes. It is linked to survival. Eating calories, keeps you alive and well.
Jim Simon from the sugar industry didn’t have a chance against the doctors (he was set up), because he had no ‘science’ to back him up. He did have a good point that we should try to have a balanced diet and exercise. He is the only person in the piece that mentions exercise! Exercise is a part that is missing in many dietary debates and we know that is something that is missing in the North American lifestyle in general.
The recommendation in the end is to limit your added sugar intake to 150 calories for men and 100 calories per day for women. That is the equivalent of 37.5 grams and 25 grams of sugar per day for men and women respectively. This a reasonable limit to aim for. It is actually the equivalent of the majority of a 100g dark chocolate bar.

My advice: Be active, exercise regularly, eat lots of veggies/fruit, eat real food and truly enjoy the moderate amounts of sugar you consume. No pop-regular or diet!

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