December 20, 2016

"The researchers reviewed guidelines issued by the W.H.O. and eight other agencies around the world and said the case against sugar was based on 'low-quality' evidence."

The study, published in The Annals of Internal Medicine, is getting criticized because it was funded by the International Life Sciences Institute, which is funded by food and agriculture companies.
“This comes right out of the tobacco industry’s playbook: cast doubt on the science,” said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University who studies conflicts of interest in nutrition research. “This is a classic example of how industry funding biases opinion. It’s shameful.”
But wait. Isn't Nestle avoiding science by relying on an argument based on an accusation of bias? And isn't she pushing a non-scientific idea — that doubt should not be cast on science?

I note that the W.H.O. guidelines say "adults and children should restrict their intake of sugar from most foods — other than fruit, vegetables and milk — to 10 percent of their daily calories." What is the basis for differentiating sugar from fruit, vegetables, and milk? Is that science or folk wisdom?
The W.H.O. said it relied on the latest scientific evidence, which showed that adults and children consuming a lot of sugar were more likely to gain weight or become obese.
That sounds like "'low-quality' evidence" to me.

44 comments:

Patrick said...

I know nothing of the science, but I love that her name is Nestle. Hey, someone had to say it.

Ambrose said...

"Nestle" a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health - What's her real name.

mccullough said...

We're still studying food and nutrition at this general of a level of what's good for you and what's bad for you in certain amounts?

Seems like if anything the science should have settled on, it's this stuff

TWW said...

Nestle. Interesting name.

mockturtle said...

Presumably they are referring specifically to sucrose [table sugar], not 'sugar' in the general sense. Or perhaps just that fructose and lactose found in fruits and dairy products are consumed with nutritious foods while sucrose is usually not. The body reduces them all to glucose, at any rate.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

What is the basis for differentiating sugar from fruit, vegetables, and milk? Is that science or folk wisdom?

Fruit and vegetables have fiber, which slows down absorption of the sugar, thus buffering against "insulin shock." Weight Watcher does not assign points to (most) fruits and vegetables. You can eat an unlimited amount of them. The Miami Beach diet is more stringent, limiting vegetables to pretty high fiber varieties only and most fruits are forbidden.

All in all, the scientific evidence is increasingly leaning towards what was once considered easily observable common sense. To be lean stay away from carbs (bread, potatoes, rice, desert as my DI told the one fat guy in my Basic Training platoon) and pay attention to portion size, which is much smaller than most people now think thanks to restaurant serving sizes.

Earnest Prole said...

I believe the science is that when sugar is bound up in fruit and vegetable fiber, it takes considerably longer to pass into the blood, thereby reducing its concentration. It is science easily verified with a blood-sugar meter.

Ann Althouse said...

"Presumably they are referring specifically to sucrose [table sugar], not 'sugar' in the general sense. Or perhaps just that fructose and lactose found in fruits and dairy products are consumed with nutritious foods while sucrose is usually not."

But soda is made with fructose.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

But soda is made with fructose.

Not everywhere, Coke made in Mexico is considered superior because they use cane sugar. Cane sugar is cheaper in Mexico than here, so it doesn't make sense to use fructose.

In any event, fruit juice is just as bad (sometimes worse) than soda as far as packing on pounds. Those juice boxes kids are always sucking on, probably as bad as computer gaming for making kids fat.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Avoid bananas, with 27.6 grams of net carb or 7 teaspoons of sugar per large fruit, and mangoes, with up to 44.9 grams of net carbs or 11 teaspoons of sugar per fruit. Fruit juices, even unsweetened 100 percent pure, pack a lot of net carbs, with 38 grams of net carbs or almost 10 teaspoons of sugar per 12-ounce serving of orange juice, for example. Dried fruits can also quickly raise both your blood sugar and insulin levels because they constitute a very concentrated source of carbs. A serving of 1/3 cup of dried cranberries, for example, provides 30.6 grams of net carbs or almost 8 teaspoons of sugar.

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/fruit-cause-insulin-up-1905.html

Hagar said...

All those pretty young things who "graduated from college" have to be provided employment somewhere, and government agencies telling us what to eat and do, etc., is often the "somewhere."

Ron Winkleheimer said...

A 12-ounce can of regular Coke contains 39 grams of total sugar, which is about 9 1/3 teaspoons of sugar. If you’re reading the ingredients list though, you won’t see sugar clearly listed. Coke in the United States is made with high fructose corn syrup as a lower-cost sugar alternative. High fructose corn syrup is actually the second ingredient in Coke, behind carbonated water.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/283136-how-many-teaspoons-of-sugar-are-there-in-a-can-of-coke/

Sugar can be found naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables or added into foods like soda, milk, yogurt and cereals. Face the Facts USA reports that an average person consumes 100 pounds of sugar per year, or almost 30 tablespoons per day. Most added sugars are consumed through sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages. Sugar should be consumed in moderation, with the American Heart Association recommending no more than 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men each day.
Sweet Talk

One teaspoon of sugar contains 16 calories, and 1 tablespoon (which equals 3 teaspoons) contains 48 calories, with all the calories coming from carbohydrates.


http://www.livestrong.com/article/140464-how-many-calories-are-one-tablespoon-sugar/

Curious George said...

"I note that the W.H.O. guidelines say "adults and children should restrict their intake of sugar from most foods — other than fruit, vegetables and milk — to 10 percent of their daily calories." What is the basis for differentiating sugar from fruit, vegetables, and milk? Is that science or folk wisdom?"

Trust me...eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and you will lose weight, and prevent diabetes. It's not that the sugar is different, it's that these foots are less calorie dense.

BTW, juice is not fruit. Neither are dried fruits fruit.

aritai said...

same can be said about saturated fat. The sugar data doesn't include the political favoritism trade support component. Same as happened with animal (meat farmers) vice the grain (soy) farmers. Another reason to be careful about "it's science!" arguments from authority. Even Double blind people looking at clouds with a certain passion eventually see the same thing in an environment of "did you see that??" sadly the fat nonsense has killed a lot people, fat is the body’s natural energy source, requires next to no processing. that's why people who only eat eggs cheese heavy cream fatty meat, limp bacon are so slim and seldom develop the nasties, like diabetes and cancer. How could that be, where did we ago so wrong. Because a six pack a day famous smoker when they autopsied had arteries full of fat. President Eisenhower, would have said don't do this!: - because it's carb, starches and sugars that turn on the insulin system to convert everything into saturated fat to power the body and save for a rainy day. And that conversion factory is the dirtiest refinery you've ever seen. All kinds of deadly bi-products. About have of us can tolerate, the other half accidently eat more healthily, the other half didn't know they could live twice as long so they didn't care. Such is life in the world of government interference.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

The real issue though is that the human body is designed to desire sugar, so that it will eat all that it can get, but not designed to use all the sugar it can now obtain. Up until a couple of hundred years ago, most people couldn't obtain 300 tablespoons of sugar in their entire lifetime.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

BTW, juice is not fruit. Neither are dried fruits fruit.

Exactly. Hell, processed OJ has to have artificial flavoring added to it so that it tastes like orange juice.

Laslo Spatula said...

Socially Awkward Guy Who Makes No Eye Contact says:

When I was a child my favorite sugar would be the milky sugar slurry at the bottom of a bowl of Captain Crunch with Crunch Berries. I would finish a bowl and leave the remaining sugar-milk at the bottom, then I added the contents for another bowl: after eating that, the remaining puddle of milk would be supercharged with sugar and little soggy crumblings of cereal…

It was wonderful, which is no doubt why my Mother put a stop to it by eventually only buying low-sugar cereals. Rice Krispies? I don't care about the Snap, Crackle or Pop! Cheerios? Seriously? That was horse food...

I wanted the sugar, I wanted a super-duper sugar cereal that scraped the roof of my mouth raw like sandpaper, I wanted THE FUCKING CAPTAIN CRUNCH. WITH FUCKING CRUNCH BERRIES…

After my Mom stopped buying sugary cereals I would only get to have them when I had a sleep-over at a friend's house, rare because I really didn't have many friends…

There was one boy in second-grade, Alan Jenkins, who invited me over and, in the morning, we let the sugar settle from Cocoa Puffs for chocolately sludgy sugar milk. It would have been a great stay-over if only Alan hadn't put his finger up my butt the previous night…

I would love to meet a girl who liked to be peed on AND liked to eat Captain Crunch with Crunch Berries: I'm starting to think such a woman doesn't exist, except maybe in Romania or something. If they even have Captain Crunch in Romania, with or without the Crunch Berries…

Like no one else thinks these things.

I hope the Girl with the Blue Hair is working at McDonalds today...



I am Laslo.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Damn it Laslo, now I have to buy another laptop.

Patrick said...

"Damn it Laslo, now I have to buy another laptop"

To be fair, you could see it coming once he mentioned the sleeper. In Laslo's world, sleepovers don't happen without something weird going on.

Earnest Prole said...

I know scientific ignorance can be a badge of honor, but anyone who knows a diabetic also knows the simple science of blood sugar and fruit and vegetable fiber.

n.n said...

Round and round... The best recommendation is that everyone is a scientist and that everyone should be a scientist. Observation. Reproduction. Deduction.

dreams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crimso said...

Sucrose is composed of glucose and fructose, so eating more "sugar" means you eat more fructose. The biggest issue is likely the added fructose (over and above normal sucrose intake). There are interesting biochemical clues leading to suspicion regarding fructose. I say "clues" as opposed to "reasons" because living organisms are extremely complex, so simple cause-and-effect relationships aren't always what they are expected to be. Compared to glucose, there is good reason to believe fructose metabolism by the liver is dysregulated (from the standpoint of the fate of the metabolites of the fructose), and that this dysregulation leads to obesity, etc. Not all people will respond the same, though. Here's a fascinating paper (can read it for free if you can stand the jargon) strongly suggesting high fructose diets in mice lead to metabolic syndrome:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22371574

Earnest Prole said...

Milk?

The fat content in milk helps reduce absorption of its sugars into the blood.

PB said...

Most "scientific" evidence used to achieve a desired policy aim is low quality, particularly when that "science" is commissioned after the policy if formed.

Take for example the argument against second hand smoke. Instead of sticking with 95 percent confidence intervals for epidemiological studies indicating causal links (because there weren't any) they pushed studies with lower confidence intervals with incredibly small sample sizes and piled on with meta studies. So they were basically pushing junk while going all out on the fear.

Failing to convince on shoddy science typically leads to a rapid adoption of new argument lines (the more the better so you can jump from one to another as fast as possible). A favorite here is the bogus economic argument, ie, "it'll save you money down the road, not that we can prove it or are willing to perform real-life tests".

Like the anti-smoking argument, bars/restaurants will see business increase if we ban smoking because it keeps people away to day. When you reply that there was no barrier to bars/restaurants voluntarily going non-smoking to tap all that unmet market demand, that some did and perhaps the market was the solution. At which point they jump right back into pushing the shoddy science of second hand smoke and the health of "servers".

You can't argue with people's religions and expect critical thinking.

John said...

Much as I like lazlos writing, this on capt crunch is weak tea.

For someone who really gets the captain, see randy Waterhouse in cryptonomicon.

A 4-5 page explanation of the perfect cc experience

mikee said...

If you can buy sugar to consume, you are more likely to be or become obese.
Because you can afford to buy food. And not just any food, you can afford sugar.

James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web describes such inversion of cause and effect as demonstrted by WHO with the monicker "The Fox Butterfield Effect" after the eponymous reporter who declared that prisons were overflowing, despite the lower crime rate!

Karen said...

One doesn't need science to understand that sugar, at least for about 50% of people, is extremely addictive. It is addictive because it is highly refined and does not contain within it the nutrients needed to metabolize it. I noticed immediately upon quitting sugar and other sweeteners that my brain cleared up, my energy improved, and I was able to think straight for the first time in years. After just two weeks off sugar, all of my blood panel became normal . Now after just two months, my dopamine receptors are coming back online, and the world has become a very pleasurable place

mockturtle said...

One thing I know for certain about sugar: It makes kids hyperactive. I used to volunteer with kids programs and, when they ate a lot of sweets, they were agitated and quite uncontrollable. My own kids didn't get much sugar and didn't get any cavities until after they were grown and very few then.

I was a chocaholic as a child. As soon as I got my weekly allowance, I was off to the store for a chocolate bar and a Little Lulu comic book. I still like my Lindt's extra dark.

Martin said...

She is just making an ad hominem attack, and we all know how valuable those are.

Anyway, how do you take seriously a nutritionist named "Nestle"?

Michael K said...

"Fruit and vegetables have fiber"

The sugar in fruits, and I think most vegetables, is fructose. Corn syrup is, of course fructose.

We used to use fructose in IVs in some patients because, as I recall, it did not require insulin.

I guess the data is not clear on this.

Short-term fructose consumption, in isocaloric exchange or in hypercaloric supplementation, promotes the development of hepatic insulin resistance in nondiabetic adults without affecting peripheral or muscle insulin sensitivity.

As usual, the "science is not settled."

Bob said...

Michael K.

My understanding is fruit and vegetables have varying combinations of free fructose and sucrose (which is 50/50 glucose and fructose).

I believe corn syrup is mostly glucose, and it is treated enzymatically to convert the glucose to fructose. It is then blended with other corn syrup to produce the commercially preferred "high-fructose corn syrup".

I also read someplace many years ago that in the early years of the space program, NASA experimented with fructose as a food source for astronauts. Unfortunately, it tended to raise triglycerides.

Bob said...

Michael K.

My understanding is fruit and vegetables have varying combinations of free fructose and sucrose (which is 50/50 glucose and fructose).

I believe corn syrup is mostly glucose, and it is treated enzymatically to convert the glucose to fructose. It is then blended with other corn syrup to produce the commercially preferred "high-fructose corn syrup".

I also read someplace many years ago that in the early years of the space program, NASA experimented with fructose as a food source for astronauts. Unfortunately, it tended to raise triglycerides.

Michael K said...

I believe corn syrup is mostly glucose, and it is treated enzymatically to convert the glucose to fructose.

You know more about it than I do.

We used to use 10% fructose in IVs to get more calories into post op patients, That was before TPN.

HT said...

"One type of carbohydrate is sucrose, also known as table sugar. It's a disaccharide, meaning that it is composed of a glucose unit and fructose unit bonded together. Both units appear in equal proportion. High fructose corn syrup, on the other hand, is a liquid sweetener. It features an imbalanced ratio, containing 55 percent fructose and 42 percent glucose. Larger sugar molecules constitute the remaining 3 percent."
-livestrong

HT said...

For all intents and purposes HFCS and table sugar are the same.

That sounds like "'low-quality' evidence" to me. How?

mockturtle said...

I believe corn syrup is mostly glucose, and it is treated enzymatically to convert the glucose to fructose.

Fructose is converted into glucose but glucose is not converted into fructose in the body. The body converts all carbs into glucose. For that matter, it can convert fats and proteins into glucose, too, by gluconeogenesis.

Crimso said...

"Fructose is converted into glucose but glucose is not converted into fructose in the body. The body converts all carbs into glucose. For that matter, it can convert fats and proteins into glucose, too, by gluconeogenesis."

To be more precise, some monosaccharides can be converted into glucose, but for the most part they are instead converted into intermediates in the major metabolic pathways for glucose. To a non-biochemist, that may sound like fructose=glucose. It doesn't, primarily because the fructose derivatives enter the glucose pathways at different points, depending upon tissue type.

At the risk of oversimplifying, consider that fructose in liver enters the glycolytic pathway "downstream" from the major regulatory (and rate-limiting) step of the pathway. In a certain (not quite correct, but close) sense, fructose might be considered to be utilized by the liver essentially in an uncontrolled fashion.

Know what the liver does with excess dietary monosaccharides? Converts them to triglycerides (excess monosaccharides are the primary source of raw material for fatty acid biosynthesis in the liver; save that energy for a rainy day).

Note also that your body can convert proteins into glucose (and lipids), but lipids can NOT be converted to glucose in humans (plants can do this). There is no mechanism for converting the acetyl-CoA (the breakdown product of fatty acids) into glucose. Glucose and amino acids can be broken down to produce acetyl-CoA, which can then be used to synthesize fatty acids (your body is remarkably efficient in saving excess energy right after a meal).

Now, who's ready for the test?

Charlie Currie said...

I think this is ridiculous - everyone is different - everyone's body reacts differently to nutritional inputs. If you eat sugar and you get fat...STOP IT...if you don't get fat and don't get type 2 diabetes...rock on. That goes for everything you consume.

Some people smoke cigarettes and get lung cancer...some people never smoke and get lung cancer...some people smoke their entire long life and never get cancer...some people just don't give a shit, and neither should anyone else.

Some people drink 3 cans of Dr Pepper every day and live to be over 100.

If you want to stay lean, eat moderately, and eat whatever makes you happy...eating what makes you happy is less stressful and stress can kill you, too.

And, tell the food scolds to pound sand.

Charlie Currie said...

Also, if you want to live a long healthy, happy life, take whatever the government tells you and do the opposite.

Freeman Hunt said...

Seeing Type 1 diabetes in action through someone you know will disabuse you of many notions surrounding sugar. Bread, fruit, sugar candy, all send blood glucose levels flying. Fat and protein slow it down. Fiber does a little but not much. Fruit is recommended on diets not because it lacks sugar, but because it generally has less calories and is more filling than other options.

MayBee said...

1. Government comes up with some preferred narrative for whatever reason: social control, agricultural control, whatever
2..Government dictates policy based on preferred narrative
3. Research funding goes toward those who will further the preferred narrative
4. Those in the out group must fund their own research to counteract the narrative that harms them
5. Those in the in group scream that the outgroup's research is funded by "special interests"

It is this way in all things.

Karen of Texas said...

To tag on to what Crimso so said re: "In a certain (not quite correct, but close) sense, fructose might be considered to be utilized by the liver essentially in an uncontrolled fashion.

Know what the liver does with excess dietary monosaccharides? Converts them to triglycerides (excess monosaccharides are the primary source of raw material for fatty acid biosynthesis in the liver; save that energy for a rainy day)."

I believe this might be the "stay away from HFCS flag as much as possible because a lot of people are walking around with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and it is theorized that too much fructose in the diet is a major contributor. Many livers are rejected for transplant because this is found pre-transplant examination. In any event the liver is an amazing organ; it deserves much respect for the filter and cleanup work it does especially in this day and age.

Tina848 said...

From a chemical point of view, all sugar is always broke down to become glucose. Fructose, dextrose, et al, become digested to glucose. But then all carbohydrates behave like sugar, too. Simple carbs like refined flour and rice become glucose, as does complex carbs like bulgar and millet. Carbs are sugar, just like all forms of sugar are sugar.....