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How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat (nytimes.com)
816 points by okket on Sept 12, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 599 comments

RIP: British Scientist John Yudkin - The man who tried to warn us about the perils of sugar..

Source(s) : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/wellbeing/diet/10634081...


Edit: Lest we not forget his arch-enemy Ancel Keys

My mother (1973, Edinburgh) bought "Pure, White, and Deadly," and we all read it. I was ten or so. Yudkin attacked white flour, white (processed) fat, and above all white sugar. It made perfect sense to us all, and cutting back on sugar became a slow, yet consistent part of our lifestyle. We never ate that much anyhow. I stopped eating sugar entirely at 15. I still recall the book's cover.

Edit: it took me a lot longer to cut fruit juice from our diet. I was so convinced by that "natural" label. Until I realized my daughter, who'd drank a lot of juice growing up, was addicted to sugar. Then we cut it out. My other kids, not addicted. I was fooled for so long...

The sugar industry has a lot to answer for. It is IMO comparable to the tobacco industry's suppression of cancer studies. Yet worse, because the effects of high-sugar diets are doing more damage, to more people, and last generations.

Think of the hundreds of millions of children who have eaten high sugar diets since they were babies... lifelong damage to their health. A hundred years of damage, these executives and corrupt scientists caused.

I tried arguing the dangers of concentrated fruit sweeteners not so long ago.

There was some debate about whether candy prices were too low.. But the truth is folks get much more sugar from supposedly "healthy" items in the form of fruit juice and concentrates. It is in the bread most folks eat (and sometimes whole grain bread is higher to make it more palletable), they put it in savory foods, and fruit juices and people put it in their coffee and tea. Granola bars and yogurts and a myriad of other supposedly healthy things? High sugar. It would be one thing if the sugar was simply what was contained in the fruit, but often it is above that.

It is much better to eat the piece of fruit than drink some juice - and I think if folks started drinking non-sweetened drinks and quit adding it to so much food (expecially commercially prepared food) it would help quite a bit. Personally, I lost weight after doing the adjustment. My only normal, daily beverages are black coffee or water and have been for years.

The thing is that you do somewhat miss the sugar at first, but I didn't find it any worse than missing some foods after moving countries. Over time, your tastes adjust and it isn't a bad thing.

I've been suspecting that another problem is modern roller mills break up the carbohydrate granules in wheat. It means making 'whole wheat flour' by adding back the bran after milling doesn't give you the same thing as more traditional course ground wheat flour.

The difference is when the carbohydrate granules are intact it takes much longer for the carbohydrates to hydrolyze and be absorbed in the gut. Rolled four because the granules are broken up hydrolyses and is absorbed quickly and results in spikes of blood sugar and insulin which is bad news.

[serious] Is there a reasonable way to eat actual whole grain bread? Every kind I've tried is the worst thing imaginable to attempt to eat...it's a real nightmare. I choke down a half a slice and then have to cleanse my pallet with an entire pizza.

1) You get used to it. Eventually you can come to prefer cheap whole grain bread vs cheap white bread.

2) Try non-wheat breads like dark rye. Dense dark ryes like a good seeded deli rye or even a cheap pumpernickel remain moist and chewy without the added sugar, which is why wheat breads tend to have HFCS or honey added. Note that lots of mass market rye breads contain wheat flour, so be careful about making assumptions and generalizing based on a few samples here or there. With wheat flour it will become stale quicker, and there'll be a less complex flavor profile.

3) Try higher quality breads. Note that higher cost does not necessarily imply higher quality, though that's more often true than not at supermarkets. Basically, the point is to get more flavor with minimal cost in carbs and calories. So a sprouted wheat or bread with nuts might help.

4) Maybe you're just a picky eater, which is a real thing. If all you like are, e.g., pizza and french fries and similar foods from childhood, and especially if things like the _texture_ of other common foods are offensive, it might be a psychological thing. Most people have psychological barriers to eating and enjoying different foods. It took me years to learn to tolerate Japanese cuisine--I could eat sashimi, no problem, but the flavors of sushi and Japanese cuisine in general were off-putting, much more so than other cuisines, even ones that weren't to my tastes. With _effort_ I learned to enjoy some of it. A simpler example is ginger--I hated ginger until I didn't. But some people are at the extreme end of the scale and it's much more difficult to learn to enjoy something even with effort. In retrospect, I've probably known several legitimately picky eaters. It's not uncommon AFAIU and it's fair to dial back expectations if that's the case. Indeed, foods with more complex flavors and textures as I recommended above might be overstimulating for picky eaters.

" But the truth is folks get much more sugar from supposedly "healthy" items in the form of fruit juice and concentrates. "

Or, if you are here in Asia/Singapore, where T2 diabetes is starting to become a big issue- the 3-5 servings of white rice people eat each day is a front page issue on the newspapers.

I tend to be somewhat suspicious of any 'traditional' basic food getting too much bad press. Rice, bread, pasta. White rice tends to get some bad press here as well, along with white bread. Rice itself probably isn't a big deal. It is probably on par with the bread/pasta eaten in the states and Europe as far as health is concerned. There is healthier rice (brown and unpolished) and healthier bread, but we tend to eat the opposite.

But it tends to be a bigger problem if folks are also overweight - and folks aren't doing it by eating rice or bread alone. Large portions and simply eating too much and so on, adding in fast food and convenience food and all of the snacks. And it is a huge problem if you develop T2 diabetes because of the blood sugar spike.

A lot of people say that the real issue is blood sugar spike, how fast it happens, and what the glycemic index of the food you are eating is.

I always wonder about the whole glycemic index theory. Lot of counterintuitive data here: http://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/glycem...

For example, where Glucose=100, Banana cake, made with sugar=47, but Banana cake, made without sugar=55, and Brown rice, average=68.

Or, Chickpeas=10, but Chickpeas canned in Brine=42.

White rice, of course, is the worst of all of these at 73. Worse than Apple Juice (41), Orange Juice (50), and even Coca Cola (63)

I agree. I survived a few years of war when food shortage was a real thing. And all we had to eat was white pasta and rice. Occasionally we would get meat/fish cans and similar and a bit of vegetable oil. Sugar was non-existent, you could have bought it on the local market for what is equivalent of $40. So it was there for special occasions only and not your daily poison. And guess what, we were all healthy, people with up to moderate blood sugar issues had no problems at all, back to their healthy selves. I was fit and healthy and feeling great. After that, the food came in and I gained 60 pounds in time span of few years. :)

I think eating a few bowls of rice per day (usually combined with a lot of veggies and some meat) is something that has been done in Asia for a long time, why would it be related to a recent increase in diabetes?

Asia, like most of humanity, was on the verge of starvation until recently.

There is more than one kind of rice and some are more healthy than others. White rice used to be reserved for the rich, now it's mainstream all-day food for all, but it is rather poor in nutrients.

Also Asia (i assume you mean ready Asia) does know other foods than rice, think various noodles, soups, etc.

As opposed to what other kinds of rice? As far as I know, brown rice is not any worse or better for you, despite popular belief. It's like the difference between HFCS and table sugar. There's a technical difference (e.g. a little more hull with brown rice, or 5% more fructose with HFCS) but it's not really significant in the context of a normal diet.

If you mean different types of wild rice, okay, maybe. But I don't think wild rice was ever a staple in Asia. At least, not in the past few millennia.

Diabetes is likely rising for the same reason it's rising in every other wealthy region.

What is an alternative? I eat a fair bit of rice as well.

Whole rice is not as much a problem as polished white rice. You could eat unpolished rice, like brown rice, red rice, etc., depending on what's available locally, that have all the fiber and other nutrients intact. This will also help fill your stomach with lesser quantity than polished white rice because of the fiber that's in them. If you have access to other grains, like quinoa, millets, amaranth, you could use them since they're somewhat close to rice in how you can use them (tangentially, this not a great idea for regular consumption if these items are imported from distant countries, since they'd have environmental and social impacts as well).

Rice, in general, has a pretty high glycemic index. From: http://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/glycem...

Glycemic index of Brown Rice is 68, White Rice is 73, Coca Cola, in comparison, is only 63.

But, what makes white rice so really horrible, is not just the glycemic index, but the glycemic load - the net-impact on blood sugar. It's off the charts huge for a typical 150 gram serving of white rice at 43, (compared to just 16 for a coca cola).

Kind of mind blowing, that if you are worried about blood sugar, you are better off drinking 2 cans of 250 ml coke, instead of one 150 gram bowl of white rice.

That's because the Coke is 55% fructose. And most of that 500ml is water, with less than 50 grams of sugar in each can. In other words, there's less than 45 grams of glucose in two cans of Coke.

Fructose won't spike your blood sugar, but it's bad for other reasons, and so I wouldn't necessarily say that two cans of Coke is better than a cup rice.

Oh, definitely not suggesting Coke is better than rice, but if you are primarily concerned about an insulin reaction from glucose loading in the bloodstream, I am still amazed to discover that eating a bowl of rice will spike more glucose into your blood than drinking two cans of coca cola. It's so counterintuitive that I almost don't believe it.

I wonder if the tolerance, and then the love, of highly sweet things is acquired. And mostly probably, it is acquired when one is a child.

I have met and worked with many East Asians and Europeans who came to American in their 20's or older. Almost everyone of them thought American pastry and deserts are unbearably sweet. Most of them shun from soda drinks and other "food" containing high amounts of sugar. If they drink soda, they choose low- or zero-sugar kinds.

Related or not, a big percentage of American look overweight when compared to Europeans and East Asians.

I am of European descent, and while I had a sweet tooth in my teens, American pastries and desserts were barely edible.

Now that I'm older (and lost my desire for sweets somewhat), I wouldn't touch any of them with a 10 foot stick. They are disgustingly unfathomable to eat and whenever I tried, it upset my stomach greatly.

So are most of your soft drinks, by the way. I cut sweet teas and juices with water to 50/50 ratio and then drink it.

I don't think it's strictly a childhood thing. I moved to Australia several years ago and they cut down on the sizes of soft drinks especially compared to standard American sizing. It took some months to adjust, but now when I go back to the US on a visit the entire thing just seems to be way too much sugar. Same with alot of the pastries, although donuts and cakes are about the same level of sweetness. Maybe with less frosting and more other flavors in the Australian versions. And they're not as stingy as their neighbors down here when it comes to sweets.

When we bake from American recipes we often reduce the sugar by 1/2, sometimes even to 1/3.

Same here. I love sweets (though I don't eat that much lately because you know, health reasons, I'm not 18 anymore - but from time to time I indulge) but it is not easy to find good ones in US (I wasn't born in the US). Practically all mass-produces ones are unbearable once you have shed the sugar addiction and the built tolerance (which I did, see above). Custom-produced are also hit or miss - many of them are terribly over-sugared to my taste. Finding a good dessert is not easy for me now, though in some places they still know how to do it tastefully. Hopefully as more people become aware of how careful one has to be with sugar, the situation improves.

I also used to drink a lot of soda in my 20s, but once I stopped and my taste recovered, I can't drink the stuff anymore - too sweet.

My family is originally from China but have lived in the west for 30 years. We eat the sweets in the US just fine. My wife and her parents recently came to the US from China...the sweets in the US are too sweet for them and they just eat a little bit.

When I first came to US, I found it to be the case for chocolates as well (being a vegetarian, I stay away from pastries and cakes).

I specifically remember trying out KitKat out of craving and it was way sweeter than what I get in India. Tried switching stores before concluding the recipes are tweaked.

> And mostly probably, it is acquired when one is a child.

Most likely acquired when one is a suckling. Milk is kinda sweet and the first thing a mammalian baby tastes. All further taste preferences are then largely acculturation.

Americans saying that foods are too sweet is quickly becoming the new "I don't have a TV." It's a humblebrag to show off status.

I am East Asian and came to America in my 20's. I love pastries and deserts, always looking for local pastries to try whenever I travel, to the point to book hotels that are close to famous pastry shops.

Sorry for any misunderstanding my early comment causes.

Good? I'm not sure it's a humble-brag unless you parade around about it, but if people associate a healthier lifestyle with status, then it's bound to propagate.

I think you got it the wrong way around.

Imitation of habits with percieved high prestige value is one of the most strongest causes of cultural shifts.

Cultural shifts are accompanied by lot of things - including bragging about ones new lifestyle - which then drives the shift in braggees network (social proof if he/she is an average member of the network, imitation of an idol figure if her status is high).

Even if that's true, what's your point?

When you say you don't eat sugar, what does that mean? Do you eat fruit? Bread? Things that metabolize to sugar -- potatoes, squash, tomatoes, grapes, watermelon, barbecue sauce etc. Do you ever indulge in chocolate cake? What about wine or beer?

I just find the term "sugar" to be extremely vague when 50% of foods metabolize to sugar...

The fact that it all ends up as "sugar" is less important than how long it takes to fully metabolize, how much energy and other resources it takes to do so, and what other byproducts the food provides. In the quantities used in many processed foods, the "sugar" that you see on the food label and that is used as an sweetener is generally undesirable for those characteristics.

The basic principle is to avoid refined carbohydrates. If a food is unrefined, then it is ok, with the exception of potatoes, which have way too much carbohydrate.

A good book on this is The Instinct Diet by Susan Roberts, who is a well-known nutrition researcher.

The paleos say we should eat the same diet as our foraging ancestors. The problem with that is different foraging tribes had very different diets. However, one thing they all had in common is they didn't eat any refined carbohyrates. That leads to the possibility our bodies are not well adapted for them, and there is a great deal of research that is n fact the case.

People used to ask me this all the time when I'd given up sugar. Everyone has their own idea what it means, but no food that has been sweetened to make it taste sweet is a good start. Personally I'll eat fruit that comes as fruit, but bread is a treat-only food.

That's because you are being extremely vague about the word "metabolize".

Perhaps you want to explore how that word unpacks into many different routes and rates of absorption of the various nutrients involved. How is this altered by the different states of starch before they become glucose? How does the presence or absence of fiber impact this? Which microorganisms are active in the gut in this process?

The issue is fructose and sucrose, people end up getting confused with glucose, which is not the problem.

Clarification: sucrose is a molecule that quickly breaks down into one glucose and one fructose molecule, so it's basically 50/50 glucose/fructose. Fruit juice, honey, and HFCS are also about 50/50 glucose/fructose.

Almost all other carbohydrates break down into glucose and no fructose at all.

So one theory is that the fructose is especially bad. It is processed in a different pathway and might be a lot worse than the glucose pathway.

Not OP, but have been ketogenic over 3 years. No bread, no fruit, no potatoes, squash, tomatoes, grapes etc.

well the lie has recently morphed into the laws slowing and prohibiting soda sales in schools and such all the while promoting juice which can be worse in many cases because people assume its healthy and you cannot over drink because of that

One time I was craving some juice or smoothie, so at the gas station I took one of those 'Naked' brands and glanced on the label, it had some ridiculous amount of carbs and sugar in it, more than 50g. Put it right back.

Not coincidentally Naked was sued in a class-action in 2012 for labeling issues ("misuse of health phrases") and of course they settled so there is no finding of liability on the claim.

Even the best juice possible (made fresh, raw, organic, and green-leafy vegetables) will be comparatively high in sugar. A 16oz juice requires somewhere in the amount of 4-6 lbs of vegetables and naturally no one would ever consume 4-6 lbs worth of vegetable sugars in one sitting much less 6x a day. With the store bought juices there are also likely fruits added which have even more sugar than green leafy veggies and they store bought juices likely aren't raw (i.e. pasteurized) killing many of the beneficial enzymes and nutrients.

I was doing that for years on gas stations, just picked the blue ones. Now that I am more sugar aware, I look at the labels a lot. I was also shocked to see some ridiculous amount of sugar in that what used to be my favourite drink.

"The sugar industry has a lot to answer for."

I don't get this argument. What do you expect the sugar industry to do, argue for consuming less sugar?

It is not the industry's obligation to care for your nutritional well-being. It is the obligation of parents and teachers to be informed and teach kids what good food is. That starts with stopping to watch commercials. Avoiding processed foods in the grocery store and cheap restaurants. Not buying products that have more than 5 ingredients, and above all contain high fructose corn syrup.

Buying vegetables and fruit at farmer's markets. Learning again that there are seasons, and that there is no need to buy apples in spring or summer (when they have to be kept in coolers for half a year, or imported from the other hemisphere). Learning again that good products can often be recognized through the nose rather than the eye. Spending time on small-scale farms. Reducing meat intake to 1-2 a week. Consuming fresh water rather than salt water fish (which are harvested beyond sustainability and have led a multitude of fisheries to go extinct already). Preparing food by hand, even if it is "unhealthy" food like french fries (made from potatoes, e.g. in an oven with a bit of olive oil), pancakes (milk, egg, flour - no need to buy this as a product) or cakes (made just with flour, yeast, milk, eggs, and sugar).

Just switch off television to get back common sense.

Most people take in the information given without a second thought. If their information about sugar is biased by the sugar industry, by paying scientists to lie about their product... then yes they have so much to answer for. But, alas the entire food industry does as well. A lie is a lie, no matter which side you are on.

  "Just switch off television to get back common sense."
I'm pretty sure myths and old wives tales existed long before television. At worst television allows myths and untruths to travel faster and more pervasively. But I think generally we're better off with television, especially in a society that values not just individual responsibility but shared responsibility wherein media outlets and commercial interests don't have complete liberty to spout non-sense, like they did 100 years ago. Compared to most under-developed countries the U.S. values more of the latter than you would think. And so major media outlets generally, and television outlets in particular, are much more reliable and truthful than in many other places.

For that reason the internet is probably a net regression in advanced societies. Perhaps people need to watch more television.

>> lifelong damage to their health.

It's only lifelong damage if you don't change your diet and lifestyle. The world is filled with people who were morbidly obese and have made the changes necessary to reverse the damage and live far more healthy lives now.

The way you put it, it sounds like an irreversible course akin to a death sentence, which it most certainly is not.

That is a myth. Every legitimate long term study of non surgical weight loss shows that it doesn't happen for the vast, vast majority of people.

1) ["In controlled settings, participants who remain in weight loss programs usually lose approximately 10% of their weight. However, one third to two thirds of the weight is regained within 1 year, and almost all is regained within 5 years. "](http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1580453)

2) Giant meta study of long term weight loss: ["Five years after completing structured weight-loss programs, the average individual maintained a weight loss of >3% of initial body weight."](http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/74/5/579.full)

3) Less Scientific: [Weight Watcher's Failure - "about two out of a thousand Weight Watchers participants who reached goal weight stayed there for more than five years."](https://fatfu.wordpress.com/2008/01/24/weight-watchers/)

4) [The reason why it's impossible seems to be that although calories in < calories out works, the body of a fat person makes it extremely difficult psychologically to eat less.](http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/magazine/tara-parker-pope-...) This is borne out by the above data.

5) [The only thing that does seem to work in the long term is gastric surgery.](http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1421028/)

Moreover, you won't find any reputable study on the web where the average person lost 10%+ of their body weight and kept it off for five years. Not even one.

My father decided to lose his potbelly in the early 1980s at the recommendation of his doctor, who sent him to a nutritionist. The nutritionist advised him and gave him a diet plan.

6 months later, he returned to the nutritionist having lost the pot, and the nutritionist was shocked, as nobody had ever followed her diet plan before. He maintained the weight loss for the next 30 years. At one point he was even able to squeeze into his WW2 uniform.

He said it was a constant struggle. But it clearly is possible.

> He said it was a constant struggle. But it clearly is possible.

That is just confirmation of point 4 of the parent post.

It's a struggle in the same way not biting that nail is still a struggle 15 years after one quits biting their nails. Eating poorly and being sedentary are habits like any other.

Bit more than that. Physiological changes also.

A smoker who hadn't lit up in 20 years told me he still wanted a cigarette every day and struggled with it.

This is just defeatism, and falls down here "after completing structured weight-loss programs". The problem here is thinking of weight-loss in the short term.

If you are 200kg, and drink 5L of soda every day, you don't stop drinking soda for 12 months, lose weight and then go back to drinking 5L soda a day and except to keep the weight off.

You change your diet, and keep it that way. For ever. Thats how weight loss happens.

Most people don't succesfully change diet over the long term.

I changed my diet a lot after I got married, and I think it worked mainly because I was embarrassed to buy pie and ice cream all the time. If it's not in the house, I won't eat it casually every day ("if I don't finish this pie soon, it will get all dried out and go to waste!").

Maybe the key is to make diet changes along with other life changes. But I think people do the opposite: "I just started a new job... I'll settle in first before I go on that diet".

Naturally, it would make sense that changing habits would happen all at once. When else in history have we been able to say "I just moved someplace new... Now, where is the nearest KFC?". No, you move, and everything would change, including diet.

A kfc chicken breast and thigh together comes to 580 calories, which doesn't seem bad.

Probably not the best example, but the point is that we don't change our habits because we are never forced to, even when we make fairly big changes like moving 1000 miles away.

And when we can continue with the rest of our habits, it's hard to change individual ones like diet.

Most people do successfully change their diet over the long term - they just change it too eating too much stuff thats bad for them.

I lost 20% 10 years ago and haven't gained it back (295->225 lbs.). On the other hand I am still overweight and would like to lose more.

I did it by just exercising an insane amount every day. (Like 6 hours of cardio+strength training every day) Most people just aren't going to do that.

No diet I ever tried had any similar effect.

It did do a complete reset of my metabolism to the new weight though. I kind of think it has to be something drastic to have the effect people want.

The only problem is that it's really easy to injure yourself being drastic (that and you have have the right confluence of factors to have the free time to pull it off).

It's really hard for me to imagine spending that much time doing cardio+strength training every day.

I went to music school and I used to practice around 6-7 hours a day, every day. And even after switching to software I still practiced 3-4 hours every day for a long time. It was just part of my routine and I enjoyed it, but even despite those things I had to reduce my daily practice time just because I didn't have time to do my job, sleep, cook/eat, drive to work, handle regular stuff that comes up in life, and then practice for 6+ hours a day. I managed to keep 3-4 hours for awhile, but then it gradually kept getting lower and lower just because I was kind of getting worn out. These days I finally stopped and don't practice daily anymore at all. I still do practice every week, but definitely not daily.

I cut out refined carbohydrates and lost 50 pounds, and have kept it off for the last four years. I eat all I, I just make sure it is reasonably healthy.

> No diet I ever tried had any similar effect.

Have you tried eating 20% less every day with no effect? I have real trouble believing that.

A diet isn't just a change in what you eat, it's also a change in the amount.

Read point 4

It's quite a bit more psychologically difficult for a heroin addict to stop doing heroin, but we don't consider that a valid excuse to continue doing heroin.

How do you get that much exercise? How did it reset you?

I was on a remote job site where all living expenses were paid (but not entertainment) and there was just NOTHING in the town. The hotel had a nice gym. I was the only person working from my company for quite a period, so I had nothing to do with my free time (the hotel did not have internet access at the time).

So with nothing better to do I thought, time to lose weight. So that's what I did when I wasn't working.

I did not keep the exercise up after the period, but I just wasn't that hungry and the weight stayed off.

You could say my stomach shrank, or metabolism changed, or whatever theory, I just say it as a "reset" to be generic, since I really don't know.

The funny thing about all your links is this:

That most people who lost weight most often times gained it back - yet you somehow think gastric surgery is the cure all when you have to make lifelong changes to your diet and lifestyles and be even more diligent in doing so?

The weight loss for gastric patients levels off after 18-24 months, far shorter than the 5 year mark you use to measure success. I'm not sure how you rate one a success in half the time, and total failure for others since they don't meet your magical 5 year mark.

The problem is, you can't legislate freewill - you have to make a choice to be healthy. Is it easy? Nope, but it can be done.

My grandmother was overweight, had high blood pressure and other ailments. She was able to reverse her Type 2 diabetes through diet and staying active by walking 5 miles a day, hiking and other low impact activities. I had a hockey buddy who was on several different medications for high blood pressure, pre-diabetes and other ailments. Within two and half years, he was off the meds and back on the ice through a combination of intense cardio workouts (P90x, Insanity, etc), weight training, and Brazillian Ju Jitsu - which he had always been into. My best friend was depressed and put on a ton of weight, and became borderline suicidal. He was put on meds and continued to put on weight. Over the course of three years he made various (permanent) changes to his diet and to his life. He started with power lifting, then went to mountain biking, then cycling, then adventure racing, then to mountain climbing. Last year I saw him and he was pushing 40; he was still ripped and finally loving life.

You can't make a switch in 6 months and hope for a five year guaranteed return. Shit doesn't happen like that - it just doesn't. You can't go on a diet for two months and hope that 15 pounds you lost will stay off for five years unless you make permanent changes which is really hard for a lot of people. Finding time and energy to start something new is not how humans function. We constantly look for the shortcut. The shortcut to happiness, the shortcut to getting rich, the shortcut to learning some new programming language. Nobody wants to put in the time to get their shit straight, they just want it to be fixed in some nonsensical time frame.

Everybody I know that went through some serious health problems and got straighten out did not do so in any short amount of time - it took years of dedication, getting up at the crack of dawn, struggling and putting the hard work to get there. No diet can do that for you. The payoff is you get 8-10 years back of your life. You can breathe after you walk up a flight of stairs, you can reduce your cholesterol levels and have a healthy heart and lungs. You can get off your medications, or reduce them from what you're taking now. The upside to being healthy so vastly outweighs the downside and here you are saying - there is no hope, you should give up. How does that even sound to someone who's facing an uphill battle?


Surgery works with a 5 year timeline too, for the average person. The average person does not succeed any other way. It's not impossible - 5% of people in these studies succeed - which is why you see anecdotes like yours.

I didn't think this was true, but apparently it is:

"This study of isolated gastric bypass with a 5.5-year follow-up rate of 88.6% revealed a success rate of 93% in obese or morbidly obese patients and 57% in super-obese patients. " (note that this is a specific type of gastric bypass) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1421028/


Many of my extended family got sick and some died from adult-onset diabetes brought on by eating too much sugar. My father and grandfather suffered and died from low-fat diets (where sugar was never a concern because doctors were obsessed with eliminating dietary fat, period). Even if the outcome isn't obviously fatal, the accumulated damage does not go away and it carries real health risks until death.

And please don't use that weasel word "lifestyle" which the sugar industry wielded as a weapon against their victims. Oh, fatty, go and exercise some more! It's your lifestyle that's wrong, not the rubbish we've put on your table.

And we still see supermarkets with rows and rows of sugar-based junk foods. It's going to take decades to undo the cultural and educational damage let along the health damage.

>adult-onset diabetes brought on by eating too much sugar

Genetics is a much bigger component of T2 than sugar intake.

That may be true, but diabetes rates have spiked in the US (and in every country that adopted a Western diet) during the 20th century even though our genetics haven't changed.

That points to the proximate cause being the change in diet, which means we should figure out 1) what changed in our diet and 2) which change led to obesity.

The number of fat cells is set in childhood and stays constant throughout adulthood, according to research conveniently titled "Fat cell number is set in childhood and stays constant in adulthood" http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2008/05/04/fat-cell...

The size of those fat cells can be changed through diet and lifestyle, but since the number of fat cells cannot be lowered naturally, sticking to a healthier lifestyle is extremely hard for a [formerly] obese person, as there's just one thing the fat cells are programmed to do, and that is to grow in size.

If you where fat as a child, you'll have more fat cells than normal. Those cells stay with you basically forever. So while eating less food makes you lose weight, those extra fat cells will keep messing with your hormones.


Anyone who has been morbidly obese has permanent damage as a result. It is certainly better to right the ship, but some damage does not go away.

Sugar does have some nutritional value, and is a hallmark of primate diet. Tobacco is an addictive insecticide that won't even get you high.

> Sugar does have some nutritional value, and is a hallmark of primate diet. Tobacco is an addictive insecticide that won't even get you high.

This statement reflects a glaring ignorance of both scale and science. First of all, sugar is a hallmark of a primate diet only in complex not in simple forms, which is not the kind being referred to here. By nutritional value do you mean has calories? So does Vodka. And what at all do the calories have to do with the scale of harm?

Does this not include sugar found in foods? Are those considered complex?

Is eating natural sugar found in fruits as bad as eating refined/processed sugar?

"Natural", in this context, is a weasel word that's whose key uses include making people feel more comfortable about buying junk food, so that junk food manufacturers can sell more junk food.

Chimpanzees, for example do eat a lot of fruit. I believe it's their primary source of calories. But the wild fruits that chimps eat are a very different beast from how humans in wealthier countries consume fruit. The fruits they typically eat haven't had their sugar content dramatically increased through centuries and millennia of selective breeding. They haven't been turned into juice, which removes all the fiber and essentially renders them a nutritional equivalent of Coca-Cola. They haven't been dried, which concentrates the sugar and increases the glycemic load. They haven't had extra sugar added as a ("natural"!) preservative in order to maximize the shelf life. etc. etc.

All that aside, though, no, I'm pretty sure there hasn't been any compelling evidence to indicate that your body can somehow tell whether the sugar in your food was produced in situ or extracted from some other plant and then added to what you're eating. To it, C12H22O11 is C12H22O11. There is some stuff suggesting that processing affects how much sugar is extracted by your digestive system, though. It's not able to break down the food and get at its contents quite as efficiently when the food hasn't been mechanically ground up or macerated first, and your teeth are unlikely to grind it up quite so finely. In a nutshell, sugar that's inside a plant's cells is going to be less available (and, to that extent, "have fewer calories") than sugar that's on the outside of the cells.

> To [your body], C12H22O11 is C12H22O11.

Uh, careful. If you said "sucrose is sucrose" I would agree, but lactose and maltose also have that formula, and require different enzymes to digest.

> All that aside, though, no, I'm pretty sure there hasn't been any compelling evidence to indicate that your body can somehow tell whether the sugar in your food was produced in situ or extracted from some other plant and then added to what you're eating.

To clarify I wasn't saying that the difference was how the sucrose is produced, but the actual metabolic process it takes to obtain it. It takes significantly more time for the body to break down sugars which are bound with fibers, something like today's epidemic simply would not be possible solely with whole fruits.

Sugar that occurs naturally in foods are often complex. Complex sugars are larger molecules that can be broken into simple sugars (lactose, fructose, glucose).

There is actually very little sugar in fruit, and they are full of vitamins and minerals which are good for you.

If you cut artificial (added sugar) foods from your diet you will likely find that other foods taste sweeter as your taste becomes more sensitive.

> There is actually very little sugar in fruit

Whoever told you this did you a disservice, because it's completely untrue. I think coke is a pretty good posterchild for "a shocking amount of sugar", and an 8 oz bottle of coke has about the same sugar content as an apple or a navel orange (and the orange has half the calories, making the comparison even less favorable). The difference between the two is that the coke is (nutritionally speaking) nothing but carbonated, liquid sugar while a whole apple comes with a fair amount of fiber. The difference in speed of absorption is primarily what makes one healthy and the other terrible for you.

You are mostly right. The mostly part is this:

gram for gram Apples and coke are about the same, however an 8oz coke has over twice the sugar content of an apple.

Secondly, on the disservice, you are particularly correct. I have done myself a disservice by not correctly interpreting my own research. Two years back, when switching to become a vegetarian, I calculated macros for loads of foods. For sugar I used a calculation based on the food's glycemic index.

That's was what I was getting at in general: glycemic index is far more relevant than gross sugar content[1]. But my criticism still stands: It's good that that's what you yourself use GI (as do I), but it's misleading and inaccurate to phrase a low GI as "very little sugar". It's particularly confusing for those readers of your comment who might not be familiar with GI. Instead of falsely claiming that fruit has little sugar as a roundabout way of describing it's GI, instead one can say: "Fruit has plenty of sugar, but the attendant fiber content makes the absorption of said sugar better for you than mainlining it as liquid Coke".

As an aside, where are you getting your nutritional info? It's way off what I've found. I was using the nutritional info for a regular "medium apple", and in the sources I found it has 20g vs coke's 25g, and almost the exact same amount of calories. 80% of a coke's sugar, calorie-forcalorie and serving-for-serving, hardly qualifies ad "very little sugar".

I couldn't say this more. I had to cut everything[1] except raw food (meat, carrots, tomatos, salad) and it's true that within a few days you start to feel the sugar in these even in small forms. You also recognize how sugary processed food is, and how it affect your mind.

In all honesty since I was able to eat anything again, I surrendered to a junk food from time to time. I know how to keep it small; but I have to admit how hard is it when your body allows it.

[1] my brain / heart / veins reacted wrong to any fat, sugar, too much salt.. so I was highly driven into avoiding them. That made the need for will power irrelevant at the time. A bonus.

The word fructose comes from the word fruit, it literally means the sugar found in fruits. Most fruits have more fructose than other sugars. A banana has 14 grams of sugar, equivalent to 4 teaspoons of table sugar. If fructose is bad for you then fruits are bad for you, there's no way around it. You can argue that it's ok to eat fruit because it's balanced by the fiber and vitamins, but that's equivalent to saying that fructose is ok in moderation. Which seems to go against the current nutritional science understandings.

> If fructose is bad for you then fruits are bad for you, there's no way around it.

Actually fruits also have fiber which slows down the absorption of fructose. The way we digest fruits is different from the way we digest table sugar.

Beware reductionist thinking: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductionism

Yes, and no. If you drink straight apple juice, yes, that's bad for you. If, however, you eat an apple, that's good for you. The Apple has plenty of fiber that keeps the body from absorbing the fructose too quickly. Straight apple juice kicks your pancreas into high gear.

Apple flesh is 2.6% fibre.

Where does this myth come from that fruit is high in fibre? It simply is not true. Some fruits are. Wild fruits certainly are. Domesticated table fruit is not. Google "fibre content of apple" if you don't believe me.

Animals are comprised of a huge amount of water and some other stuff. I think even meat is something like 80-90% water. But people don't usually say "man I'm thirsty, someone bring me a ribeye!"

When cells are made up so primarily by water saying "oh but this fiber is a trivial percentage" is very misleading. If all sugar is in the water which is contained in cells which are bound up by fiber then the fiber could make it much more difficult for your body to just absorb all the sugar wholesale.

> I think even meat is something like 80-90% water.

For fresh (not processed like hams etc), ~50ish% is usually a safe bet.

I didn't say "high in fibre", I said plenty of fibre. Difference.

> There is actually very little sugar in fruit

that's incorrect. in fact drinking a glass of orange juice is similar to drinking a coke. just because its fructose does not mean it's any better for you.


Yes, let me go and pick a glass of orange juice from my glass of orange juice tree.


pretty far from little sugar.

I lol'd

That is largely because you need to squeeze more than one orange to get one glass of orange juice.

There are many different kinds of sugars. It's worth understanding. Fructose is what harms you. Glucose is harmless. Sucrose is fructose plus a glucose. Lactose is harmless as long as you can digest it. Maltose is harmless. Etc.

Fruits contain varying amounts of fructose. Wild berries, not so much. An apple or grape, rather a lot. Apple juice, considerably more.

This is reductionist thinking, the same kind of thinking that led to the low-fat fad, which unfortunately lasted decades.

Fruits don't deliver just fructose, the also deliver nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. As a consequence we digest fruits differently compared with processed sugar, as the absorption of fructose when eating fruits is slowed down.

And our taste buds love sugar because our bodies crave for fruits, to fuel our big brains. We would have never developed this trait if naturally occurring sugar would harm us.

>As a consequence we digest fruits differently compared with processed sugar, as the absorption of fructose when eating fruits is slowed down.

When sugar is introduced to the body the liver begins to store/process the sugar. So it doesn't matter whether the sugar is from say coke (high fructose corn syrup) or an Apple.

What happens when the liver can't store/process the amount of sugar you ingest is the body triggers insulin production, and while insulin production will be linked to obesity the insulin itself is the real harm to the body. Insulin triggers the bodies production of fat cells to store the sugars it can't process. Also, Insulin has the effect of enlarging the bodies cells (fat cells, cancer cells, etc...) this can lead to enlarged organs (liver disease, heart disease, etc...).

There is something to be said that an Apple has nutritional value that the soda is lacking (plus fiber), and this can account for some people drinking multiple sodas a day (maybe even a 2 litter) but very unlikely to be eating 12 Apples a day; nevertheless, the underlying sugar is harmful vis-a-vis insulin spikes. The real difference is the person eating the apple instead of drinking the coke is likely to stop their sugar intake at 1 Apple and is more likely to incorporate some form of exercise. Personally, I go by a rule of thumb I try not to consume anything with more than 10g of sugar (a whole apple is almost double).

>And our taste buds love sugar because our bodies crave for fruits, to fuel our big brains. We would have never developed this trait if naturally occurring sugar would harm us.

Humans develop traits and cravings for things that have detrimental side-effects quite regularly. It used to be that Type 2 diabetes was called adult onset diabetes, in fact in the UK kids weren't diagnosed with Type 2 until the 2000's. Despite hundreds of billions a year spent managing Type 2, in most cases it can be completely prevented and even controlled to the point people can stop taking any medication through proper diet.

+1. It's all about the insulin release. After a year or so on a zerocarb diet I'd allow myself an occasional feast of fresh fruit, but in the process my body has become so sensitive to insulin, a fresh spike of it would lead to an immediate loss of energy and sleepiness regardless of the time of day.

I've tracked my weight and did blood tests consistently, and most dramatic weight loss periods coincided with the minimal insulin presence.

Remember though that modern fruits have been bred to be sweeter.

Lol, our big brains developed long after we left our jungle environment, and are fueled above all by protein (meat, so hunting). Our taste buds love sugar because fructose is a drug that plants evolved to get our ancestors working as seed dispersal machines. And I believe if you eat grapes or oranges or apples, the juice (and fructose) is barely wrapped in fibre if at all. Chewing an orange, you have extracted the fructose almost entirely. Do you think the "nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants" slow down the digestion process?

As the sibling poster stated, brains run almost exclusively on glucose outside starvation or ketogenic diets.

Our brain runs on sugar mostly.

It is very very hard to reach a harmful level of fructose when eating apples or other fruit.

If consuming juices or concentrates it is very easy.

Orange flesh is about 3% fibre. 97% juice. There is no significant difference between eating an orange and drinking a small glass of juice, except the work involved.

I don't think that changes "very easy" to "very very hard".

Even time to chew it all is a big difference. It takes several oranges to make a glass of orange juice, which I can down in about a minute. It takes me quite a while to eat an entire orange. Since it also takes time for people to realize they're full, this also helps not to eat so much.

Scooby's workshop, a very popular bodybuilding & fitness website covers this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAFdWifkt0E

i stopped drinking oj when I moved to San Francisco and saw one of those novelty juicing machines with the orange hopper and exposed internals. it was like 6 or 7 oranges in a single glass!

also made me realize why fresh oj is insanely expensive at restaurants.

Except, each orange only contains about 2 fl.oz of juice. What is significantly easier - drinking 16 fl. oz of juice or eating 8 oranges?

> Fructose is what harms you

Can you provide more info on this?

This is Robert Lustig's well-known talk on the subject:


No difference between fructose in fruit and the fructose which the body splits from sucrose in refined sugar. Fruit sugar is fructose. It's reported that in some people a marked increase in blood pressure is associated with high fructose intake. That is certainly so in my case after eating more fruit than I should.

That constitutes more than you should for you?

Personally I stopped buying jumbo massive apples and now usually only eat the small ones they say are for kids. I usually only est fruit with other things like in a salad or in a bowl of yoghurt nuts and seeds (tahini too) and maybe with coconut oil. I think this combo slows digestion to smooth out the sugar absorption.

I think it would be difficult to eat too much sugar from fruit in the same as from, say, soda just because it would be hard to eat that much fruit, but still possible to over do it.

When I was studying nutrition one of my lecturers was fond of telling a story about one patient he saw who, when asked what he ate, just said "apples", lecturer asked "and?" and the guy says "oh no, just apples". The guy was eating like a bucket of apples a day and nothing else. That could cause some problems.

It is true that many monkeys are tree dwellers and are heavy fruit eaters. Humans and other primates are neither. They will eat fruit as part of a mixed diet that is more omnivorous than anything. And wild fruit is not as rich in sugar as you imagine. It's mostly fibre. The stuff you buy in the supermarket is not a hallmark of a primate diet. Soft drinks are not a hallmark of a primate diet. Cakes and biscuits, they are not a hallmark of a primate diet. They are fake food.

Genuinely curious as to what you mean by "other primates". What else is there apart from humans and monkeys?

Apes are not monkeys (monkeys have tails). In general primate is a very large group that includes lemurs and tarsiers.

I just had to google this. Thanks! I guess I never really questioned (learnt?) it and thought monkey/ape was interchangeable.

Apes are also primates, but not monkeys. So for example, the rest of the great apes (orangutans, gorillas, chimps).

Primates are monkeys. A monkeys isn't necessarily primate.

You have that backwards.

Doh! My mistake.


> Tobacco is an addictive insecticide that won't even get you high.

Nicotine is an addictive substance which suppresses appetite and increases focus; as found in tobacco leaves, it has a pleasant smell and taste.

It's worth mentioning, since most people don't know, that nicotine on it's own is not as addictive as tobacco. AFAIK the MAOIs in tobacco smoke contribute more to its addictiveness than nicotine [1]

I've been chewing nicotine gum semi-regularly for a few months to improve my focus at work, and have not found it addictive so far. (I've never smoked).

(Still, I wouldn't recommend people in general do this without carefully considering the risks.)

[1] https://www.gwern.net/Nicotine

Companies that produce cigarettes also optimize the tobacco blend and chemical treatment to make it as addictive as possible, which is why vaping nicotine doesn't have the same addictive effect as smoking cigarettes.

Loss of focus is a well known symptom of nicotine withdrawal. It goes away after a few days.

I'm confused, what is your point?

Often you get the opposite effect of a drug in withdrawal, e.g. caffeine reduces headache pain, causes headaches in withdrawal.

As a former smoker, you are absolutely wrong. Tobacco will give you a kick, as nicotine is a stimulant.

I'd describe it as being similar to caffeine, it makes you more alert. Of course there are downsides that everyone knows about.

Fructose is a hallmark of primate diet. Refined fructose is not. The only refined fructose in the wild is honey and that is way too rare and too well defended to be the hallmark of anyone's diet (other than honeybees, of course).

Humans are perfectly capable of eating all the fructose they may ever want in its unrefined state as it appears in nature without any adverse effects. I.e. you can eat fruit until you are full, and nothing bad will happen. It is in fact quite healthy. But once you refine it into pure fructose, such as crystal sugar or molasses, then all hell breaks loose.

Another good discussion of Yudkin's work and how it was received: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/apr/07/the-sugar-co...

If you ask people to this day, they'll say Atkins died of his own diet. That was actually a total lie run by Harpers magazine. They corrected the mistake in the following edition, but the damage had been done.

Although there is little evidence to support it, the running conspiracy theory is that PR people in various arms of the food industry paid for that article.

Edit: Adkins died because he slipped on a piece of ice during a snow storm and cracked his skull.

I had no idea - I had dismissed the Atkins diet for years because I had heard that Atkins himself was morbidly obese and died from a heart attack (neither is true according to his Wikipedia article).

Chalk one up for the idea that it's usually not worth basing decisions on vaguely-heard rumors (especially in the age of Google).

To be completely fair, he slipped on the ice likely as a complication from heart disease. His doctors swear that his arteries and heart were the healthiest they'd seen for someone that age except for the infected portion.

Why are you spreading this myth?

>Atkins' widow and Dr. Stuart Trager, the spokesperson for Atkins Physicians Council, both contend Robert Atkins weighed less than 200 pounds at the time of his accident, claiming "During his coma, as he deteriorated and his major organs failed, fluid retention and bloating dramatically distorted his body and left him at 258 pounds at the time of his death, a documented weight gain of over 60 pounds."

> Thanks to his death certificate, we know Atkins was 258 pounds at the time of his death. Yet according to a copy of his medical records, as turned over to USA Today by the diet guru's widow, Atkins weighed 195 pounds upon admission to the hospital 8 April 2003 following his fall. He died on 17 April 2003 after having been in a coma for more than a week.

Source: http://www.snopes.com/medical/doctor/atkins.asp

The dude was 72 years old. 72 year old people die of things like slipping on ice and cracking their heads. When he was admitted to the hospital, he was totally healthy, except for the head injury. There was no sign of any heart problems, except for some controversial leaked reports.

The tragedy is that Atkins really wanted people to be healthy and his diet was/is very healthy. It's very similar to Keto and many other low-carb diets. It's myths that keep countries like American in a downward spiral of obesity.

> When he was admitted to the hospital, he was totally healthy, except for the head injury. There was no sign of any heart problems, except for some controversial leaked reports.

He did have cardiomyopathy for a few years before that, and a cardiac arrest the year before he died.

He didn't die of a heart attack, but it's an overcorrection to say that there was 'no sign of any heart problems'.

More likely its a complication of the fact that ice is slippery.

I don't get it: heart disease causes people to slip on ice?

No, his body was fighting the heart disease but with the slip on the ice his body was not able to recover from both at the same time. In other words, he was an old man and with the new injury his body was not able to recover.

Compromised health tends to make effective responses to hazardous environmental conditions more difficult.

Heart disease can affect strength, balance, coordination, mental function, and any number of other responses, much as a cold or flu or pnemonia can. You might care to review the recent video footage of a notable candidate visibly collapsing whilst being aided into a waiting van for transport, as a consequence of pnemonia. A condition more generally understood to affect the lungs than major skeletal muscles, but here clearly a contributing factor.

Think systemically, please. Especially if you're in tech.

If he had heart disease, it would make him more prone to slipping on ice. But because he slipped on ice (which perfectly healthy people do all the fucking time), does not mean he had heart disease, or was even in any other of the hundreds of conditions (some of which might speak to his health, others which might not such as being distracted by something) that might have made him more prone to slipping on ice.

So basically you've wandered into an "intro to critical thinking" level fallacy, which is especially ironic considering your last two sentences.

I'm not arguing the fall is proof of heart disease. That's a misreading of my comment.

Atkins is reported to have suffered cardiomyopathy -- a virally-induced form of heart disease -- by Dr. Stuart Trager, chairman of the Atkins Physicians Council:


I'm somewhat familar with the particulars of the story and debate over Atkins' perceived or claimed health or disease, and the disagreements over both arguments. I'm not taking a particular side.

But (as I've just commented to another response to my parent remarks above): yes, sick, frail, diseased, elderly people are more prone to falls than those who are well, strong, healthly, and young. And those falls can be fatal.

Hence: heart disease can be a contributing factor to slipping on ice (or the resultant injuries and outcome).

> Think systemically, please. Especially if you're in tech.

Which is why I would follow Occam's Razor in this scenario instead of using a convoluted theory to explain why someone slipped on ice.

"Simple is better than complex." [1]

[1]: https://www.python.org/dev/peps/pep-0020/

I'm not claiming either that:

1. The direct cause of Robert Atkins' fallin on ice was heart disease.

2. That his falling on ice is proof of heart disease.

Rather, I'm explaining how, as one of several precipitating factors, heart disease might be a factor in the question posed: "I don't get it: heart disease causes people to slip on ice?"

I'm suggesting that a multifactor risk analysis be considered.

It's the same multi-factor logic you might follow in answering questions of other disasters. Say: What caused the disaster of the RMS Titanic? What caused the Hindenberg disaster? What cause the Fukushima or Chernobyl disasters? What lead to the Bhopal disaster.

Looking only at the precipitating or triggering cause misses many other opportunities for mitigation or avoidance. The Titanic would have been better served with more lifeboats, 24/7 manned radios, regular lifeboat drills, the originally-scheduled first officer not having (inadvertently) pocketed the key to the bridge's binoculars case, heeding ice warnings, less hubris on the part of passengers, owners, and regulatory boards.

Old, sick people are more likely to slip and fall, and the hazards of such falls can be greater than for young, fit, healthy people.

To amend to your Zen of Python list: make things as simple as possible, but no simpler.

I see what you're saying now, but to be frank you could have saved some time with a shorter explanation.

Post short comment: be misread.

Post longer clarification: dismissed as too wordy.

Tough crowd.

> Think systemically, please

systemically, or systematically?


A story every scientist should now. For its own sake.

Ancel Keys was certainly wrong when it came to sugars vs fats. However, he did live to be 100... so there's got to be at least some merit to his ideas, such as the Mediterranean diet, etc.

Isn't the merit of the Mediterranean mainly about increasing the amount of omega-3 fatty acids through increased consumption of high-fat low-carb foods such as fish, green leafy vegetables, olives, cheeses and olive oils?

Which is the complete opposite of low-fat high-carb diet recommended by Keys?

There are also heavy smokers and drinkers who live to 100 and more.

No, there doesn't

I rarely say anything is black and white in this world but sugar is in my opinion. Without any doubt in my mind.

Recently in the last 3 months I gave up sugar, hard core, it's hard but the benefits are out of this world.

I was healthy and active. I ate healthy, or so I thought. Boy was I wrong and mis informed.

I had heard theories so I decided to check them out. I went all out to avoid sugar for a couple of weeks just to see. It was amazing.

I have lost 20 pounds that I didn't think was possible, I think better, I sleep better and I eat way less. I have way more energy, like I drank 5 cups of coffee all the time. I don't fade in the afternoon.

Those of you looking for a way to get more energy and focus at work, especially those working long hours in startups. I encourage you to go all out to reduce sugar intake to as little as possible. Of course eat whole fruits those are ok.

Best thing I have ever done in my life.

There's a saying "those on high sugar diets don't know what it feels like to be sugar free." It feels amazing. Try it. At least once in your life. You won't go back .

sorry that was long :-)

A really smart guy said to me once something like, “if you are smart and have money and you don't eat well then you are not smart”. I can't remember the exact quote but the sentiment really stuck with me.

Look I'm no expert but I'm telling you the results are outrageous. Please do your own research as I only really have a school boy understanding of how this affects the body.

My skin cleared up, my ailments all disappeared, I no longer snore, my wife says I radiate energy and my skin glows. People notice that my eyes are white and bright. My thinking is clear and alert.

I run up a big hill occasionally, a massive one, I did it yesterday, I broke a sweat but my body was working and I got to the top in record time with minimal effort. I had been training for years and never could match that performance. It's all SUGAR. I hit the wall because of sugar. I finally cracked the magic code, NO SUGAR.

What do I eat? I will lose some people here, but honestly, whole fruit, salad, no dressing, chicken,steak,salmon and WATER. That's it. I said it was hard but I went 100% zero sugar. Real Food. Nothing in a box nothing processed. I now love this food more than anything.

Why is whole fruit ok? My understanding is the fibre tells your body when to stop eating. It's a natural way to tell you that you've had enough. If the grapefruit it too sweet, don't eat it. Your body is telling you something. Listen to it

Sugar inflames your body, it gives you a rush, then a crash, then it makes you hungry. Sugar makes you eat more. It makes you swing up and down.

Getting off sugar is hard, you will have withdrawals. They are not pleasant.

My appetite and palette has changed for the better, I love food now, I can't even drink a soda, I spit it out as the most disgusting thing imaginable, that's a massive change for me. I eat way less I'm spending less money.

Medically all the little things I was thinking of going to the doctor about have completely gone.

3 months in, a lifetime ahead of positive changes.

sorry if this was long and ranty and a bit smug :-)

And just to show that the other way works as well:

Your diet would be havok for my insides. I simply cannot digest fat from meat very well. I'm mostly vegetarian, and eat a lot of legumes and dairy and grains and bread, vegetables and the occasional fruit. I eat fish (trout, usually) once a week for health purposes. I usually only drink water or black coffee. My main mode of transportation are my feet.

I also generally skip breakfast, possibly have a small snack or two during the day, and eat most of my food late in the day when I'm most hungry. I eat candy occasionally. I cook with butter and cream.

And it is strange that I find much of the same benefits as you. I still snore (obviously not due to weight loss). My skin had no change, but I lost weight. I feel physically better. I now like more 'healthy' foods. Soda is really syrupy most of the time - I can occasionally have some when eating, but not by itself (been like that for years).

I'm years into this lifestyle. It took years to tweak it to where it is now - and each tweak had weight loss. I found you can get over cravings for certain sorts of foods (outside of hormones, that is, but even that gets changed some), and you can learn to like new ones. It is basically exposure, though I still dislike eggplant.

Much luck on your continued success :)

I'm curious, do you have a malfunctioning or removed gall bladder?

As a matter of fact, yes. It was malfunctioning (genetics, not gallstones), then it was removed.

I really like this response and I do truly believe that cutting out or minimizing sugar is a truly beneficial thing.

But when I got to this:

> I can't even drink a soda, I spit it out as the most disgusting thing imaginable

I had a hard time taking the rest of your comment seriously. I can understand it being too sweet to your now adjusted taste buds, but calling it the most disgusting thing imaginable is just plain wrong.

Sounds like you might have an unusual sensitivity to exaggeration. It is a symptom which affects a small percentage of the population, and is treatable. Talk to your comedian or an entertainment specialist about treatment options.

(In fairness, I strongly dislike soda. I can imagine worse things, of course, but in the universe of commonly consumed beverages, bubbly sugar water is pretty close to the bottom of the list for me. Another water, coffee and almost nothing else person.)

I can't believe how long I laughed at this comment. I literally rolled around laughing uncontrollably on the floor at this comment. All my coworkers are staring at me funny now. This is one of the most amazing comments I've ever seen on HN. Well played good sir, bravo.

This happened to me - and weirdly others that have dropped sugary drinks. I completely understand where he is coming from, and the adjustment is that contrasting.

I got to drinking water most times at a call center mostly because I didn't like warm nor watered-down soda. And one day, the soda tasted weird and syrupy. It was gross. And the longer I went without sugary beverages, the worse it tasted. I can occasionally tolerate it with food. The drinks that have soda water and fruit juice are much better.

Some time later, I had a friend cut down on soda. We went to the local McDonalds on a lunch break (small town), and she ordered soda. She took it back because it tasted funny, but it turned out that it was simply her taste buds had changed. I giggled, she wasn't so happy about buying the drink, though.

It seems like an exaggeration, but it's not. Your taste buds really do adjust over time.

I used to drink soda like water. That's just how we were raised(badly). A two liter a day of coke or mt dew. Tasted awesome to me. I loved it. In high school I decided I was tired of being sick and quit drinking soda.

I drank some of my boyfriend's coke recently just to see how it was. Just one sip. It was utterly disgusting. The weird thing is I can still clearly recall how I used to like it and think it was refreshing. In memory, it tastes good. But now that my taste buds have adjusted, ughhhh. Nasty.

I don't know, I think it is a mental thing. Ten years or so ago I smoked. I finally quit by telling myself that they smelled and tasted disgusting (which, they do but smokers don't seem to mind while they're smoking). After a few weeks of that, one day I told myself, that's it, I'm done, this is gross and I'm not doing it anymore. So, I've not had one sense. But here's the kicker. Sometimes when I'm around smoke now, I want to vomit. I'm pretty sure it's because of the way I quit.

I used to drink soda a lot younger then. I no longer drink them aside from using a can every half a year to do cooking (for the effects, not taste), and that was in 2015.

In fact, if you quit soda (and drastically reduce sugar intake), you'll find sugar and those soda stuff very overwhelmingly. At most a sip. The claim is not hard to resonate with.

I can see where he is coming from. I don't avoid sugar and don't find soda particularly sweet, but I do find it to have an off-putting taste of some sort. I can down it if there is nothing else available, but it is definitely not my top choice.

Interestingly, I did love it in my childhood. I think I lost my taste for it around the time that I reached the legal drinking age. At that time I'd try some different drink choices in the circumstances where I would have previous had a soda, and then after not having it for a while it just didn't taste good to me anymore.

Or... it's an opinion?

How can you say that a statement starting with "I..." is "just plain wrong?"

You really think everyone likes soda? Most sodas besides (diet) ginger ale are sickly sweet to me now.

I can agree entirely with this. I used to drink Snapple iced teas like they were water. After cutting back on sugar, I can't stomach the stuff now. I like sweetness: I'll add a splash of lemonade to unsweetened iced tea. But the presweetened stuff is 10x sweeter than my palate tolerates now.

> I can understand it being too sweet to your now adjusted taste buds, but calling it the most disgusting thing imaginable is just plain wrong.

Try the 'ol "Grandma Test" on it:

If you had served your Grandma (or maybe great-Gramdma) with a glass of fizzy black liquid, that you poured out of a shiny metal container, do you think she would have drunk it?

I mean, honestly, that would be like putting a glass of used engine oil in front of me today and trying to convince me to drink it.

It's clearly not food, and you clearly shouldn't be eating (drinking) it. Your great-Grandma knew it, and your body does too.

People eat fermented shark meat and blue cheese neither of which 'seem like food to me'. I'm not sure the great grandma test is particularly useful other than to reinforce one's preexisting notions.

I resisted eating blue cheese for the longest time, based on the reasoning that why would anyone want to eat mold?

Then one time I actually tried some - and it was delicious! Now I love it, which was just another lesson in how stepping outside your pre-existing notions can be beneficial.

Pretty sure my grandma would have consumed a glass of Guinness had it been presented to her ;-)

My grandma drinks quite a lot of cola. .-.

Both would have and did. I never knew my great-great grandmother so who knows, but yes probably.

I don't intake much sugar and I do like the taste of orange soda. I think the difference between now and my former self is my body simply cannot process all the sugar in a can. The idea of drinking a whole can makes me feel a bit sick b/c I know by 2/3rds of the way through I'll be struggling to process it.

>>I can't even drink a soda, I spit it out as the most disgusting thing imaginable

>I had a hard time taking the rest of your comment seriously. I can understand it being too sweet to your now adjusted taste buds, but calling it the most disgusting thing imaginable is just plain wrong.

I said this in another comment, but he's just humblebragging. It's just like someone saying they don't have a TV. He's showing how cultured and refined he is compared to the rest of us who enjoy sweet foods.


I also cut out most sugars. I literally cannot drink Dr Pepper or Mr Pibb (the only two I can stomache) straight. I have to dilute it with plain soda water (unflavoured, unsweetened).

My wife, who still likes sweet drinks, cannot stand the mix I make, and I cannot stand the mix she likes (as in, as the manufacturer intended).

It isn't humblebragging. It's real. Cut out sugars for a couple of years and try it yourself.

He's being hyperbolic, but once you cut out sugar long enough sweet things really do taste worse. Try it for yourself and see.

Agreed. I used to really like Dr. Pepper and Cactus Cooler. I've not regularly drank soda for about a decade at this point. Every now and then, I get a hankering for Dr. Pepper. I can't finish more than 1/3rd of a can, and it is just not good. A couple times a year, I can drink a cup of Cactus Cooler still, but that is about it.

>rest of us who enjoy sweet foods

I'll wager there are more on HN, who cut down or take no sugar.

I left it about 10 months back. And recently in a movie hall, I had to take tea with sugar (as their machine could only serve with sugar, very strange!) . So I grudgingly took it. But when I tasted it, it felt yuck! I could barely finish that. So I can say that the GP was not exaggerating greatly, perhaps slightly.

Here's a rather detailed lecture on the biochemistry (and history and everything) about sugar (and why the sugar in fruit is not problematic).

"Sugar: The Bitter Truth" by Robert H. Lustig https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

> I can't even drink a soda

Given that you call it 'soda', you're probably American... in which case, American sodas are disgusting, because they're made with HFCS instead of sugar. :)

It's still 'sugars', but it's not 'sugar' as the public calls it. I'm someone who eats too much sweet, sweet sugar, and I can't drink an American soda.

Well, that isn't really the thing. I started the dislike after cutting them out living in the US. A few years ago, I moved to Norway. Same thing. Even if they taste differently.

Not like I could afford to drink them as often here anyway, but that is besides the point.

You can buy a sugar soda here, though yes most of them are HFCS.

I still can't stand the sugar ones either.

+1 to this. I recently just started toying with the idea of going sugar free and ketogenic... so I started trying foods without many carbs but wasn't even committed to it. All of a sudden I noticed I had lost 5-7 pounds in 3-4 weeks. So I got excited and kept it up... I'm not losing weight at the same rate but now about 2-3 months in and I'm down about 25 pounds. It's ridiculous.

I haven't noticed the energy or clarity improvements in myself and my wife hasn't seen that in me either. That may be due to sleep as I'm going to school full-time, training for the Chicago Marathon, and working full-time. Given all that maybe it's just great that I can function. :)

Either way! The changes have been amazing and dramatic. My biggest problem now is that I need to buy a whole new wardrobe but I can't yet because I think I still have another 15 pounds I'll blow through by Christmas. I finally feel in control of my weight and it's the best.

I'm sold, it's no/low sugar from now on.


No, man, it's important to share these ideas. My energy levels jumped when I changed my lunches from carbs&protein (pasta, potato etc) to salads with protein.

You can put vinegar, salt and a dash of olive oil as seasoning into a salads - still no sugars.

I have had some pretty nasty neurological symptoms due to invasive intracellular infections of the CNS, and been whole-food paleo-like keto diet for more than 1 year now with no exceptions, and I feel damn great, compared to before that is.

>It's all SUGAR. I hit the wall because of sugar. I finally cracked the magic code, NO SUGAR.

Can't say I agree with this part. If you're doing any kind of intensive cardio work sugars are essential if you want to keep doing it for any long period of time. The harder you're going the quicker you'll want to start eating carbs, be it in gels/fruit (Dates are fantastic for this).

You might actually just have got better, or maybe just might be well rested after a period of over training.

Even with heavy glycolytic training, exogenous carbohydrate intake needs are typically overstated.

Peter Attia (along with Volek and Phinney) has done some fantastic n=1 research in this area [1]

[1] http://eatingacademy.com/how-a-low-carb-diet-affected-my-ath...

You may wanna do some more research on this, it's not as black-and-white, plenty of endurance athletes starting to push less gels: http://lc-triathlete.com/science-behind-fat-adaptation/

I weaned myself off sugar once too. It was hard. It took about two weeks before the intense cravings subsided, and then everything tasted sweeter. I was getting a sugar high from eating carrots. It was awesome.

Later, though, I started working at tech companies that had catered food, so I didn't control my diet anymore. It's funny how much better I feel when I can choose my own diet. I think I'll make a point of avoiding sugary foods again.

> Of course eat whole fruits those are ok.

Why's that any different from eating say table sugar + celery? I just had a slice of a lovely honey dew melon. It was like drinking sugar syrup. I'm pretty sure it was bad for me. Surely the advice should be to not eat too many sugary fruits either, especially not the modern breeds that are much sweeter than more traditional varieties.

> Why's that any different from eating say table sugar + celery?

In principle it's not, except perhaps for a glass of water. Most sweet fruits tend to have much more moisture than celery.

An unstated assumption that may come with your question is that just like eating fruit is equivalent to eating sugar + celery, it would also be the same to eat sugar, then celery. This is not the case. The fiber and water in the fruit make for phisical barriers that slow down digestive enzimes from reaching the sugar molecules in it. This makes for a steadier release of energy over a longer period of time; the exact opposite of the well known 'sugar rush' phenomenon. [1]

Then there is the issue that most people, left to their own devices, will eat too much of sugar and too little of the other two.

[1] I don't have the appropriate literature at hand, but this was explained to me by a really close person who's been a Diabetes-I survivor for 21 years and counting. His report is that foodstuffs with identical glycemic indexes do cause different, noticeable physiologic responses based on the amount of fiber in them.

I've had type 1 diabetes since I was 12, I'm 21 now. Food with identical glycemic indexes do cause different responses. Bread and food with fibers keep the blood sugar levels sustained.

When I have to skip a meal, I've learned that it's best to eat oatmeal crackers. They keep you full and you don't experience hypoglysemia. When I eat candy-bars/chocolate as a substitute for a meal, my blood sugar drops immensely after a couple of hours. I feel exhausted, my hands start to tremble and I forget words/things.

On the other hand, fruits also have the same effect on me as candy-bars. Fructose is no different for me.

For diabetics at least, sugar is poison. But I can't seem to live without it.

Sorry about your condition. Please do take care of yourself.

I am not going to pontificate about morals, but perhaps you should address sugar as if it was a drug (legal or otherwise). It is very easy to advocate for a "just say no" position, specially for the people that do not face themselves with the problem on a day to day basis. But once you have found that this is not an option for you, it'd be a good idea to manage your habit in such a way that it minimizes associated risks. i.e. Alcohol != Driving-under-influence.

So, definitively not skipping meals. And limit your dessert indulgences to occasions where you will expect to remain in a safe environment for a reasonable time.

Best regards

I understand () about dietary fibre and glycemic indices.

Celery has more water than pretty much all fruits (www.herefordshireccg.nhs.uk/download.cfm?doc=docm93jijm4n7467.pdf)

Celery also has more fibre than honeydew melon - 1.6% vs 0.8% (the source this time was just googling "fibre celery" and "fibre honeydew melon", the data is on the results page and credited USDA).

I guess the sugars in melon are inside cells and therefore a little harder to get out and into my blood stream. However, I'm pretty sure chewing frees enough to make almost no difference by the time I swallow it (I can't find any data on that).

So, it seems that table sugar + celery is better for me than melon.

I'm sure I have a lot more to learn though.

>Then there is the issue that most people, left to their own devices, will eat too much of sugar and too little of the other two.

Yep. I'm pretty sure the reason low carb diets work is because they eliminate most of the processed junk that people like to binge on. It doesn't really have anything to do with carbs.

It is more nuanced than that, but you've got the right idea.

Some years ago I tried the Zone Diet(TM), and was able to loose in the ballpark of 20 lbs. For the first month, all carb-rich food was strictly banned, and that did have physiological effects. Later, once the process had been kickstarted, non-junky carbs were gradually reintroduced with little effect on my pace of weight loss.

So... I tend to agree with you. People evolved to eat carbs, but not necessarily highly concentrated, processed carbs.

Generally, the advice is that fruit is good for you primarily because of the quantity of fibre it contains. I seem to recall Robert Lustig discussing this point. Fibre keeps sugar in your gut longer, which in turn means it's broken down by bacteria there rather than having to be broken down by your liver. It was in this talk he gave, at around 1hr 13min 52sec or so: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

Apparently you take longer to absorb the sugar from fruits. You don't get a blood sugar spike that triggers an insulin response like with table sugar.

The same can't be said for fruit juice. Maybe infusing the sugar into to celery somehow would be healthier than eating them separately.

That won't work. The sugar in inside fruit is generally wrapped up inside the fiber of the fruit and has to be broken down to access it.

That's why apples, that have a relatively high amount of sugar, have a lower gly index than you might expect.

I can't find a GI for honeydew melon, but water melon is higher than table sugar, even before I eat the celery at the same time.

There's something to be said about eating whole foods rather than eating their refined components individually. Something about the reactions that occur when things are consumed in the form your body expects, together, rather than purified and separated. Some things we call "antioxidants" have the opposite effect when purified and eaten separately from the foods the occur in.

I keep finding edge cases when I try this.

How do you handle sugar in yogurt? How about pizza sauce? Is 5 grams of sugar in super dark chocolate ok? It just seems like it's everywhere.

>It just seems like it's everywhere. That is precisely the problem, actually. It isn't so much that folks are eating pounds or kilos of sweets daily, it is that we find sugar in everything - even if we wouldn't guessed there was added sugar. Food companies do this for a myriad of reasons, usually backed with research on taste. It is really hard to avoid.

I'm not as low-sugar as some of the people here. I figure if I'm eating chocolate, I'm eating chocolate occasionally and damn the sugar. I know there is sugar in that. Occasionally I'll have some daily, but it doesn't make up much of my diet, and that is what I'm much more concerned about. My base diet being fairly healthy.

I simply don't eat much flavored yogurt except as an occasional snack. Many people, however, solve this by buying plain, unsugared yogurt and simply adding in fruit.

Red sauces and other such things - make what you can at home and freeze some of it for later use. Or start reading ingredients lists carefully. It would be helpful if nutrition labels specified the amount of sugar added (regardless of source), but until then, labels and a lessened reliance on pre-made foods.

It's everywhere - in the US.

Natural yogurt should be relatively easy to find. Add some real fruit if it's too dull for you (after a while it's not).

Basically try not to eat processed stuff. Sure, you're not going to die if you eat a pizza here and there, but the baseline should be to eat as much real food as possible, as opposed to processed food. Even for pizza, you could find a place which uses fresh ingredients as oppose to a big franchise where everything is heavily processed and frozen. Finally, give it a try to make your own pizza/yogurt/etc. It can be a lot of fun.

If you had 20 pounds to lose, you weren't healthy. You were fooling yourself. Healthy people aren't carrying around 20 extra pounds of fat.

> You were fooling yourself.

I think that's the entire point of his story.

He said he lost 20 pounds, not 20 pounds of fat.

The interesting thing about sugar is that it also causes your body to retain a lot of water. Same with salt.

So losing 20 pounds in a short time is totally possible for someone who is tall.


It's well known that folks who start a low-carb diet can expect to lose about 5lbs in water weight within the first week.

For an average height, the span between the lowest non-over-or-underweight weight and the highest is a lot more than 20 pounds, and being a bit into the overweight range doesn't automatically make you unhealthy either.

chart: http://www.vertex42.com/ExcelTemplates/Images/body-mass-inde...

Don't forget there's a difference between weight from fat and weight from other sources (muscle, bone, water, etc).

If you lift weights, I wouldn't use body mass indexes.

I'm 10 pounds heavier now than I was 3 years ago and I assure you I'm much healthier. So your sweeping generalization is entirely incorrect.

That's not quite correct. The CDC recommends a body fat percentage between 18% to 25%, and it's generally acknowledged that athletes can drop down to around 5%-6% without adverse effects. So, given those numbers, most healthy adults are carrying at least 20 pounds that they could safely lose.

CDC recommends BMI of 18 to 25. Completely different from body fat percentage. 25% body fat is pretty fat. It's a noticeably protruding belly, drooping love handles, and sometimes breast tissue that could be classified as an A-cup. BMI is a pretty poor standard anyway, since it would classify anyone who does body building even recreationally as obese.

Oops, my mistake. I got confused by this table on the WebMD page below which does list 18-25% as an acceptable range for body fat percentage:


So my original numbers were actually correct, but instead of the CDC it's the American Council on Exercise, whatever that is. The page before has the CDC recommendations on BMI. I was surprised too that 25% is considered acceptable. I am aware of the difference between BMI and body fat percentage, and that the former is an inaccurate gauge of fitness.

Considering the American Council on Exercise pushes the "Health at Every Size(C)" bullshit I'd never take them seriously. I can't be bothered to go find real studies on the issue but I would have to guess they'd tell you there's an increased risk of health issues at 25% body fat.

Ah ok, I suppose I expected WebMD to rely on better sources of information. I stay around 7-10% body fat and feel good in that range -- the few times I've gone below that I felt lethargic and performed poorly in sports.

WebMD is the buzzfeed of medical knowledge.

I suspect you're not actually at 7-10% body fat, that is ridiculously low. Like just skin and muscle, nothing else. It is physically impossible for most people to go below 7% without some serious drug abuse or eating disorder. Google image search "7% body fat" and see for yourself.

Your numbers are good for males. Often women have issues if they drop to the 5-6% range... missed periods, decreased fertility, hormonal changes, and other such things. Weirdly, some of the same issues people have with anorexia, only to a healthier extreme. I'm pretty sure they recommend women to have at least 9-11% body fat if they are muscular.

Have you cut back on carbohydrates too? I'm just curious, since I've eliminated sugary drinks, but I find it harder to cut back on bread, pasta and so on.

Well, we do know that fructose is worse than glucose in terms of its effects on your body because it takes an extra processing step that can cause other complications.

This is anecdotal, but I personally feel better when I eat rice than when I eat wheat, though I don't have celiac disease. It would be nice if nutritionists looked into carbs as much as they've looked into fats.

What kind of sugar were you eating? Like cookies, cake, pop, ice cream? I don't have any of those foods in my home. I don't buy high sugar foods. So, I'm kind of confused what you consider to be a high sugar diet. How did you get that much sugar in?

Most likely pop. If you eat out a lot, cheap restaurants will shame you into buying huge unhealthy drinks, unless you want to drink water from a tiny dixie cup.

It's pretty easy to get a lot of sugar in your entre if you eat at Chili's or Panda Express or anywhere else that uses excessive BBQ sauce.

And then there's the fact that Snickers would like you to think it will satisfy your hunger. At least it has peanuts in it...

BBQ sauce is something that I like with chicken, but lately I've been thinking it's gross to eat it. I have switched to red sauce for my chicken now.

Dry rub is good too :D

So what did you actually eat? It seems like sugar is everywhere these days.

Not OP, but:

* Avoid processed anything. Most especially soft/fizzy drinks, baked goods, candy, fruit drinks, jams, jellies, syrups, most processed cereals.

* Eat fresh vegetables, some fruit, legumes. Whole grains for breakfast (rolled or steel-cut oats). Meat, eggs, and dairy if they're in your diet.

* Check breads and other products for added sugar, in all forms: sugar, molasses (often added to "rye" breads as colouring), caramel colour or flavour, honey, rice syrup, agave nectar (nearly pure fructose), corn syrup, HFCS, concentrated apple juice, etc., etc.

Generally, Michael Pollan's guidance in The Omnivor's Dilemma is good: Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.

Many strength training books have good guidance on nutrition (contrast with cardiovascular fitness, though there are exceptions). I'll recommend The New Rules of Lifting for Women (Schuler, Cosgrove, & Forsythe) specifically as it includes a large section on nutrition and meal planning. The fitness advice is also generally applicable to men, though there is a companion title on that topic specifically -- its nutritional advice is similar though briefer.


Good advice (similar to Pollan) here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12481699

What does it precisely mean for a food to be "processed"? "Processed" in general just means "went through some kind of process", which covers pretty much anything (if a local farmer collects their apples in a bin and moves them across the field that's a process) but in relation to food it has a negative connotation, so it must be specific processes the food was involved in that are unwanted? What about these processes inherently make the food more sugary or otherwise unhealthy?

I'm not sure it is a science problem, i.e., processing food makes it unhealthy. I think it is more an economics problem; food processors don't have the incentives to care about the long-term health of the food consumers.

Food processors have incentives to improve their logistics (e.g., increase shelf life) and to make the food taste better (or even, hopefully, addictive). Some brands try to make their products appear to be healthy, but consumers generally have little information about what is going into processed food, so appearance might not mean much.

Of course, even unprocessed food like fruits and vegetables has been heavily engineered by breeding, especially in the last century---and again, not to make it healthier.

I think commonly, processed doesn't mean so much "flour you didnt grind at home", but more "these meats have been ground and mixed with spices and cured" or "they made the speghetti sauce at the factory" or "artificial flavorings and lots of added sugar!".

Not all processing is bad, per se: Factories can make red sauce pretty darn healthy if they want. But what usually happens is that the sauces are filled with a good deal of fat, salt, and sugar along with other things you'd never actually put in food at home (not all of which are bad, but some are misleading - food coloring, for example). They do this because... well, they researched this and found there are 'bonus taste points' if they have the right combination of flavors and feels.

And there is a lot of politics and lobbying to keep the labels more confusing and to use special ingredient names so people don't really know what is in it. Sometimes even when you are trying to avoid something, it is really difficult to figure it all out.

And really, what would probably be needed is some sort of push for healthier processed foods without the weird ingredients. Some things will probably always be bad in excess - cured meats, for example, but we can do better with the others.

Moving apples around is not really processing them because they are still the same. A better example of processing is when you homogenize or pasteurize milk, or mill and separate wheat into flour and bran. Of course you don't see anyone demonizing these processes because we've been doing them for a pretty long time. It's good to bet on traditional foods because the cultures that came up with them must have survived on them somehow. However, newer processes could modify foods into more dangerous forms. Partial hydrogenation, for example, turned out to be a pretty bad idea. Also, modern processing often comes with new additives that wouldn't occur in traditional diets.

>mill and separate wheat into flour and bran. Of course you don't see anyone demonizing these processes because

There is actually a movement to avoid modern milling techniques. Something about how the high pressure steel mills today affect the endosperm and then the readdition of the separately ground germ and bran produces a different whole wheat flour than grinding the wheat berries as one ingredient.

"Processing" is a continuum, not a binary. I'll let you work it out from there.

What do you think about white rice? Google lists white rice (1 cup, cooked) at 0.1g. Conversely, brown rice shows 0.7g for the same portion.

Are these simple sugars? Is this bad for me?

A reputable nutritional guide (and I've listed several, though there are many others) will be far more reliable and complete than me. Please refer to them.

If you care to share your findings, report them back to the discussion.

I've found some data on the subject prior, and I find that it doesn't contain sugar, but acts like sugar, but then that's nullified if you eat it with a fiber, etc. It's more than "what does this book say".

I'm not the OP but I'd guess it's mostly vegetables, nuts/non meat proteins, and/or meat. Maybe some of the less processed grains like flax or quinoa.

Amen to that--what is 8g of sugar doing in a serving of /pasta sauce/?

Sugar is a pretty common ingredient in red pasta sauce recipes. It cuts the acidity of the tomato

Vinegar + sweetener is the or a fundamental flavor in a number of things, including barbecue sauce, ketchup, coleslaw dressing, several salad dressings, some pasta sauce and chili-type sauces, cocktail sauce, some pickles, and so on.

By that I do not mean "those evil bastards are sticking sugar everywhere", I mean that this is a standard culinary technique. It may be overused and we may consume too much of it, but it is an old technique. It is also one of the answers to the question "how can so much sugar be everywhere but not everything tastes sweet?" Vinegar is one of the bigger answers to that question. (Even ignoring the fact that we can end up very adjusted to the sugar flavor, it is still amazing to me that some things can literally be half sugar by mass and not taste sweet.)

I also mention it because if you want to cut sugar out of your life, this is definitely one of the easiest places to miss a significant quantity. It's pretty easy to make yourself a great salad and accidentally slather it in vinegared sugar.

Don't forget sushi! It's named after the sour taste of sugar-seasoned vinegar.

Sodas use other types of acid in vinegar's place.

Yes, but the "traditional" sweetener in Italian pasta sauce is usually carrot, not processed white sugar. At least that's how I've always made pasta sauce.

And makes up about 25% of ketchup...

If you look around, there's sauce on shelves now without lots of added sugar. It's been gradual over many years, but I'm starting to find more choices of various foods that have a shorter ingredients list, less salt, less sugar, etc.

The easiest way to eat healthy is to only buy things in the supermarket that have one ingredient.

Pretty soon you'll notice you're only buying fruit, vegetables, pasta, rice, beans & non-processed meat.

Disclaimer: of course you could buy pure sugar or pure lard - so don't do that :)

Do yourself the favor, buy the lard and leave the pasta for the people who believe the broken gov't recommendations.

Also, cheese and butter and possibly milk.

I agree, especially industrial sugar is bad food, and artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes are even worse. Sugar and its derivatives are massively overused in todays cheaply processed food chains.

Do you drink beer at all? I'd be open to trying to a low sugar diet, but I homebrew and don't want to give that up right now.

> I rarely say anything is black and white in this world but sugar is in my opinion. Without any doubt in my mind.

I think you're missing the word "bad" between "is in".

It can be written either way. The "bad" is implied as written. Your suggestion would be clearer.

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