Love Sugar? Read On…

sugar love

In August 2013, National Geographic published a very good article about sugar addiction entitled, “Sugar Love”. We recommend that you read it.

Dr. Cywes and our Bariatric Program Coordinator, Jennifer Richards, responded with letters to Chris Johns, National Geographic’s Editor in Chief.

Here’s what they had to say:

From Dr. Cywes…

Dear Mr. Johns:

RE: SUGAR LOVE (a not so sweet story). National Geographic, August 2013

As a society we have cycled through addictions such as alcoholism requiring Prohibition, smoking resulting in the “Big Tobacco Lawsuits” and now the sugar addiction-obesity era. These substances devastate millions of lives the world over, yet the addiction to money that the sale of these products induces supersedes anything we might do from an access prevention perspective.

As a bariatric surgeon often maligned by my colleagues for my position on carbohydrate addiction as the cause of the obesity epidemic versus the universally accepted but unsubstantiated belief that obesity is a consequence of too much dietary fat and too little exercise, I would like to congratulate National Geographic on an excellent article and for making a factual point that even experts in the field remain confused about. Link carbohydrate toxicity to your article on Gluten toxicity (NG April 2013) and you get why we’re fat and unhealthy. Well done!

Sincerely,

Dr. Robert Cywes

From Jennifer…

Dear Mr. Johns:

RE: SUGAR LOVE (a not so sweet story). National Geographic, August 2013

Congratulations on “Sugar Love”. Public awareness and understanding of the addictive nature of sugar is a vital step toward solving the global epidemic of obesity.

The article was well written and engaging; however, it omitted mention of complex carbohydrates (starches), equally toxic and addictive since the liver metabolizes them as sugar.  Consumption of carbohydrates continues to be encouraged as “healthy eating” by the vast majority of dieticians, as well as by the USDA “Food Plate” guidelines, when, in fact, this is erroneous. Rather than feeding the body to satisfy its need for nutrients (protein, fat, vitamins and minerals), carbohydrates feed the addictive pleasure (endorphin) center of the brain and are a leading contributor to the problem of obesity. In light of this, failing to educate the public about all sources of carbohydrates being addictive and toxic substances misses half of this important picture.

Only once obesity is accepted as the result of an addiction, can it successfully be treated using the same methods that work in alcohol and drug addiction, rather than the repetitive recidivism of the diet and exercise myth.

The two physicians referenced in this article were a nephrologist and endocrinologist. Although these specialties are appropriate for addressing the obesity issue, I found it puzzling that a representative from the bariatric community was not referenced. Could it be they are stuck “somewhere in the middle” between erroneous diet and exercise beliefs?

Sincerely,

Jennifer Richards, MPH

 

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