Is Sugar Toxic?

This NYT Magazine article by Gary Taubes is an excellent read.  It begins by examining Robert Lustig’s accusations that sugar is a toxic poison, but goes on to ask some very important questions about the relationship between sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and obesity, diabetes and cancer. Much needed research may not be forthcoming, however.

As Lustig points out, sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are certainly not “acute toxins” of the kind the F.D.A. typically regulates and the effects of which can be studied over the course of days or months. The question is whether they’re “chronic toxins,” which means “not toxic after one meal, but after 1,000 meals.” This means that what Tappy calls “intervention studies” have to go on for significantly longer than 1,000 meals to be meaningful.

At the moment, the National Institutes of Health are supporting surprisingly few clinical trials related to sugar and high-fructose corn syrup in the U.S. All are small, and none will last more than a few months.

Continue reading …

More on Mercury in High-Fructose Corn Syrup

From the July/August 2009 issue of MotherJones:

“In 2004, Renee Dufault, an environmental health researcher at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), stumbled upon an obscure Environmental Protection Agency report on chemical plants’ mercury emissions. Some chemical companies, she learned, make lye by pumping salt through large vats of mercury. Since lye is a key ingredient in making HFCS (it’s used to separate corn starch from the kernel), Dufault wondered if mercury might be getting into the ubiquitous sweetener that makes up 1 out of every 10 calories Americans eat.

Dufault sent HFCS samples from three manufacturers that used lye to labs at the University of California-Davis and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The labs found mercury in most of the samples. In September 2005, Dufault presented her findings to the FDA’s center for food safety. She was surprised by what happened next. “I was instructed not to do any more investigation,” she recalls. FDA spokeswoman Stephanie Kwisnek says that the agency decided against further investigation because it wasn’t convinced “that there was any evidence of a risk.”

Read on…

The High Fructose Corn Syrup – Autism Connection, Is there one?

Grist’s post examining the link between high-fructose corn syrup and autism caused quite a rumpus.  So much so that Grist’s executive editor posted a follow-up semi-apologetic correction and a more detailed article examining both article and review.  It’s easy to jump into the middle of a rumpus without all the facts, so here are the rumpus-causing articles, in order:

A macroepigenetic approach to identify factors responsible for the autism epidemic in the United States

Paper asks: Does high-fructose corn syrup contribute to a rise in autism?

Why that corn-syrup-and-autism study leaves such a sour taste

Thoughts?

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