Yueya

The Sugar Conspiracy

Recommended Posts

The Guardian newspaper (UK) recently published a excellent report, entitled the Sugar Conspiracy, which argues that sugar, not fat, is behind the world’s rising ‘diabesity’ (diabetes and obesity), and questions how the world’s nutritional scientists got it “so wrong for so long”.

 

I’m glad to see this is now a mainstream issue. Here are some of the key points from the report……

 

 

In 1972, a British scientist [John Yudkin] sounded the alarm that sugar – and not fat – was the greatest danger to our health. But his findings were ridiculed and his reputation ruined. How did the world’s top nutrition scientists get it so wrong for so long?…

 

We read almost every week of new research into the deleterious effects of sugar on our bodies…

 

This represents a dramatic shift in priority. For at least the last three decades, the dietary arch-villain has been saturated fat. When Yudkin was conducting his research into the effects of sugar, in the 1960s, a new nutritional orthodoxy was in the process of asserting itself. Its central tenet was that a healthy diet is a low-fat diet. Yudkin led a diminishing band of dissenters who believed that sugar, not fat, was the more likely cause of maladies such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. But by the time he wrote his book, the commanding heights of the field had been seized by proponents of the fat hypothesis. Yudkin found himself fighting a rearguard action, and he was defeated. Not just defeated, in fact, but buried…

 

In 1980, after long consultation with some of America’s most senior nutrition scientists, the US government issued its first Dietary Guidelines. The guidelines shaped the diets of hundreds of millions of people. Doctors base their advice on them, food companies develop products to comply with them. Their influence extends beyond the US. In 1983, the UK government issued advice that closely followed the American example.

 

The most prominent recommendation of both governments was to cut back on saturated fats and cholesterol (this was the first time that the public had been advised to eat less of something, rather than enough of everything). Consumers dutifully obeyed. We replaced steak and sausages with pasta and rice, butter with margarine and vegetable oils, eggs with muesli, and milk with low-fat milk or orange juice. But instead of becoming healthier, we grew fatter and sicker.

 

Look at a graph of postwar obesity rates and it becomes clear that something changed after 1980. In the US, the line rises very gradually until, in the early 1980s, it takes off like an aeroplane. Just 12% of Americans were obese in 1950, 15% in 1980, 35% by 2000. In the UK, the line is flat for decades until the mid-1980s, at which point it also turns towards the sky. Only 6% of Britons were obese in 1980. In the next 20 years that figure more than trebled. Today, two thirds of Britons are either obese or overweight, making this the fattest country in the EU. Type 2 diabetes, closely related to obesity, has risen in tandem in both countries.

 

At best, we can conclude that the official guidelines did not achieve their objective; at worst, they led to a decades-long health catastrophe…

 

Today, as nutritionists struggle to comprehend a health disaster they did not predict and may have precipitated, the field is undergoing a painful period of re-evaluation. It is edging away from prohibitions on cholesterol and fat, and hardening its warnings on sugar, without going so far as to perform a reverse turn…

 

In 2008, researchers from Oxford University undertook a Europe-wide study of the causes of heart disease. Its data shows an inverse correlation between saturated fat and heart disease, across the continent. France, the country with the highest intake of saturated fat, has the lowest rate of heart disease; Ukraine, the country with the lowest intake of saturated fat, has the highest. When the British obesity researcher Zoë Harcombe performed an analysis of the data on cholesterol levels for 192 countries around the world, she found that lower cholesterol correlated with higher rates of death from heart disease.

 

In the last 10 years, a theory that had somehow held up unsupported for nearly half a century has been rejected by several comprehensive evidence reviews, even as it staggers on, zombie-like, in our dietary guidelines and medical advice…

 

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, in a 2008 analysis of all studies of the low-fat diet, found “no probable or convincing evidence” that a high level of dietary fat causes heart disease or cancer. Another landmark review, published in 2010, in the American Society for Nutrition, and authored by, among others, Ronald Krauss, a highly respected researcher and physician at the University of California, stated “there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD [coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease]”.

 

Many nutritionists refused to accept these conclusions…

 

Biochemists and endocrinologists are more likely to think of obesity as a hormonal disorder, triggered by the kinds of foods we started eating a lot more of when we cut back on fat: easily digestible starches and sugars…

 

Fat takes instruction from insulin, the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar. Refined carbohydrates break down at speed into glucose in the blood, prompting the pancreas to produce insulin. When insulin levels rise, fat tissue gets a signal to suck energy out of the blood, and to stop releasing it. So when insulin stays high for unnaturally long, a person gains weight, gets hungrier, and feels fatigued…

Edited by Yueya
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, sugar and its close cousin white starches are probably the culprit to a whole array of inflammatory diseases.  I don't think its a conspiracy though.  Just an evolutionary bonus gone wild as we've learned to cheaply feed ourselves what our ancestors needed and craved- cheap easy calories.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don´t think it´s a "conspiracy" in the sense of an organized campaign of disinformation.  But there´s more to what were told is healthy than unbiased science: politics, money, mental inflexibility on the part of researchers who´ve staked their career on a certain position and are loathe to reverse course, the desire on the part of some ethical vegetarians to believe that saturated fat is the cause of all ills.

Edited by liminal_luke
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don´t think it´s a "conspiracy" in the sense of an organized campaign of disinformation.  But there´s more to what were told is healthy than unbiased science: politics, money, mental inflexibility on the part of researchers who´ve staked their career on a certain position and are loathe to reverse course, the desire on the part of some ethical vegetarians to believe that saturated fat is the cause of all ills.

 

Agreed. (Though I'm not sure how significant the influence of vegetarians was back in the 1980's.)

 

To my mind, an aspect that deserves more emphasis is the addictive nature of sugar. Few people are willing to own their addictions and scientists are no exceptions. Sugar addiction is now pervasive and will not be overcome simply through information, There will be a huge backlash from not only vested economic and political interests but also from people's reluctance to even admit, let alone kick the sugar habit. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don´t think it´s a "conspiracy" in the sense of an organized campaign of disinformation.  But there´s more to what were told is healthy than unbiased science: politics, money, mental inflexibility on the part of researchers who´ve staked their career on a certain position and are loathe to reverse course

 

Absolutely.

 

 

the desire on the part of some ethical vegetarians to believe that saturated fat is the cause of all ills.

 

Maybe. I think Yueya might have a point though (not very much influence).

 

And I have to say, veggies who feel they need to demonize fat because they think they can't get enough in their diet... well, they are morons, really. Since going veggie my fat intake has increased.

 

 

 

Atkins was right.

 

About?

 

Overconsuming protein is just as bad as overconsuming sugar.

 

The major problem comes when people eat too much of one thing.

 

Modern obese people are often obese because they consume too much protein, processed sugar, fat, and alcohol, and not enough fibre and vitamins and water. Fruit and veg are criminally underrated, even by our governments.

 

 

We read almost every week of new research into the deleterious effects of sugar on our bodies…

 

I haven't read it in full, but from the section quoted in the OP... it seems like the article simplifies things a bit too much. When someone blames a single dietary component / macronutrient for such general problems as obesity, I smell bullshit.

 

Too much sugar is bad. Too much protein is bad. Too much fat is bad. Too much of anything is bad.

 

But foods containing sugar are essential for us.

 

 

He noted, too, that while humans have always been carnivorous, carbohydrates only became a major component of their diet 10,000 years ago, with the advent of mass agriculture.

 

Nonsense! We are not carnivorous, we are omnivorous. Like gorillas, chimps, dogs, pigs... we can eat all sorts, and indeed it is our very capacity for being adaptive that made us so successful, that enabled us to spread across the world from African plains to deserts to forests and jungles and mountains and lands of ice and snow...

 

When we were hunter-gatherers, we did not eat meat all day every day. Can you imagine a world in which they regularly successfully hunted animals large enough to fill everyone's bellies every day of the week?

 

Since the beginning, fruit, berry, root, nut -- our ancient ancestors ate far more fibrous and carb-containing foods than we do, and far less meat.

 

http://nutritionfacts.org/video/paleopoo-what-we-can-learn-from-fossilized-feces/

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The low-fat craze may have started decades ago, but it continues today bolstered by vegetarian doctor/authors such as Dean Ornish.  And it´s not like he´s totally wrong: a super low-fat diet might do wonderful things for a subset of heart patients, among others.  Nutrition is a stupendously complicated science.

 

But his diet advice isn´t right for everybody.  Vegetarianism isn´t healthy for everybody, though it might be good for some.  My mom went on a Dean Ornish type regimen for several years, swearing off olive oil and feeling guilty when she splurged on an avocado.  She´s now very sick.  Of course that proves nothing, I know.  But I can´t help thinking his was not the right diet plan for her.

 

Suppose you´re a doctor who strongly believes that eating animals is murder.  Might that not predispose you favorably toward studies that point to saturated fat as a health bugaboo?  Might that not blind you to studies showing it isn´t?

 

Liminal 

Edited by liminal_luke
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dr. Barry Sears is on to something with this lifestyle choice. It is a choice that I have made in preparing meals for my family, and it works!

 

Natural sugar, in the form of fruits and some vegetables, is great for us, refined sugar and too much fat are culprits for many ailments. I do not believe there is any sort of conspiracy where sugar or fat are concerned, it is people turning a blind eye to science, and not what the food industry or the government has been telling us for decades.

 

Happy eating :)

 

zone-diet-plate-1.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't read it in full, but from the section quoted in the OP... it seems like the article simplifies things a bit too much. When someone blames a single dietary component / macronutrient for such general problems as obesity, I smell bullshit.

 

Too much sugar is bad. Too much protein is bad. Too much fat is bad. Too much of anything is bad.

 

But foods containing sugar are essential for us.

 

Yes, this is a valid criticism. I'm not a reductionist and hence I favour the systems-environment approach to understanding the dynamic web of hypercomplex interactions that constitute 'reality'. However, the basic point of the article is that demonising fat and ignoring sugar (specifically refined sugar) was misinformed dietary advice - indeed dangerously misinformed.

 

 

Nonsense! We are not carnivorous, we are omnivorous. Like gorillas, chimps, dogs, pigs... we can eat all sorts, and indeed it is our very capacity for being adaptive that made us so successful, that enabled us to spread across the world from African plains to deserts to forests and jungles and mountains and lands of ice and snow...

 

When we were hunter-gatherers, we did not eat meat all day every day. Can you imagine a world in which they regularly successfully hunted animals large enough to fill everyone's bellies every day of the week?

 

Since the beginning, fruit, berry, root, nut -- our ancient ancestors ate far more fibrous and carb-containing foods than we do, and far less meat.

 

http://nutritionfacts.org/video/paleopoo-what-we-can-learn-from-fossilized-feces/

 

We've covered this controversial topic at length on Dao Bums in the past. I side with you on the basis of historical evidence (and my own dietary preferences). It seems to me the sugar misinformation is used by those who have their own particular dietaries obsessions, especially high meat, high fat diets. Hence all carbohydrates are demonised. 

Edited by Yueya
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh yes it is a conspiracy. Monsanto patented 20 years ago Round-up which has active substance glyphosate. The idea was to use this as a weed killer on crops to produce heavier and fuller seeds than normal using a natural survival mechanism of the plants. When the plants feel they die they will blossom and ripe more than normal. This is a standard procedure when just a couple of weeks before harvesting to spray round-up over the crops of wheat, corn and soy which are the staple foods of modern day society. Everything on the market right now that contains food derivates of wheat corn and soy such as corn syrup or soy protein is contaminated with glyphosate. Monsanto developed GMO so that the crops resist better to the Round-up. Nowadays there is a very strong lobby against labeling GMO, and guess who is gonna be the next president of US of A with the Monsanto campaign funds ? 

 

And what glyphosate does? It kills the bacteria in your gut just as it kills weeds and insects. 

And the consequences of that? Allergies from grass or polen (!!! never heard of that in Eastern Europe before '90s), IBS, Crohn disease, Fibromyalgia, and many other "cronic diseases".

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The low-fat craze may have started decades ago, but it continues today bolstered by vegetarian doctor/authors such as Dean Ornish.  And it´s not like he´s totally wrong: a super low-fat diet might do wonderful things for a subset of heart patients, among others.  Nutrition is a stupendously complicated science.

 

But his diet advice isn´t right for everybody.  Vegetarianism isn´t healthy for everybody, though it might be good for some.  

 

Agreed.

 

But his diet advice isn´t right for everybody.  Vegetarianism isn´t healthy for everybody, though it might be good for some.  My mom went on a Dean Ornish type regimen for several years, swearing off olive oil and feeling guilty when she splurged on an avocado.  She´s now very sick.  Of course that proves nothing, I know.  But I can´t help thinking his was not the right diet plan for her

 

Suppose you´re a doctor who strongly believes that eating animals is murder.  Might that not predispose you favorably toward studies that point to saturated fat as a health bugaboo?  Might that not blind you to studies showing it isn´t?

 

Liminal 

 

I hope your mum regains her health.

 

I agree about the potential bias of such a doctor. But that's our human condition. We all have biases that shape our reality. It was Immanuel Kant who famously concluded that it's our concepts that shape what we see, not the other way around as was previously thought.  To me the 'perfect' objectivity that the scientific method hopes for is beyond the human. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a minor point to clarify that the main source of protein for per-hystoric humans were insects and worms rather than large animals. Even today roasted locust is a major delicacy in some cultures including orthodox Israelis.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not to fear, insects are making a comeback among more adventurous foodies.  There are several upscale restaurants in Mexico city that specialize in insect-rich pre-hispanic fare.  I used to live in Oaxaca where crickets are a common snack, though they taste more like the lime and chile they´re prepared with than anything else.  

Edited by liminal_luke
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re:

-----

"We are not carnivorous, we are omnivorous. Like gorillas, chimps, dogs, pigs... we can eat all sorts, and indeed it is our very capacity for being adaptive that made us so successful, that enabled us to spread across the world from African plains to deserts to forests and jungles and mountains and lands of ice and snow..."

-----

 

Human being is "omnivorous".

 

But that is a generality.

 

In fact, there are many differences between human being and, for example, a dog.

 

Dog saliva is acid, like all meat-eaters.

 

Human saliva is alkaline, which is more for plant digestion.

 

Dog digestive tract is short, for passing rotting flesh quickly.

 

Human digestive tract is much longer, which is also more for plant digestion.

 

Many other differences exist - even tooth shapes.

 

Shape and type of teeth are good evidence of what was eaten in the past.

 

Dog barely chews, but rips and tears.

 

Human has incisors smaller than any real carnivore.

 

And flatter teeth generally - for grinding.

 

Human doesn't just chew "up and down", but actually can grind jaw around in circle horizontally while chewing - for seeds, grains, etc.

 

But human being is not the same with plants as cows.

 

Cows, goats, etc, have multiple stomachs and long digestion - for grasses that are very contracted and scrubby.

 

But not so much just the seeds of grasses.

 

 

 

 

 

-VonKrankenhaus

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The low-fat craze may have started decades ago, but it continues today bolstered by vegetarian doctor/authors such as Dean Ornish.  And it´s not like he´s totally wrong: a super low-fat diet might do wonderful things for a subset of heart patients, among others.  Nutrition is a stupendously complicated science.

 

Yeah, the low-fat thing is still pretty strong. The fact that articles such as the one in the OP still need to be written is evidence of that.

 

We're still seeing all manner of low-fat foods in the supermarkets, promoted in magazines, etc. The one that really pisses me off is low-fat milk. I would have all makers and drinkers of skimmed milk put behind bars.

 

But... like I said earlier, the fact that someone is vegetarian should have nothing to do with their opinion on fat. There are people on ketogenic vegan diets these days.

 

We're a bit off topic, and might be on the verge of going round in circles here, but... I do not like seeing a non-meat diet blamed for all this, when the misinformation is spread by all sorts.

 

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/weight-loss-guide/Pages/successful-diet-tips.aspx

 

I searched "weight loss diet" and this came up. So many are obsessed with weight loss, of course, and the UK's health service decides that "Fruit and veg are low in calories and fat, and high in fibre – three essential ingredients for successful weight loss." Well, this isn't anything to do with vegetarianism, but the misinformation is there.

 

 

But his diet advice isn´t right for everybody.  Vegetarianism isn´t healthy for everybody

 

I've looked him up, and no, his diet advice isn't good. But... yes, not eating meat can be perfectly healthy for nearly everyone (nearly -- there are digestive conditions etc which preclude certain people from eating most plant foods).

 

It took me many years to even give the idea of vegetarianism a chance. For the whole of my 20s I was absolutely convinced that a diet must contain meat, and convinced myself that veganism was for weak people. I never let the notion that cutting out meat could be healthy enter my head. In all my googling, all my discussions, all my experimentation with food, the one thing I refused to try was not eating animals every day. Only last year did I start to warm to the idea.

 

One thing that turned my head was my recognition of the relatively high number of vegan/veggie athletes. Veggies make up a much smaller proportion of the general population than the world-class athlete population. In other words, there are more veggies at the peak of their sport than one would expect. This might be because vegetarian people are on average more concerned with health and fitness, I suppose, but I think it far more likely that it is because a well-balanced plant-based diet is actually superior to a diet with meat. Well, this recognition, and some (for once) honest research into large-scale epidemiological evidence on diet, finally allowed me to admit to myself: there is no need to eat meat, and thus no excuse to do so (when considering the devastating affect animal agriculture has in so many areas).

 

Anyway.. the fact that Ornish and his ilk demonize fat doesn't mean that all vegetarians must! Please, blame the diet plan, not vegetarianism as a whole.

 

 

though it might be good for some.  My mom went on a Dean Ornish type regimen for several years, swearing off olive oil and feeling guilty when she splurged on an avocado.  She´s now very sick.  Of course that proves nothing, I know.  But I can´t help thinking his was not the right diet plan for her.

 

I'm sure you're right. I hope she's on the road to recovery...?

 

 

Suppose you´re a doctor who strongly believes that eating animals is murder.  Might that not predispose you favorably toward studies that point to saturated fat as a health bugaboo?  Might that not blind you to studies showing it isn´t?

 

It might. I won't argue against the fact that many vegetarians are complete fuckwits. But, again, this doesn't make a plant-based diet unhealthy.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Guardian newspaper (UK) recently published a excellent report, entitled the Sugar Conspiracy, which argues that sugar, not fat, is behind the world’s rising ‘diabesity’ (diabetes and obesity), and questions how the world’s nutritional scientists got it “so wrong for so long”.

 

The West will never tap into the real problem because it lives on the surface, the 'ego.' The real reason for this new trend is this:

 

Liver Qi stagnation.

 

It blocks the Heart even further, creates a congested and damp Earth, Metal (lung) has excessive heat and the Kidney fail to drive downward the Qi that is inhaled through the Lung.

 

The Lung is the master of qi, the Kidney is the root of qi.

 

General stagnation and toxicity takes place (obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer).

 

Poor diet, stress, technology, not moving enough, modern day living, focus on material values excessive sex, not following the 4 seasons, living oblivious to the subtle and huge influence of the yin & yang and the 5E.

 

Beyond that: lust, delusion which are the ultimate blockages of the spirit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dustybeijing,

 

The topic of the relative merits healthwise of a vegetarian diet versus an omniverous one is a subject that rankles many, and I count myself among the most rankled.  This whole conversation might arguably have been better served if I´d held back my little dig about vegetarian doctor/authors in my first posting is it opens up a sidetrack bugaboo many Bums would just a soon do without.  My apologies.

 

Liminal

Edited by liminal_luke

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites