Deadly at any Dose: Sugar and the Corruption of Science: Part 1
Gary Null, PhD
November 11, 2016
The Progressive Radio Network
It is estimated that the average American consumes 94 grams of sugar daily.  This amounts to nearly 2 billion pounds of sugar each month in the form of candies, cakes, breads, cookies and other sweet treats. Our national sugar addiction rages on despite the fact that sugar is widely known as a major culprit in our country’s epidemic levels of disease. A recent report from Credit Suisse’s Research Institute revealed that approximately “30%–40% of healthcare expenditures in the USA go to help address issues that are closely tied to the excess consumption of sugar.” The figures suggest that our high consumption of sugar runs us an incredible $1 trillion in healthcare costs each year. The Credit Suisse report highlighted several health conditions including coronary heart diseases, type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which numerous studies have linked to excessive sugar intake.
Though it takes little effort to discover the abundance of scientific research demonstrating sugar’s deadly effects on health, most Americans prefer to ignore the reality of this toxic dietary staple. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the latest studies available to them if they chose to look:
The prestigious scientific journal Human Reproduction published a study last year showing that girls who consumed higher amounts of sugar sweetened beverages began menstruating earlier than their peers. Early menstruation among girls is known to increase the risk of breast cancer later on in life. The study is notable because other than sugary drink consumption no other variable that was measured, including body mass index or total food intake, correlated to earlier menstruation. 
The link between sugar and breast and lung cancer was the focus of another study published in 2016 by researchers at The University of Texas. The team showed that high fructose consumption among rats promoted lung and breast metastases.  The researchers fed the rats dietary amounts of fructose consistent with the Standard American Diet (SAD), which is rich in pro-inflammatory sugar.
A 2016 study carried out by scientists at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia showed that sugar may be just as addictive as hard drugs, as it affects dopamine levels in the brain just as severely as other substances like cocaine.  These conclusions are backed by another 2015 study appearing in the journal PLOS ONE demonstrating that sugar-laden and highly refined foods are among the main culprits for food addiction. 
A study appearing the journal Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience in 2016 examined the correlation between a high sugar diet and brain health. The startling results showed that high sugar consumption harms the region of the brain known as the hippocampus in a way that is similar to what happens to this part of the brain during highly stressful situations early in life. The study authors remarked that “[t]he similarity in the hippocampal molecular deficits induced by sugar and early life stress is of great concern given the cheap and easy accessibility of sugar-sweetened beverages.“ The conclusions of the study lead the authors to posit that eating high amounts of sugar could potentially increase the risk of developing psychopathy later on in life. 
New research suggests that adhering to a sugar-restrictive diet for as little as nine days can significantly reverse metabolic conditions among obese children. Monitoring the health outcomes for children ages 9-18 who followed a sugar-, but not calorie-restrictive diet, the researchers observed positive changes in metrics such as blood pressure, triglycerides, insulin, and liver function. . The lead author of the study, Robert Lustig MD is a pediatric endocrinologist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco and has been one of America’s foremost researchers into the toxicity of sugar. Lustig remarked that “This study definitively shows that sugar is metabolically harmful not because of its calories or its effects on weight; rather sugar is metabolically harmful because it’s sugar. This internally controlled intervention study is a solid indication that sugar contributes to metabolic syndrome, and is the strongest evidence to date that the negative effects of sugar are not because of calories or obesity.” (10)
But just in case these examples aren’t glaring enough, here are several more prominent studies from recent years demonstrating the deadly consequences of sugar:
Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Drinks Linked to Heart Disease
Lawrence de Koning, Vasanti S. Malik, Mark D. Kellogg, Eric B. Rimm, Walter C. Willett, and Frank B. Hu.Sweetened Beverage Consumption, Incident Coronary Heart Disease and Biomarkers of Risk in Men. Circulation, March 12 2012 DOI:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.111.067017
How Fructose Causes Obesity and Diabetes
Takuji Ishimoto, Miguel A. Lanaspa, MyPhuong T. Le, Gabriela E. Garcia, Christine P. Diggle, Paul S. MacLean, Matthew R. Jackman, ArunaAsipu, Carlos A. Roncal-Jimenez, Tomoki Kosugi, Christopher J. Rivard, Shoichi Maruyama, Bernardo Rodriguez-Iturbe, Laura G. Sánchez-Lozada, David T. Bonthron, Yuri Y. Sautin, and Richard J. Johnson. Opposing effects of fructokinase C and A isoforms on fructose-induced metabolic syndrome in mice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, February 27, 2012 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1119908109
Corn Syrup linked with Obesity
Bray, George et al. Consumption of high fructose corn syrup in beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Vol. 79, no. 4, p. 537-543, April 2004.
Soda and Sugary Beverages linked with Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, V. S. Malik, B. M. Popkin, G. A. Bray, J.-P. Despres, W. C. Willett, F. B. Hu. Sugar Sweetened Beverages and Risk of Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes: A Meta-analysis.Diabetes Care, 2010
Fructose Intake Connected with an Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Illness and Diabetes in Teenagers
N. K. Pollock, V. Bundy, W. Kanto, C. L. Davis, P. J. Bernard, H. Zhu, B. Gutin, Y. Dong. Greater Fructose Consumption Is Associated with Cardiometabolic Risk Markers and Visceral Adiposity in Adolescents.Journal of Nutrition, 2011; 142 (2): 251 DOI:10.3945/jn.111.150219
Fructose Consumption Increases the Risk of Heart Disease
K. L. Stanhope, A. A. Bremer, V. Medici, K. Nakajima, Y. Ito, T. Nakano, G. Chen, T. H. Fong, V. Lee, R. I. Menorca, N. L. Keim, P. J. Havel. Consumption of Fructose and High Fructose Corn Syrup Increase Postprandial Triglycerides, LDL-Cholesterol, and Apolipoprotein-B in Young Men and Women. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2011; DOI:10.1210/jc.2011-1251
The Negative Impact of Sugary Drinks on Children
Lustig, RH, and AA Bremer. “Effects of sugar-sweetened beverages on children..” Pediatric Annals 41.1 (2012): 26-30. pubmed.gov. Web. 1 Apr. 2012.
Sugar and High Blood Pressure
Lustig, RH, and S Nguyen. “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the blood pressure go up..” Expert Review of Cardiovascular Therapy 8.11 (2010): 1497-9. pubmed.gov. Web. 2 Apr. 2012.
Sugar Consumption Associated with Fatty Liver Disease and Diabetes
Lim JS, Mietus-Snyder M, Valente A, Schwarz JM, Lustig RH. The role of fructose in the pathogenesis of NAFLD and the metabolic syndrome. Nature Reviews of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2010; 7:251-64.
The Adverse Impact of Dietary Sugars on Cardiovascular Health
Johnson RK, Appel LJ, Brands M, Howard BV, Lefevre M, Lustig RH, Sacks F, Steffen LM, Wylie-Rosett J. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association.Circulation 2009; 120:1011-20.
Princeton Study Shows High Fructose Corn Syrup Promotes Weight Gain
Bocarsly, ME, et al.. “High-fructose corn syrup causes characteristics of obesity in rats: Increased body weight, body fat and triglyceride levels.” Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavio 97.1 (2010): n. pag.pubmed.gov. Web. 1 Apr. 2012.
Rats Fed High Fructose Corn Syrup Exhibit Impaired Brain Function
Stranahan, Alexis M, et al..“Diet-induced insulin resistance impairs hippocampal synaptic plasticity and cognition in middle-aged rats.”Hippocampus 18.11 (2008): 1085-1088. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com. Web. 2 Apr. 2012.
High Fructose Corn Syrup Intake Linked with Mineral Imbalance and Osteoporosis.
Tsanzi, E,et al. “Effect of consuming different caloric sweeteners on bone health and possible mechanisms..”Nutrition Reviews 66.6 (2008): 301-309. Print.
Diet of Sugar and Fructose Impairs Brain Function
R. Agrawal, F. Gomez-Pinilla. ’Metabolic syndrome’ in the brain: deficiency in omega-3 fatty acid exacerbates dysfunctions in insulin receptor signaling and cognition. The Journal of Physiology, 2012; 590 (10): 2485 DOI: 10.1113/jphysiol.2012.230078
This may be the thousandth article proving the many dangers of sugar. But despite the huge body of evidence, once again there will be no strong advisories issued by our government or media warning against this sweet poison in our midst. Some industry scientists will state that we need more proof of sugar’s toxicity before we make any official recommendations. But wait a moment- haven’t we been down this road before? Mainstream “authorities” have argued for the continued use of a wide range of damaging substances including tobacco, asbestos, synthetic hormone replacement therapy, mercury in vaccines, DDT, glyphosate, agent orange, radiation and hundreds of other known toxins. A million more studies will still not be proof enough to cause any reform because this is how the game is played. The special interest groups always win.
The reality of Big Sugar’s corrupt influence was recently outlined in a piece by Anahad O’Connor in the New York Times. O’Connor highlights a new bombshell article published in JAMA Internal Medicine revealing that in the 1960s the American sugar lobby paid off Harvard researchers to arrive at research conclusions which downplayed the link between sugar and heart disease, and overstated the connection between saturated fats and heart disease.  According to co-author Stanton Glantz, professor of medicine at U.C.S.F., the Big Sugar lobbyists “were able to derail the discussion about sugar for decades.”  Writing about the extent of corruption that plagued the industry O’Connor reports that:
The documents show that a trade group called the Sugar Research Foundation, known today as the Sugar Association, paid three Harvard scientists the equivalent of about $50,000 in today’s dollars to publish a 1967 review of research on sugar, fat and heart disease. The studies used in the review were handpicked by the sugar group, and the article, which was published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, minimized the link between sugar and heart health and cast aspersions on the role of saturated fat. 
It was this seminal research that has influenced governmental health guidelines for a half century.
So profound are the conflicts of interest in science today that a 2015 article appearing in the
American Heart Association’s Circulation Research found that the “majority” of research
published today “will not stand the test of time.”  That same year saw the publication of
another article in The Lancet in which author Richard Horton surmised that
much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies
with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts
of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious
importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness. 
Standing up to Bad Science
With the rapid spread of information in today’s internet age, more and more health-conscious consumers and watchdog groups are calling attention to the many studies demonstrating sugar’s harmful effects, but many of us in the natural health community have been alarming the public for decades. In point of fact, I have been writing about the hazards of sugar extensively in books and articles since 1971. In 2002, my documentary “Seven Steps to Perfect Health” premiered on PBS stations including WETA in Washington, DC. As part of the PBS program, I poured sugar out of a bag which equaled the number of teaspoons that the average American teenager consumes in a given day. The quantity was verified by my General Counsel, Mr. David Slater, who had measured the number of teaspoons earlier in the day. If anything, my demonstration understated the true amount of sugar we are consuming.
The program was very well received and the program director informed me that it was so successful that it had set a record for a non-primetime programming and that he intended on replaying it eight or nine times. However, the next day I was informed by him that he was sorry but he had bad news: not only would the program not be aired again, but I would not be invited back to present on the station. This was after I had presented five medically-vetted, original PBS programs over the years, some of which had set station records. The program director explained that this was because the new information I presented on the dangers of sugar had run smack up against the president of the station board, Sharon Rockefeller. I was told that Ms. Rockefeller had received a phone call from the sugar lobbying group representing soft drink makers and sugar consumers and the decision was made to pull my program. I was informed that my statements regarding sugar’s damaging health effects were deemed inaccurate. As it turned out, Ms. Rockefeller was sitting on the board of Pepsi Cola’s at the time.
That was my first personal experience of dealing with the politics of sugar, which was also the politics of PBS. In response to this, I wrote letters to the sugar industry, the WETA station board and Sharon Rockefeller contesting their suppression of my program and their claim that sugar was unrelated to American health epidemics. This was ten years ago. When we realize how many people since that time have developed diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and many other illnesses after consuming these quantities of sugar, then should we not hold the major media morally responsible for having so much scientifically verified information on the dangers of sugar consumption and yet choosing to accept the “official” statements from “official” medical groups, government agencies, trade groups, spokes persons, scientists-for hire-and in effect, accepting industry generated propaganda instead of seeking the truth? If we can find the truth with our limited resources, what possible excuse do respected physicians with unlimited research capacity have? Why has it taken 45 years since I first wrote about the dangers of sugar for them to finally discover this truth? And how many tens of millions of children and adults have suffered with diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancers during these years all because of the arrogance, hubris and complicity of the medical establishment and media?
A deeper look at the politics of the sugar industry reveals that huge sums are being doled out by government to prop up sugar companies. In an article in the Wall Street Journal, writer Alexandra Wexler explains that American taxpayers are currently responsible for shelling out $280 million to cover the cost of loans from the USDA which sugar producers are unable to pay back. Given the undeniable evidence demonstrating the toxicity of sugar and its enormous toll on the wellbeing of Americans, why is it that our health agencies and elected officials are not calling for a much-needed overhaul of existing policies, which, in fact, offer generous support to the domestic sugar industry? Where is the outrage over bailing out the purveyors of what is likely the most dangerous staple in the American diet? For our answers we must follow the money-trail.
In May 2013, members of the US Senate voted 54-44 against an amendment to the Farm Bill introduced by Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire that would have significantly curtailed federal lending to sugar processors. In an insightful analysis of the vote, Alan Farago of Counterpunch.org, points out that lawmakers opposing the measure were significantly more likely to either represent states in which sugar is grown or to count the sugar industry among their best campaign donors. Though the reform was voted down by senators on both sides of the aisle, Democrats were apparently even more beholden to sugar interests than their Republican counterparts. Farago writes that in the final tally, Democrats opposed sugar reform by 55 percent to 40 percent (NJ Senator Frank Lautenberg did not vote.). U.S. senators from states identified as “healthy” but with sugar constituencies — Minnesota (D), Vermont (D, I), Colorado (D), North Dakota (D, R) and Hawaii (D) — all voted against reform. The website, Opensecrets.org, points out that the second highest recipient of campaign cash from sugar interests was progressive champion, Al Franken (D-Minnesota). Franken in 2013 received $27,999. ”Sugar is the only industry in the entire agribusiness sector that has consistently supported Democrats during the past two decades.” 
The fact is that the authorities we look upon as “official” are often compromised by lobbyists inside the Beltway while the mainstream media, in thrall to its advertisers, is still unwilling to report the whole truth about sugar. In order to raise public awareness about this critical issue, this article will provide an in-depth examination of sugar as a both a toxic food and as a thoroughly corrupt extension of Big Business.
1: Associated Press. “Just How Much Sugar Do Americans Consume? It’s Complicated.” STAT. September 20, 2016. Accessed November 01, 2016. https://www.statnews.com/2016/09/20/sugar-consumption-americans/.
2. “Sugar Consumption at a crossroads.”Credit Suisse Research and Analytics. https://doc.research-and-analytics.csfb.com/docView?language=ENG&source=ulg&format=PDF&document_id=1022457401&serialid=atRE31ByPkIjEXa/p3AyptOvIGdxTK833tLZ1E7AwlQ= (accessed January 14, 2014).
4. Carwile, J. L., W. C. Willett, D. Spiegelman, E. Hertzmark, J. Rich-Edwards, A. L. Frazier, and K. B. Michels. “Sugar-sweetened Beverage Consumption and Age at Menarche in a Prospective Study of US Girls.” Human Reproduction 30, no. 3 (January 27, 2015): 675-83. doi:10.1093/humrep/deu349.
5. Yan Jiang, Yong Pan, Patrea R. Rhea, Lin Tan, Mihai Gagea, Lorenzo Cohen, Susan M. Fischer and Peiying Yang “A Sucrose-Enriched Diet Promotes Tumorigenesis in Mammary Gland in Part through the 12-Lipoxygenase Pathway” Cancer Res January 1 2016 (76) (1) 24-29; DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-14-3432
6. Masroor Shariff, Maryka Quik, Joan Holgate, Michael Morgan, Omkar L. Patkar, Vincent Tam, Arnauld Belmer, Selena E. Bartlett. Neuronal Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor Modulators Reduce Sugar Intake. PLOS ONE, 2016; 11 (3): e0150270 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150270
7. Schulte EM, Avena NM, Gearhardt AN (2015) Which Foods May Be Addictive? The Roles of Processing, Fat Content, and Glycemic Load. PLoS ONE 10(2): e0117959. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0117959
8. Maniam, Jayanthi, Christopher P. Antoniadis, Neil A. Youngson, Jitendra K. Sinha, and Margaret J. Morris. “Sugar Consumption Produces Effects Similar to Early Life Stress Exposure on Hippocampal Markers of Neurogenesis and Stress Response.” Front. Mol. Neurosci. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience 8 (January 19, 2016). doi:10.3389/fnmol.2015.00086.
9. Lustig, Robert H., Kathleen Mulligan, Susan M. Noworolski, Viva W. Tai, Michael J. Wen, Ayca Erkin-Cakmak, Alejandro Gugliucci, and Jean-Marc Schwarz. “Isocaloric Fructose Restriction and Metabolic Improvement in Children with Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome.” Obesity 24, no. 2 (October 26, 2015): 453-60. doi:10.1002/oby.21371.
10. University of California – San Francisco. “Obese children’s health rapidly improves with sugar reduction unrelated to calories: Study indicates that calories are not created equal; sugar and fructose are dangerous.” ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151027074759.htm (accessed November 3, 2016).
11. O’connor, Anahad. How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat." The New York Times. 2016. Accessed September 15, 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/13/well/eat/how-the- sugar-industry-shifted- blame-to- fat.html?_r=0.
14 : Begley, C. G., and J. P. A. Ioannidis.“Reproducibility in Science: Improving the Standard for Basic and Preclinical Research”; Circulation Research 116, no. 1 (January 2, 2015): 116-26. doi:10.1161/circresaha.114.303819.
15. Horton, Richard. ” Offline: What Is Medicine’s 5 Sigma?” The Lancet 385, no. 9976 (April 11,2015): 1380. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(15)60696- 1.
16. Wexler, Alexandra . “Sugar companies get generous taxpayer bailouts.” MSNMoney. http://money.msn.com/investing/post–sugar-companies-get-generous-taxpayer-bailouts (accessed January 23, 2014).
17. Farago, Alan. “Killer Fact: 30-40 Percent of Health Care Spending in the U.S. Is Tied to Excess Sugar Consumption.” Alternet. http://www.alternet.org/food/killer-politics-big-sugar?page=0%2C1 (accessed January 23, 2014).