In Defense of Sugar: A Critique of Diet-Centrism.

Abstract:

:Sugars are foundational to biological life and played essential roles in human evolution and dietary patterns for most of recorded history. The simple sugar glucose is so central to human health that it is one of the World Health Organization's Essential Medicines. Given these facts, it defies both logic and a large body of scientific evidence to claim that sugars and other nutrients that played fundamental roles in the substantial improvements in life- and health-spans over the past century are now suddenly responsible for increments in the prevalence of obesity and chronic non-communicable diseases. Thus, the purpose of this review is to provide a rigorous, evidence-based challenge to 'diet-centrism' and the disease-mongering of dietary sugar. The term 'diet-centrism' describes the naïve tendency of both researchers and the public to attribute a wide-range of negative health outcomes exclusively to dietary factors while neglecting the essential and well-established role of individual differences in nutrient-metabolism. The explicit conflation of dietary intake with both nutritional status and health inherent in 'diet-centrism' contravenes the fact that the human body is a complex biologic system in which the effects of dietary factors are dependent on the current state of that system. Thus, macronutrients cannot have health or metabolic effects independent of the physiologic context of the consuming individual (e.g., physical activity level). Therefore, given the unscientific hyperbole surrounding dietary sugars, I take an adversarial position and present highly-replicated evidence from multiple domains to show that 'diet' is a necessary but trivial factor in metabolic health, and that anti-sugar rhetoric is simply diet-centric disease-mongering engendered by physiologic illiteracy. My position is that dietary sugars are not responsible for obesity or metabolic diseases and that the consumption of simple sugars and sugar-polymers (e.g., starches) up to 75% of total daily caloric intake is innocuous in healthy individuals.

journal_name

Prog Cardiovasc Dis

authors

Archer E

doi

10.1016/j.pcad.2018.04.007

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2018-01-01 00:00:00

pages

10-19

issue

1

eissn

0033-0620

issn

1873-1740

pii

S0033-0620(18)30084-7

journal_volume

61

pub_type

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