Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio discovered that fact a few years ago while studying patients with lesions in the area of the brain where emotions are generated. These were people with full control of their logical faculties, but unable to feel emotions.
The natural sugars found in fruit, however, are different because the fibre in fruit mitigates the negative effects, he says. There may be no added sugar in per cent fruit juice, but once you take the fibre away, the natural sugars might as well be added, Lustig says. Insoluble fibre is the cellulose, like the stringy stuff in celery or grapefruit.
The insoluble fibre forms like a latticework covering these epithelial cells, and the soluble fibre plugs the holes between. If you ate calories of almonds, for example, your body only absorbs calories because the gut bacteria chews up the other 40 calories.
Glucose, sucrose and fructose: Consider two slices of white bread versus orange juice, Lustig explains.
The unused 20 per cent goes to the liver, where some will be converted and stored as glycogen for later use, and some will be released into the bloodstream. That stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin, which regulates blood sugar and helps signal the brain that you are full.
Most of the stored glycogen will get burned off as your body needs it. Just a tiny fraction of the glucose leaves the liver as citrate and is ultimately turned into fat. Compare this to the sucrose in the orange juice, of which 60 calories is glucose and 60 calories is fructose.
Fructose can be processed only by the liver and cannot be used by other organs, so all 60 calories will be processed there, where it creates toxic by-products like uric acid. High levels of uric acid is linked with several obesity-related diseases such as gout and hypertension.
Sugar, not obesity, is driving metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Hong Kong, for example, has a much lower obesity rate yet a much higher diabetes rate than the US. Lustig cites statistics from the US: Eighty per cent of this 30 per cent are obese and sick, a total of 57 million people.
Among the 70 per cent of the US adult population who are not obese, 40 per cent, or 67 million, have exactly the same metabolic dysfunction as these obese and sick people.
Based on this, Lustig suggests metabolic diseases are not about behaviour but rather exposure — in particular to sugar in processed food. A study by Lustig and colleagues that was published in the February issue of the journal Obesity provides evidence that liver fat is driving the rise in metabolic diseases.
Children who had metabolic syndrome and who were obese were fed catered meals for 10 days in which sugar was substituted by starch. So instead of donuts, the children had bagels; potato chips instead of sweetened yogurt; turkey hot dogs instead of chicken teriyaki.
After 10 days, there was a 22 per cent reduction in liver fat among the children, but not much change in visceral and subcutaneous fat.
It came from sugar; sugar and alcohol gets metabolised exactly the same way in the liver. Sugar is the alcohol of a child. And that is why today, children are getting the diseases of alcohol — type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease — without alcohol.
While sugar is proven scientifically to cause type 2 diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver disease and tooth decay, the data on sugar and obesity is very weak, Lustig says.Sugar is to children what alcohol is to grown-ups.
There’s no good sugar, or fruit juice. Sugar, not obesity, is driving disease such as diabetes.
Outspoken anti-sugar advocate Dr Robert Lustig. Jun 23, · A haunting portrait of Lucy, a young university student drawn into a mysterious hidden world of unspoken desires.
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