Over the past half-century, the rate of obesity in America has nearly tripled, while the incidence of diabetes has increased roughly seven-fold. It’s estimated that the direct health care costs related to obesity and diabetes in the United States is $1 billion a day, while economists have calculated the indirect costs to society of these epidemics at over $1 trillion a year.
In recent years, some researchers have focused on the particular role refined sugar may play in these epidemics. Perhaps the most comprehensive analysis of this research has been put forth by the science journalist, Gary Taubes, author of the recent book, “The Case Against Sugar.” I spoke with Taubes about his research and what people should know about sugar to make better choices in their diets.
David Bornstein: What’s the essence of the case against sugar?
Gary Taubes: To understand the case against sugar, using a criminal justice metaphor, you have to understand the crimes committed: epidemics of diabetes and obesity worldwide. Wherever and whenever a population transitions from its traditional diet to a Western diet and lifestyle, we see dramatic increases in obesity, and diabetes goes from being a relatively rare disorder to a common one. One in 11 Americans now has diabetes. In some populations, one in three or four adults have diabetes. Stunning numbers.
So why sugar? Well, for starters, recent increases in sugar consumption are always at the scene of the crime on a population-wide level when these epidemics occur. And sugar is also at the scene of the crime biologically, and it’s got the mechanism necessary. But the evidence is not definitive; what I’m arguing is still a minority viewpoint.
The evidence linking body weight and cancer has been building for decades, with new evidence still emerging.
Only a few months ago the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released a report saying there is now strong evidence linking body weight to even more cancer types than was previously thought. Bringing the total tally to 13 types of cancer.
A MORBIDLY obese woman who loved fast food so much she’d eat kebabs for breakfast has swapped her fast food habit for a caveman diet, and shed an amazing 55kg.
Elora Harre, 23, from Perth, was a size 24 at her biggest thanks to a solid diet of convenience foods including pizza, burgers and kebabs every day for brekkie.
But after developing headaches and sore eyes, she discovered she was pre-diabetic as a result of her eating habits, and was forced to ditch them once and for all.
Now Elora has shrunk from a size 24 to a size 12 after swapping her greasy take away food for the paleo diet, and eating meals consisting purely of natural foods.
She’s been so successful in her transformation, that she has amassed a huge online following and has just launched her own book chronicling her journey, called The Shrinking Violet — How to Lose Weight and Get Fit the paleo Way.