Evil Sugar

Recently, a Facebook friend and podcast host asked me to listen to an episode of another show that deals with sugar. The show, as per its name, strongly, sometimes violently, argues against the demonization of any food group and strikes the argument that, of course, everything is OK in moderation.

You all know how I feel about that argument.

It was an interesting podcast. I am not sure I disagree with anything they said to be honest. What I DO have an issue with is when they, glorified trainers, attack noted experts as idiots. Who are they other than trainers with a pulpit? The message I think is pretty on target. They touch on a few things I have a hard time getting my head around, basically the total calorie issue, and what begets what, meaning is it the added sugar that is making you fat or is it actually the added total calories. I think where they go wrong is the assumption that all of us that are “anti sugar” are “anti fruit”, and that is not the case. I eat fruit all day long. What I don’t eat is processed added sugar foods. Junk food. It seems they say it is not the junk food itself but the total calories in the junk food, and I am not sure that is true. I think it has to relate to the nutrient density of the food, to my argument that 300 calories of a Big Mac is not the same as 300 calories of spinach.

They also claim that most articles stating that sugar is at the root of most problems are “cherry picked”, which I find amusing because they are doing the same thing in their arguments. They are the type that do not believe in the over eating issue or the food addiction issue. At least that’s what I get from listening to them. I have written about these type of people in the past. When I posted about this earlier on social media it was also pointed out to me by Lonnie Beauchamp that these are the same guys that go against many experts but hold the CARBsane people up as experts. We all have our oracles don’t we?

I think it hearkens back to Arthur Schopenhauer who stated that

“all truth passes through three stages; first it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third it is accepted as being self-evident.”

I think we are in stage 2 with the sugar thing. Remember it was in my lifetime that cigarettes were advertised on TV and touted by “3 of 4 doctors agree” notions. What all these guys have in common is they got caught up with hero worshiping these experts so when they choose to eat another way they need to demonize the experts they used to worship. They stated in the episode a number of times that they “used to believe this too”. Is it just human nature to vilify anyone you used to agree with when you change your mind? I am not 100% NSNG any more but I don’t feel the need to make those that still are out to be “idiots”. I don’t agree with how vegans believe but I am not going to say they are wrong, or buffoons, if they choose to eat that way. The bottom line for me, and I have written this before, is if it isn’t “unhealthy” then what’s the issue? Is it unhealthy to eschew sugar? No. So why do some feel the need to create a whole podcast about how stupid we are? I don’t get it.

As Meaghan put it on the string,

“What all these guys have in common is they got caught up with hero worshiping these experts so when they choose to eat another way they need to demonize the experts they used to worship. I never worshiped anyone and I don’t think you did either.”

I’d agree with Meaghan on that point. Just because I agree with someone doesn’t mean I worship them.

After listening to the show, and taking a day to digest it fully, I had to keep digging. I found no less than 12 articles in Sports Nutrition journals, the Journal of Nutritional Studies, and a few British Sports journals, which showed direct correlations from sugar consumption and inflammation. The one direct dissent I found, in the JAN, was written by a representative of the nutritive sweetener association. You can read an example HERE:

Estevam CO Lula, Cecilia CC Ribeiro, Fernando N Hugo, Cláudia MC Alves, and Antônio AM Silva, “Added sugars and periodontal disease in young adults: an analysis of NHANES III data”, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2014, 100: 4 1182-1187; First published online August 13, 2014. doi:10.3945/ajcn.114.089656

Laura Ingalls of FSkinny.com, and past guest on Back of Pack Endurance (episode 76 found HERE), stated in the social media string that

“… one thing that sticks out to me is the lack of discussion around biochemistry with the fruit sugar vs processed sugar vs calories conversation. For example, your body requires minerals to properly digest and process sugar. Fruits and vegetables come complete with the minerals needed to digest the sugar. Processed sugar does not and, thus, needs to leech minerals from the body’s stores in order to be digested and used properly. Additionally, once your body has reached its limit in what it requires for carbohydrates in a single meal, it stores the rest of what it doesn’t need as triglycerides (blood fat). What this says to me is that it’s not about total calories because your body will do different things with particular TYPES of calories. For example, if you only ate what your body needs in carbohydrates and the rest of your calories were coming from protein and fat, your body would react very differently than if all of the calories, regardless of the needs of the body, were coming from the same source. Your body would USE what you ate vs storing it.”

So well put that I had to ask her if I could just use what she wrote instead of rewriting it myself (I am not that smart).

Tom Barbieri, of Tioga Wellness, added

“… what you eat and how your body processes it is all about economy. Like we need a balanced budget, we need a balanced nutrition strategy. ‘Real food’ has this balance, as Laura points out in the fruit point. Ideally, our bodies should never have to store anything. This is where individual attributes come into play. My take on anyone that TELLS others what to eat, or in this case TELLS others to avoid those that TELL us what to eat without knowing individual attributes of each member of their audience has their own unresolved mental ‘obstacle’ (…term it as you want) in which food or nutrition is the vehicle for distracting them from dealing with their own issues.”

So what is the net net?

I have a sneaky hunch that twenty years from now the knowledge of the damage processed food in general, not just sugar, causes is going to be common and we will be wondering how we were ever so blind to it. The tobacco industry lost that battle eventually as well. Just takes time. While we wait for that moment, though, it is no excuse to keep up with bad habits. There is NO excuse for being ignorant to dangers in our food, in our environment, with all of the information out there at our fingertips. We are not idiots, for the most part. We know how to sift through the crap and find the truth if we really want to find the truth. In this day and age we are so quick to fight instead of conversing intelligently. We call people idiots, we tag what they say that we don’t agree with as bullshit, without ever looking at it from an unbiased point of view. We have to learn to recognize the extremist point of view and the misinformation that is presented as fact without looking into the matter ourselves (much like the FOX representation of 50% of scientists disagreeing with climate change when in fact that it is less than 2% of scientists that don’t agree with it. See? Facts over Flash!).

We have brains everyone.

Use them ….

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