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more on the addictive nature of sugar with dr. robert lustig


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“Can you name another substance of abuse for which the effect of the substance is more dangerous than the calories it harbors? Alcohol. Its calories are dangerous not because they’re calories; they’re dangerous because they’re part of alcohol. Sugar is the same. Sugar is the alcohol of a child. You would never let a child drink a can of Budweiser, but you would never think twice about a can of Coke. Yet what it does to the liver, what it does to the arteries, what it does to the heart is all the same. And that’s why we have adolescents with type 2 diabetes.” Dr. Robert Lustig from the article being discussed today

I recently read a statistic showing that in 1900 the average American consumed less than five pounds of sugar annually.  Today we are approaching 160 lbs —- a 3,200% increase.  A couple days ago the publication Vox (no, I’m not a regular reader) published an an interview with the venerable Dr. Robert Lustig called The Case for Treating Sugar Like a Dangerous Drug (the interviewer was one German Lopez). 

Dr. Lustig is a pediatric endocrinologist and Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California in San Francisco.  Besides publishing over 100 peer-reviewed papers, he holds a law degree.  He’s probably most known for his viral video on sugar that came from a lecture at UCSF back in 2009 (HERE).

He started the ball rolling by comparing sugar to alcohol.   It’s not that alcohol is bad in small amounts, but as humans we have a limited ability to metabolize it.  In other words, when people consume too much alcohol (which is different for everyone) they become drunk.   Once drunk, the more alcohol they consume, the drunker they get.  He says the same thing about sugar. 

While alcohol can be addictive, there are certain drugs (namely METH, cocaine, heroin, etc) that are far more addictive than alcohol.  It’s important to remember that current research (HERE & HERE) has shown that sugar and high-glycemic extremely processed carbs are at least as addictive than these hard drugs, with some studies actually saying they are more addictive.  And just like hard drugs, their consumption has some severe consequences.  I’ll talk about a few he mentions by name.  

But before I do, I want you to understand that the major mechanism of destruction-by-sugar is not its CALORIES — something Dr. Lustig has made a point to bring out in the past.  It’s INFLAMMATION. You’ll notice that every disease he mentions is on the list in this link, along with many others. 

Unfortunately, when it comes to battling inflammation, I would contend that 99 out of 100 doctors think only in terms of drugs despite the fact that we’ve known for years that while drugs might temporarily modify symptoms; as far as actually CHANGING PHYSIOLOGY…. It’s not happening.  But then again, this scenario —- really sick people that live for a very long time — is BIG PHARMA’S fantasy-come-true, with you being their number one commodity (HERE). 

  • HIGH CHOLESTEROL:  Study after study (HERE, HERE, and HERE are a few) have proven that neither dietary cholesterol nor dietary fat (providing it’s not TRANS FAT) have much affect on one’s CHOLESTEROL LEVELS.  What does?  Easy.  Sugar and junk carbs.  This was known in the 1960’s but suppressed by BIG SUGAR.
  • TYPE II DIABETES:  At its root, diabetes isn’t so much a sugar problem as it is an inflammation problem.  It’s important to remember that inflammation (the group of important immune system chemicals that get driven to excessively high levels due to any number of factors, with sugar consumption probably being the most common — HERE) is what causes Diabetes.   One of the dirty little secrets of “EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE” is that the medical community is frequently ignoring their own evidence when it comes to any number of health problems.  Nowhere can this be seen in clearer fashion than with diabetes (HERE).
  • OBESITY:  Fortunately, Lustig, along with TAUBES and numerous others, doesn’t over-simplify the problem like 99% of the scientific community does by touting OBESITY as merely a problem of calories — too many calories consumed -vs- not enough calories expended (“ENERGY BALANCE“). Never forget that there are certain foods which, due to their inflammatory nature, engage your ENDOCRINE SYSTEM in abnormal / pathological ways (HERE).  Chief among these?  Yep.  Sugar and simple carbs — especially HFCS, which is far worse than others.  The most visible example is BELLY FAT.  You never used to see women with large bellies.  Now even many “skinny” women (and men) have pot bellies (HERE).
  • LIVER DISEASE:  The number one cause of Fatty Liver and third leading cause of Cirrhosis are not related to alcohol consumption, but to over-consuming sugar and junk carbs.  It’s the liver that metabolizes not only most drugs (MEDICATIONS as well as illicit drugs), but sugar as well.  Overload it and you have real problems on your hands — problems that drugs are not going to solve for you.  In fact, drugs cause the problem because it’s your liver that must detox them via a process known medically as “BIOTRANSFORMATION“.
  • DEMENTIA:  Did you know that along with FLU SHOTS, the leading cause of Alzheimer’s Disease happens to be sugar consumption (HERE).  The Tau Plaques that foul the brain in this debilitating disease are widely believed to be caused by over-consuming sugar and the simple carbs that metabolized in the body just like.  BTW; HERE’S the best way to stimulate your brain before you get dementia.
  • CANCER:  Cancer is not only the holy grail of this list, but I have asked myself repeatedly why the medical community isn’t doing more about this issue — particularly with the recent studies on KETOGENIC DIETS and the known relationship to sugar?  Chew on this for a moment.  The German medical doctor / Ph.D, Dr. Otto Warburg, won the Nobel Prize for Medicine for discovering that sugar is the food of choice for Cancer (HERE).   This happened before any of you reading this were probably born — back in 1931.  Another prime example of the medical profession ignoring their own research for gain.  Never let anyone try and convince you that CANCER is not fed by sugar or carbs that break down into sugar rapidly, or that by ignoring this information the medical community stands to make billions of dollars a year.  Make sure to check out Dr. Thomas Seyfried’s astounding video at the end of this post on FASCIA & CANCER pertaining to using a ketogenic diet to successfully address cancer.

Dr. Lustig could have continued.  For instance, we know that DYSBIOSIS is fed by sugar.  We also know that most AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES are fed by sugar as well (need proof?  Not only do you find links throughout the peer-reviewed literature, but HERE is an incredible example that will resonate with everyone).  Infertility, Sexual Dysfunction, and Depression are frequently driven by sugar as well — the topic of YESTERDAY’S POST

Because of the inflammatory nature of sugar, coupled with the fact that most diseases (EVEN MANY OF THE “GENETIC” ONES) are fed by sugar, we are physically crippling ourselves as a nation, not to mention “OUTSTRIPPING” OUR ABILITY TO PAY FOR OUR HEALTHCARE.  The problem, as I touched on earlier, is that sugar is extremely difficult to get off of for many people due to its addictive nature (HERE).

After making a valid case that sugar fits the many criteria required to regulate it as a “controlled substance” in similar fashion to alcohol or drugs, Dr. Lustig reveals what he believe the solution to this conundrum is — taxing the stuff.  The problem is, as he himself admits,

Now, I will tell you that America doesn’t trust its politicians. And we have a good reason for that: they suck. If you don’t quote me, I will be upset. The reason they suck is because, number one, they’re interested in power, not doing the right thing, and, number two, they take money. So everyone assumes that any tax that you would place on any given substance is either a money grab for coffers for other things or going into politicians’ pockets. Based on previous behavior of our elected officials, that’s a damn good guesstimate. We’ve seen this movie before.” 

Not sure I could have said it better myself.

He believes, however, that taxation could work if done properly.  Although I’m highly doubtful, he does talk at length about the way that corn, soy, and sugar are all subsidized through our federal government.  His belief is that we should start subsidizing things like broccoli instead. 

Not that I really like the thought of any government subsidies, but subsidizing broccoli would merely mean we end up with lots of excess “taxpayer funded” broccoli that would either have to be thrown away, plowed under, exported, or fed to livestock.  Unless parents actually start being parents again, paying farmers from government coffers to grow more broccoli would be no more effective than MICHELE OBAMA’S MOVE CAMPAIGN

The interview ends with Dr. Lustig being asked about the effects of sugar on the body. 

There are three.  One, fructose, the sweet molecule in sugar, is not metabolized like glucose. It’s metabolized in the mitochondria, and it is metabolized in the liver to liver fat. That liver fat mucks up the workings of the liver and leads to a process called insulin resistance. That raises your insulin levels because your pancreas has to make more insulin. That drives all the chronic metabolic diseases we know about, plus it burns out the pancreas, leading to diabetes.  Two, cellular aging. When bananas ripen, they brown.

The sugar in the bananas binds to proteins in the bananas nonenzymatically, even in dead tissue. That’s called the cellular aging or Maillard reaction. That happens to everyone all the time, so we brown inside. You don’t want to brown very fast, but we’re all browning because that’s how we age. But sugar makes us brown seven times faster; it basically kills our organs quicker.  Three, sugar is addictive. So a little makes you want more, because of the effect of the reward center of the brain.

If you are looking for a way to get off the MEDICAL MERRY-GO-ROUND and get your life back, but have found yourself trapped in a world of obesity, addiction, and increasing numbers of serious health issues, the links on this page are here to help you.  For a (free) comprehensive protocol that will at least dramatically change, if not solve, most of the chronic health issues that Lustig mentioned by name, CLICK HERE.  And if you found this post to be helpful, get it in front of those you love and care about most via FACEBOOK.


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