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April 13, 2011


Jackie Smith

Thank you so much for posting this! I shared it with several friends & we're having a great discussion about nutrition and our bodies.

Ken Leebow


That was an excellent article.

I also recommend reading Mark Bittman's article - How to Save a Trillion Dollars -

In addition to loving sugar, fat, and salt, we are also programmed to think that we can just "pop a pill" to "fix" the problem, ie. statins.

Along the lines of Taubes' article, I do recommend reading Dr. Kessler's book: The End of Overeating. I just read it for a second time and there are many gems in it.

Ken Leebow

Healthy Librarian


I missed the Bittman piece--thanks for letting me know.

Couldn't agree more about "the pop a pill" mentality of the medical community--and the public who encourage it.

Why take high-dose statins with all the attendant adverse effects when you can just do it with diet? Craziness. Besides--statins don't help you lose weight--or prevent insulin resistance or type-2 diabetes.

Also, agree that Kessler's book is a must-read.


Up until a few years ago I enjoyed what I now see was a high-sugar and high-fat diet.

For various reasons I then cut down severely on both.

I notice that I am MUCH, MUCH calmer and less reactive than I was previously. I feel better. Frankly, I think I was terrible to live with before, but now I hope I am a better person.

Now, these changes could of course be for many reasons, but I choose to believe they are strongly connected to my change in diet (if not exclusively).

Since my change in diet I have often stated to friends my belief that in a few decades added sugar will come to be seen as as much of a threat to health as smoking - with the same sort of legal prohibitions.

Naturally I don't have the same credentials as Dr.Lustig to support this view, but I hope with my new-found lifestyle I'll be around to see it.


You said: "Fantastic summary of the research by Taubes! Thank you.

If you appreciate Taubes' understanding and summary of the research, you might change your view on dietary fat as well. Check out Good Calories, Bad Calories.

Gael in Vermont

I, too, have read both Times pieces. Sugar is insidious, hiding places we'd least expect it to be...that's why it's so difficult to shake free. But, I totally agree with you, Deb, I have never been able to lose weight by going "low-fat" or cutting out sugar. I'm reading many more news articles and listening to numerous mainstream radio shows about the American diet and how much it costs in so many ways. Between Michael Pollan, Mark Bittman, Jamie Oliver trying to change school lunches, and Bill Clinton eating plant-strong...I feel encouraged and optimistic that someone out there is paying attention. I hope the message empowers more folks to change. I like what Chef AJ said..."Let's go for progress, not perfection."


Deb, thanks much for this fascinating post. Question: wouldn't consuming alcohol, especially wine (which is quite sugary), have much the same effect? Though Esselstyn permits alcohol consumption in his diet, a fact that I cheered when reading his book, it now seems to me that it may be just as bad, if not even worse, than eating plain sucrose, fructose, or glucose. And I've read in various places that alcohol consumption can create a fatty liver, though I haven't seen anything definitive on the topic.


Interesting to read your comment that you never lost a pound by giving up sugar. I know I have -- at least 10 of them -- when I omitted refined sugars from my diet. Others have told me they've lost 4 lbs in a few days just by giving up sugar (and other simple carbs). I think I read that wt loss from giving up sugar comes from losing the water our bodies don't need when sugar is eliminated.

Healthy Librarian


Well, I had cut out the big sugar items in my life--the baked goods--cookies, brownies, etc. I still indulged sometimes in dark chocolate-but I never stopped at one tiny square. It wasn't until I stopped cooking with oil--ditched all oils (including olive), stopped eating any products made with oil, and stopped eating nuts that weight just evaporated effortlessly. My excess calories were in olive oil, nuts, & dark chocolate. I had already cut out dairy & meat.

Nancy Stueve

First I had to worry about the dangers of having belly fat. Now I have to worry about having a fatty liver? (Deep sigh.)

I've really enjoyed your posts this past year, and I have made huge changes to my diet because of the great information you have passed along. But as someone who exercises, I often wonder how much of the latest research on sugar and salt pertains to me. (I do Bikram yoga at least five times a week, and I cycle, depending on the weather, 15-20 hours a week. Seriously, I need sodium and easily digested carbs, particularly in hot weather.) I'm not saying that people who exercise get a free pass, but exercise seems to blunt or even negate the harmful effects of sugar and salt, so I'm just not convinced yet that we need to be as concerned/vigilant as sedentary people.

Healthy Librarian


I totally agree with you--partly--how's that for saying nothing?

If you exercise of course you need carbs--and the Esselstyn style of plant-based is almost 75% carbs (all whole-grained or from fruits & vegetables)--perfect for fueling & re-fueling before & after exercise. And it advises to avoid or seriously limit fruit juice & sugar. (but of course we all make little exceptions along the way, right?)

The point I was making was about avoiding pure sugar--or fructose devoid of fiber as in fruit juice, agave, processed sugars. Of course you can have a little everyday--especially because you're burning it all off with exercise! It's still not good stuff and it's easier to avoid it--and lose the craving for it- the less you have of it.

Same goes for salt--if you sweat a lot! Of course you need some. But most foods naturally have sodium in them. Not sure how one balancing this with heavy-duty exercise, though. Probably with the gels, etc on long bike rides.

I'm guessing you have hardly any belly fat b/c of your diet & exercise--and your body is running exactly as it should! No worries about T2 diabetes, etc. But, bottom-line diet always trumps exercise in the health dept.

You sound like the poster child for healthy living--and take that post as "preaching to the choir"!

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