Is Sugar Toxic? Dr. Robert Lustig Thinks So

We’ve all heard time and time again that high levels of sugar in your diet is harmful to your health–with many studies suggesting a link to diabetes–but is sugar toxic to your body? According to research led by Robert Lustig of the University of California, sugar is toxic.

A handful of scientists have recently been suggesting that sugar is actually the worst thing in the American diet, on some levels even more unhealthy than trans fats. According to Lustig and his team of researchers, sugar can be blamed for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even some form of cancers.

According to the research, the average American person consumes roughly 130 pounds of added sugars–which includes sugar and high fructose corn syrup–every year. And while high fructose corn syrup is often vilified more often than sugar, Lustig says that, metabolically, there is no difference.

Taking the idea of the toxicity of sugar even further, Lustig, in an interview with CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CBS’ 60 Minutes, goes as far as to say that sugar should be treated no differently than alcohol or tobacco.

“Ultimately, this is a public health crisis…you have to do big things and you have to do them across the board,” Lustig told Gupta. “Tobacco and alcohol are perfect examples. I think sugar belongs in this exact same wastebasket.”

It sounds a bit extreme, and in my opinion it is, but Lustig’s idea that sugar is toxic isn’t new–as the New York Times reported last year, Lustig started his anti-sugar campaign, and the labeling of sugar as a toxin, in 2009 with a lecture titled “Sugar: The Bitter Truth”. The lecture was posted in video form on YouTube, and has received over 2.1 million views to date.

If you’re interested in hearing more about Lustig’s suggestion that sugar may be toxic, you can catch Gupta’s interview with the researcher on 60 Minutes tonight, April 1, at 7 p.m. ET/PT. You can also check out Lustig’s hour-and-a-half-long lecture on sugar as a toxin below.

Do you think that sugar is toxic, and that it should be treated the same as alcohol and tobacco?

via CBS News