“Sugar is the biggest public health crisis in the history of the world,” says Dr. Robert Lustig, an endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco, whose 2009 speech “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” has received more than 2.5 million hits on YouTube. In an opinion paper published earlier this year in the journal Nature, Lustig and colleagues provoked debate when they stated that sugar is so harmful, it should be regulated like alcohol and tobacco. “Every substance of abuse -– cocaine, heroin, you name it -– has required personal or social intervention,” says Lustig. “For sugar we have nothing, and my prediction is that we will need both.”
At first blush, this antisugar advocacy may seem alarmist. But Lustig and his University of California colleagues argue that sugar is harmful in significant amounts –- not necessarily because it’s high in calories but rather because it triggers a toxic chain of reactions in the body that produce harmful fats, hormones and other metabolic by-products.
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