Do You Still Think Sugar Is Harmless?

If you still think sugar is harmless, consider the recent research out of the University of Utah. Researchers discovered increased mortality and strange behaviors when mice were given extra sugar in their diet.

Not lots of extra sugar, mind you. But doses generally considered “safe”.

The research itself is behind a paywall (boo!), but here’s a sampling of some of the press coverage. We’ll start with the LA Times:

When mice were fed a diet that was 25% added sugars – an amount consumed by many humans – the females died at twice the normal rate and the males were less likely to reproduce and hold territory, scientists said in a study published Tuesday.

The study shows “that added sugar consumed at concentrations currently considered safe exerts dramatic impacts on mammalian health,” the researchers said in the study, published in the journal Nature Communications. “Many researchers have already made calls for reevaluation of these safe levels of consumption.”

From the University of Utah press release:

When mice ate a diet of 25 percent extra sugar – the mouse equivalent of a healthy human diet plus three cans of soda daily – females died at twice the normal rate and males were a quarter less likely to hold territory and reproduce, according to a toxicity test developed at the University of Utah.

And from Forbes:

Females who ate the high-sugar diet died at rates twice that of control mice – 35% vs. 17%. The males were much worse at acquiring territories, and they had significantly fewer offspring than control mice (about a quarter fewer in both cases).

Folks, at what point do we begin to take this seriously?

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5 Responses to “Do You Still Think Sugar Is Harmless?”

  1. Anonymous

    Is Sugar Harmful For You?

    Of course it is not harmful for you! NOT if you are a small, sociable black bear in the Pacific Northwest or a member of any one of the many varieties of bears found around the world. In fact, sugar is an essential nutrient for you. It is an integral part of your annual life cycle. Without it you could not be.

    After emerging as a cub from the den of your birth, you proceed to spend your days doing all the bear-things that bears do to grow, and thrive, and live their day-to-day lives. Sometimes life is good and sometimes life is harsh, but finally fall comes with its abundance of berries and winter-ready honeycombs.

    Every fall day you have a delightful feast of sweet delicious berries. The fruit is so wonderfully sweet that good little bears have only to eat of that fruit to be happy all day1. You are not aware of the great importance of your gustatory pleasure, but your body knows. Deep down inside, slowly and steadily, little tiny mechanisms are working away converting the sweet sugar into greasy fat and packing it away in little fat pockets to store wherever they can find space.

    Day by day, your slim young body slowly expands to become big, round, and roly-poly. You become incredibly fat. The days become shorter and colder, and something inside of you tells you to find a nice warm hole to curl up in.

    You do, and you fall asleep. That is the end of all you know until you wake up when winter comes to an end. You are asleep, but your body is not. The small store of sugar leftover from your sugar feast days is slowly being used up and your body is starting to dig into the large store of energy-laden fat that will sustain you until winter is over. If you found a mate while doing your bear-things during the past year, the little life inside of you will thrive and grow and emerge to join you in your dormancy. The body fat you stored last fall will maintain you and provide milk for nourishment of your cub.

    When spring arrives, you will awaken, crawl out of your nest, stand, and stretch your long, slim body. Then you will bound away to do your bear-things until you get roly-poly fat again next fall.

    1.) With apologies to Eugene Fields

    Reply
  2. The moral of this story: If you can’t hibernate, don’t eat like a bear

    Reply
  3. A little curiosity about sugar and its by products. Prof John Yudkin reported preliminary studies comparing the effect in mice of sugar consumption with that of molasses such as black strap. Apparently the rodents got really sick on the refined sugar but thrived on the molasses (which are rich in minerals and other nutrients including iron and chromium).
    In my experience fermenting my own kombucha drink I found that my Scoby thrived if I added a teaspoon of black strap molasses in addition to the sugar…ehi this is a seriously hot tip to all those home brewers… 😉

    Reply
  4. I dropped this sugar from my diet to try and overcome depression, the side benefits were that almost all of my health measures improved.

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  5. food scientist

    This study is irrelevant because mice don’t metabolise sugar in the same way as humans.

    Humans evolved from fruit eating apes. We convert fructose to glucose and glycogen. We can safely eat very large quantities of sugar.

    Mice and rats convert about 40% of fructose intake into fat which is stored in the liver. Humans only convert 1% of fructose to fat.

    Numerous clinical trials have shown that sugar has no harmful effects (except tooth decay) on humans.

    Reply

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