What’s the Latest Development?
In order for a substance to be regulated like alcohol, it must fit four specific criteria: ubiquity, toxicity, addictiveness, and be bad for society as a whole. Sugar fits these categories easily, argues Robert Lustig at the Aspen Ideas Festival. Sugar is obviously ubiquitous, and given the obesity and diabetes spikes in the US, it is also harmful to society. “Sugar is also…toxic: the mitochondria in our bodies’ cells, he said, are unable to convert the excess fructose we eat into energy, so they convert it instead into liver fat. That in turn starts a cascade, causing the insulin resistance that can lead to chronic metabolic disease.”
What’s the Big Idea?
Lustig likes to say that sugar is great for your wallet but terrible for your health. Still, despite the relatively low price of sugar, companies that sell processed sugary products still make a great deal of money. “There’s also the sugar lobby. There’s also the fact that sugar, for consumers, tends to be cheap. There’s also the fact that sugar, in many of its forms, tends to be delicious. … The companies that profit from its sales might not, at the moment, have an incentive to change their ways; the more the public learns about sugar’s effects, though, the more we might limit our intakes of the stuff. Voluntarily.”
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