Sugar is a naturally occurring molecule that tastes good, provides energy, and satisfies our appetite. Glucose, the most basic form of sugar, is needed by the human body for the most rudimentary of metabolic processes. Without sugar, and more specifically glucose, the human body would cease to function normally. As the wise old adage goes – the dose makes the poison. Any nutrient can become a toxin if consumed in large enough quantities. Similarly, increased consumption of sugar will cause it to become a toxin and poison to the human body. Diabetes is a deadly disease that has the hallmark of unregulated glucose control. Diabetes leads to atherosclerotic changes in the arteries of the body which ultimately results in heart attack and stroke. Consuming excessive amounts of sugar, even if you don’t have diabetes, is a form of self induced unregulated glucose control. In effect, someone who consumes large amounts of sugar is inflicting a state of transient diabetes upon themselves. With this transient state of diabetes come all of the known health complications that diabetics usually are afflicted with. In addition to being toxic, sugar has a very strong addictive potential similar to any other drug of abuse such as tobacco or alcohol. There is a withdrawal syndrome that individuals who consume large amounts of sugar will go through after the abrupt cessation of excessive sugar consumption. The withdrawal syndrome will cause the “sugar addict” to seek out and consume larger amounts of sugar to return their body to the sugar intoxication state. In addition to the health consequences that this addictive behavior carries, it also causes personal and professional detrimental consequences as well. The addictive and mild altering effects of sugar can even be seen in children who consume large amounts of candy. Most children are usually well behaved in the presence of their parents. Any child who consumes large amounts of sugar behaves as if they are in an intoxicated state. They are loud, aggressive, energetic, challenging, and have an overall altered persona, similar to a drug “high”. This behavior cannot be reproduced by giving children excess servings of vegetables. Sugar fits the classical definition of an addictive substance. I am not the first, nor shall I be the last to make this statement. Recently, Dr. Robert Lustig and his colleagues contributed a very well written commentary about the toxic effects of sugar and how to possibly control the growing epidemic that sugar toxicity is causing throughout the world. The commentary can be found in the journal Nature. In addition, Dr. Lustig has posted a lecture in which he discusses the dangers of sugar and its addictive and toxic effects on society.
View the YouTube Video of Dr. Lustig’s lecture below:
Dr. Sanjay Gupta interviewed Dr. Robert Lustig and his views on the toxicity of sugar can be viewed in the video below:
Undoubtedly, sugar abuse and dependence has contributed to the obesity epidemic that we are witnessing in the United States and in other countries around the world which have adopted our sugar laden and processed diet. Government intervention will be needed to stop the juggernaut that has been created by the sugar driven commercial food industry. Sugar is a toxin and a poison and needs to be regulated as such, similarly to alcohol and tobacco. Our health and the health of our children depend upon it.
Robert H. Lustig, Laura A. Schmidt, Claire D. Brindis “The toxic truth about sugar” Nature 2012; 482: 27-29