Friday December 30, 2016

Fat and Sugar, Part 2

Listen to Full Episode 54:00

First, fat was the dietary bad guy. We were warned back in the 1980s to cut back on eggs, meat and full-fat dairy to avoid heart disease. So we started eating more bread, rice and pasta and fat-free snacks. But we got sicker and fatter. Now sugar is the bad guy. Contributor Jill Eisen explores the complex, and sometimes contradictory, science of nutrition -- and tries to find clarity amidst the thicket of studies and ambiguous research. **This episode originally aired June 22, 2016. 


France, Hungary, Norway, Britain and Mexico now impose taxes on soft drinks, and other governments are considering similar legislation.  Yet, while there's growing consensus that sugar is harming us, there's no consensus about why -- nor even if it really is dietary enemy number one. 

In the 1960's, long before the low-fat movement swept North America, our mothers warned us that if we didn't want to get fat, we'd better cut down on bread, pasta, potatoes -- and sweets. But then in the 1980's, everything changed. Suddenly, it was fat that made you fat. Governments in both Canada and the U.S. began advising everyone over the age of two to cut the fat and load up on carbohydrates. 

So North Americans started eating a lot more low-fat carbohydrates.  And to make all that low-fat food more palatable, the food industry started adding sugar to just about everything -- bread, tomato sauce, salad dressing, yogurt.  And to top it off, we washed it all down with low-fat drinks which were loaded with sugar. It was then that the twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes took off.

Fat and Sugar - Canada's Food Guides 1992 & 2008

In 1992, Canada's Food Guide recommended a whopping 5-12 servings a day of grain products, up from 3-5 servings in 1977. By 2007, the Guide had reduced the recommendation for grain product to 6-8 servings a day for adults.

Some Facts About Sugar

  • Most caloric sweeteners are made up of glucose and fructose. Sucrose -- table sugar -- is 50% glucose and 50% fructose. High fructose corn syrup has about 45% glucose and 55% fructose. From a metabolic point of view, table sugar and high fructose corn syrup are almost identical.
  • Canadian consumption of added sugars is 1/3 lower than in the U.S. Source: Canadian Sugar Institute
  • Canadians consume about half the amount of soft drinks than Americans. Source: Canadian Sugar Institute
  • "Added sugars" include all sugars, corn syrups, honey, and maple syrup added to foods and beverages. It does not include sugars that naturally occur in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. It is estimated that Canadians consume approximately 11% of their energy (calories) as added sugars, equivalent to about 53g of added sugars per person per day. Source: Canadian Sugar Institute
  • The World Health Organization recommends that no more than 10% of total calories should come from added sugar.

Guests in the program:

  • Gary Taubes, science journalist, author of Why We Get Fat, and Good Calories, Bad Calories
  • Marion Nestle, Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at New York University
  • Robert H. Lustig, Pediatric Endocrinologist, Director of the Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health Program at the University of California, San Francisco Benioff Children's Hospital
  • Dariush Mozaffarian, cardiologist and Dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University
  • David Ludwig endocrinologist, researcher and professor at the Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, Director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at the Boston Children's Hospital
  • David L. Katz MD, founding director of Yale University's Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, and President of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine

Reading List:

  • Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, New Trends Publishing, 2001

  • Nourishing Broth: An Old Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World by Sally Fallon Morell and Kaayla T. Daniel, Grand Central Life & Style, 2014

  • Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease by Robert H. Lustig M.D. , Plume Reprint Edition, 2013

  • Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning) by Marion Nestle, Oxford University Press, 2015

  • Pure White and Deadly: How Sugar is Killing Us and What We Can do to Stop It by John Yudkin and Robert H. Lustig, Penguin Books, 2013

  • Fear of Food: A History of Why We Worry About What We Eat by Harvey Levenstein, University of Chicago Press, 2013

  • Always Hungry: Conquer Cravings, Retrain Your Fat Cells and Lose Weight Permanently by David Ludwig, MD, PHD, Grand Central Life & Style, 2016

  • Disease Proof: Slash Your Risk of Heart Disease, Cancer, Diabetes and More - by 80% by David L. Katz, MD, Plume Press, 2014

  • Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health by Gary Taubes, Anchor Books, 2008

  • Why We Get Fat: and What to Do About It by Gary Taubes, Anchor Books, 2011

  • The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes, Knopf, Forthcoming, December 27, 2016

  • The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet by Nina Teicholz, Simon and Schuster Paperbacks, 2015

  • Swallow This: Serving Up the Food Industry's Darkest Secrets by Joanna Blythman, Harper Collins, 2015
  • Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss, McClelland & Stewart, 2013

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