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March 03, 2011



Thanks SO much for this. My mother in the 1970s told me about the ghastly effects of sugar. She was reading a book entitled "Pure, White and Deadly" by Professor Yudkin. I was in my teens and didn't take much notice but a friend a few years ago gave me a copy of Sugar Blues by William Dufty (I think that's right). What an indictment of sugar. I am in my 50s and have always loved milk chocolate and cake. Now I am off these as I'm following the Esselstyne diet (more or less). Sugar is SO addictive. I have been known to leap up, get dressed and go in search of it at night! Do you think they feed us all this sugar to save on pensions??!!



During my transformation to a healthy lifestyle, Dr. Lustig's video was one that I watched (more than once). However, there's no way I could have possibly watched the hundreds of hours of videos on my computer.

So, here's a tip for smartphone owners: Download this free software:

Once you do that, all you have to do is "pop" the YouTube URL into it and it will convert it to watch on your iPhone or other device.

There's a tremendous amount of incredible videos online (Dr. Esslestyn, Michael Pollan, Marion Nestle, Dr. David Kessler and many others) that dole out incredible information.

Put 'em on your smartphone and it will make you incredibly intelligent.

Here are four that I highly recommend:

Ken Leebow


I love Dr. Lustig. I emailed him about a reaction I was having to Sobe Life Water because of the sugar alcohol used "Erythritol". I couldn't believe he took the time to answer me. Sugar Alcohols are as bad as sugar. Keep up the good work. I love your blog and read it faithfully. I have learned so much from you.


thanks so much for this vital information! i use no sugar, fruit juice, syrups, etc...but i do consume at least 5-6 pieces of fruit daily (apples, pears, berries, citrus). My vegetable consumption is also quite high.
According to Dr E - would this large consumption of fresh fruit contribute too many sugars to my diet (which is all vegan, all veg/legume/grain/fruit...)?


Thank you for this, which is extremely timely as I am fighting a sugar habit that seems to grow ever more powerful. Unfortunately, it coincided with starting a vegan lifestyle; a friend gave me a vegan cupcake cookbook. This will help give me strength.

But then, your posts are always timely. The pumpkin oatmeal recipe just when I needed a breakfast idea, the great recipe when I need to bring something to a party; pointing me to the fabulous book, "The Enzyme Factor." What would I do without you?


This was an excellant post, and very timely. Thank you!


The part that confuses me is Walter Kempner cured hypertension in patients with a diet of white rice, sugar, fruit juice and fruit.... they also lost weight, so it doesn't seem possible that sugar and fruit juice could cause all the problems Dr.Lustig claims. Does he address Dr.Kempner's research at all? I'm finding this direct conflict very puzzling.

Healthy Librarian

Kempner's diet dates back to the 1940's. It limited sodium to 150 mg (crazy low), and protein to 20 grams (crazy low). Any benefit of this diet was attributed to its low sodium content. It was used on seriously hypertensive patients when there were no other treatment options--and it didn't help everyone (Kempner estimated 322 out of 500) For more info read: The Historical Perspectives on the Management of Hypertension by Marvin Moser. J Clin Hypertens 8(8, suppl. 2):15-20, 2006


This was an excellent post. Your summary of the video was very complete and it will save me time in that I will not have to re-watch the video to refresh my memory.

Fresh fruit has a way of sneaking back into my diet. This was a great clarification as to way I need to keep my fruit consumption low. I keep fruit out of my food processor so that I have to digest the sugar and fiber at the same time.

As to making the best form of LDL, your post at
is a great reminder. I use fish oil, flax and chia seeds to keep my triglycerides low. Fish oil is known to have a benefit in this regard. I am hoping that the other omega 3s work in a similar fashion.

Thanks again for a posting that I didn't think would be relevant to my lifestyle. I was wrong.


This post has really inspired me to look at my own sugar intake - thank you!

I would love to see a post outlining a typical week's meals for you and your husband - I'm looking to make some adjustments, and it seems you've got a pretty good baseline that might help me and other readers.

Thanks so much for the food for thought!


Based on this, would stevia be considered a type of sugar to avoid?


Thank you for this wonderful post. I just passed it on too my whole family, cookie and ice cream lovers all. I was wondering if there is also a connection with a high sugar diet and teen skin problems? I think I read that somewhere If there is, it would certainly be a good motivator for my nieces and nephews to improve their diets. And there will be no cookies and juice at this grandma's house either. First one on the way! I just hate those juice boxes with straws. As I dental hygienist, I saw too many kids with caries in their front teeth from the constant bath of sugar water.

Cynthia Bailey MD, Dermatologist

Deb, once again you have created an extremely valuable and most comprehensive post on an important dietary subject. For me and my craving demons, sugars are the hardest to give up. I love to 'carb surf' through my work day. The metabolic ramifications are most addicting. Boy oh boy, our cultural food abundance overlaid with the politics of agribusiness sure are treacherous. It's a famine in reverse.

Steven Rice Fitness

I want to say something nice about fruit here: There are many factors to health besides obesity and heart disease, and different fruits contain many beneficial nutrients. The 2 or 3 a day depending on the type sounds like a good rule, but this isn't allowing ourselves an indulgence so much as balancing the good nutrients with the bad sugar.


Oh no! Vanilla Soy Chai is my downfall. :( That's about the only sugar I ever ingest aside from when I use seasoned rice vinegar. I've always been much more of a savory person than a sweet person.

Where do wine and beer stand in this? Still good for you in moderation, or bad because of the sugar?

The Healthy Librarian


I'm no expert, that's for sure--but I'd say look at your lipids & triglycerides--if the triglycerides are over 80 cut out that daily alcohol. A little is probably good--more than that is bad news. Drink with a meal--a high fiber one, too. It's still metabolized by the liver.

Check out this latest article by Lustig:

J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Sep;110(9):1307-21.
Fructose: metabolic, hedonic, and societal parallels with ethanol.

Lustig RH.


Totally agree with you. Fruit is GOOD! Lustig isn't saying fruit is bad. He puts no limits on it--he just says eat FRUIT, not fruit juice or sugar.

Sorry if I was confusing in how I explained the message. Re the Esselstyns---the 2-3 pieces of fruit is the restriction they put on their heart patients with high triglycerides--and often weight &/or insulin resistance problems. Plus--weight-training helps to curb insulin resistance.

wendy (healthy girl)

Thank you for this amazing post! I am a sugar addict in recovery. I need all of the ammo against sugar that I can amass. A brainwashing against it so that saying "no" to sugar is as simple and easy for me as saying "no" to oil, meat of any kind and cheese. And this really helped.


I found the full text of a recent article by Dr. Lustig at:


The Healthy Librarian


Me, too! Big time. But, since I've started totally avoiding it (since last June) I can easily pass it by. I know if it's in the house--I'll eat it. All of it!

Thanks, so much DPS!! Love full-text!


I like Rob's question about Stevia. It is my personal favorite for sweeting coffee and oatmeal. However, I limit my use of it and I avoid other products.

Wikipedia appears to have a balanced review of Stevia's effects at:

As with everything else in life, you take your chances.

I am interested in other opinions.

Gael in Vermont

You have such an articulate and educated audience to your blog. Not only are we motivated to improve our health, but we are inspired by you to be better and to learn more. I listened to Dr. Lustig on People's Pharmacy this week and the doctor who followed him...Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum. We have been aware of the pitfalls of high fructose corn syrup for a few years, but I'm thinking of all the hidden sugars that make things taste palatable...cough syrup, ketchup, to name a couple and the worst of all...toothpaste. Sugar is hidden in so many foods and products we ingest, and it tries to hide behind obscure names. Teitelbaum said to check for amount of sugar in a product you need to: look for the GRAMS of sugar(on the nutrition label) and divide by 4. That will give you the number of teaspoons of sugar in a serving. That was helpful! Thanks again Deb for a marvelous posting!


What about Xylitol?

The Healthy Librarian


Couldn't agree more--a pretty amazing bunch of readers! In all ways. Yourself, included.

Chris G.

Great post. Thank you. One follow up point: not all sugar / sweeteners contain fructose. Regular corn syrup is all glucose; it contains no fructose, no sucrose (Kretchmer, N. & Hollenbeck, CB (1991). Sugars and Sweeteners, Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, Inc).

The Healthy Librarian

Chris, Thanks so much for this info. Another reader, Tom, sent me this info--which backs up your info & paints a better profile for maple syrup--which I love to use for cooking.

Commercial sweeteners (carbohydrate content)
Sugar Fructose Glucose Sucrose (Fructose-Glucose) Other Sugars
Granulated Sugar (50) (50) 100 0
Brown Sugar 1 1 97 1
HFCS-42 42 53 0 5
HFCS-55 55 41 0 4
HFCS-90 90 5 0 5
Honey 50 44 1 5
Maple Syrup 1 4 95 0
Molasses 23 21 53 3
Corn Syrup 0 35 0 0


Ruth re: diet and acne: Sugar has a profound effect on circulating levels of hormones (including insulin & testosterone) and growth factors that promote acne. Two randomized controlled trials associated a low-glycemic diet with reduced acne risk. The more technically oriented can read a review of relatively current understanding of the relationship between diet and acne here

There is also a strong association between milk consumption and acne. The association is most pronounced for skim milk and is thought to be hormonally-mediated.

The effect of dietary fat on acne is less clear. Based on what we know of biochemistry & metabolism, a diet high in saturated fat likely promotes acne, particularly with the omega-3 fatty acid deficiency that is so prevalent in Western diets.


When G-d made the poison ? Really ?
Lost all credibility right there.


What about molasses? It was not listed in your lists of sugars. Does its high iron content make it more acceptable as a sweetener?
(I use it on my morning oatmeal - the old fashioned kind.)


Actually, maple syrup and honey are pure glucose, so while they are caloric and insulin-producing, they do not have the same metabolic effect on the liver as the other forms of sugar you listed. See:

Thank you for sharing this with the world.

Tony Phylactou

I have had gout for years, and tried just about everything without success.I reduced meat to, minimum once
a week, stopped alcohol altogether.I was having LOTS of fruit and vegetables and my gout was worsening.
Finally I have read something about Excessive fructose increasing uric acid.I experimented reducing my fruit
intake to 1 a day, and bingo within days I saw a dramatic improvement.Cherries are the only exception.
I eat a lot of them when in season,with no ill effects.
Tony Phylactou

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