Saturday, February 18, 2012

Robert Lustig on Sugar: Sweet Tooths Gone Wild

Thanks to Iowa Guru, I learned the Dr. Robert Lustig appeared on Science Friday with Ira Flatow on our local NPR station, WSUI (a great Iowa resource). Lustig is on the war path against added sugar in our diet. His perspective tracks closely with that of Gary Taubes, and to a lesser extent, Michael Pollan. Put simply, too much fructose in our diet drives metabolic syndrome. We reduced fat in our diet about 30 years ago thinking that fat was clogging our arteries, and to replace the fat, we added more carbs in the form of sugar. In fact, also about this time, high-fructose corn syrup came into existence. So what happened? Obesity (which Lustig says is not the primary problem) and metabolic syndrome (from an over-worked liver) have sky-rocketed. His message--even simpler than Pollen's "eat real food, mostly plants, not too much"--is "eat real food". Whether it's meat or plant, if it's unprocessed, it's okay. (Real fruit has fructose, but it also has fiber, which slows the metabolism enough to give the liver a chance.

The link to NPR, by the way, allows you to listen or to read a transcript of the interview. Do it!

By the way, this is not my first post mentioning Lustig: see here.

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