Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Is sugar good for you after all? 

Now that the accumulation of evidence has forced even myopic medical researchers and bureaucrats to abandon their demonization of salt and fat in the diet, the solons have reached back to an old scare popularized obsessively by Dr. Robert Lustig. Lustig claims that sugar is bad for you.  The health establishment ridiculed Lustig's "evidence" for many years but they were desperate when salt and fat were taken away from them so Lustig and his theories are suddenly now in good odor.  They particularly demonize a very simple sugar -- fructose -- because it is widely used in American fizzy drinks.  

But the evidence for the demonization of sugar is mostly just epidemiological speculation and it is an easy bet that sugar will one day be comprehensively exonerated too.

More importantly, however, fat was eventually found actually to be GOOD for you.  Will the same be found for sugar?  A straw in the wind below.  The article concerns fucose, not fructose but both are sugars.   Science has just recently figured out that fucose is one of the essential sugars that the body needs to function properly.  Below is one of several recent reports which find that fucose helps fight cancer!

Dietary Fucose Helps Attenuate Metastatic Melanoma in Mice

Tracy Hampton, PhD

Investigators have identified a mechanism that’s blocked during melanoma metastasis but can be restored in mice by adding the sugar fucose to the diet (Lau E et al. Sci Signal. 2015;8[406]:ra124).

Led by researchers at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla, California, the team found that activating transcription factor 2 (ATF2), which is abundant in advanced stages of melanoma, blunts expression of the gene encoding fucokinase (FUK), an enzyme that attaches fucose to target molecules. The findings suggest FUK repression promotes melanoma motility and invasiveness in vitro.

JAMA. 2016;315(5):455. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.19343

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).


Wireless.Phil said...

I've run into people that think the % of daily requirement is a required amount for sugar.

Sugar is not required in any human diet.

Doom said...

I have great problems with the whole idea of % daily requirements. I am quite sure I miss many, if not most, of those requirements. I have for decades. My sporadic ability to either eat when I have food available, or simply to have food available, means that I often go without or overeat. Feast of fast, on the extreme edge of that, due to a serious health condition that was misdiagnosed, and even now that it is known treatment doesn't do all that much.

My bet is only rarely do those requirements need to be even nearly met. Actually, I might say, calorie wise, it may be impossible to get those %'s and stay even close to fit. I'd like to see someone add those all up, split them into common foods, and check the total calorie count. Haven't seen that to date, though it may have been missed.

As for sugar as a part of the diet? Maybe, maybe not. I do suggest that getting people to eat better things sometimes requires compromises (if, as you suggested, even salt and fat are back on the menu, so aren't really compromises). Sugar, if nothing else, is added calories. My honest bet is, if people miss something, it is calories of a certain type. Obesity is more likely from inactivity and eating true junk foods. Look around time and the world to see who eats and ate higher amounts of sugar. Today's health issues aren't sugar or calorie based, from what I have seen elsewhere. Americans might be different, at this point, but not that different.

Wireless.Phil said...

I eat when I am hungry, not when I see food.
Since my taste buds are shot, I don't eat much and not for pleasure of food.

I used to weigh 150Lbs at 5'9", since I retired I'm down to 130Lbs, less active now, but still walk daily.


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