February 11, 2011 § 4 Comments
Okay! I’ve done my homework and you get to be the beneficiary of that morning-long endeavor, unless of course I have got it all backwards in which case I am here to mislead you terribly. After watching Dr. Robert Lustig’s “Sugar: the Bitter Truth” on YouTube for the third time, as well as doing further slogging around on the internet, I’ve gotten to what I hope is a slightly better understanding of the “ose” question. Here is what I have come up with, which is very likely a gross oversimplification of the matter:
Sucrose– is processed table sugar in all it’s many forms: raw, white, brown etc. It is made up of both glucose and fructose and is harvested from sugar cane or sugar beets.
Fructose– This is the naturally occurring sugar present in fruit, fruit juice, honey, etc.
Glucose– This is the “breakdown product of ingested carbohydrates and the form of sugar that the body uses for energy.” Also known as dextrose.
The quotation above comes from livestrong.com which had several helpful articles on the “ose” question, which was good, because Dr. Lustig’s talk makes the assumption that his audience already knows the difference between these terms.
As a side note, I have to say that I was once again dumbfounded at what an incredible, informative and persuasive talk “Sugar” is… Maybe it’s just me, but then again it has been watched, as of today, 766,122 times on YouTube, so I guess I’m not the only one to find it compelling. And this is despite the fact that he bandies about terms such as “hepatic steatosis” and “dyslipidemia” with unsettling ease.
One of the most striking, if complicated, parts of this video is where Lustig goes through and, point by point, details exactly what happens in your body biochemically when one ingests two pieces of white bread versus a shot of bourbon versus a glass of orange juice. You might be surprised to see his very clear demonstration that the glass of orange juice (fructose) behaves in one’s body most like the alcohol, with the exception that alcohol is processed by the brain while fructose is processed by the liver. Acute toxin meet chronic toxin. As Lustig puts it:
“You wouldn’t think twice about not giving your kid a Budweiser, but you don’t think twice about giving your kid a can of Coke. But they’re the same. In the same dosing. For the same reason. Through the same mechanism. Fructose is ethanol without the buzz.”
Whoa. And that goes for fruit juice too, by the way. Pediatric patients coming to Dr. Lustig are advised to drink only milk or water. And by a funny coincidence, that’s exactly what you are left with after omitting all drinks containing either sucrose or fructose.
So the only question that I’m still ruminating on for the moment is that of dextrose specifically: is added dextrose okay on the No-Added Sugar Project as Devised and Implemented by Eve? After all, it isn’t sucrose and it isn’t fructose. According to just about everybody it’s glucose– which Dr. Lustig describes as “the energy of life.” So, does it matter that it’s added as an ingredient, rather than manufactured by my body after eating a piece of bread? Or, is it like other ingredients such as artificial colorings or preservatives, ie: better to do without, but not expressly prohibited under No-Added Sugar? And if so, does this mean my kids can eat the french fries at the skating rink again, resulting in my popularity as a mom going up by about ten-thousand points?
These are the questions that keep me up at night.