(So, my nutrition class is actually proving to be quite interesting and our professor is much more open about nutritional ideas besides the standard food pyramid guidelines. He certainly relies on the research and takes the time to interpret what it means. He isn’t apposed to low carb or paleo and believes that low carb can actually be very beneficial. Yay, a non-food pyramid nazi for a professor! Although, he isn’t my favorite professor… he lacks in other areas. But that’s not important for this post.
Anyway, we have a project in which we must watch THIS youtube video entitled “Sugar: The Bitter Truth.” And… WOW! You all should watch it! It is an hour and a half and I just watched it last night but it is incredibly interesting, especially if you are a nutrition nut, but even if you are not you should watch it! It has some great facts and information about obesity and health in the US and around the world plus the cause.
He basically argues that fructose is the main cause of… everything:). It is a toxin. It is metabolized like ethanol (aka ALCOHOL!) is…. take a moment to think about what chronic alcohol does- makes you fat, lethargic, causes hypertension, high blood cholesterol, addiction. Guess what? Fructose does all of that too because it is metabolized in a similar way.
First of all, fructose is metabolized in the liver… it can’t be used by other cells and organs in the body and the brain can’t metabolize it. With glucose and ethanol they can be used by other parts of the body (think glucose=carb loading=YAY for endurance athletes because can be stored in muscle and other cells, ethanol=alcohol=you all know what happens to your brain when you drink alcohol!). The liver is made to detoxify… funny that alllll the fructose you eat goes straight to your liver… hmmm.
The metabolization of fructose results in increases in VLDL (bad cholesterol), lipid droplet formations in the liver, increases in JNCT 1 enzyme which causes insulin resistance and inflammation which increases blood pressure, it can also block leptin (the “I’m full” hormone) from telling your brain you are full (thus you eat more), fructose increases lipogenesis, aka makes you obese. I am not going to go into all the biochemistry behind this, but Dr. Lustig does in the video if you are interested in knowing more.
(That is a slide from Lustig’s presentation… the metabolism of fructose)
It’s all quite fascinating. Obesity and disease has increased since we’ve been told fat is bad and decreased our fat intakes. Why did we decrease fat intake? Because of LDL cholesterol which causes heart disease. Yes, LDL is bad but… Well, your blood cholesterol levels only increase to a certain max, no matter how much cholesterol you eat (generally, there are non-responders and responders who will react differently to the same level of ingested cholesterol). It’s a hyperbolic curve. Also, of the amount of cholesterol you ingest, only about 1/2 is absorbed (you poop the rest out) and then only about 1/3 is circulating in your blood… IN ALL OF YOUR BLOOD (that doesn’t end up being much cholesterol! Think about eating one egg…).
So we decreased fat intake because the government said to. Low fat food tastes like crap, right? Right. So what did we do to make those foods taste better? We added sugar…. mainly high fructose corn syrup. When did obesity and disease rise? As the consumption of, you guessed it, FRUCTOSE rose.
Lustig’s main point is a high fat diet is really a high sugar (specifically fructose) diet, which is why fat was considered bad. It’s the sugar that is bad. FRUCTOSE is what is making us sick. Here’s the thing, we normally eat sucrose which is composed of glucose + fructose. Sucrose is table sugar. There is a little FYI.
I’ve just barely touched on all the information in the video and the facts that back this up, but that’s a preview and I hope it will make you go watch it. I think everyone should see this video! Now, as part of my project for this class I have to summarize the video (blah blah blah) and then write a critique using a few sources to back up my argument. I certainly plan on finding an article or two that suggests the opposite of what Lustig has argued, especially to make sure I have all the facts and have done my own research. But, generally, I think he is right. Based on what I’ve learned so far in classes and whatnot, Lustig is certainly headed in the right direction if he hasn’t already hit the nail on the head!
Now GO WATCH IT! And tell me what you think!