Is Fructose Fuelling the Obesity Crisis

  • By: kim
  • Date: February 7, 2012
  • Time to read: 2 min.

I recently came across a talk given by Dr. Robert H. Lustig MD titled Sugar: The Bitter truth. Dr. Lustig is a Professor of Paediatrics at the University of California, Dr. Lustig and his research group from the Division of Endocrinology have been investigating the role of sugar (particularly fructose)  in childhood obesity. I loved this presentation as he is brilliant and engaging speaker. His explanation of the science behind sugar metabolism is suitable for a lay person to understand.

The research group have come up with some startling findings. I was particularly shocked when Dr. Lustig explained the way fructose is metabolised by our bodies. To put in the very simplest of terms the liver metabolises fructose in a similar way to alcohol (ethanol).

Fructose has many similar but not all of the nasty side effects that alcohol consumption has. This is shocking as most people would be horrified at the thought of giving any alcohol to their kids. Unfortunately it turns out that the foods and drinks most people think of as healthy like fruit juices are in fact doing their children great harm.

What is High Fructose Corn Syrup?

According to wikipedia

“High-fructose corn syrup is produced by milling corn to produce corn starch, then processing that starch to yield corn syrup, which is almost entirely glucose, and then adding enzymes that change some of the glucose into fructose.”

High Fructose Corn Syrup has increased in consumption in the last 30 years.

Since the 1980’s there has been an increase in consumption of foods and drinks that contain high fructose corn syrup. Dr. Lustig believes it is the inclusion of this type of fructose that is a contributing factor to the obesity epidemic in children.

So is Sugar in Fruit Bad for You?

In this talk Dr. Lustig explained that it is perfectly OK to eat fruits provided they are eaten whole, and in their natural state. Whole fruits do not have the same effects on the body as pure fructose, because the fruit also contains fibre. It is the fibre in the fruit that will protect the body against the worst side effects seen when pure fructose is consumed.

Sugar: The Bitter Truth – Video

Here is the video it takes some time to watch it all the way through but well worth it.


Sugar the Bitter Truth Transcript


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