Sugar Is Your Friend

Sunday Oct 9, 2016 | BY |
| Comments (52)

In the last survey we sent out to our readers, I noticed a lot of questions about sugar that I want to answer today.

In recent years, quitting sugar as if it’s a drug has become very popular.

I saw Alec Baldwin on David Letterman talk about how he was pre-diabetic and had to do something to get back in shape. His secret? Giving up sugar. (And pasta too, because pasta “turns into sugar.”)

Gwyneth Paltrow is now famous for her lifestyle advice and frequently talks about “breaking sugar addiction.”

Tom Hanks now joins the ranks of the latest celebrity to quit sugar and has made a point to talk about it in numerous interviews.

One of the most viewed nutrition videos on YouTube is by Dr. Robert Lustig, a doctor whose claim to fame has been a war on sugar.

And as a final proof that we’re hearing too much nonsense about sugar, every hit song in the past couple of years seems to have the word “sugar” in the title or refrain (thinking of Maroon 5)! Okay, now I’m going too far… but do I have a point?

Within all that hype about sugar being poison, a lot of nonsense is being spread, and the real truth about health is not being heard.

First Things First: Not All Sugar Is Created Equal

Before I jump into the controversy, let’s state the obvious: white sugar is not a healthy food. It’s not a drug, and it’s often just a scapegoat for diseases it has less to do with than we think, but it’s still not a very healthy product. The same goes for all forms of refined sugar: maple syrup, honey, high-fructose corn syrup, etc.

Fruit, even though it contains loads of natural sugar, is perfectly healthy to consume even in large quantities. This includes high-sugar fruits like dates or mangoes, those innocent victims that are often blamed in popular diet books (while their recipes contain loads of oil, blue cheese, and meat). As we’ll see, all of the studies that have looked at the effects of fruit-eating show that we should eat MORE fruit, not less.

So-called “carbs,” more accurately called starches, such as potatoes, rice, beans, and any of their products made from whole foods — are also perfectly healthy to eat. This includes white potatoes, whole grain bread and pasta (unless one has a specific sensitivity to gluten).

What all of these foods have in common is one thing: They’re food, not “products.”

They contain starch or sugar — yes — but also loads of fiber, vitamins and minerals. To say that you should not eat a potato because it “turns into sugar” is to make a foolish statement.

Yes, the starch in a potato will be broken down into simple sugars by the body. But it just happens that the body is designed to be fueled by those simple sugars. This is written into our genetic code! However, this process will happen naturally, the way it’s meant to be, because along with the starch, you’re also consuming loads of fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Fiber is also a sugar, by the way. It’s sugar that we humans can’t digest, but that’s necessary to the health of our digestive system.

A Healthy Diet is a High-Sugar Diet

There’s a lot of confusion in the realm of nutrition because we hear two contradictory statements. On the one hand, we are told to eat more plant foods. On the other hand, we are told to eat less sugar, including less starch or “carbs.”

However, by default, plant foods ARE high-sugar foods. The vast majority of edible plants that have been cultivated by humans are high in natural sugar or starch. Low-sugar vegetables are nutritious, but they can’t sustain a human being because they do not contain much energy.

A few plant foods are high in fat instead of high in sugar: avocados, nuts, seeds, coconuts. But those foods are the exception, not the rule. In a natural setting, they were only found seasonally and in very specific geographic locations.

The reason we have this contradiction is because popular diet “experts” all claim that a healthy diet is one loaded with “good fats.”

They want you to eat a diet full of salmon, sardines, olive oil, nuts, seeds, chicken, lamb and grass-fed beef. Eat lots of “good fats,” minimize the carbs, eat lots of veggies. That is, more or less, the advice of 95% of diet books.

However, when we look at healthy populations around the world that have experienced superb levels of health, such as NO heart disease, no diabetes, and no breast or prostate cancer, we find that they have one thing in common: they do not eat plenty of “good fats.” Quite the opposite, they eat a plant-based diet that emphasizes natural sugar or starch.

For example, the Tarahumara Indians of Northern Mexico ate a diet consisting almost entirely of starch and vegetables, and they experienced almost no heart diseases or cancer. They were the most amazing endurance runners the world has ever known as well.

Some native populations of New Guinea ate a diet composed almost exclusively of sweet potato. It contained only 7% protein and less than 10% fat. Autopsies were done on 600 of those natives in the 1960s and only ONE mild case of heart disease was detected! The same autopsies done here would have revealed that almost every single American has heart disease.

Personally, I can tell you that my diet consists of over 80% of carbohydrates by calories. On this diet, my energy levels are much more constant, my blood sugar is perfect, my blood pressure is ideal, and I have no cravings for refined sugar. Although I have known about the benefits of this way of eating for over ten years, I have strayed from this ideal many times. Every time I have done it, I have found that my health has declined.

Too Much Fat, Not Enough Sugar

The problem is not sugar. The problem is too much fat, especially refined fat such as oil.

When you eat a high-fat diet, profound physiological changes take place in your body. The most obvious one is that you lower your insulin sensitivity. Because too much fat is clogging your bloodstream, you start affecting how insulin works.

This has been known from clinical experiences for a long time. People on a high-fat diet have a much higher blood sugar spike and subsequent drop when they consume refined sugar.

I have found the same thing on myself. I used to test my blood sugar using a tool sold to diabetics. I found that while eating a low-fat diet, my response to eating fruit was perfectly normal. I could eat five bananas at once and never get an abnormal blood sugar spike or drop. However, whenever I would eat a high-fat meal, my blood sugar would spike.

The author Steve Pavlina also did similar experiments and came to the same conclusions.

Too much fat does the following and more to your body:
– Negatively affects insulin sensitivity and promotes diabetes and high-blood sugar
– Negatively affects energy levels and athletic performance due to lower oxygen uptake
– Promotes inflammation (via high omega-6 intake) and omega-3 deficiencies
– Negatively affects digestion and nutrient absorption
– Promotes heart disease and high cholesterol, as even vegetable fats can cause heart trouble the same as animal fats if eaten in excess.

If you think what I’m saying is crazy, be sure that real science supports it. ALL of my claims are backed by multiple studies, both clinical and epidemiological. In fact, what I’m saying is nothing new… we’ve known it for over 40 or 50 years.

To prove it to yourself, simply go for seven days eating only plant foods that are high in starch or sugar. However, those must be whole foods (not refined). For example:

– Fruit
– Whole grains
– Beans
– Vegetables

The results of eating this diet are remarkable. Blood sugar normalizes, blood pressure drops, energy increases, and blood test numbers improve.

Questions Answered

This brings me to the questions I received in the survey.

Some experts say that sugar, even from fruits, can be bad for you, therefore, do not consume any processed sugar and limit sugar from fruits to less than, I believe, 25 grams per day. What is your opinion because I eat lots of fruit?

I believe lots of fruit is perfectly fine. In fact, the more, the better. You can eat lots of fruit as long as your diet is low in fats and doesn’t contain added oils. This video by Dr. Greger explains why all the research shows that eating fruit comes to positive results.

Those wishing to lose weight faster can cut down on the fruit and starches, but never to include more fatty foods in their diet. In other words: cut down your calories in general, but continue eating a high-carbohydrate diet. Eat more vegetables.

I am unable to stop sugar craving I know that sugar is poison. How do I get rid of these cravings I am unable to control myself because of the addiction

If you crave sugar, then it means that you’re not eating enough of it! You’re eating the wrong kind of sugar. You’re depriving your body of what it truly needs. Get most of your calories from starchy foods such as potatoes, rice, corn tortillas, beans, and squash. Feel free to include plenty of fresh fruit (no juices). I can tell you that when you eat a diet composed of over 70% of those natural carbohydrates, you will never crave refined sugar.

What are the short and long-term effects on blood sugar and insulin production from eating large fruit mono meals?

It is normal. But you must make sure your overall diet is low in fat.

Is fructose a good sugar?

All the research shows that fructose from natural sources (such as fruit) is an ideal type of fuel. Fruit also contains other types of sugar. This video and the sources started are a great place to start if you want more information.

Can one reverse diabetes on a fruit diet?

Type 1 diabetes is not reversible, but I can tell you that many people following Dr. Graham’s 80-10-10 Diet, which is a high-fruit diet, have gotten great results from this approach with Type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is reversible through weight loss or a diet high in carbohydrates, including fruit.

It’s worth mentioning that the populations that consume the most carbohydrates have the lowest rates of diabetes. I wrote more about this here.

Do cancer cells feed on sugar?

All cells use glucose for energy, not just cancer cells. Cancer cells grow quickly so naturally they demand more fuel. However, this applies to all fuel.

A low-fat diet will keep your blood sugar stable. I have heard a lot this concept that “sugar feeds cancer” but I have yet to see any evidence.

Of course, it makes sense to avoid refined sugar because it’s not health promoting. However, avoiding healthy foods that contain all the fiber, antioxidants vitamins and minerals you need just because they contain natural sugar, or starch is absurd. Even cancer organizations have come out to debunk the “sugar and cancer” myth.

Conclusions

A healthy diet is a diet high in plant foods, but also high in high-carbohydrates plant foods. I’m barely touching the surface here when it comes to all of the benefits of this diet and the science behind it. For those doubting my claims or wishing to investigate more, I have included references to a few selected articles and studies that will prove to be a good start to unleash your investigation.

Please write your comments or questions below.

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

Frederic Patenaude

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.

52 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Debra says:

    I do not see “Sugar Blues” by William Dufty, 1975 on your Bibliography list. PLEASE read this amazing old heath book and then rewrite this article with that knowledge. White sugar has been considered a drug for MANY years, this is not something new or something to criticize celebrities about.
    The chapter entitled “Codes of Honesty” is especially interesting!

  2. Tim Miller says:

    Another great article, Fredrick. Your stuff is great.

  3. You have to be kidding me. The low fat, high carb diet that we’ve were taught to follow is responsible for the obesity and diabetes epidemic.

    Everything we eat turns into sugar and used to fuel our bodies. Half of the protein we eat is stored and used later. The sugars in potatoes, grains, fruits and high-glycemic vegetables turn into sugar immediately and our bodies (insulin production) have to work overtime to get that sugar out of our bloodstream.

    Anyone who is advocating keeping that kind of diet alive is off my list of nutrition “experts.”

    • I appreciate the comments. I have to point out that this line is often used by Gary Taubes and Paleo promoters “The low fat, high carb diet we were taught is responsible for the obesity and diabetes epidemic.” My answer in brief:

      – In the 70s and 80s, low fat diets were popular and we were told to eat less fat. But in fact, Americans eat more fat now than they ate back then. They have never gone on a low fat diet. The only difference is now we eat a bit less fat by percentage of calories, but that’s only because Americans eat more refined sugar and white flour as well as more total calories. Total fat consumption by grams has gone up. Americans never went on a low fat diet. They ate 36.9% fat in 1971 and 32.2% fat in 2000. I don’t have the latest figures but I know that it’s around that. That was not a low fat diet then and it is not one today.

      – Populations that eat a whole foods diet based on carbohydrates do not have obesity and diabetes. No exceptions to that. “Low Fat” is less than 15% of fat by total calories.
      – Individuals who follow this diet today (whole foods, plant-based, low fat, high in carbohydrates) HEAL from diabetes and obesity.

      A list of doctors that agree with this position and have actually published in in peer-reviewed journals (unlike diet book authors) include: Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Neal Barnard, T. Colin Campbell Ph.D., and many others.

      • Debra says:

        Everybody metabolizes differently– PERIOD. Dr. D’Adamo’s work based on blood types is a great starting point to figure out your own system I have to laugh at slim people who have never had a weight problem and who give blanket dietary advice to their overweight friends, however well-meaning–Apparently these naturally slim people have never experienced gaining SEVERAL pounds overnight from eating some bread or potatoes, or seeing that slim people often eat WAY more than overweight friends. There is most likely some kind of genetic influence or DNA defect at work here–perhaps just faulty carbohydrate metabolism.
        I see fat-bashing at an all time high and it is sickening. Processed foods and additives are the enemy, and sometimes even healthy, nutritious fruits for people with certain conditions. Too bad Mrs. Obama’s wonderful work with her healthy White House garden did not include banning GMO seeds–she could have really took a stand and accomplished something special. I have heard that Chipolte’s problems stem from corporate sabotage based on their stand against GMO,s and am inclined to believe that.

  4. Evelyn says:

    I routinely eat a salmon, olive oil and chicken. What are the best plant-based foods for protein, and what is a good substitute for olive oil? I pour olive oil and lemon juice over my salads everyday. Thank you

    • Evelyn: The best plant-based foods for protein are beans, whole grains and green vegetables. I eat a cup of beans a day. I found that balsamic vinegar and a bit of nutritional yeast (found in health food stores) makes a great substitute for olive oil in salads. Add a few slices or cubes of avocado if you’d like. It’s delicious!

      • Sonia says:

        I’m confuse. I just read your book !Raw secrets ! And you talk bad about yeast , beans, vinegar , condiments etc.
        Doesn’t make sense to me.

  5. I am very sorry Frederic to see you stoop so low as to produce such a rubbishy and anti scientific evidence article as this one. I expected better of you. The reality is that it is not fats but carbs (and its sugar derivatives) that cause one to
    – Negatively affect insulin sensitivity and promotes diabetes and high-blood sugar
    – Negatively affect energy levels
    – Promote inflammation
    – Negatively affect digestion and nutrient absorption
    – Promote heart disease and high cholesterol

    I have done the diet that you suggest and although some fruits are acceptable, even necessary for some vitamins etc., to say that refined carbs such as pasta or refined white rice and and even bread is good for you is mind bogglingly outrageous. I just laughed out loud! Some years ago my doctor put me on such a diet and I ended up gaining 15 kilos in a month and felt so lethargic and unwell. In fact I have never felt so bad as on ‘your diet’. Nor does the human body need starchy carbohydrates (except for short term energy gain for athletes etc) unless there are few or no alternatives – which is in the case in the examples that you described. Furthermore those starchy carbs used by the tribes were largely organic and not grown in our Western nutrient deprived soils and full of a variety of different pesticides which adversely affect the working of our bodies – and then the carbs are heavily processed as well!

    No, all the real scientific evidence shows the harm that modern refined sugars do and few in the modern Western world should follow the sort of diet you are proposing. The human body needs fats (real fats not processed oils or trans fats) rather than processed carbs such as the grains that you are advocating. A diet full of vegetables absolutely yes and one can get all the carbs that the human body needs from a variety of fresh vegetables (preferably organic), backed up with some fruits and some fats and a bit of protein. Plus drink lots of water. That is what you should be advocating not the anti-science nonsense in the article that you have written.

    However, I would accept that possibly your body could work in a slightly different way to most of us as all our bodies respond very differently to different inputs and maybe your diet does work for you. But it most certainly doesn’t work for me nor I suspect for most people in the Western world. In my view it is very dangerous to advocate continuing to eat vast amounts of sugar of all sorts, including grains, as you are suggesting and I am very disappointed in your attitude. Sugar is your friend, no way, but bitterest enemy, absolutely yes!

  6. Dorothy says:

    Question- if you have a family history of heart disease and high cholesterol is this the diet you think is the best. I have very low HDL (35)and generally high LDL. Lipitor brings this down but do not want to continue statins. I have the dreaded metabolic syndrome. High blood sugar also 110. I bought the program regarding higher fat and protein but feel unwell on meat and sluggish,also. What is your opinion.

  7. Mark says:

    Great article! I place cancer patients on a high fruit and very low fat diet. They feel much better, inflammation disappears and tumors regress.

    Insulin resistance is caused by an excess of intramyocellular lipids or excessive fat accumulation inside muscle cells. Any type of fat will induce this condition but animal fats appear to more problematic.

    Everything stated in the article is accurate and backed up by sound scientific evidence. The hard truth may be hard to swallow by those who have been unfortunately misled by people who have an incomplete or biased education in nutritional science and human physiology.

  8. Kath147 says:

    In an article on Aug. 25 2014 on your site, it was stated that low fat diets are not healthy So which is correct?
    http://renegadehealth.com/blog/2014/08/25/7-signs-youre-not-eating-enough-fat-and-what-fats-are-healthy

    • Kath147 says:

      How much fat do we need to consume on a daily basis?

      • Kath147: There are diverging opinions on this topic. We need essential fats but every food, including vegetables and whole grains, contains SOME fat, even if it may be a small percentage. I personally believe that’s probably all we need, but for insurance, adding ground flax seeds daily to the diet as well as some nuts and seeds maybe a good thing for a lot of people. Some people claim that certain individuals don’t convert plant fats to essential fats such as DHA and EPA effectively. This is probably due to eating too many vegetable oils that are rich in Omega 6 fats, and this interferes with Omega 3 absorption. But if someone has a doubt or tests low in essential fats, there are some excellent plant-based DHA supplements available.

        But my personal answer to your question is: not more than 10% of total calories, ideally only from what’s found in natural, unrefined plant foods (with perhaps some nuts and seeds). In practice, that means not more than 1/2 avocado or one ounce of nuts, every day.

        • Kath147 says:

          I have been trying to cut back on fat. I ate a diet that was three days of limited fat on the weekend, mostly from nuts and avocados. The other four days I had no fat, I easily lost 5 pounds a week, and I felt great. When I read your article it intrigued me. When I went back to my normal diet, I didn’t gain weight, but I didn’t have as much energy, and I noticed pockets of fat on my body. It is so much easier to eat the way you are talking about. I eliminated white bread and white sugar from my diet a long time ago. Now it it time to add more fruits and veggies. Any suggestions for replacing oil, butter, or sour cream on a baked potato? I do miss that sour taste.
          Thanks

          • @Kath147: I enjoy salsa (canned or fresh) on baked potatoes. Simple and tasty! Sometimes I use a bit of BBQ sauce, or mustard. (Yes, some will say BBQ sauce contains sugar, but I only use a bit and I don’t consume any other refined sugar otherwise!)

          • Emily says:

            Dr. McDougall (and others, too) have a recipe for low fat vegan sour cream if you do okay on soy. One package (12.3 oz.) silken tofu, 2 1/2 T. lemon juice, 2 1/2 T. sugar, dash of salt. Combine in a food processor til smooth. Also, mashed avocado with a dash of lemon juice and salt is good.

    • I did not write this article, Colleen did. You can say that we agree to disagree! Kevin agrees partly with my opinion on fat/carbs but not completely. I respect everyone’s opinions, and Renegade Health is open to different points of view.

  9. Anya says:

    Ahhh thank you Fredrick fro this wonderful article! So I’ve been studying a number of the high raw food health educators who do advise less high sugar hybridized fruits, their argument is quite good, they say nature didn’t make her fruits nearly as sweet as we have. This is quite true is it not? I am looking for more clarity on this subject, thank you so much!!

    • @Anya: Every fruit commercially available is hybridized to some degree. That’s not the issue. The real issue is fruits that are very sweet vs. fruits that are less sweet. The advantage of fruits with a lower sugar content is that they contain more fiber and nutrients by weight and calories compared to fruits that are very sweet. However, the advantage of sweet fruits is that they contain enough sugar to actually SUSTAIN you. That’s not a small advantage if you’re trying to live off them primarily (such as in a raw food diet), or if you need extra energy. Whether high-sugar or not, fruits are healthy. They’re still much lower in calories by weight than almost any other foods.

      My problem with this argument is: what do they want you to eat instead? If raw food educators are making this point, they are misleading you. On a raw food diet, the problem is to get enough energy. You need those high-sugar fruits, otherwise you’re going to get most of your calories from fat instead.

      On a starch-based diet, eating lots of high-calorie fruit on top might be too many total calories. Then if that’s the case, I would say focus on the low-calorie fruits such as berries, apples, etc.

  10. Joel says:

    Poppycock.
    This article is supported only by “selective science” not real science.

  11. I feel that you are splitting hairs here, lumping all sweet foods into “sugar”. I practiced holistic medicine for 30 years and I can say for sure that processed sugar/sucrose is very addicting. And as a matter of fact, probably the most addicting and hardest to kick. To say that a craving for sugar is a good thing or a sign that you need more sugar is ridiculous. Processed sugar is a drug. To even say that fruits are sugar is misleading. Because a fruit is a whole food, and the minute you try to break it down into components takes that away. The “sugars” in fruit are part of the whole – we eat a fruit, with all its components, not “sugar”. I get what you are trying to say, but I think it is misleading and will hurt people more than help. I agree that CHOs are a mainstay of a good diet – simple and complex carbohydrates. I have actually not seen that maple syrup or honey feeds into a sugar addiction. I am speaking of a chemical addiction here, not a behavioral. Sucrose is a very addicting drug and, yes, if not contained, will lead to cravings of any sweet. But the chemical sugar is what the body is craving. I disagree with you on this point. But keep up the good work Frederic, I like what you are doing.

  12. If everyone read your article carefully, you would not be getting some of these silly comments. Your list of writers to check out is an almost perfect, complete list. Your article is excellent, informative, and accurate. Thank you for continuing to do your utmost to educate us with the best information. Keep up the good work.

  13. Patricia says:

    Many cultures eat what is available to them. Many diets eliminate the nutrients that we need, including
    some oils and sugar. We have an epidemic of obesity and the diseases that follow. We are presented with,
    not but food like crap, most of the processed food is sold for shelf life and profit. Our parents, grandparents
    were not exposed to what is standard on our grocery shelves nor did they have the health problems that
    are common today.

    I am 80 years old, on a plant based diet, take no prescription drugs, am active and in good health. I
    live in the lower Okanogan valley, have access to fruit and vegetables. It is easy to eat well, local and seasonal
    produce.

  14. zirah1 says:

    Thanks for the info. Stimulating article and a different perspective than a lot of what’s out there.

  15. Most of the people you reference are dinosaurs and have been discredited many times over. I include Protikin, Ornish and Campbell (China Study was a farce)

    Sorry, we can only store so much glycogen.

  16. Jane Cerullo says:

    As an adult onset Type I diabetic, I must personally disagree. I do best on a very low carb diet. Fat does not seem to matter. I do eat cheese and avocados with no spike in my numbers. If I eat even a small amount of fruit or pasta, my reading is off the chart. I do not pretend to speak for everyone, but a diet of mostly vegetables and protein and fat works for me. I am a Registered Nurse and since my diagnosis have really investigated what is right for me. A diet high in carbs and sugar. any kind of sugar, does not work for me.

  17. Julie says:

    Thanks for the article Frederick. Would you include coconut oil as a processed oil, to be avoided?

  18. Christine says:

    I think everyone has to find out what works best for them. Everyone is different – some do well with animal protein and others do not. Some can eat grains and others can’t. The important thing is to avoid foods with bar codes.

  19. Debbie says:

    Regarding sugar and cancer–have you seen Ty Bolinger’s “The Truth About Cancer”? One of the segments has a doctor explaining the importance of cancer patients (it may have been a specific type of cancer, though I don’t think so) avoiding sugar. In other words, starving the cancer cells, as well as providing an oxygenated environment in the cells to kill the cancer. Of course, there is a lot more involved in curing cancer, but I think for you to discount this information is irresponsible.

  20. Shirley says:

    I signed up and receive the Ava Jane Avocado Oil quarterly shipment of Oil that was promoted by your friends Kevin and Annemarie. I signed up because the information was influential and convincing, I trust their recommendations, and I love avocado’s. Frequent consumption of this oil in a variety of ways is encouraged.
    Based on what you have said above – now what?

    • Like I said, different points of view are possible. Kevin started Renegade Health, and I hold the torch and continue growing his website. I hope I’m bringing a useful viewpoint. I stand by my recommendation of “no oil for optimal health.” I don’t use avocado oil myself.

  21. Shawn says:

    I think modern fruits have been hybridized to contain way too much sugar and not enough fiber, nutrients or medicinal compounds to offset/counteract the glucose. The sugars our ancestors ate were 1/10 the amount we have in today’s “natural” foods. Although I would agree that ALL processed oils are detrimental. Fats should only come from ones food, including all forms of wild or GF meats and some soaked nuts and seeds from the shell only.

  22. Linda Thayer says:

    I think the trend of talking about “sugar” as poison is a good thing for raising public awareness. The common person who says “sugar” is thinking about refined-processed sugar, made from sugar cane or sugar beets most commonly–the white granules in a sugar bowl, what gets added to coffee and most baked goods along with refined salt and high-heat extracted oils or fats.

    The common person is not thinking about a chemical element (“sugars”: fructose, sucrose, etc.) of natural foods, the kind that occurs in fruits and other plant foods in combination with all the other nutrients that humans need to thrive.

    I understand that there are some conditions in which sugar in any form contributes to a disease state. If one has a clean gut and eats moderately of exclusively wholesome foods, then eating lots of fruits should not be harmful. but this condition should be emphasized since most of us in modern society eat lots of junk and have compromised guts.

    I, for one, am very happy that so many in the public eye have gotten on the bandwagon promoting the difference between natural sugars and manufactured sugars. At least, I hope they are making clear this distinction–whatever terms they use or however they phrase it.

    I also hope that this trend of distinguishing types of “sugar” and discussion at the grassroots level might eventually lead to funding research into the different effects in the body of the two types of “sugar” –(a) intact-unbroken sugars in plant foods vs. (b) manufactured, broken versions that come in a package of some sort. Now that would be a great leap forward in educating the public — based on the prestige of “Science”– regarding what leads to health and what enables disease to get a foothold!!!

    I want to say “Thank you” Frederic, for the service to humankind that your efforts contribute. We all need to support you.

  23. Boyd says:

    Using Nathan Pritikin as an example of using a high carb diet (he mainly suggests a grain based diet) makes me smile. Sure, it is wonderful for reducing the incidence of heart disease. The problem is, as he found out, is that by having an extremely low fat diet, you create a much greater chance of having cancer. I realise that you don’t subscribe to that theory, but sadly many well intentioned folk have found it to be true. Admittedly, the correct type of fat is vital, and w3/w6 oil ratio is tremendously important. But fats seem to me to be vital, especially for brain health. No point having a trim fit body if the control centred is buggered !
    One thing you never talk about, is the importance of fermented foods. Almost all civilizations that have had longevity have used some form of fermented foods. The current research shows that the majority of diseases in the western world stem from poor gut health. Much of that problem relates to antibiotic overuse, hence even more reason why encouraging people to try and rebuild gut health is so important.

    As a matter of interest, have you read the book “Brain Maker” by Dr Perlmutter? It is very interesting.

    cheers, Boyd.

  24. john polifronio says:

    I strictly followed an Ornish diet for 4 years, upon discovering that I had developed heart disease. I never felt worse in my life. I was dizzy, weak, felt nervous and tired all the time. Diets work for “some” people. I entered a doctor supervised, “low fat diet” program at UCLA. The doctor, had to seriously reduce his predicted outcomes, and ended up dropping the program.
    I mitght try a 60/20/20 program, one last time.

  25. Susan says:

    I am honestly shocked at so many of the responses that either are not actually reading what you wrote, or are so imbedded in antiquated, non-supported science they seem to have blinders on when it comes to what current science tells us is healthy. I see such a desperation to hang on to fat and animals regardless of what the science says.

    Many years ago, I started a raw food website. It was in the days of “gourmet raw” when we thought that just because it was raw, it was healthy. My recipes were full of fat, oil and sugar in the form of Agave. I wasn’t the only one creating recipes like that. And many raw food sites still are. It makes me shutter.

    Over time, and through much education, I learned that the diet that you so beautifully describe in your piece is not only backed by peer reviewed, research and documented science, it is finally taking it’s place in being recognized as the healthiest diet one can eat (for the planet, too).

    I still have my website but the recipes now are both raw and cooked, 100% plant based, whole food recipes. I hardly ever use oil anymore and use nuts and other whole food fats sparingly to add flavor or texture. I still use maple syrup as a sweetener but I use it in very small amounts as I just can’t get the flavor profile I am looking for with dates. I am a bit of a food snob and still want exquisite flavors and balance in the recipes I create.

    So, hat’s off to you for writing this. It is a great piece. Especially with Dr. Hyman’s Fat Summit coming up. I don’t know exactly what they are going to present but what I fear is that people only hear “fat is good” and think that drinking cocoa made with full fat coconut milk is a good thing. Sigh.

  26. Carol K says:

    Well, quite the controversial subject. Obviously every body is different and everyone interprets studies differently. Ultimately, you have to do what works for you. For me- GMO’s, processed foods, white sugar, grains, etc just do not work. I’ve tried being vegan, being plant based (including raw), smoothies, juicing, high carbs, low carbs, no/low fats, higher fats, weight watchers, whole foods- you name it, I’ve tried it. Although I had lots of energy being plant based I gained way too much weight and was always hungry. Paleo seems to be working for me but it took a few months for my body to really kick in to gear. I personally believe sugar is poison and is not good for you. Or maybe some in moderation. When you factor in inflammatory diseases (lupus, arthritis, CVD, diabetes etc) I think you will start to see more and more doctors, nutritionists and alternative doctors having a different opinion than you about how good sugar is for you. If you are young, physically in shape with no diseases- and no bad habits, then being vegan or plant based may be the ticket. It just didn’t work for me.

    • Joelle says:

      Thank you so much Frederick for this article it came at just the right time. I’ve just been following Mark Hyman’s fat summit and book separating fat from fiction and have started eating this way. He says we should be getting most of our calories from fat. Eating very little carbs and protein and literally unlimited amounts of good fat. Have you read his work? I would love to know what you think? To me it seems like it would be a very acidic diet long term with inflammation. But his studies show people loosing weight and becoming healthier. I also know that if you do eat a lot of fat sugar will become trapped in the bloodstream. So is it an either or situation? You can either choose to eat lots of fat and few carbs or lots of carbs and few fats? Please tell me what you think? I am a vegetarian and don’t normally eat much dairy but with this high fat diet I’m eating eggs and lots of parmesan cheese for the first time.

      • I’ll be honest with you: I don’t rate Mark Hyman’s information very highly. I’ve read some of his books and many of his articles. I’m not judging the man, but the information is off the mark, imo.

        You’re on to something when you say that it could be an either/or situation (low carb + high fat OR low fat + high carb), as when you eat a high fat diet you CANT eat a lot of sugar/starch, even from natural sources, as fat is clogging up your bloodstream and your insulin sensitivity is not optimal.

        I highly question this diet because it’s not one that has been proven to reverse heart disease, our number one killer. There are other reasons as well that I addressed in my article.

        The consensus from all of the doctors and researchers that I respect — who have actually published in peer-reviewed journal, is to consume a low-fat, plant-based diet.

  27. Andrew Green says:

    Interesting article.

    However, the inclusion of a link to back up your argument from the Canadian cancer Society –
    ” Even cancer organizations have come out to debunk the ‘sugar and cancer’ myth.”
    doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence!

    Cancer charities are part of the whole medical cancer industry which sees only chemo, surgery and radiation as true cures for cancer (when they’re not). They plough billions of dollars worldwide into pointless medical research because, after all, the miracle cure for cancer is “just around the corner” … we just need to keep on giving them money.

    Same on you, Fred, for hitching a ride with such an organisation!

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