Beyond Gorgeous

Beyond Gorgeous

Sugar — As Bad for You as Tobacco or Alcohol?

How bad for you is sugar?  Bad enough to rate government intervention? Dr. Robert H. Lustig, a professor of pediatrics, in the division of endocrinology at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, thinks so.  In a recent article in Nature magazine, co-written by two other specialists, Dr. Laura Schmidt and Dr. Claire Brindis, he recommends treating sugar in the same way as other health hazards such as alcohol and tobacco.

“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. But sugar is toxic beyond its calories,” Lustig said.


Sugar, the article’s authors say, is fueling a worldwide obesity pandemic.  Its contribution to cancer, heart disease, and diabetes and the related health problems brought on by these diseases, causes about 35 million deaths worldwide.  About 75% of the healthcare dollars in the U.S. are spent on treating these three diseases.

The authors argue that sugar does more than make people fat.  It also is responsible for changing metabolism, raising blood pressure, altering the signaling of hormones, and damaging the liver.

So what can the government do?  The article recommends the same tactics used against alcohol and tobacco consumption.  Taxes which make particularly harmful foods, like sodas, prohibitive is one suggestion.  Tightening licensing on vending machines and snack bars, and educational programs to make inform the public of the hazards of sugar were also among the authors’ suggestions.


Whether the government should get involved in our diet choices may be a matter for argument, but the fact that we need to cut out the sugar is not!  We’ll be looking at the different types of sweeteners in the next few posts to check out options for cutting down on sugar and the even more toxic high fructose corn syrup.

Eating to live and living for Christ,

Susan Jordan Brown

Nature 482, 27–29 (02 February 2012) doi:10.1038/482027a

Published online 01 February 2012


Comments read comments(8)
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posted March 20, 2012 at 10:55 am

That depends. I’m doing this series so my readers can check out the options and decide which ones work best for them. I personally use both honey and stevia.

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Kim Rodriguez

posted March 19, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Is sweetening with honey the best choice?

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posted March 19, 2012 at 5:59 pm

I agree about the dangers of sugars. But this articles is misleading. All sugars are not the same. Just like other foods, the more you refine or process a sugar product the more it’s natural chemical balance becomes UNbalanced, which in turn throws the body chemistry off balance. And the EXCESS use of sugar is what adds to the problem too. It’s these two “no-nos” that are impacting people’s health.

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posted March 2, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Too true! We need to be responsible for ourselves so big government doesn’t take responsibility for us.

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posted March 2, 2012 at 1:02 pm

I’m not for big government, either! If the government didn’t subsidize the poisonous stuff, it would be a good start to curbing this huge, preventable health crisis. Thanks for the comment!

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posted March 1, 2012 at 9:53 pm

It’s not the duty of government to tax and regulate everything. The new healthcare reform act has given the government more hidden powers than we are yet to see!

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posted February 29, 2012 at 4:16 pm

The government is too intimate with our personal lives as is. Let’s put all our legislators on a sugar-free diet and see hoe that works! I hate to think what they’ll think of next…maybe telling us where we should eat when we eat out! Stop the maddness. I am putting up a “Stay out” and “Do Not Diturb” sign out right now.

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Erika Dolan

posted February 29, 2012 at 3:36 pm

The Government would like to be involved in every aspect of our lives. Next they will tell us how many hours to sleep and what time to go to bed. They are not our father and mother. Butt out.

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