This video will make your brain hurt, so I will list the important bullet points from it. If you LOVE biochemistry, then you will love it. The history section is fascinating, but the biochemistry part was often way over my head. You could also use my notes along with the video to help understand the main points. Most of this is in order.
Here’s the video if you’d like to watch along:
Dr. Robert Lustig is an MD and UCSF Prof. of Pediatrics in the Endo & Metabolism division, specializing in research on damage caused by sugary foods
- The US annual consumption of high fructose corn syrup = 63 lbs/person!
- HFCS = 42-55% fructose
- Fructose is dangerous, and it is a poison.
- Before we processed food so much, we got fructose from whole fruits and veggies, getting 15g per day (30g total of sugar) (prior to WWII).
- 1977 – HFCS now on the market = 37 g/day
- 1994 – 54.7 g/day
- Today – 70 g/day
And total sugar intake per year = 141 lbs/person
Companies like to say their products are “low sodium” or “low fat,” but salt, sugar, and fat make things taste good. So if they lower the salt in one food, they’ll increase the sugar and fat. “Low fat” or “low sodium” foods are no healthier.
Some history on the issue:
- Under President Nixon – food prices were going up and down, so he wanted to make food and prices CHEAP.
- Advent of HFCS — introduced to US in 1975. Before HFCS, the price and use of sugar went up and down. But now, with corn sweeteners, the price of sugar has stayed constant in the US and internationally. HFCS is cheap. It is evil because it is in everything — pretzels, burger buns, ketchup, bbq sauce. We are being poisoned. We are now eating 141 lbs of sugar per year.
- Then, the USDA, AMA, and AHA call for dietary fat reduction to stop heart disease.
– But it didn’t work.
– Dietary fat is bad for you, doctors say, and that could lead to cardiovascular disease.
– So let’s cut fat out, and it will help.
– But low fat processed food tastes like crap! So the food companies had to make it taste
yummy. They added sugar, and lots of it. Glucose ends up as 0% fat.
– Fructose ends up as 30% fat — you are consuming not a carb but fat. A high sugar diet is a high fat diet. So low fat foods w/ lots of sugar = lots of fat food!
Facts on Sugar:
- Besides as a sweetener, sugar is used as a preservative and a browning agent.
- The food companies also removed fiber from foods for better shelf life and better freezing (but fiber is what can actually HELP your body process sugar).
- Fast food = fiberless food = faster cooking, faster eating, longer shelf life.
- [Sugar = fructose + glucose]
- Glucose is the energy of life.
- Fructose is not.
- Fructose does not stimulate insulin.
- Fructose does not suppress the hunger hormone (ghrelin) so your body doesn’t signal to you that is is full, so you eat more.
- Chronic fructose intake causes metabolic syndromes — obesity, type 2 diabetes, lipid problems, hypertension, cardiovascular disease.
- Fructose increases triglycerides and free fatty acids (cause insulin resistance) in normal adults within 6 days (study proves).
- Fructose = higher insulin, but the insulin is prevented from doing it’s job, so then you develop insulin resistance, which makes the pancreas work that much harder, which generates higher insulin levels, which raises your BP, causes more fat making, causes more energy to go into fat cells (obesity), and then finally, the brain can’t identify what’s going on and thinks you are starving, even though you are obese.
- High insulin = obesity.
Comparing Alcohol + Sugar:
- Alcohol gets metabolized in the brain, so it is an acute toxin — acute ethanol exposure (aka being drunk) = decreased BP, loss of fine motor control, respiratory depression, hypoglycemia, hypthermia, CNS depression, vasodilation, tachycardio, myocardial depression, variable pupillary responses, diuresis.
- *We tax alcohol, we have DUI levels (laws), we try to discourage consumption for public safety because ethanol = a toxin.
- Too much ethanol causes cirrhosis of the liver.
- Sugar gets metabolized in the liver.
- Acute fructose exposure = none of the same symptoms as above because it is not metabolized by the brain like alcohol is. So when you eat sugar you don’t get blurry vision, shaky balance, or any other symptoms of being drunk with alcohol,
- Detrimental effects of fructose = only the liver can metabolize it. It’s foreign to your body, and only the liver can process it. It is a poison biochemically speaking.
- Due to chemical reactions, this processing can cause gout and hypertension in adults (proven by studies).
- Sugar is a chronic toxin, whereas alcohol is an acute toxin.
Symptoms of Chronic Alcohol Exposure + Chronic Fructose Exposure:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
- Hepatic dysfunction (liver disease)
- Fetal alcohol syndrome/fetal insulin resistance
Dr. Lustig’s professional recommendations for lifestyle intervention:
- Get rid of all sugary liquids; drink only water and milk.
- Eat your carbs with fiber (fiber = good, an essential nutrient).
- Wait 20 min for second portions (see when your body tells you that you are full).
- Buy your screen time minute for minute with physical activity; if you walk/jog/work out for an hour, you can play a video or watch TV for an hour.
Why is exercise important in obesity?
- It improves skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity — your insulin levels come down
- Reduces stress and resultant cortisol release — it’s the single thing that reduces stress, appetite goes down
- It makes the TCA cycle run faster, detoxifies fructose, improves hepatic insulin sensitivity — you burn it off before your body turns it into fat, so it doesn’t cause issues.
- Has nothing to do with burning calories! You just can’t burn them all off.
*You would have to exercise all day long to even come close to burning off all the calories you eat. It’s not about burning them all of, it’s about what you put in your body.
*Why is fiber important?
- Because when God packaged the poison (sugar), he provided the antidote.
- Fructose is a poison, but wherever it is in nature, there is way more fiber.
- Fruit is okay! You can only eat so much.
- Fiber reduces the rate of intestinal carbohydrate absorption, reducing insulin response
- It increases speed of transit is intestinal contents to ileum, to raise PYY336, and induce satiety = I am full!
- It inhibits absorption of some free fatty acids to the colon, which are metabolized by colonic bacteria to short chain fatty acids that suppress insulin.
The “fructosification” of America (and the world):
- Kids school meals are awful. Everything has sugar.
- The WIC program provides an incentive to formula feed, buy fruit juice, etc.
- Formula has 43% corn syrup solids; it’s a baby milkshake.
- It has the same amount of sugar as Coke soda.
- The earlier kids taste sweet, the more they want later.
- The more sugar a pregnant woman eats/drinks, the more the kid likes “sweet” before they’re even born.
- Soda belly is the same as beer belly.
- Beer and soda are the same — same stuff.
- Fructose is alcohol without the buzz.
- Fructose is a carb but it’s metabolized like a fat — 30% ends up as fat. Low fat doesn’t equal low fat because there is so much more sugar in it.
- Fructose is also a toxin just like alcohol.
- The FDA? – says HFCS has GRAS status (generally regarded as safe), but where is the data? “Well fructose is “natural,” it’s in fruit, it must be okay.”
- *The FDA will only regulate acute toxins (tobacco, alcohol) and not chronic toxins (fructose).
- The USDA won’t touch this because it would mean admitting our food is a problem. So then we can’t export our food anymore. This would be bad news.
- Who runs the food pyramid? The USDA. Their job is to sell us food.
A calorie is not a calorie — and fructose is not glucose.
Fructose is a chronic hepatotoxin, but the FDA will not regulate it.
It starves your brain so you think you need more.
It is up to us to decide what to do with our bodies, our diets.