September 10th, 2014
11:12 AM ET

Why sugar is worse than fat

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta about recent research on the risks of high sugar consumption. Watch the video for the full interview.

For 20 years, people have been assuming that fat was the enemy because it produced cholesterol, which was blocking arteries. That's not quite right.

I could talk about this all day long, because I think it highlights some very important things in terms of how we sometimes misinterpret science, or at least exaggerate it.

It was in the late '70s – in fact, there was a Senate commission, Senator McGovern, who actually looked at this issue and found that people who had very high levels of cholesterol tended to die early of heart disease. And there was also other studies that showed if you ate a diet high in fat, it raised your cholesterol. But those were two different studies. And they got really, really linked, not only by the Senate, but also in the scientific community and then by everybody else.

And what happened over the last 30 years, it got codified. It became the way that we eat low fat in this country. And nothing changed. In fact, things got worse. Cardiovascular disease remains the biggest killer of men and women. Diabetes rates are higher than ever before. Childhood obesity. So it didn't work. And I think that's what sort of prompted all this analysis.

I think there's two issues here. One is that fat doesn't get a free pass here. There's still some problems with it. It still raises cholesterol levels. That is associated with heart disease. The problem is that what we replaced fat with was sugar. And sugar may be more problematic, in some ways, for someone who's worried about heart disease than fat.

More from CNN: Our fear of fat is melting

If I put a double cheeseburger here and a big sugary drink and I asked anybody, which of these two things is worse for your heart, even a child would probably say the cheeseburger. And almost always they would be wrong. It's the sugary drink that gets converted into that bad cholesterol in our body.

But as you said, the crucial thing to understand is, it's not that fat is good for you, it's that if you replace fat with sugar, it's worse for you?

That's right.

Why is sugar so bad? Is there a simple way to explain that scientifically?

Here's a simple way – it’s that humans weren't designed to eat this much sugar. We used to get sugar once a year when fruit fell from the trees. Even honey was protected by the bees. How much food could you really eat? I mean you can't…10 oranges, that's enough. Now, we eat 140 pounds, roughly, a year, on average. Our bodies simply didn’t evolve to be able to handle that.

So it hits the liver, the liver says I don't know what to do with all this sugar, so it starts to metabolize it in unusual ways and it gets turned into what are known as low density lipoprotein particles. And that's the worst kind of cholesterol.

And for the body, a slice of white bread and a packet of sugar are essentially indistinguishable. The body receives them as the same. White bread – those kind of carbohydrates, for the body, are sugar?

It gets turned into sugar just the same way, and maybe a little bit of a time delay so to speak. But you can trace the sugar, whether it be in that bread or a packet of sugar, and you can find those same particles in those cholesterol particles later on.

Post by:
Topics: GPS Show • Health

soundoff (488 Responses)
  1. Travon

    CNN has become so un-American. Look at all these anchors. They are bunch of foreigners with foreign the accent. I don't find this attractive. This is disgusting. What happened to real America?

    September 11, 2014 at 9:54 am | Reply
  2. Greg

    I don't get how he can say fats are bad. I agree that sugar is bad, but only in large amounts and in the refined form. Natural sugars from fruits are good for you in moderation. Fats are important too. Good sources are animal fats, particularly grassfed meats, cage free chicken and eggs, wild caught fish, and nuts.

    I think the paleo diet is a great place to start as a guideline and maybe only follow it 100% if you have the hours to devote in the kitchen like it requires.

    – Lots of veggies, grassfed meat, some fruit and nuts, some dairy is ok if your body can process it, no processed food
    – While grocery shopping stick to the outsides of the aisles. The aisles for the most part are where all the processed food is located.
    – Alcohol in moderation: red wine is good, tequila is too. Beer is not good as it is made with wheat, grains, but who can resist a cold one or five on a Friday evening?

    September 11, 2014 at 10:03 am | Reply
    • bambibones

      It is amazing that someone can construct such an elaborate argument defining an optimal diet without citing one bit of evidence for any of it.

      September 11, 2014 at 10:54 am | Reply
      • Greg

        Hey if you don't want to accept my opinion then it's all good. I follow these guidelines along with a rigorous workout routine and am the healthiest I have ever been. If you want to keep eating processed foods, sugars, and unhealthy fats then so be it. Enjoy your insanely high medical insurance premiums later in life.

        September 11, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
  3. roman

    this truly was such an amazing video so much awesome info and simply great. thanks for this valuable information! i am sharing this with my love ones. and for the rest of the stupid comments above: talk about the info on this video not stupid subjects you stupid high school kids

    September 11, 2014 at 10:18 am | Reply
  4. dmoney666

    I laugh at some of you that say Gupta doesn't understand genetics, when he's a trained surgeon...

    Anyway, when you are at the supermarket, take a look at EVERYTHING you buy. Nearly everything is now laced with sugar (or, more popularly, cron syrup). Ketchup (my biggest pet peeve). BBQ Sauce. Soy milk. Cereal. Pickles. Basically, nearly everything in the middle aisles outside of produce, dairy and (real) meat, the processed garbage is made with some form of sugar.

    One of the bigger problems Gupta doesn't address here, however, are PORTIONS. I remember when I went to McDonalds as a kid and ordered a small soda, which would be MAYBE 8oz. Today? What was the tall, large back then is now small. You order a large soda, and you literally get a bucket that holds 32-64oz, which is INSANE. But go to any restaurant. Portions are made for 2-4 people and we're eating this in one sitting.

    I've struggled with my weight and cholesterol (I'm only 20 lbs overweight, though) and am finally coming to terms that my sugar intake has been way out of control. I'm making a concerted effort to reduce my intake by at least half to see if it helps.

    We're getting fat, folks, because our food industry has run amok and most of us are too stupid or too lazy to care what we're doing to ourselves and to our kids.

    September 11, 2014 at 10:18 am | Reply
    • YaKnow

      "I laugh at some of you that say Gupta doesn't understand genetics, when he's a trained surgeon... "

      I laugh directly at you for thinking a surgeon is supposed to be knowledgeable about genetics. Surgery is a specific field, there is no guarantee he understands much except surgery and it's likely he NEVER had to study genetics in detail while getting his education. This is akin to saying a construction worker should understand architecture

      September 11, 2014 at 11:06 am | Reply
      • Jim in PA

        And your qualifications are....?

        September 11, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
    • bambibones

      Trained surgeons are not required to understand anything more about genetics than would be found in a freshman-level biology class. Gupta is NOT an expert in genetics. He may be an expert neurosurgeon (I wouldn't know) but that doesn't mean he knows ANYTHING about diet OR genetics.

      September 11, 2014 at 11:09 am | Reply
      • huffstet

        Not saying I agree either way but one factor you are forgetting is most surgeons are very smart and even more studious than they are I highly doubt he isn't very very knowledgeable about genetics

        September 11, 2014 at 11:47 am |
      • Les

        Then if Gupta is not qualified to answer the questions, why don't they interview someone else?

        September 11, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
      • Unlo4

        Because Gupta is a news media darling.

        September 11, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
    • Tom

      We're getting fat because we eat too much and get too little exercise. One of the advantages of being close to 70 is that I can remember when science said that eggs were bad, then eggs were good; coffee was bad, then coffee was good; salt (sodium) was bad, and recently, salt is not only good, it's necessary; alcohol, of course, was bad, and then it was good; running, the longer the better, was good, then it was bad, then it had no benefits, and now it has dramatic benefits but they are maximized in 5 minutes a day. I remember when we were convinced to switch from paper bags to plastic bags to save the environment, now we're being asked to switch from plastic bags to paper bags to save the environment. My first university geology course said that geologic events happened at a steady, unchanging rate, and that the theories of plate techtonics and continental drift were ridiculous; now it seems that geologic events happen whenever they feel like it and plate tectonics are the way the world actually works. My point being that I don't think anybody really knows. Many of these medical and scientific pronouncements are market driven. So, don't eat too much fat, don't each too much sugar, just don't eat too much period....and take all this with a grain of salt.

      September 11, 2014 at 11:41 am | Reply
      • Karen

        Excellent, well stated.

        September 11, 2014 at 11:50 am |
      • Shan

        You forgot how many years we were told that margarine is better for you than butter. Now? "No trans fats! They're bad for you and that's all margarine is!!"

        September 11, 2014 at 11:58 am |
      • Alex

        Well said, Tom. It's nice to hear from someone who has been through it.

        September 11, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
      • chitowngal10

        Great post. I am only 59 and I remember as well.

        September 11, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
      • You Bet

        That's awesome summary. Great post! Hey, just to get the discussion going sideways, i'll add climate change into the list...

        September 11, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
      • Lesley

        Thanks Tom! I might share your list of examples with my research methods class. I'm trying to teach them how to think critically. Wonderful examples.

        September 11, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
      • cyndi

        While many people overeat numerous studies have shown that high fructose corn syrup changes cellular and brain chemistry. When it became a common food additive in the 70's obesity rates increased. Any attempt to curtail its use is fought hard by the food industry (essentially HFCS dealers) Foods that never used to have sugar in them are now laden with it b/c the industry knows it has a similar effect on our brains as cocaine.

        September 11, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
      • Finley Jayne

        One of the best comments I've ever read on CNN-you nailed it!

        September 11, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
      • Sharma

        Exactly. Thank you, Tom.

        September 11, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
      • chris renner

        well said Tom!

        September 11, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
      • colin

        Best response ever Tom.

        September 11, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
      • Andrew

        Do you know what happens when technology advances? We discover new things, we gain additional knowledge and insight we once didn't have. Just because we once thought the opposite doesn't mean what we think now is wrong. You can decide to live in the past if you like, but I'm going to use current, modern day knowledge when making life decisions.

        September 11, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
    • clonmac

      Here is the flaw with all the arguments lately that talk about how people are so sick today because we went through a period of "low fat" diets since the McGovern report. Despite all the talk about "low fat" diets following this time period, Americans have been consuming MORE fat since then. So immediately, that argument falls apart. The talk about how bad sugar is for you is absolutely true, but when they paint the picture of sugar being the sole reason why we are sick and attempt to relieve other poor dietary choices from all their wrong doings, this does a great disservice to everyone. It confuses people even more. Rather than talking about how bad individual nutrients are (fat, sugar, cholesterol, etc), they need to start conveying more that eating a plant-based diet is the healthiest way to eat. It would save millions of lives and save millions in medical costs. This type of article does nothing to that end.

      September 11, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Reply
      • Greg

        Absolutely! I couldn't believe it when I read that he said "It became the way that we eat low fat in this country". What??! When did Americans actually eat low fat? Right now the average American is consuming more than 30% of their calories as fat. (actually, thats data from 2000)
        How is that low fat? Most people eat whatever they want and the thing they are eating more of is meat. Animal flesh is not low fat – therefore people are eating moire and more fat. I don't care if this guy is a surgeon and on TV – he isn't even logical.

        September 11, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
      • howie

        You were right on until the end. There is no evidence that a 'plant based' diet is good for you. IN fact, recent studies prove that the single most important thing for us to consume is animal protein. It has been shown that high protien and high fat diets are vastly better for you than high carb (sugar) diets. I agree that including lots of varied vegetation in your diet is probably good for you, it does not follow that we should be reducing meat consumption, and the ratio of protein to fat is really not specified either. So, I'd say the jury is still out on whether fat in and of itself is an issue, but it is clear that meat is necessary for health.

        September 11, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
      • Tom

        You lost me at a plant based diet being the best for everyone and how it will save millions of lives.

        September 11, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
      • bambibones

        Howie: what research are you citing that a meat-based diet is beneficial? The only "research" I've seen has come from bimbo pseudonutritionists with no credentials.

        September 11, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
      • clonmac

        Howie, there is practically no scientific study out there that shows that eating meat is 1) necessary for our survival and 2) the single most important food for us to eat. There isn't a single nutrient in meat that can't be better provided by eating plants. Actually, as recently as Nov 2013 there was a study published in the journal Nutrients that reviewed data from over 157 countries that showed that the link between eating meat and cancer is as strong as the link between smoking and cancer. There is plenty (can't overstate that word here) of evidence that shows a plant-based diet is not only healthy, but can reverse diseases already progressed.

        September 11, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
    • chitowngal10

      I agree that portion sizes have increased. I was not a member of the clean plate club. I didn't teach that to my kids either. But I do have a son that told me a week ago that he eats it all because he doesn't want to waste food. I told him it was okay to save or toss. I routinely save my leftovers for the next day. I weigh in at 114 lbs. I can't eat all the food at restaurants and if I did, I would be sick. That is not how to live.

      September 11, 2014 at 12:25 pm | Reply
      • howie

        I serve my kids exactly what I want them to eat, so the 'clean plate club' is definitely enforced. Doesn't mean they overeat, just that they are not the ones in charge of selection and portions.

        September 11, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
      • MarieEricsson

        How much more of a waste is it to not eat everything on your plate than to eat more than you need and to get fat? Both are a waste of food actually. I try to eat out as little as possible….portions at restaurants are really ridiculous.

        September 11, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
    • J

      You have no idea what you are talking about.

      September 11, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Reply
  5. avd

    huh? Mr Gupta are you a victim of living in your shell for too long? Our bodies were only meant to ingest sugar once a year? Are you forgetting the remaining civilizations around the globe that live near the equator and have all year access to sugary fruits? C'mon Sanjay. Your credibility is failing. casiiisears has shed more viable research than yours.

    September 11, 2014 at 10:25 am | Reply
    • bambibones

      Those civilizations living near the equator, eating all that fruit, don't live very long, do they? The fact (is it a fact?) that a population does something doesn't mean it's a good something that they do.

      We do know that populations vary enormously in their ability to use sugars as a fuel and not be harmed by it. For instance, some Native American peoples will develop astounding rates of Type II diabetes if they consume a traditional, high-carbohydrate diet.

      September 11, 2014 at 10:58 am | Reply
  6. Reticuli

    How big business pays to misrepresent science and how scientists go along with it. The Lipid Theory and also fluoridation (for consumption) both fall into that category.

    September 11, 2014 at 10:33 am | Reply
  7. palintwit

    Speaking of fat... Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol wanted to appear on DWTS again but the show's producers told her she had to lose 400 lbs. first.

    September 11, 2014 at 10:41 am | Reply
  8. hannahbananas821

    This is ridiculous. Fat (esp. saturated fats/cholesterol) clog arteries and disable sugar from actually feeding our cells. ALL of our cells (even our brain) run exclusively on SUGAR (Glucose). Unless you are in a sick dying state, aka ketosis, then you'll run off of glucose stil, but your body converts the fat/protein, in a sick state, you eat into glucose. So, you see, you will have glucose in your body no matter what. We need it to thrive. BUT We do NOT need refined sugars, ex candy, white sugar, soda, white bread, etc. Fruit, whole grains, vegetables, and other plant based foods are actually carbohydrate rich. Foods like these (in abundance) slim you down naturally. PLEASE CHECK OUT FREELEE THE BANANA GIRL on Youtube. We, the banana girls I like to call it, lol, eat tons of carbs, but very low fat, and naturally slim down without restriction. Please check her out. There are others, thousands and thousands that are HCLF vegans. Also, Dr. Doug Graham, Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. McDougall, Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. Campbell. They ALL promote a HIGH CARB low fat lifestyle for MAXIMUM LEANESS. 🙂 Good luck to yall.

    September 11, 2014 at 10:42 am | Reply
    • Underground

      Yes, your body will convert fats to sugar, but that's not what we're talking about. Dietary carbohydrates are not the same thing because it has to do with how your body treats it. No one gets diabetes from eating bacon. When you eat fats, your body tends to convert what it needs and pass the rest. Not so with carbohydrates.

      And if cholesterol levels were associated with heart disease, then we should see a significant correlation between heart attacks and cholesterol levels. But heart attack patients do not show this correlation.

      The more likely cause of arterial blockage is, yes, dietary carbohydrates. It's your body storing fat, the insulin response being triggered, not fat in the bloodstream clogging arteries like a pipe. The blockages don't form on the interior of the arteries anyway.

      You really only have two choices for a source of energy, carbohydrates or fats. Protein is important but sucks as a source of energy. Considering the ease of eating excess carbohydrates and the potential problems associated with it, fats (natural saturated fats, not manufactured fats) seem the better choice as a primary source of energy in our diet.

      September 11, 2014 at 11:21 am | Reply
      • plantiful

        Exactly. As Gupta states, the fructose is a cause of heart conditions. The proper fats (omega-3s) should be consumed. Yes, the brain like the rest of the body uses glucose as fuel, but it is made up primarily of fat, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, fish oil component).

        September 11, 2014 at 11:45 am |
    • Scotty

      That girl and her BF are idiots and in terrible shape. She has zero curves to her, he looks like an overcooked chicken. Why on earth would any guy want to look like that, and sorry women are meant to have an hour glass shape. Also her body weight joke squats.....yeah no. Maybe go watch some of the women doing chin ups with 90lbs or 300lb squats, they are in amazing shape and any guy would do a double take if they were in a little black dress.

      Grass Fed beef and Omega 3 fish are the way to go, toss in some broccoli/beans and voila.

      September 11, 2014 at 12:02 pm | Reply
      • Greg

        Scotty, please. They are in excellent shape – its only because the world around you is getting fatter and fatter that people who look like they do look odd. Take a look at video, photos from 50 or 75 years ago – people are LEAN. What changed since then? People started gorging them selves on meat and fat.
        Grass fed beef is an elitist fantasy that will only work for a teeny tiny percentage of the world – what will everyone else eat? Fish?? Give me a break, Oily fish is essentially contaminated, and unsustainable as any sort of safe source of food for the planet. Plants. The only way to go.

        September 11, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
      • Unlo4

        > What changed since then? People started gorging them selves on meat and fat.

        Most people were working physical labor jobs and working off the calories they ate.

        September 11, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
    • howie

      It has been conclusively proven that a high protein high fat diet will contribute to weight loss and health, where a high carb diet will not. Vegetation is important, but you can't live on carbs alone. Animal protein is required for health and weight loss.

      September 11, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Reply
    • Greg

      hannahbananas821 – you got that one! HCLF for the win! Freelee and Durianrider are ambassadors to the word. Myself, wife, and two college kids are all HCLF vegans and people ask us all the time "how do you stay so lean?" "you look great, you must be on a diet, how do you do it?" "isn't fruit/carrots/bananas/etc fattening?".
      Jesus people just want to eat their freaking dead animals and steal breast milk from miserable cows and gorge themselves of salty fatty bacon from tortured pigs and have it be all right.
      ITS NOT COMPLICATED! Obesity, heart disease, diabetes, etc has tracked directly with increase in meat, dairy, and refined sugars consumption.

      September 11, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Reply
      • i have seen the light

        We need animal protein. NEED it.

        September 11, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
    • mlank64

      I just noticed her a few days ago. She is very lean and eats a plant based diet, lots of fruit and doesn't count calories. Yet, It is getting hard to really find what is true and what is fiction. Is paleo the way to go?, High carb, low fat? High Protein, low carb, Count calories, don't count calories, vegan?

      September 11, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Reply
    • end3r

      I think this is a good opportunity to hop into the discussion. I see this debate between the paleo and keto crowds with the vegetarian and vegan crowds all the time. The diets are so different from one another there is this Hatfield and McCoy kind of feud that has emerged. But is it possible that there is more than one way to eat and be healthy? I've seen evidence promoted by both camps about the benefits of their diets and I'm of the mind that both of them can work for different people.

      If you're very overweight and have been eating a lifestyle rich in processed foods and sugary sweets and decide to switch to a diet rich in grass fed beef, chicken, pork, and lots of veggies you're going to do a heck of a lot better than the previous diet. If you switch from that same sugary processed diet to one rich in vegetables, nuts, and fruit, you're also going to do a heck of a lot better. Maybe one person simply has trouble sustaining a vegan or vegetarian diet, or vice versa.

      I see no major issue with either of them considering the macros seem to pan out well in either group. For both of these dietary varieties you're clearly eating better, and when anyone becomes conscious about what they eat they tend to become more aware of their own bodies in general. This means they also exercise, and likely don't indulge in over consumption.

      Sorry to be the fence sitter, but if you want to be a vegetarian, vegan, keto, or paleo dieter than great! If it works for you awesome! I've seen people on keto drop 100lbs+ and I've seen the same transformation for the veggie crowd. Let people go with what works so long as it works. I think both camps can simply agree that processed foods are bad and eating wholesome real foods in any way is going to be an improvement.

      September 11, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Reply
  9. maximus

    Fat raises cholesterol levels?? Which fats? Care to specify, Doctor? Still have not learned anything, have we?

    September 11, 2014 at 10:42 am | Reply
    • bambibones

      Please do your basic research before commenting. You might start with Wikipedia. It very nicely summarizes, in layperson's terms, our current understanding of the relationship between fats and heart disease.

      September 11, 2014 at 11:01 am | Reply
      • maximus

        You may want to do your own research. Wikipedia? Really? Again, what kind of fats are you talking about? What else do people in studies eat with those fats. Who funded studies?

        September 11, 2014 at 11:17 am |
      • bambibones

        Maximus: I have done my own research. This is actually my field of work. I merely referred people to Wikipedia because it references the primary research people need to read.

        September 11, 2014 at 11:37 am |
    • HD in DC

      Transfats and saturated fats. The blockages do occur inside the arteries (and sometimes in veins). That's what you call blockages! When you have a diet that is high in fat, not only does it raise your bad choleteral, but it increases your trigylcerides (that's fat in the blood...look it up). The presence of high trigylcerides is an indicator that there are most likely blockages in the stems and arteries of the heart, legs, knee and calves (or all of these), which will lead to pain (pre-cursor to a heart attack = heart disease!), primarily in your chest, but you could also experience pain across your shoulders, down your left arm, in the upper back or lower extermities. After a flucuating A1C during the last 12 years (some times as high as 14) and a triglyceride level of 1000, I experienced two heart attacks back to back. I have blockages in the extermities of my calves, but the blockages have been cleared in the arteries of my heart from angioplasty and stents. I learned my lesson. I read the back of every package of food (perishable or not) before I purchase anything, I incorporated flax seed, good nuts and whole grains into my diet, I replaced everything in my diet that was high fat with low fat/high protein/low sugar. After I did that, I brought my A1C down to 6.4 and lost 7 lbs in 2 months (but that was my body). If you care about yourself, you'll investigate good food choices.

      September 11, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Reply
      • bambibones

        Congratulations on bring your A1C so far down. Good for you for doing using evidence-based science.

        September 11, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
  10. maximus

    The food industry runs on sugar, and that is why good fats (as in butter, ghee, coconut oil, flax, hemp oil, fat from eggs,etc) will always be demonized. Fortunately, more people are getting smarter. Everyone should watch "Fed Up"

    September 11, 2014 at 10:44 am | Reply
    • hannahbananas821

      The food industry DOES run on sugar, BUT it also runs largely on the egg, beef, chicken, cheese, milk, etc etc industries. THOSE in my opinion make up a larger part of the food industry, so much so, that the food pyramid actually tells us what we need to eat, yet the food pyramid was actually funded by many wealthy leaders in the animal industries. Bias, eh?

      September 11, 2014 at 10:47 am | Reply
    • plantiful

      No guidelines from the USDA can be trusted today, since they are in the pocket of the food corporations: whoever pays the most will get a bigger piece of the plate.

      Americans exploded in size when the fat was taken out of their boxed food products, so that should be a clear indication: you eat a sugar-filled, fat free food product, it tastes good, and then once all of the sugar and starch has been digested (and turned into body fat if not used as energy), then you are hungry again, starting the cycle over.

      The fats are important, but with the cheap-quality food corporations, you need to find real foods:
      pastured chickens and eggs (not organic)
      grass fed or pastured beef and lamb,
      grass-fed milk, butter, cheeses, yogurt, etc...,
      wild fish.

      Go to Eatwild[dot]com to find a local farm. Read food labels.

      September 11, 2014 at 11:54 am | Reply
      • Greg

        plantiful: except that people didn't stop eating fat. Most are kidding themselves. They eat "low fat" foods that are at least as (if not more) calorie dense than what they are replacing and neither foods are anything close to nutritious – its ALL just processed junk. In addition, they keep eating the meat, dairy, eggs, etc etc and cover it all with cheese, oil, and so on. People are consuming more and more fat – not less. To claim otherwise is contrary to fats

        September 11, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
      • plantiful

        Greg: Indeed, people were still eating fat, and probably even more, since more people are eating at restaurants than in the 1970-80's. Restaurants pour on the fat to give you that full and savory meal: heavy cream instead of milk for scrambled, industrial eggs, some butter melted on steak for that super-rich, restaurant-quality meat experience, and lets double the serving sizes.....

        The fat went out of the fillers: the snacks, with your fat free ice cream, baked chips, fat-free snack bars, fat free yogurt, fat-free boxed industrial meal, etc.. all of those things you eat when you felt like having a little something..... I am surprised they didnt make a fat-free peanut. It is this stuff that helped Americans blossom to what you see today. Companies loved it too: sugar and salt are cheaper than vegetable oil and butter, so more profits, and more advertising. What more could corporations ask for that is peddled to help you "lose weight," cheaper to make, and fattens up your customers. Perfect.

        September 11, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
  11. doorway

    Truth said we do not "live" by bread alone but by every word that proceeds forth from the mouth of God. Notice it is not out of the mouth of men but God. Our brains can not believe what can not be seen so don't even try.
    One must hear from the heart not the brain.
    Dark Matter can not be seen yet it controls everything seen. If you want to live awhile you might want to ignore the noise of the seen world and develop an awareness connection to the unseen that controls the metabolism of the seen.
    The unseen can wipe away decades of the seen in less than a nanosecond.
    Fear causes break down more than 140 pounds of sugar or tobacco or whatever seen gadit lurks. So get connected to the source if life is any interest to you. If not ...hey enjoy the noisy ride. Failure is inevitable.

    September 11, 2014 at 10:45 am | Reply
  12. palintwit

    If I were Sarah Palin I would certainly be compelled to dive headfirst into a wood chipper.

    September 11, 2014 at 10:54 am | Reply
    • chilltowntv

      She probably did already. Which explains a lot...

      September 11, 2014 at 11:09 am | Reply
  13. john

    Sugar and carbs are both bad. They both raise insulin in the body. Insulin going up in the body is what really is causing the issues. Insulin is released to get rid of glucose in the blood.
    Stop the flow of insulin and you start burning fat.

    Glucose in the blood is a toxin. It gets there by eating Sugar and also by eating carbs which gets converted to sugar.
    Stop the release of insulin and you are burning fat in your body.

    Eat some some Protein...don't eat sugar....don't eat carbs.
    Once a week for the carbs is good enough.
    Plenty of research out there.

    Ansel Keys is the real person to blame and is terrible research he did.
    Him and his Seven Countries Study which lead to Senator McGovern and his vegetarian assistant writing the book on what to eat

    September 11, 2014 at 11:01 am | Reply
    • Mac

      You're completely wrong. The misinformation in society is astounding. Glucose is not a "toxin". In fact, you would die without glucose in your bloodstream.

      September 11, 2014 at 11:06 am | Reply
      • john

        well..I should have said excess glucose is toxic. You body has to release more and more insulin to deal with the issue.
        Which leads to insulin resistant....welcome to type 2 diabetes.

        So, why not just cut out the intake of Glucose.

        September 11, 2014 at 11:31 am |
    • Greg

      Sorry John, you are just 100% mistaken here. Without carbs, you are dead.

      September 11, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Reply
      • john

        interesting....didn't know I was dead...Low carb living.
        blood pressure was 110/71 last week
        cholesterol was in check with good ratios.
        C-reactive protein (CRP) was below 1 @ .8
        Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) is below 5.8

        more energy than I have had in years
        not been sick since I gave up the carbs and sugar.
        lost about 40 pounds.

        How exactly am I dead?

        September 11, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
  14. Mac

    Holy cow. The ignorance of basic biochemistry displayed by Gupta is astounding. People think MDs are geniuses, but they take the same biochemistry course in medical school that undergraduate chemistry majors take in college.

    Sugar is converted to glycogen in the liver. If you take in excess sugar, it is converted to fat. Excess protein is converted to fat as well. Triglycerides are the building blocks of cholesterol, not sugar. The human body has absolutely no direct pathway to convert any monosaccharide or disaccharide directly into either LDL or HDL. Gupta is completely wrong, and is misleading his audience.

    This is just more left-wing arrogant nonsense. They're now going to declare a "war on sugar". A primary tenet of left-wing ideology is that they have to "take action" and form committees, legislate, ban things, and protect you from yourself. There's always something wrong that has be addressed, right now. They really believe the government should run your life.

    I love how they mention "white bread" in the interview, too, as if the carbohydrate in white bread is different from the carbohydrate in any bread that is brown colored. It's all just such nonsense.

    September 11, 2014 at 11:02 am | Reply
    • bambibones

      Hey, this is not a left-wing conspiracy.

      I'm considered to be left-wing by some, although I'm not sure what they mean.

      Yet, I agree with you that Gupta's conclusions are preposterous and that the public is taken in by him, believing that an medical degree qualifies someone to be an expert on anything.

      However, if you go back and review the biochemistry metabolic flow chart you imply you were educated about, you will learn that excess calories, from any source, can (and will) be stored as fat.

      September 11, 2014 at 11:14 am | Reply
      • Mac

        Yeah, sure. Your reading comprehension is poor. Go look at my original post where I said excess protein gets converted to fat as well, you arrogant freak. Calories of any sort in excess eventually are converted to triglyceride. "Flow chart". Jerk.

        September 11, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
    • i have seen the light

      The fact you politize this shows hows clouded your thinking is.

      September 11, 2014 at 11:17 am | Reply
      • john

        Sen McGovern started it.....

        September 11, 2014 at 11:33 am |
      • Mac

        Ah, shut up.

        September 11, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
      • i have seen the light

        I'd like to see you try to make me.

        September 11, 2014 at 2:58 pm |
    • Tracy

      This discussion has nothing to do with left or right, so please stop trying to lump people into political categories over the topic of diet. And hold your political discussions in the correct forum.

      I am astounded by the statement in the article that people eat 140 pounds of sugar per year. I bought a 2lb bag of sugar 3 years ago and sitll have 2/3 of it left! Absolutely sugar is taken into the body in different forms of carbohydrates and not all carbs are equal. More attention should be given to the glycemic index of foods, which is a measure of how fast the body metabolizes the food and converts it into glucose. You could almost make a broad statement that you should eliminate everything "white." Doing that would eliminate most processed foods which would then eliminate most refined sugars.

      September 11, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Reply
      • Mac

        Name any prominent political figure who is not liberal who is sreaming about sugar being "poison". The whole "sugar is poison" garbage is leftist activist nonsense. I suppose it's conservatives who feeding their kids organic honey and granola, right?

        September 11, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
    • bambibones

      You say that there is no direct pathway to convert sugars into either LDL's or HDL's. But if they are converted to fat – and it will be mostly saturated fat since we are, after all, animals – there is a direct pathway between saturated fat and cholesterol. It's hard to image when you look at fat molecules and then at a cholesterol molecule, but the products of the fat are folded into the familiar four-ring structure of cholesterol and the steroids. Whether that will result in LDL's or HDL's depends on other factors.

      September 11, 2014 at 4:20 pm | Reply
  15. Greg

    I've been on a high fat very low carb diet for 9 months. I've lost 30 pounds. My blood pressure is perfect. My cholesterol is perfect and in balance now, thanks to eating 70% of my calories from fat. Those fats come from meat fat, butter, heavy cream in my coffee, bacon, avocados. Cut the carbs, get through the carb withdrawal (it's more addictive than heroin and releases the same chemicals in the brain). Once you're on the other side of the sugar hill it's smooth sailing. The fact is that grains are bad for us. Vegetables are good, cereals and grains, like whole wheat, terrible. Yes, it's healthier to eat a stick of butter than it is to eat whole wheat bread.

    September 11, 2014 at 11:04 am | Reply
    • Mac

      Hey, great. You've got the whole New Age food myth down. You covered everything, including sugar is poison and gluten is poison.

      The diet you are on is going to hurt your health. Trust me. Atkins is garbage.

      September 11, 2014 at 11:08 am | Reply
      • i have seen the light

        He/she is correct. You are wrong.

        September 11, 2014 at 11:14 am |
      • Rick

        Yes, and Atkins died fairly young. Why would anyone think it would be wise to follow his diet?

        September 11, 2014 at 11:29 am |
      • LaBella

        Rick, Atkins died at 72 of a craniocerebral trauma. Notice that is his head, not his heart.

        September 11, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
      • Jim in PA

        If they have lost 30 lbs, then the theory isn't a myth.

        September 11, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
      • end3r

        How is it going to hurt his health when all of his metabolic functions and vitals are now in line? I don't see anything wrong with a high fat low carb diet if it's working to get your body weight under control, energy levels and metabolism up, and all of your vitals (glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.) in line. What exactly is he doing to hurt himself?

        September 11, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
    • bambibones

      Exactly what is your cholesterol level, and what makes it "in balance?"

      Everything else in your comment is nothing more than a statement of opinion, with no evidence cited.

      September 11, 2014 at 11:17 am | Reply
      • end3r

        Well it's more anecdote but I did a keto based diet in 2012 and dropped 60lbs over the course of about 9 months. I also had really high glucose levels at the time and was borderline diabetic. Also had high cholesterol (a good amount over 250 we'll just say) when I started the diet. My blood pressure was also spiking to like 150/95 and sometimes higher. All of those numbers came under control and my doctor was very happy to see that despite his own reservations for the diet initially. Maybe it isn't the best thing for everyone, but then again what is? We're all different. You can certainly make the case for why it might be bad but looking at my own personal situation it was really the best thing that could have happened in terms of getting some dangerous numbers under control.

        September 11, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
      • bambibones

        End3r: Finally, someone on either side of this argument presents real data, with numbers. Congratulations on improving your health.

        September 11, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
    • Finley Jayne

      I lost over 50lbs by cutting out calories. Simple as that. Lost the weight, dropped my glucose number down from the pre-diabetic range to solidly in the normal range, have perfect blood panels now, and I've been maintaining my weight loss with no issues for a while now. While still eating all the foods I enjoy, including carbs/sugar. By not not cutting out any out foods I enjoy/restricting myself, I'm on track to be part of the small 5% that actually maintain weight loss long term. Because I can eat the way I eat now, for the rest of my life no problem. But cutting out foods I enjoy/severely changing my diet would just lead to frustration and failure. Why make it more complicated than it needs to be?

      September 11, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Reply
  16. bambibones

    "Glucose in the blood is a toxin"??????????????

    A person with no glucose in their blood is both dead and a scientific impossibility.

    By the way, sugar IS a carbohydrate.

    It is true that high blood glucose levels kill people – LOTS of people. It appears extremely likely that the insulin response to high blood glucose is a contributor to these deaths.

    September 11, 2014 at 11:05 am | Reply
    • Mac

      You obviously know absolutely nothing about biochemistry, clearly, yet you seem to like to contradict people as if you do. Please stop getting your scientific information from Oprah and Dr. Oz.

      September 11, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Reply
    • bambibones

      Hey MAC: I TEACH biochemistry, in a university.

      September 11, 2014 at 4:22 pm | Reply
  17. Robert Constant

    The headlines on the Michael Brown story do not make it clear that the white witnesses confirm that Michael Brown was shot in cold blood. execution style, for no good reason. CNN's headlines are not doing what headlines are supposed to do. The headlines are giving the executioner a free ride.

    September 11, 2014 at 11:15 am | Reply
    • Tracy

      Stay on topic please.

      September 11, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Reply
  18. aspblom

    Creationism shows up in his explanation; "humans weren't designed to eat this much sugar. "Were not DEIGNED to" That is creationism, not Darwinian evolution.

    September 11, 2014 at 11:17 am | Reply
    • plantiful

      He was just trying to reach people in the South.

      September 11, 2014 at 11:36 am | Reply
    • Jim in PA

      Heh. When I read that sentence in the article I actually read in my mind "Humans did not evolve to eat this much sugar." I subliminally corrected his error.

      September 11, 2014 at 12:46 pm | Reply
  19. David

    The key word is moderation. Everything in moderation. Too much fat is bad for you. Too much sugar is bad for you. Too much salt is bad for you. I could go on... The food industry overloads us with all of those and more. It's up to us to respect our bodies and know what we're putting in them.

    Along with that moderation is education. People need to look at food labels and be able to understand what effect the food they're eating is having on them. For fast food, go to their website and look their menu up.

    If you don't care, then the only person you have to blame when all is said and done is yourself.

    September 11, 2014 at 11:31 am | Reply
  20. plantiful

    Actually, Dr. Gupta has the general idea correct: too much sugar is just not healthy, like anything in life.

    Sugar is a disaccharide, consisting of one glucose and one fructose molecule chemically bound together. When eaten, the sugar is not digested immediately, but later when the enzyme sucrase can break apart the sugar into its separate molecules. From there, insulin is used to allow the cells to use the glucose, and it not used, it is turned into fat. The fructose, is then metabolized in the liver into triglycerides, which are then contributors to these LDL cholesterols.

    Naturally, since sugar was not as nearly as abundant as it is today, our bodies do not need much of it, and are not geared to processing large amounts of it: that's just how we are evolved. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which is different than sugar in contrast to what the corn industry is advertising, is separate glucose and fructose sugars, which upon eating, enter the blood directly, and the most of the glucose goes to fat, and the liver has to deal with the surge in fructose, leading to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and cholesterol issues.

    All of these fat-reduced/free foods have more sugars in them and more salt to make up for the lack of flavor and texture in these fad-foods which have caused obesity and Type II diabetes to skyrocket in this country. Are fats good? Yes they are, but you have to choose them wisely:

    Most of the fats we consume are from vegetable oils and meats. The meat in the Western world, and especially the United States, is "industrial meat," meat that is grain fed and not fed what the animals are supposed to be eating. The grains being fed cattle lower the healthier omega-3 fats (fish oil) relative to the amount of omega-6 fats, which are a contributor to heart disease. Corn has no omega-3 fats in it at all. Canola has the most omega-3 fats for a vegetable oil.

    For meats, the healthiest (most natural) meats you can buy are called:
    Beef, chicken, eggs, and lamb are "pastured," or "grass-fed" (for diary products) and not cage-free, all natural, or organic. The industry assigned the definition of a "cage free" or "free-range" for chickens for example as "having access to the outside through an open door for 15 minutes a day, where this door is a door leading to a patio... but all of the soybeans are inside, so why leave? Companies do this to maintain the same product, and put a nice-sounding label on it for which consumers believe they are getting something better at a higher price.

    Grass-fed beef may have been "grain-finished" as well, which reduces the omega-3 content, so ask for the finish process.

    "Organic" meats sound good, but this means that the animal was fed the improper grain diet, but at least the grains were not GMO, pesticide, or fertilizer treated. Fat ratios will still be off of where they should be.

    Beef and lamb, buy "pastured" or "grass-fed"
    Fish, buy "wild" (farmed fish are fed soybean feed, antibiotics, etc.. soon to be GMO fish),
    Chicken and eggs, buy "pastured"
    For dairy, buy "grass-fed"

    These meats can be found at local farms near you, at eatwild[dot]com, by zip-code.

    The food today is not produced by farmers, but by corporations, and corporations are out for profit. That means minimizing production costs (loss of expensive quality), and maximizing profits (best-sounding labels). Research what you are buying, and it will pay off for the rest of your life.

    September 11, 2014 at 11:33 am | Reply
  21. mollymcl

    Whatever happened to the good ol' food pyramid?

    It's just...I don't get what's so complicated. Eat FOOD. Things with one ingredient. Things that are. Vegetables, fruit, unprocessed meats, nuts, whole-grains. There seriously needs to be a nutrition class mandatory in the United States education system. One just focusing on how what you eat affects your body, why, and how to cook healthy. Why is this not standard? It's one of the most valuable things you can teach a child.

    September 11, 2014 at 11:37 am | Reply
    • plantiful

      People at home rarely cook, and if they do it is in a box coming out of the microwave.

      I can imagine a health class in school today, "Sponsored by Tyson / McDonalds / General Mills / etc.....). Tyson lobbied the USDA to call tomato sauce a vegetable so they can sell more of their pizza food product.

      September 11, 2014 at 11:48 am | Reply
  22. Adrienne

    ,,,next week, sugar will be the best thing for you...

    September 11, 2014 at 11:55 am | Reply
    • i have seen the light

      If you're listening to MSM or our government, then, maybe. If you're into bona fide nutrition science and studies then this message has been around for decades. It's how many generations before us ate – we're just getting back to basic, natural food.

      September 11, 2014 at 12:33 pm | Reply
  23. clonmac

    Here is the flaw with all the arguments lately that talk about how people are so sick today because we went through a period of "low fat" diets since the McGovern report. Despite all the talk about "low fat" diets following this time period, Americans have been consuming MORE fat since then. So immediately, that argument falls apart. The talk about how bad sugar is for you is absolutely true, but when they paint the picture of sugar being the sole reason why we are sick and attempt to relieve other poor dietary choices from all their wrong doings, this does a great disservice to everyone. It confuses people even more. Rather than talking about how bad individual nutrients are (fat, sugar, cholesterol, etc), they need to start conveying more that eating a plant-based diet is the healthiest way to eat. It would save millions of lives and save millions in medical costs. This type of article does nothing to that end.

    September 11, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Reply
  24. FredKelly

    All I know is that I switched from traditional low-fat diets to a low-carb Paleo diet and went from 30% to 18% body fat in a year (with no increase in exercise), my blood pressure dropped 20 points and my blood sugar has normalized. I ain't a doctor, but I can't argue with the results.

    September 11, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Reply
    • i have seen the light

      I had the exact same experience. People will spout "calories are calories" and "just eat less and move more" but what we put in our bodies really does matter.

      September 11, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Reply
    • end3r

      Me too! I dropped a ton of weight, got my cholesterol under control, blood pressure under control, and borderline diabetic glucose levels under control. One of the things I think that helps doing keto or paleo is just how much protein and fat keep you full. If it does boil down in some part to a matter of intake, I noticed some days I have difficulty even getting near 2,000 calories. I can easily consume 1,200 to 1,400 a day as a 150lb man without feeling the slightest bit hungry.

      When I was eating a ton of processed foods all the time (which is obviously part of the problem anyway) I would be hungry constantly. I could eat an 800 calorie box of mac and cheese and want to eat again an hour later. Now I can eat a handful of peanuts and a couple pieces of cheese and be good to go for at least that amount of time. From my vantage point, that's one of the main reasons the diet worked for me. I tried the heavy veggie only thing but I just couldn't stay full for very long and found it too easy to fall back into simply eating too many calories.

      September 11, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Reply
  25. meledir

    "We used to get sugar once a year from fruit fell from the trees" really is bad, for someone who intends to present himself as authoritative. Fruit falls from the trees for several months a year even in cold temperate areas, and primitive peoples would have dried the excess.

    It's gross that we eat 140 lbs a year on average. But what's the right number? It also helps if you don't sit on your butt after having that big soda.

    September 11, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Reply
  26. Daniel Krell

    Our inability to handle carbohydrates well is a testament to the damage caused by out sedentary lifestyles. Living in Central Africa for nearly two years, I watched people with low-fat, low-protein diets live well on high-carbohydrate diets. Obesity was rare. People were typically engaged in physically demanding lifestyles (e.g., walking miles to work or school, working all day, then walking miles back home) that were fueled by the carbohydrates. Yes, life-expectancy was low, but that was due to malaria, parasites and other infectious diseases (e.g., measles, diarrhea, etc.), and not due to cardiovascular diseases. Think of marathoners an other endurance athletes carbo-loading before an event; carbohydrates are not the villain, our greatly diminished physical activity is the villain!

    September 11, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Reply
    • plantiful

      Actually, it is the combination of the two: Americans do not walk anywhere, stairs are hard to find in malls but there is always an escalator or elevator, riding lawn mowers, leaf blowers, etc.... then you add in some high fructose corn syrup from the over-subsidized corn industry (go lobbyists!), and you have yourself a fat population.

      September 11, 2014 at 12:44 pm | Reply
      • Daniel Krell

        I believe the overriding problem is our inactive lifestyle, not the type of sugar we're using; I agree with your comments about the decreased opportunities for physical activity in our culture being a problem. We look at "exercise" as something we do in a discrete time set aside to engage in demanding activity, rather than experiencing it as an organic part of our daily functioning. I cringe every time I see a homeowner using a powered leaf blower or a garden hose to clean off a driveway, rather than a rake or broom. It is so emblematic of the opportunities for healthy activity that we do not take, and which can give us so much benefit.

        This is a link to an excellent discussion about sugars and HFCS that should be part of the conversation. The excessive concern about HFCS (I have no relationship with the food or agriculture industry, at all; I am a physician who believes in maintaining rational discussions, as much as possible) and categorization of "good" and "bad" sugars just serve to cloud the issue and let people think they are doing something helpful by playing with their sugars, rather than getting up and getting more consistently active:

        September 11, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
      • plantiful

        Daniel: Indeed, the two sweeteners, sucrose and HFCS are similar, but there are some rate differences, and perhaps some associated long-term effects, as found by:

        Their main conclusionary statement however, "both are used to excess," which is true. 🙂

        September 11, 2014 at 2:58 pm |
  27. jamaljk85

    Well at least it's an established fact that global warming is occurring. Whew!

    September 11, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Reply
    • Jim in PA

      Contrary to the anti-science blatherings of the right, the theory of global warming has been essentially intact for decades, with the only changes being tweaks to the numbers as models get refined. It is the essence of sound science.

      September 11, 2014 at 12:49 pm | Reply
  28. Name*steve

    Cancer likes sugar, so try to cut out sugar.

    September 11, 2014 at 12:36 pm | Reply
  29. Carlos Monroy

    It's all about 'marketing' or 'buy & sell'! Or more to the point: food manufacturers rely on the premise: There's a sucker born every minute... Printed consequences of consuming their products are kept hidden; but like most secrets, they are found eventually – in the hospitals. Then buried finally...

    September 11, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.