The case against sugar

"SUGAR IS TOXIC. The fat and sodium we’ve spent so much time fretting over may in fact be the lesser of the evils in our diet. New evidence suggests that sugar—and pos- sibly artificial sweeteners—might be the ulti- mate cause of high blood pressure, high choles- terol, heart disease, diabetes, and liver disease."

"The case against sugar" source

"Natural sugars in our diet aren’t the ones on trial here. It’s added sugars that are under great- er scrutiny than ever before. Former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s 2012 effort to curb the sale of supersized soft drinks put a spotlight on the added sugars in soda. But added sugars are prevalent in many foods and beverages: coffee and sports drinks, juices, grain-based desserts, candy, and ready-to-eat cereals.

Naturally, the food and beverage indus- tries—and the sweetener purveyors who sup- ply them—officially disagree with sugar’s bad rap. That position hasn’t changed in 40 years. But they are increasingly looking for ways to reduce added sugars in their products by com- bining natural and artificial sweeteners, adding flavor enhancers to improve the taste of low- or zero-calorie sweeteners, and even searching for new kinds of sweeteners. They hope to avoid regulation as public health officials and govern- ment agencies consider ways to curb how much sugar we consume.

Some scientists, however, argue that the evidence against added sugar is so damning that we need to remove it from our diets entirely. Leading the crusade is endocri- nologist Robert H. Lustig of the University of California, San Francisco. Lustig doesn’t mince words when he calls sugar “the most demonized additive known to man.”

Lustig coauthored a paper providing the basis for the American Heart Associa- tion’s recommendation that men consume less than 150 calories (37.5 g or about 9 teaspoons) of added sugar per day. That’s about the amount in one regular 12-oz soft drink. For women, the recommendation is less than 100 calories (25 g or about 6 teaspoons).

Although added-sugar consumption in the U.S. remains significantly higher than it was 50 years ago, the amount we take in has gone down during the past 15 years. Still, the average American consumes more than double AHA’s recommendation—some 365 calories per day, according to the Depart- ment of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service."

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