Attack of the Chocolatier

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On Sunday, ABC’s Ockham’s Razor program aired a piece by a chap called Chris Forbes- Ewan. Chris is a nutritionist who works for the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) in Tasmania. He has spent the last few years making high melting point chocolate for DSTO. This stuff allows Aussie troops to still enjoy a choccy even when sitting in the hot Arabian sun.

DSTO says they “work closely with industry … through a range of … mutually beneficial arrangements.” Interestingly they have been ‘working closely’ with Nestle on Chris’s project. DSTO explain “Nestlé’s transformation from a general food company into a health, nutrition and wellness company meant that they were more closely aligned to DSTO in the area of nutrition.

Nestle has been transformed into a health and wellness company? I must have missed the memo. I’m sure DSTO (and Chris) are not in any way influenced by ‘closely working’ with Nestle for years, but it would have been nice to disclose the relationship so we could make up our own mind.

It’s true I have no formal qualifications in nutrition. But apparently none are necessary, beyond being a human that eats. And I understand that to someone (like Chris) who has worked in this area for ‘more than two decades’ it could be a little confronting to deal with someone qualified by nothing more than a thirst for knowledge.

After reading 208 pages of summarised research in Sweet Poison, he decides the thing worthy of attack (beyond my credentials) is my claim that we now get almost 20% of our calories from fructose.

For the record the average Aussie consumes about 50 kg of sugar a year. On top of that, they gulp down approximately 10 kg of sugar in fruit juice concentrate (used to sweeten ‘healthy’ food like Nestle’s fruit fix), honey and fruit juice. The fructose half of this equates to 16.4 percent of the recommended adult male’s diet (2,000 Calories per day) or 18.2 percent of an adult female diet of 1,800 Calories. To me, that looks like ‘almost 20 percent’ and a lot more than the 6 percent Chris calculates.

But even if he were absolutely right, it wouldn’t change my argument one little bit. Unlike Chris (and coincidentally Big Sugar), I don’t believe (and there is no credible research to suggest) that there is any safe level of fructose consumption (beyond that which is contained in two pieces of fruit per day).

Even Chris concedes that “many Australians do eat excessive amounts of sugar, and would do themselves (and their waistlines) a favour by reducing sugar intake.” His real concern seems to be that people won’t voluntarily give up sugar, reducing his argument to: I know it’s bad but people won’t change, so let’s not worry about it.

His only other concern was about a human trial (of fructose feeding) I mentioned in the book. It had to be abandoned due to some of the participants suffering heart problems.

I mentioned the study to make the (I thought, rather amusing) point that humans have better lawyers than rats which is why (perhaps) there are less human studies on fructose. But Chris claims that I completely misinterpreted the study’s findings. He implies that the heart problems were no more attributable to fructose than to starch (the two diets used in the trial).

I didn’t do the study, so I have to rely on what the researchers themselves concluded. They say that even though the link between the fructose and the heart attacks could not be proven, the probability that it “was due to chance was was < .0005” (less than five hundredths of a percent).”

Sweet Poison is stuffed to the brim with examples from the (over 3,000) studies that show the damage being done by fructose, but Chris doesn’t have problems with any of the rest. This one (somewhat oblique) reference is the only one he questions.

He has however personally found 12 studies which show feeding people fructose has no effect or is beneficial (no less). He doesn’t cite (or describe) any of them, so we’ll just have to take his word on that. Perhaps next time Chris, you could give us some clues? Maybe even mention the name of the researchers? Ockham’s Razor is a science show after all.

Despite his newly discovered (and unnamed) studies, Chris finishes his piece by saying that “recent studies suggest that high fructose intake may increase the risk of conditions such as gout, kidney stones, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, and may also lead to blood lipid profiles associated with greater risk of heart disease.” Oh ok, so we agree then?

And that’s it. That’s all he had. The End.

I’ve put the evidence out there and the best a chocolatier-come-critic can come up with (after six months) is (incorrectly) suggesting I misinterpreted an abandoned study from 1984?

Sugar purveyors (including the DSTO’s partner, Nestle) have billions in revenue and resources coming out their ears. Sweet Poison cites endless studies and there are even more on my blog. But so far not one study has been cited which contradicts any of it.

If the science is wrong and fructose is harmless (as Chris starts to imply but then changes his mind), then surely it can’t be that hard to prove. Just cite some credible studies.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Join the discussion 169 Comments

  • Paul says:

    I saw that podcast pop up on my itunes a few days ago and listened with interest. I also found it hard to understand the point that was being made as it seemed he was critical but ultimately conceded most of the concerns you raise in your book. Considering he elected to the play the tedious ‘I am a scientist and you are not card’ it would have been nice had the program revealed the nature of his work with DSTO. Happy New Year and keep up the good work.

  • James says:

    Hear hear, David, your response is on the button. That chocolatier has all but wasted 15minutes of valuable Ockham’s Razor program listening time.

    You can’t be too careful it now seems when listening to the ABC’s Ockham’s Razor program. Mr. ABC, please lift your game a little.

  • Terry H says:

    David,

    see below email submitted to Ockham’s Razor www site:

    “Robyn,

    I am a member of the public trained in experimental science and statistics in an area unrelated to nutrition, with a close interest in health issues from a scientific methodology and statistical validity viewpoint. I have no vested interest in any diet, therapy or nutritional approach.

    Frankly, I found your recent edition, which was essentially a refutation by a nutritionist named Forbes-Ewan, of a previous presenter named Gillespie, to be “dodgy”, for a number of reasons, viz:

    1. It was in large part, an ad honimen attack on Gillespie, as opposed to the subject matter of whether fructose is dangerous. Frankly, I do not care whether Gillespie is a lawyer, Forbes-Ewan is a nutritional scientist associated with the fructose user industry (which he appears to be and did not declare), or about the views of the industry associations mentioned by Forbes-Ewan, nor should you. What matters is the strength of each of their scientific cases as to whether fructose, at commonly consumed dosage levels, is a toxin in the diet of Australians

    2. In this respect, the attack of Forbes-Ewan upon Gillespie’s case that fructose dosage levels are dangerous, was particularly weak and amounted to nitpicking, which Gillespie has more than adequately responded to upon his blog. In the end Gillespie is probably guilty of a little hyperbole regarding toxic dosage levels, but not much more. His overall case is solidly backed by human metabolic theory and human and animal experimental results. Fructose, at dosage levels consumed by a significant proportion of the Australian community appears to be a toxin.

    3. Indeed, your presenter conceded, for most part, towards the end of the show, Gillespie’s case and in a moment of truthfulness recognized that since Gillespie’s book was published, the scientific case against fructose in the diet had strengthened

    4. In particular, Forbes-Ewan specifically concedes that the American Heart Association last year (2009) overturned it’s prior policy and tightened it’s warning against fructose as a major component of human nutrition. On the Committee issuing this changed policy was one Professor Lustig.

    5. Lustig is one of the premier international researchers in the field of high fructose consumption and it’s metabolic impact, including upon children. In 2009 he issued the following video, which makes Gillespie look like Neville Chamberlain:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM.

    Whilst Lustig tends towards passionate hyperbole in the early parts of this video, I have examined the detailed biochemistry and talked to specialists in the field and no-one appears to demur from his conclusion – fructose appears to be a toxin, when consumed at levels prevailing amongst a significant proportion of the US population.

    It is fine to have people debating these issues on the ABC. However, there are a couple of issues raised by your introductory presentation.

    Firstly, you appear to explicitly suggest that Gillespie is wrong and that Fructose consumption at levels prevailing in the Australian community is OK.

    Secondly, you also appear to implicitly endorse ad honimen non-scientific religious like attacks upon someone who dares to suggest that the prevailing paradigm in one science, is wrong.

    Shame on you. You are certainly wrong on the second count and most probably irresponsibly wrong on the first. Let us see how the sceince plays out.”

    p.s Why is there no place where the public can publicly comment about your shows – this is a rarity in today’s media environment?

  • David’s blog entry about my Ockham’s Razor program contains several claims that deserve replies. I’ll reply to each claim in a separate comment, so that each comment is a reasonable length.

    His first claim is that I have “spent the last few years making high melting point chocolate for DSTO”. David also suggests that I may have links with Nestle, and states (with tongue apparently firmly in cheek): “I’m sure DSTO (and Chris) are not in any way influenced by ‘closely working’ with Nestle for years, but it would have been nice to disclose the relationship so we could make up our own mind.”

    For 38 years I have had only the one employer, DSTO. I have never worked for (or with) Nestle. I have never been funded by Nestle. I have never even communicated with anyone at Nestle. Nor have I spent as much as one second working as a chocolatier.

    The link between me and Nestle is tenuous, to say the least. For the past two or three years a food technologist at DSTO has been working with Nestle to try to develop an improved high-melting-point chocolate for use in Australian Defence Force ration packs. This food technologist comes from a non-English-speaking background. Because English is a second language for the food technologist who is working with Nestle on the chocolate project (with all her funding coming from DSTO, by the way), when the media showed interest in the project I volunteered to be the DSTO spokesman. The food technologist provided me with the technical details (at a layperson’s level of complexity) and I conveyed them to the media in a series of interviews.

    In 2003 I was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (on a short-term contract) to take part in revision of the Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand. Other than that, I have never been funded by any organisation other than DSTO for any research or development work I have conducted.

    More to come in my next comment.

  • Second Comment

    David writes about his qualifications for providing expert advice: “It’s true I have no formal qualifications in nutrition. But apparently none are necessary, beyond being a human that eats.” Does that mean that if I have read Rumpole of the Bailey, or been to court to contest a speeding fine, I am qualified to work as lawyer?

    Of course I have no objection to anyone making a worthwhile contribution in any area of science. After all, perhaps the greatest scientific breakthrough of the 20th century was made by a Patents Examiner, Class One in the Swiss Patents Office. This was the Theory of Special Relativity, published in 1905, and the patents examiner was Albert Einstein.

    However, someone who purports to be offering expert advice on a health-related matter should at least be capable of interpreting the scientific literature. David has not only misinterpreted a critical study (at least critical to his argument), he has also refused to back down when I pointed out his misinterpretation.

    David claimed in his book Sweet Poison, in his Ockham’s Razor program, and in his blog entry in reply to my program that this study found harmful effects (severe heart problems) that were attributable to fructose consumption. In his blog entry he claims that the researchers ‘say that even though the link between the fructose and the heart attacks could not be proven, the probability that it “was due to chance was < .0005” (less than five hundredths of a percent).’ David’s continues to misinterpret the result of this study. The authors do state that the probability is less < .0005 of getting so many heart problems in the one study by chance. But they make it clear that this was NOT attributable to feeding fructose to those participants. They refer (more than once) to a ‘... lack of relationship between the onset of the abnormalities and the type of dietary carbohydrate’. In the absence of any relationship between fructose consumption and the onset of heart conditions, they discuss the possibility that low copper intake was the problem. More to come in my next comment.

  • Third Comment

    David’s Ockham’s Razor program contains a claim that no-one had been game to conduct studies involving purposefully feeding fructose to humans following the study mentioned in my last comment (the one in which four participants experienced severe heart conditions). In my Ockham’s Razor program I mentioned that I found 19 such studies over the relevant time period (1985-2007) in a brief search of the scientific literature. Moreover, 12of these studies reported positive, or at worst neutral effects of fructose, and seven reported negative effects. David complains in his blog that I did not provide references to these studies.

    As I’m sure David is aware, Ockham’s Razor is directed to the general public, not scientists. It would be inappropriate to include references (indeed, David didn’t include any in his program either).

    So here are the references to 12 studies (whose existence David denied in his Ockham’s Razor program) that found neutral or beneficial effects of fructose feeding:

    Am J Clin Nutr l984;39:525-534

    Diabetes Care May 1989 vol. 12 no. 5 337-344

    Am J Clin Nutr 1994;59(suppl):753S-7S

    Am J Clin Nutr 2006;84:1374–9.

    Diabetes Care November 1996 vol. 19 no. 11 1249-1256

    Diabet Med. 1987 Jan-Feb;4(1):62-4

    J-Intern-Med. 1993 Feb; 233(2): 145-53

    Am J Med. 1987 Aug;83(2):249-55

    Diabetes Care 24:1882–1887, 2001

    Diabet Med. 1989 Aug;6(6):506-11.

    Am J Clin Nutr 1989;50:1015-1022

    Clinical Nutrition (2006) 25, 617–621

  • Fourth and final comment

    David’s blog includes: ‘Chris finishes his piece by saying that “recent studies suggest that high fructose intake may increase the risk of conditions such as gout, kidney stones, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, and may also lead to blood lipid profiles associated with greater risk of heart disease.” Oh ok, so we agree then?’

    No David, we don’t agree. As I mentioned in my Ockham’s Razor program, the key word is ‘high’ (that is, I accept that high fructose intake is harmful); I do not accept your position that it is a poison in any dose. The American Dietetic Association and American Heart Foundation (among many respected organisations) accept that there is a safe level of intake. Similarly, the advice of the National Health and Medical Research Council, the peak health body in Australia, isn’t to ‘Avoid all added sugars’, it is to ‘Consume only moderate amounts of sugars and foods containing added sugars’.

    In his autobiography, James Watson, co-discoverer of the DNA code, points out that scientists must exaggerate when writing for the general public. People don’t want to hear ‘It is likely that …
    or ‘The evidence suggests that …’. But Watson says that the exaggeration must be ethical. Unfortunately, David has exaggerated the case against fructose to an unethical degree.

  • Paul says:

    So the question boils down to how much fructose is a potential problem. David’s book clearly talks about eating fruit in moderation as being fine so he is not claiming that completely avoiding fructose is necessary – just eating it in its natural fibrous packing. The American Heart Foundations new recommendations are 37g of sugar for men and 25 g for women which represents about 19g and 13 g of fructose. Considering how much of the stuff is soft drink (often at least 20g per 600 Mls), fruit juices (similar to soft drink) and cereals (10-15g+ per 100 grams)how does Chris believe you can keep within the AHF limits without watching your intake as though fructose was a poison? I don’t feel Chris has evaded the charge of nitpicking and thereby obscuring a serious health issue.

  • Terry H says:

    Have a look at Episode 13 of Colbert Report, available on ABC iTV, in which Cobert does a v. good sketch on fructose and obesity.

  • Hilarious Terry! Thanks for that … by the way – here’s a direct link: http://www.abc.net.au/iview/#/view/500475

    Chris – those studies are the ones (driven by Crapo’s research) that are covered on page 59 of Sweet Poison.

  • In his most recent comment Paul suggests that ‘the question boils down to how much fructose is a potential problem.’

    I don’t agree that this is the only relevant question. For me, it is equally relevant that David has exaggerated his case against fructose beyond an ethical level. The evidence simply isn’t strong enough to conclude that it is a ‘miracle … that we are not all dead in the face of the incessant fructose doping.’

    But to answer Paul’s question, a pretty good place to start would be to follow the Dietary Guidelines for Australians. My Ockham’s Razor program finished with:

    ‘In the context of this talk, the two most relevant guidelines are:

    Consume only moderate amounts of sugars and foods containing added sugars; and

    Prevent weight gain: be physically active and eat according to your energy needs.’

    That is, you don’t have to avoid all sweet-tasting foods (as David recommends), just moderate your intake.

    And physical activity is at least as important as diet in weight control and health generally.

    Although David recognises the value of exercise with respect to general health, he dismisses its importance in relation to weight control with the statement ‘Don’t exercise if your dominant purpose is to lose weight: let a lack of fructose do that instead.’ Even Robert Lustig—one of the few orthodox nutritionists who agree with the fructose hypothesis—stresses the importance of exercise in weight control. During an interview with Norman Swann on the Health Report in 2007, Lustig stated that for obesity ‘… exercise is the best treatment’ (http://www.abc.net.au/rn/healthreport/stories/2007/1969924.htm). So David is apparently the only soldier in the entire army (let alone the regiment) who is in step on that issue.

    The protective effect of exercise is illustrated by marathon runners. Many marathoners eat far more sugar than most people, but in the entire world there isn’t one elite marathon runner who is overweight, let alone obese. This is not consistent with David’s belief that eating high levels of added fructose will inevitably lead to weight gain. It is consistent with Robert Lustig’s statement that ‘(exercise) actually helps detoxify the sugar fructose’ (in the Health Report program previously referenced).

    Another illustration of the protective effect of exercise against the ravages of excessive fructose intake is provided by the exploits of Yiannis Kouros. In the 1980s and ‘90s, Kouros was the best ultra-marathon runner in the world, and quite likely the greatest the world has ever seen. He had an amazing ability to continue to run at a pace that would exhaust most joggers within one hour. As just two examples, he completed a 960-km race from Sydney to Melbourne in just over five days, and later ran more than 300 km in one 24-hour period. For his Sydney-Melbourne run, it was estimated that more than 95% of his energy came from carbohydrate, most of it apparently from simple sugars (Am J Clin Nutr 1989; 49:976-9). This was his standard running diet. In 2008, at the age of 53, Kouros was still running, and apparently even challenging a pretender to the crown of world’s greatest ultramarathoner (http://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_read.php?thread=2391736).

    If it is true (as David claims) that ‘Every day that fructose remains a part of our diet, is a death sentence …’, then the executioner is taking a long time to get around to doing his job on Yiannis Kouros!

    So in response to Paul’s question about how much fructose intake is safe, my response is ‘about the same as the length of a piece of string’. That is, the more you exercise, the more fructose you can safely consume.

  • Paul says:

    How long is a piece of string?

    Sadly Chris, for most people it is rather short – because they are not marathon runners nor in most cases very physically active at all. I suspect that you would take the view that this is their fault and if they got off the couch they could eat all the high melting point chocolate they desire.

    Needless to say the major problem with weight gain and the risks presented by excess fructose occur as people get older and find marathon running a bit hard than it was in their 20’s.

    So have another go at estimating the length of string (candy rope will do) that the average person who engages in occasional activity can consume in addition to that which is contained in the many foods that alot of people do not suspect has sugar (fructose) added to it.

    It doesn’t take long to reach 37 or 25 g per day – but then the AHM may not have had Cliff Young in mind when they set those limits

    Cheers
    Cris

  • Terry H says:

    Chris,

    Whilst the literature supports the view that physical activity benefits health (albeit at dosages lower than previously thought), my reading is that it does not support the view that it plays a key role in a fat loss program, independent of changes in diet composition, amongst obese persons, as implied by your good self in your post.

    I would appreciate if your could cite the specific major RCTs with crossover that support your position, or if you cannot muster any clear such support, perhaps a major meta-analysis, or literature review of recent origin that supports it. I cannot find any.

    It would be great if you could show a study where a group of otherwise matched obese persons consuming high levels of fructose split up and some went on a modest sustainable exercise regime and lost weight.

    Thanks

    p.s Use of examples from endurance athletes or say SAS soldiers does not appear relevant, as in these cases the sheer rate of energy burning is likely to outweigh any impact of changes in metabolic rate or food consumption rate etc., which result from more modest exercise programs.

  • I do love a good discussion … I’ve covered the issue of exercise in a little more detail in this post: http://www.raisin-hell.com/2009/01/smart-state-or-fat-and-dumb-state.html

  • I’m going to correct a ‘blooper’ in my last comment. I suggested that Robert Lustig is ‘one of the few orthodox nutritionists who accept the fructose hypothesis’. Before David (appropriately) chides me for this wording, I’m going to point out that this is not correct. There are many orthodox nutritionists who accept that excessive (note the word ‘excessive’) fructose intake may be playing a role, even a key role in the obesity epidemic and other aspects of health.

    In fact I agreed in my Ockham’s Razor program that ‘high fructose intake (may be) a major contributor to the obesity epidemic … and may increase the risk of conditions such as gout, kidney stones, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, and may also lead to blood lipid profiles associated with greater risk of heart disease.’

    However, I do not know any orthodox nutritionist who agrees with David that there is no safe level of intake of added fructose (i.e. above the quantity found in a couple of serves of fruit). Moderation of sugar (and therefore fructose) intake, not avoidance, is the advice given by every nutrition authority I am aware of.

    There is a long list of purported causes of, or contributing factors to the obesity epidemic. They include, but are not limited to:

    High intakes of total fat, of saturated fat, of a particular kind of saturated fat known as palmitic acid, of a type of polyunsaturated fat called linoleic acid; high intakes of carbohydrate and/or alcohol; low intakes of protein; skipping breakfast; ‘grazing’ rather than eating three square meals; eating fast food rather than home-cooked meals; using artificial sweeteners; reduced physical activity; insufficient sleep; exposure to environmental chemicals such as insecticides … even a virus has been implicated as a cause of obesity in some circumstances.

    At the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Nutrition Society of Australia last December, a prominent Australian nutritionist stated that the correlation coefficient for the association between fructose intake and the obesity epidemic is something like 0.8 (i.e. there is a strong correlation). A prominent American nutritionist immediately countered with: ‘The correlation coefficient for linoleic acid and obesity is 0.85’. (Linoleic acid is a fatty acid found in large quantities in vegetable oils, e.g. soybean and canola).

    I also suspect that reduced physical activity plays a major role in the obesity epidemic, which is most likely multifactorial (i.e. there are many contributing factors).

    The cause (or more likely causes) of the obesity epidemic remain unresolved. It is not appropriate to claim, as David does, that fructose is indisputably the sole cause, and that it is harmful in any dose.

  • Paul (or perhaps Cris … I’ll assume Cris in this message) points out (correctly) that many people are not very physically active. However, instead of advocating greater activity, Cris seems to accept that the sedentary state is appropriate, and says that fructose intake should therefore be quite low.

    My point is that if people were to become more physically active, they could eat more fructose before any adverse effects of high fructose (or high fat) intake would occur.

    I wasn’t advocating that we all ‘do a Cliff Young’ and run from Sydney to Melbourne when we are 60 years old. (I wouldn’t recommend that to my worst enemy!) I was simply saying that the higher the level of activity, the greater the protection against dietary excess.

    Cris also asks me to estimate how much fructose ‘the average person who engages in occasional activity can (safely) consume’. To quote (or at least paraphrase) Sir Humphrey Appleby, that isn’t the question. As mentioned above, Cris apparently accepts that the sedentary state is appropriate. My position is that it is wholly inappropriate to lead a sedentary lifestyle.

    Of more relevance are the following questions: (i) how much activity is appropriate for general health and well-being if weight control is not an issue? and (ii) how much more activity is needed to prevent or treat overweight or obesity?

    In relation to activity for general health and wellbeing, the Australian Department of Health and Ageing recommends:

    ‘Put together at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days.
    ‘If you can, also enjoy some regular, vigorous activity for extra health and fitness.’

    This is similar to the recommendations of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) that to ‘maintain health and avoid the risk of chronic disease’:

    ‘Do moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week
    Or
    Do vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week
    And
    Do eight to 10 strength-training exercises, eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week.’

    In relation to the second question, ACSM recommends that ‘… to lose weight or maintain weight loss, 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity may be necessary.’

    Also, I don’t recommend ‘kilojoule counting’, or counting grams of sugar (or saturated fat) eaten each day. Rather, I recommend following the Dietary Guidelines for Australians (available at: http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/synopses/dietsyn.htm) and engaging in light, moderate and vigorous physical activity at the levels recommended above.

  • Paul says:

    Apologies Chris, that ‘Cheers Cris’ was a mispelt regards to you. I have enjoyed your contributions although I disagree with aspects of them – However I feel we are reaching considerable common ground 🙂 Paul is correct.

    I am certainly in favour of active lifestyles but it easy for me as I have always enjoyed many sports and continued playing even as decreptitude (turning 40) approached.

    My point is simply that many many people:

    1. Do not lead particularly active lives even though you and I would agree they should.

    2. Do not appreciate that the differences in the metabolism of fructose means that sugar (fructose) is quite different to the other simple carbs and complex carbs and eating it is closer to munching on fat than a carb.

    Perhaps in the world of lab coats you guys are right across the differences but I can assure you that the vast majority of people have no idea that frustose is not the same as glucose and that they cannot just assume that a calorie of fructose is no different to a calorie of glucose or lactose or any of the other simple sugars or complex carbs.

    It is an important public message that should be communicated in clear and direct language in order that it will cut through the nonsense peddled by the fast food industy that you can eat anything as long as it is in moderation and part of a balanced diet. I suspect that 1 cigarette per week woul dbe very unlikely to cause any significant health problems as the dose is so low but I am sure we should not be confusing the smoking issue by saying it is fine in low doses on an occasional basis.

    Certainly you can quibble about whether David’s approach to the issue is what a man of science would recommend but how does this snippet from your transcript convey a warning that one can compile a list of wonderful desserts ONLY if you abandon a sedentary lifestyle.

    For the vast majority of sedentary Australians this is dangerous advice that is about as safe as giving them the advice that there is little proof that 1 cigarette per week (as part of a balanced diet?) will cause them much harm.

    “I also wonder how many people would willingly give up, for the remainder of their lives, chocolate, ice cream, honey, sweet drinks (including fruit juice) and desserts such as apple pie, wine trifle, tiramisu … (you can complete your own list of wonderful desserts here)and all other sweet foods? I suspect the appropriate answer is: not many. You could even revise the wording of the old joke, ‘Will I live any longer if I give up all sweet foods? Possibly, but even if you don’t, it will certainly seem longer’. After all, there is overwhelming evidence that humans are programmed to like sweet food. This is believed to have an evolutionary origin – poisonous plant foods are generally bitter or sour, while sweet foods are usually safe to eat.”

    Your enthusiam for desserts and the products of the confectionary production line should perhaps be accompanied by fine print – consumers are advised that to burn off the 1000 Kj in a 50g chocolate bar they will need to run at approx 8 K/per hour for at least 24 minutes.

    Anyway time for work and have a good weekend.

    Paul.

  • I’ll respond to all comments I haven’t yet addressed, but first I want to discuss a couple of David’s claimed facts.

    His Ockham’s Razor program includes ‘Our average daily calorie intake has increased by 30%in the last three decades’.

    I think this is very likely yet another factual error. Rosemary Stanton commented on this claim. Her message is reproduced here (with her permission):

    ‘I don’t know where his increase in energy intake comes from. There is data for children showing a 13% increase between 1985 and 1995, but I can’t find any data to support a 30% increase over 3 decades. The older data would have been derived from apparent consumption (quite different from actual consumption, but OK for comparison with similarly collected data), but then we don’t have up-to-date apparent consumption data for a comparison. It was not estimated once it was apparent that it wasn’t much use in relation to actual consumption. Checking apparent consumption data, the per capita (unadjusted energy values) were:

    1938-39 13,048 kJ

    1948-49 13,584 kJ

    1958-59 13,801 kJ

    1968-69 13,835 kJ

    1978-79 14,635 kJ

    1988-89 12,903 kJ

    1989-90 12,998 kJ

    1990-91 13,118 kJ

    1990-91 13,068 kJ

    1991-92 12,952 kJ

    1992-93 12,879 kJ

    1993-94 13,003 kJ

    ‘The later bulletins didn’t record the figures, being considered too inaccurate. But in any case, Gillespie (or anyone else) could probably make a good case that total food intake didn’t change much over that 55-year period. If we’ve increased our kilojoules a lot over the last 3 decades, Gillespie would be going back to the mid to late ’70s. The apparent consumption data actually show that as the peak of consumption!’

    I would add that theoretical considerations that make it extremely unlikely that David’s claimed 30% increase in energy intake is correct. If correct, it would imply either that, on average, we are about 30% heavier than 30 years ago (we aren’t) or that we are about 30% more active (we aren’t) or that the First Law of Thermodynamics doesn’t apply to human metabolism (it does).

    Before I am accused (again) of nitpicking, a scientific work should at least get the facts and figures right. David doesn’t seem to able to consistently do this.

    In my next message I’ll address his continuing claim that fructose consumption accounts for something close to 20% of our total energy intake.

  • David complains in his blog entry that ‘After reading 208 pages of summarised research in Sweet Poison, (Chris) decides the thing worthy of attack (beyond my credentials) is my claim that we now get almost 20% of our calories from fructose.’

    This is clearly not correct. In the very limited time available in an Ockham’s Razor program (13.5 minutes; equivalent to 4-5 pages of written material) I also addressed the following: (i) David’s misinterpretation of a study on which he places a lot of reliance (the one that he claims—incorrectly—showed that fructose almost certainly led to severe heart problems); (ii) his false claim that no human studies had been conducted following that study; (iii) his inappropriate attitude to the value of exercise in weight control; (iv) the advice (which differs from David’s advice) given by orthodox nutrition and health bodies on matters such as appropriate intake of sugars; (v)the higher-than-recommended sugar intakes of many Australians; (vi) the possibility that sugar in beverages may be particularly harmful; (vii) recent evidence suggesting that high (note the word ‘high’) intakes of fructose may be implicated in the obesity epidemic and the onset of chronic diseases; and (viii) my disagreement with David about the existence of a safe dose of added fructose. This is in addition to praising his writing style and some of the material in Sweet Poison.

    David also states in his blog entry that ‘the average Aussie consumes about 50 kg of sugar a year. On top of that, they gulp down approximately 10 kg of sugar in fruit juice concentrate (used to sweeten ‘healthy’ food like Nestle’s fruit fix), honey and fruit juice.’ He makes these claims without any substantiating evidence. (Remember references, David? Scientists use them to support their arguments when they are engaged in discussion with other scientists).

    From his unsupported claims, David calculates that ‘(fructose consumption) equates to 16.4 percent of the recommended adult male’s diet (2,000 Calories per day) or 18.2 percent of an adult female diet of 1,800 Calories.’

    We don’t actually know how much of any food Australians are eating. The last National Nutrition Survey was conducted in 1995. Until the next survey is done, there isn’t enough evidence to claim specific intakes of any type of food.

    Here is the reasoning behind the estimate I came up with in my Ockham’s Razor program. David suggests in Sweet Poison that we eat less fructose than Americans, about two-thirds as much, in fact. Let’s assume for the purposes of this discussion that David’s suggestion is correct. In my quick literature review I found two papers in the scientific literature that estimated current US intakes of fructose. One [Am-J-Clin-Nutr. 2000 Nov; 72(5): 1128-34] estimated it at 9% of total energy intake in 2000. The other [Medscape J Med. 2008 Jul 9;10(7):160] estimated the intake in 2008 to account for 10.2% of total energy intake. (The difference between these estimates is consistent with a likely slight increase in fructose consumption over the eight years between the two studies).

    If David is correct in his estimate that we eat about two-thirds as much as Americans, our fructose intake is about 6-7% of total energy intake. I actually believe this is too low, and my suspicion is that our intake is closer to 10% than David’s assumption suggests.

    But the scientific evidence shows beyond reasonable doubt (to use a term I’m sure David has heard previously) that fructose does not contribute 16-18% of Australians’ energy intake, contrary to David’s repeated claim.

    David also says he doesn’t care if his estimate is wrong. Unlike David, I do care about the accuracy of facts and figures used to support supposedly science-backed claims. This applies especially when the facts and figures are used to justify a suggested drastic change to eating habits, and even to the food supply. (David’s Ockham’s Razor program includes a call ‘to immediately ban added fructose as a food’.

  • Note that this comment has been split into two (it exceeded the 4096 maximum characters)

    Part 1. Terry wrote:

    ‘Whilst the literature supports the view that physical activity benefits health (albeit at dosages lower than previously thought), my reading is that it does not support the view that it plays a key role in a fat loss program, independent of changes in diet composition, amongst obese persons, as implied by your good self in your post.’

    My belief is that diet composition is not of much importance with respect to the effects of diet on weight control—it is total energy intake that matters. This is not universally agreed in the nutrition/physiology world, but there is a fairly solid body of evidence supporting this position (which is sometimes expressed as ‘a kilojoule is a kilojoule’; i.e. the source of the energy doesn’t matter, it’s the total energy that counts.)

    In any case, from a purely thermodynamic viewpoint (and we are all subject to the laws of thermodynamics), increasing physical activity alone must lead to a reduction in body energy reserves (the vast majority of which are in the form of fat) if there is no change in dietary energy intake.

    For example, if my energy intake and energy expenditure are balanced at 12 MJ per day, I will remain weight-stable. If I add one hour of moderately-vigorous exercise to my usual activity level, and thereby increase my daily energy expenditure to about 13 MJ (with dietary intake unaltered) my body energy reserves will be reduced. There will continue to be a loss of weight until my daily energy requirement has decreased (as a result of a decrease in basal metabolic rate because of my weight reduction) to the level whereby a new equilibrium is established. At that point I will need to either increase my activity level further and/or decrease my food intake to undergo more weight loss.

    So increased physical activity and moderate restraint in total energy intake are the key components of a lifestyle that promotes appropriate body fat levels and body weight.

    The NHMRC (2003; p. 65) states that ‘Dietary treatment is always likely to be more successful in conjunction with an increase in energy expenditure … influencing both sides of the energy-balance equation is likely to prove more effective than influencing either side alone’.

    The NHMRC (ibid) also states that ‘… the mechanism for success is ultimately the creation of negative energy balance. This can be achieved in a variety of ways—for example, reduced fat, carbohydrate, protein or alcohol intake; smaller portion size; food restrictions at various times of the day …’. (Note that there is no mention of fructose per se, let alone a suggestion that fructose needs to be completely eliminated from the diet).

  • Part 2

    Terry also commented:

    ‘I would appreciate if you could cite the specific major RCTs with crossover that support your position …’

    My position isn’t (and has never been) that physical activity alone is the solution to the obesity epidemic. My Ockham’s Razor program of 12 Aug 2001 (URL: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ockham/stories/s343941.htm) included:

    ‘The orthodox view is that to lose weight—and to keep it off—you need to reduce your total food intake slightly (a reduction of about 5-10% should be enough), eat fewer fatty foods, and increase consumption of fruits, vegetables and cereal foods such as bread, pasta and rice. This is not a recipe for a short-term weight-loss diet—to be fully effective, these changes must be maintained for life.

    ‘But, of equal importance to dietary change is the need to increase energy expenditure. This does not mean taking up marathon running, or anything like it. You can substantially increase your energy output—tipping the balance in favour of reducing body weight—by simply doing about 30 minutes of moderately-vigorous activity each day. This activity should be in addition to any incidental activity that you do, such as walking to the train station rather than driving, taking the stairs rather than the elevator or escalator, and so on.’

    So I can’t help you with an RCT investigating the effect on body weight where fructose intake is kept constant and the only variable is physical activity. More to the point, I can’t think of a good reason why anyone would conduct such a study—as mentioned previously, diet and physical activity are both extremely important in weight control. This is recognised by every nutrition and health authority I am aware of (but not by David).

    Reference:
    NHMRC (2003). Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults. National Health and Medical Research Council. Canberra, ACT.

  • Paul wrote:

    ‘… how does this snippet from your transcript convey a warning that one can compile a list of wonderful desserts ONLY if you abandon a sedentary lifestyle …

    ‘”I also wonder how many people would willingly give up, for the remainder of their lives, chocolate, ice cream, honey, sweet drinks (including fruit juice) and desserts such as apple pie, wine trifle, tiramisu … (you can complete your own list of wonderful desserts here) and all other sweet foods? I suspect the appropriate answer is: not many. You could even revise the wording of the old joke, ‘Will I live any longer if I give up all sweet foods? Possibly, but even if you don’t, it will certainly seem longer’. After all, there is overwhelming evidence that humans are programmed to like sweet food. This is believed to have an evolutionary origin – poisonous plant foods are generally bitter or sour, while sweet foods are usually safe to eat.”

    ‘Your enthusiasm for desserts and the products of the confectionary production line should perhaps be accompanied by fine print – consumers are advised that to burn off the 1000 Kj in a 50g chocolate bar they will need to run at approx 8 K/per hour for at least 24 minutes.’

    Paul,
    You’ve missed the point of that section. I wasn’t telling people to eat more desserts and confectionery. Nor am I particularly enthusiastic about them personally. I do eat chocolate (occasionally, although I have never made the stuff :-); I have dessert three or four nights a week; I spread my home-made jam (blackcurrant, greengage, apricot, raspberry or golden plum) on wholegrain toast for breakfast; and I have a teaspoon of sugar in my daily cappuccino, but otherwise I consume little in the way of added sugars. I am also physically active, by the way, averaging a total of an hour or so each day of light, moderate and vigorous physical activity.

    Rather, my point was that there is no need to eliminate highly acceptable foods from your diet; simply moderate intake of added sugars. I alluded to this more than once in my program.

    I also stressed the importance of physical exercise for general health and weight control (and not in ‘fine print’ but with equal billing to moderation of intake of added sugars).

    I’m at a loss to see how you managed to miss these important aspects of my program.

    Paul also wrote:

    ‘Anyway time for work and have a good weekend.’

    And the same to you, and everyone else who reads these comments.

  • Going back to an early comment—Terry accuses me of making an ad hominem attack (playing the man rather than the ball) on David in my Ockham’s Razor program.

    Other than (correctly) describing David as a lawyer who has no qualifications or experience in nutrition, I can see nothing in my program that even vaguely resembles an ad hominem attack. I assertively disagreed with David on many of the claims he made in his book. I also pointed out some of his factual errors and his misinterpretation of one key paper in the scientific literature. But I also praised David for his very readable style of writing, for (appropriately) advocating physical activity for general health, and for recommending consumption of two serves of fruit per day.

    In his response, ‘Attack of the Chocolatier’, David dismissed me as a chocolate-maker (I’m not) who appears to have ties with Nestle (I don’t).

    Would you like to comment on just which aspect of my presentation you found to be ad hominem, and your opinion of David’s response.

    Also, you accuse me of presenting ‘the views of … industry associations’. I didn’t mention the views of any industry associations in my program. Where did this come from?

    Finally, you describe my Ockham’s Razor program as a ‘non-scientific religious like attack’.

    I can only imagine you were having a ‘bad hair’ day when you wrote that!

  • In an earlier comment I provided 12references to studies conducted between 1985 and 2007 that showed beneficial or, at worst, neutral effects of feeding humans with high levels of fructose. David’s Ockham’s Razor program included the claim that no human studies had been conducted in that time period.

    David then claimed that ‘those studies are the ones (driven by Crapo’s research) that are covered on page 59 of Sweet Poison.’

    I re-read p. 59 of ‘Sweet Poison’ and found reference to one study by Crapo conducted in 1976, and others conducted ‘in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Based on this research, in 1984 the American Dietetic Association recommended that diabetic patients be given foods that used fructose as the sweetener rather than sugar.’

    To quote David in his blog about my program: ‘And that’s it. That’s all he had. The End.’

    David, the studies I referred to were all conducted AFTER 1984 (and up to 2006). Two of the 12 studies have Crapo as co-author. She was not an author in any of the other ten studies. Crapo was working in San Diego. The organisations where the remaining 10 studies were conducted include:
    Tel Aviv University,
    Ohio State University,
    Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee
    University of Säo Paulo Medical School, Brazil
    University of Lausanne, Switzerland
    University of Bern, Switzerland
    Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA
    University of Kuopio, Finland
    Metabolic Research Group, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Lexington, Kentucky

    You did not address those studies on p.59 (or any other page) of ‘Sweet Poison’. You still haven’t addressed them.

    You also claim in ‘Sweet Poison’ that ‘by 2002 the ADA had completely revised its recommendation on fructose, saying that added fructose should be completely avoided.’ Can you please provide a reference for this. I can’t find it anywhere on their web site. Are you sure you’re not confusing ‘should be completely avoided’ with ‘the ADA no longer recommend the use of fructose’. These statements are not the same—an absence of a recommendation about fructose use does not constitute a recommendation to avoid its use.

    However, I did find the following on the ADA site (http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/sweeteners-and-desserts.html)

    ‘The Hype About Sugar

    ‘The myth that sugar causes diabetes is commonly accepted by many people. Research has shown that it isn’t true. Eating sugar has nothing to do with developing type 1 diabetes. The biggest dietary risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes is simply eating too much and being overweight—your body doesn’t care if the extra food comes from cookies or beef, it is gaining weight that is the culprit.’

    Which is pretty much what I’ve been saying for the past week or so (and what I said in my Ockham’s Razor program).

    The ADA continues:

    ‘In the past, people with diabetes were told to completely avoid sugar. Experts thought that eating sugar would raise blood glucose levels very high. Research around this issue has shown that while the type of carbohydrate can affect how quickly blood glucose levels rise, the total amount of carbohydrate you eat affects blood glucose levels more than the type. Now experts agree that you can substitute small amounts of sugar for other carbohydrate-containing foods into your meal plan and still keep your blood glucose levels on track.’

    As I’ve mentioned many times now, the scientific evidence simply does not support David’s extreme stance against fructose.

  • Terry H says:

    A small note on the discussion regarding the proportion of fructose as a proportion of total energy intake amongst Australian adults.

    Whilst back when the ABS surveyed them in the 1995 Nutrition Survey, sugar was around 18% of total daily energy intake amongst adult males, it needs to be also remembered that amongst the 30-40% of adult males who drank the day before the ABS surveyed them, around 9% of their total energy intake that day came from alcohol.

    Given the similarity of the fructose and alcohol metabolism pathways in the liver and documented similar impacts upon health (e.g fatty liver apparently looks the same from all causes), it may be fairly pointless to examine fructose in isolation, amongst this large segment of the population, without also considering the conjoint metabolic impact of alcohol and fructose.

  • In his book ‘Sweet Poison’, his Ockham’s Razor program and on his blog, David insists that fructose is addictive for people. Because fructose constitutes 50% of sugar (i.e. sucrose) this would make sugar addictive too.

    In ‘Sweet Poison’ David also provides evidence that rats appear to become addicted when fed large quantities of sugar. In fact, much of the evidence about fructose and health generally that David discusses in ‘Sweet Poison’ is based on rat studies. This is because, he claims (incorrectly), human studies with fructose were no longer conducted after 1985 due to life-threatening, fructose-related heart conditions in four participants in one study.

    As I’ve mentioned repeatedly (and David continues to deny), the authors of that study did NOT attribute the heart conditions to fructose intake. (There was no association between the heart conditions of those participants and the type of carbohydrate they consumed; the authors speculated that low copper intake may have been the cause). Contrary to David’s claim, human studies did continue.

    But for the purposes of this discussion let’s assume that David hasn’t misinterpreted the studies, and rats really can become addicted to fructose. I’m even prepared to stick my neck out further (I like to live dangerously) and assume that David hasn’t misinterpreted any of the rat studies involving fructose feeding, i.e. not just those about fructose addiction, but also those indicating harmful metabolic effects in rats.

    Unfortunately for David, the results of the human-feeding studies (whose existence he denies) are nowhere near as clear-cut as those of the rat studies. As I’ve mentioned previously (with references) 12 of 19 human studies I could identify in the relevant period (1985-2006) showed positive or, at worst, neutral health effects resulting from feeding high levels of fructose to humans, while nine studies showed clearly negative effects.

    Although a higher proportion of more recent human studies involving high (note the word ‘high’) intakes of fructose have reported negative effects, there is no evidence for harmful effects of added fructose at low levels of intake. This is in stark contrast to David’s claim that added fructose is a poison in humans at any dose, and his call for it to be banned from the food supply.

    And even if his claim that fructose is addictive in rats is correct, his further claim that humans are also subject to fructose addiction isn’t supported by the most recent meta-analysis on this. This meta-analysis is in the December 26 edition of Clinical Nutrition. The CONCLUSION reads:

    ‘There is no support from the human literature for the hypothesis that sucrose may be physically addictive or that addiction to sugar plays a role in eating disorders.’

    So I am prepared to concede that David has achieved something as a result of all his hard work. He has managed to make the world a safer place for rats (provided they read his book or blog).

  • Paul says:

    My goodness Chris you have been very energetic over the last few days. It must be the real fruit in those home made jams!

    Moderation is indeed the key and when it comes to sugar it sounds like you practice what you preach and to the extent you wax lyrical about wonderful desserts you mean within the parameters of modest proportions unless one is inclined to marathons or extreme sports.

    The core of your criticism is that David makes fructose sound like the black plague when you feel it is in fact more like a bad cold – makes you feel crook if you have it too often but not likely to kill you on the spot.

    I would be more sympathetic if your episode of Ockham’s Razor was not presented as a bold fructose ‘myth buster’ when in fact all your subsequent posts confirm that your position on how much fructose someone should eat is not that far from David anyway.

    It is clear that you would share his horror at the volume and value of soft drinks and other sugar laden processed foods sold in Australia and the eating habits of most of the population. Coke is still the largest selling grocery item by $ in supermarkets.

    My concern is quite simple. The casual listener of your Ockham program is likely to have gained the impression that concern about excess fructose consumption is misplaced and everyone should relax and continue to do what they are currently doing on the healthy easting front – not much and fairly unsucessfully.

    As we all know Coke has a place as part of a balanced diet that includes regular exercise.

    As for sugar and addiction, you say the science is in but I think it prudent to reserve judgment on that front. I feel there are a range of responses to eating sugar as there are to smoking and alcohol. Some people can use them without forming any form of habit while others are particularly prone to forming a habit. Whether that qualifies as ‘addiction’ is another issue.

    Having once been a committed nicotine junkie and having experienced the subtle ways in which ‘addiction’ manifests itself I am very cautious about leaping to certain conclusions that concentrated sweetness is not at the very least habit forming.

    Clearly you are a man who can stop at one Tim Tam and for that I commend you.

  • Chai says:

    As an interested observer, it seems David’s arguments are offensive to some scientists, but not many others.
    The emotive position being concern for public health need not be mixed with scientific accuracy and rigour, unless of course that position is based firmly from the canon of science.
    If it simply refers to certain scientific results in a neutral context for an emotive purpose – well surely that’s completely acceptable, and in fact common in our society.
    Lack of anal scientific rigour will not kill anyone, but maybe frutose will.

  • Chai says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Please note that this comment comes in two parts (I again exceeded the limit of 4096 characters).

    Part 1:

    Paul wrote: ‘My goodness Chris you have been very energetic over the last few days. It must be the real fruit in those home made jams!’

    Maybe it was the sugar — which provides 17 kJ of energy per gram, a lot more than is available from the fruit :-).

    Paul: ‘… to the extent you wax lyrical about wonderful desserts, you mean within the parameters of modest proportions unless one is inclined to marathons or extreme sports.’

    This is indeed my intended meaning.

    Paul: ‘The core of your criticism is that David makes fructose sound like the black plague when you feel it is in fact more like a bad cold – makes you feel crook if you have it too often but not likely to kill you on the spot.’

    My criticism of David is threefold:

    (i) He claims that his book is science-based. It isn’t. David has chosen to present only the evidence that puts fructose in a bad light. And even then he has done a botched job, misinterpreting one key study in an inexcusable manner, and ignoring all the papers that involved human studies after 1985. In fact he (inexplicably) denies their existence in both his Ockham’s Razor program and on p. 59of ‘Sweet Poison’.

    (ii) He continues to claim, with no evidence base, that fructose is a poison in any dose. As I’ve pointed out (several times) this runs counter to the NHMRC dietary guidelines, the position of the American Heart Association, and of the American Diabetes Association. It is also at odds with the recommendation of the World Health Organisation that up to 10% (or more accurately, <10%) of energy should be derived from free sugars. The URL for this recommendation is: http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/publications/trs916/en/gsfao_overall.pdf)

    (iii) David’s solution to obesity and health problems is to avoid all sweet foods (other than a couple of serves of fruit per day). His exact advice is summed up on pages 172/3 of ‘Sweet Poison’ as follows:

    ‘If you simply do not eat or drink food that tastes sweet you will be in 100 per cent compliance with the no-fructose rules. You can eat anything else you like (avoiding trans fats where possible), just don’t eat sweet-tasting food.’

    In ‘Sweet Poison’ (p. 46) he also summarily dismisses the importance of physical activity in weight control with:

    ‘Don’t exercise if your dominant purpose is to lose weight: let a lack of fructose do that instead.’

    So if I base my daily diet around bacon and eggs, hash browns, pies, sausage rolls, pizza, fish and chips, potato crisps and beer (and, of course, two pieces of fruit), while lying on the couch watching TV, my health and weight will look after themselves, is that right?

    I don’t think so! Unlike the dietary guidelines of the NHMRC, David doesn’t address the importance of eating a wide variety of nutritious foods, limiting salt intake, moderating fat consumption, limiting alcohol intake and so on.

  • Part 2:

    In ‘Sweet Poison’ (p. 46) David also summarily dismisses the importance of physical activity in weight control with:

    ‘Don’t exercise if your dominant purpose is to lose weight: let a lack of fructose do that instead.’

    So if I base my daily diet around bacon and eggs, hash browns, pies, sausage rolls, pizza, fish and chips, potato crisps and beer (and, of course, two pieces of fruit), while lying on the couch watching TV, my health and weight will look after themselves, is that right?

    I don’t think so! Unlike the dietary guidelines of the NHMRC, David doesn’t address the importance of eating a wide variety of nutritious foods, limiting salt intake, moderating fat consumption, limiting alcohol intake and so on.

    Paul: ‘I would be more sympathetic if your episode of Ockham’s Razor was not presented as a bold fructose “myth buster” when in fact all your subsequent posts confirm that your position on how much fructose someone should eat is not that far from David anyway.’

    My Ockham’s Razor program wasn’t so much a ‘myth buster’ as a rebuttal of the shoddy science (or rather non-science) presented by David in his book, his Ockham’s Razor program and in his blog entry ‘Attack of the Chocolatier’ (and boy, did he get that name wrong: I have never made chocolate in my life!).

    Paul: ‘The casual listener of your Ockham program is likely to have gained the impression that concern about excess fructose consumption is misplaced and everyone should relax and continue to do what they are currently doing on the healthy eating front – not much and fairly unsuccessfully.’

    That wasn’t the point I was trying to make. As you say, I share your horror (or at least concern) about excessive intakes of sugar (and therefore fructose) by many people. What I don’t share is David’s horror at low intakes of fructose. I believe they are entirely appropriate. I tried to make it clear in my program that I believe fructose in excess is potentially harmful, and I stressed the importance of the dietary guideline to ‘consume only moderate amounts of sugars and foods containing added sugars’.

    Paul: ‘As for sugar and addiction, you say the science is in …’

    I didn’t say that. I simply said that the latest meta-analysis (published two months ago) could find no evidence for human addiction to sugar.

    Paul: ‘Clearly you are a man who can stop at one Tim Tam and for that I commend you.’

    By filling up on fresh fruit and vegies (much of which I grow in my backyard garden), wholegrain bread and other cereal foods, lean meat and fish (grilled or dry-baked), and reduced-fat dairy products, I find I just cannot eat more than one Tim Tam. One of the few things that David gets right in his book is that dietary fibre is very good for health and weight control, at least partly through its effects on hunger.

    However, in case I seem to come across as some sort of paragon of nutritional virtue, I should admit to having an Achille’s heel. I have a weakness for the (fermented) fruits of the labour of Australia’s wine producers. I find it very hard (in fact nearly impossible) to stop at one glass of good Aussie red, white or sparkling wine. I try very hard (but don’t always succeed) to limit my intake to two standard drinks per day. (A standard drink contains 10 g of alcohol. Examples include: a small glass, 100 mL of wine; 250 mL of standard strength beer, i.e. ~5% alcohol by volume; 60 mL of fortified dessert wine; and 30 mL of spirit.)

  • MindTheCurve says:

    Very interesting discussion. No question that us humans are simple at heart, and it satisfies us no end to be able to point to Factor X as the one true cause of something. It works often enough: not all lung cancer is caused by smoking, but there’s enough evidence linking the two that you’d be well advised not to smoke if you want to minimise your risk of cancer.

    There’s also no doubt that in the US, the use of high-fructose corn syrup as an almost ubiquitous food additive has made a big contribution to the obesity epidemic in that country. You’d be well advised to avoid that stuff entirely. But I think Chris is right: there are many factors at work here, and if you’re overweight it’s unlikely there’s any one magic thing you can do to change your lifestyle to keep your weight down. It surely takes a broad adjustment to both your energy input via diet and your energy output via exercise.

  • Terry H says:

    All,

    This post divided into three because of word limitation

    Part 1

    Chris has made some points against David’s arguments, which come down to one point – regarding David’s hyperbole regarding the minimum dangerous fructose dosage level.

    Nevertheless, a number of his own arguments have nearly no support in science and severely diminish his credibility. They represent his opinion, rather than science and should not be confused with science

    In these exchanges, rather than pointing to the definitive science, he either makes unsupported assertions or backs his argument up with a reference to a statement by an industry association, rather than the science. I give three examples of these tendencies.

    For instance, in his most recent post he states “Unlike the dietary guidelines of the NHMRC, David doesn’t address the importance of ………..moderating fat consumption, ……”

    The fact is that there is no science to support this position of general vilification of fats (as opposed to specific problems with over-consumption of particular fats such as trans fats and particular forms of Omega 6).

    For example, as recently as 13 January of this year in the premier periodical the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, some of the most prominent lipid researchers, including Ronald Krauss, stated, based upon a pooling of data from 370K prospective study participants:

    “Conclusions: A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiological studies showed that there is no significant evidence for considering that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD.”

    For instance, throughout a number of his posts, Chris supports an exercise regime consisting of relatively large doses of regular and strenuous exercise, as a way of reducing weight (not just boosting health). He did not respond to my challenge to back this assertion with science. To my knowledge there is no science to support this position. Indeed there are many studies showing that obese people on a fat loss program tend to be hungrier, eat more and not lose weight, when they engage in a strenuous exercise regime.

    There is also good evidence to suggest that the increases in health benefits arising from an exercise regime rapidly fall off as the dosage is increased beyond quite modest levels such as 2X30min a week of intensive resistance training

    For a good review of the research and of these issues see Body by Science, McGruff and Little, McGraw Hill, 2009.

    Reference to the views of groups such as the ACSM on exercise and weight loss are not credible, as they do not back their recommendations with science and they are an industry body involved in sport. They are unlikely to say exercise is bad for you in large doses, or does not lead to weight reduction. They would be out of business.

    For instance, Chris argues that positive changes in weight = calories in – calories out. This is a correct statement of the First Law of Thermodynamics.

    Chris, however, then goes on to assert that calories in and out are independent variables and the change in weight is the dependent variable. For instance, if I exercise, then I lose at least a little weight.

    The scientific reality is, however, that calories in and out are often co-dependant and thus fat gain itself can be a hormonally regulated independent variable.

    Gary Taubes in Good Calories, Bad Calories, Knopf, 2007, at Part 3, exhaustively documents the role of hormones in independently regulating weight. He sets out his case in detail in the below video lecture to the Dartmouth Medical School from 2009:

    http://www.dhslides.org/mgr/mgr060509f/f.htm

    I have never seen Taube’s case on this point successfully challenged.

    A more popular version of the same is the recent show on ABCTV called “Why are thin people not fat?”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q17NZNDjcBs

  • Terry H says:

    Part 2

    Practically speaking, this means that there is fairly overwhelming evidence that hormonal regulation issues (e.g wrt insulin, cortisol, Vitamin D3 and leptin) related to fat metabolism can stuff up Chris’s simple view of the world. For instance a person with Thyroid problems can have no change in energy in, but gain weight, because their metabolic rate, that is energy out, has been lowered, in response to an increased need for the body to produce fat in reaction to hormonal changes.

    Nevertheless, in the end we all have to place our bets regarding the best regime for ourselves. Chris is to be commended for revealing his own regime. Based upon my interpretation of the current science, my regime is different from that of Chris and is, in rough order of priority:

    1. Reduce fructose consumption to levels similar to that prevailing in the 1800s, mainly by eating a little fruit and dark chocolate
    2. Keep alcohol consumption down to levels similar to that recommended by Chris – alcohol is just fermented fructose
    3. Keep dietary Omega 6/Omega 3 ratio in range of 1-3 to 1, not 25 to 1
    4. Make sure my serum Vitamin D3 levels are at the top end of the so called normal range all year around, mainly via sun exposure and by supplementation when needed and as I age and endogenous production declines
    5. Do not limit saturated fats from sources such as meat and coconut oil
    6. Eat veggies, more lower than high glucose
    7. Exercise intensively a couple of times a week and moderately a couple of times
    8. Get a good sleep each night
    9. Limit eating of glucose that is part of processed foods

    This will change as the evidence emerges!

    Researchers at the University of Tasmania Menzies Institute have recently concluded that people living in Hobart are very deficient in Vitamin D3, largely due to lack of sun.

    Other scientists have also recently concluded that in rats there is a causal relationship, whereby fructose ingestion at high levels causes serious relative D3 deficiency (e.g a 40% decline), which in turn leads to all sorts of health problems (Douard V, Asgerally A, Sabbagh Y, Sugiura S, Casirola D, Ferraris RP: Dietary Fructose Inhibits Intestinal Calcium Absorption and Induces Vitamin D Insufficiency in CKD. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2009).

    I conclude that if I were a rat living in Hobart eating a high fructose diet, unable to see the sun at midday for much of the year, I would be worried. I would be taking high D3 supplements and seriously reducing my fructose intake.

    Chris does not have D3 on his personal consumption list, perhaps because he is not a rat, does not overindulge in eating fructose, believes that exercise will fix everything and/or has no D3 deficiency!

  • Terry H says:

    This leads to my last point, as suggested by the above, I do not go along with the line advanced by Chris that obesity and the diseases of civilization have multiple causes, such as that set out in his shopping list – everything from stress, through hormones, to lack of exercise.

    My layperson’s take on the current science is that there are some basic processes associated with how various hormones run the metabolic system, in the body and brain, which in turn regulate fat deposition, inflammation and other bad things such as uric acid production, leading to various diseases of civilization such as cancer, CVD, diabetes, gout, MS, Alzheimer’s etc. We do not yet fully understand how this system works. Everything else such as exercise, sleep, stress etc, nutrition etc. are just levers controlling inputs into parts of this hormonal regulation system.

    However, I suspect that:

    1. Some levers, such as excessive fructose and alcohol intake and their impact on the liver, deficiencies in exogenously produced hormone Vitamin D3, and Omega 3/6 ratios, are very important
    2. Others, such as the role of increased stress as it impacts upon hormones such as cortisol, are less important.
    3. Some levers such as use of sustained vigorous exercise (e.g for 90 mins) to lose weight (as opposed to the important role moderate exercise has in regulating insulin resistance in the body and brain)) are virtually irrelevant.

    I cannot defend this ranking, other than by saying that when one looks at the impact that excessive fructose and ethanol ingestion have on so many metabolic pathways and eventually other systems, they seem to be much more important than actors such as losing a 100 calories by running a kilometer.

    Hence the bets I have placed in my above list and my support for the relative importance of David’s work in raising the issue of excessive fructose consumption, vis a vis many other levers on the shopping list.

  • This comment comes in two parts (to meet the limit of 4096 characters per comment).

    Part 1

    In a recent comment, Terry claims that I have not provided science-based support for a number of my arguments. As an example, he states that there is no science supporting the NHMRC’s dietary guideline to ‘limit saturated fat and moderate total fat intake’.

    Go to: http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/file/publications/synopses/n33.pdf

    and click on ‘Assessing the Evidence’ in the Contents Box. You will see that the NHMRC uses ONLY science-based evidence (with six levels of evidence recognised).

    Terry also claims (yet again) that I refer to statements by ‘industry associations’. As I have mentioned previously, none of the organisations I refer to are ‘industry associations’. Terry singles out the American College of Sports Medicine for special mention as an industry body. In fact, ACSM is the world’s leading professional organisation in sports medicine and exercise science. The Annual Meeting of ACSM draws the world’s best researchers who present the latest scientific results in this area. Thousands of other scientists from around the world attend to learn from the experts. The journal published by ACSM, ‘Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise’, is arguably the world’s leading journal in this area (with the Journal of Applied Physiology as the only other genuine contender). Terry’s claim that ACSM is some sort of industry stooge is not only incorrect, it is farcical.

    Terry also claims that there is no credible science to support my belief that relativity high volumes and intensities of physical activity are of value in weight control.

    As previously mentioned, I agree that physical activity on its own isn’t enough. There must also be dietary restraint. This is the position taken in Chapter 3 of the book that underpins the US physical activity guidelines, ‘Adequacy of Evidence for Physical Guidelines Development’ (see URL below). The conclusion (p. 64) includes:

    ‘Physical activity … creates a relatively small energy gap and cannot be expected to provide the weight loss that is seen with energy restriction …’

    However, the conclusion is also reached that:

    ‘The amount of physical activity needed to achieve the loss of 5% of one’s body weight appears to be about 45 minutes/day … For weight loss maintenance, the amount of activity required appears to be similar to, or perhaps greater than for weight loss.’

    URL for Chapter 3:
    http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11819&page=59

    Terry disagrees with my ‘simple’ view, that body weight is largely determined by a balance between food intake and volitional energy expenditure. He cites a video by a journalist named Gary Taubes and a program on ABC TV as evidence that there is more to weight control than simply increasing activity. This is hardly science-based evidence. Also, I couldn’t get either video to work on my computer. I’ll come back to that part of Terry’s comment when I manage to overcome this glitch.

  • Part 2

    Terry: ‘Chris does not have D3 on his personal consumption list …’

    I didn’t put forward a personal nutrient consumption list. I mentioned the major food groups I base my diet around. So not only did I not mention vitamin D, I also didn’t mention any of the other 32 elements or compounds that are assigned values for recommended intakes in the NHMRC report ‘Nutrient Reference Values including Recommended Dietary Intakes’ (NHMRC, 2003).

    Terry then lists his key dietary practices. I agree (more or less) with all but the following:

    1. Reducing fructose intake drastically (‘… eating a little fruit and dark chocolate’).

    As I’ve mentioned many times, I believe this is extreme and entirely unnecessary. So too do all national health bodies (not ‘industry associations’ as Terry dubs them).

    2. ‘Do not limit saturated fats from sources such as meat and coconut oil’.

    I hope this was a ‘typo’ and you meant ‘Limit saturated fats …’ Otherwise, your practice is diametrically opposed to that of the NHMRC (reference given above).

    Terry also comments: ‘This will change as the evidence emerges!’

    I’ll drink to that (although hopefully only two standard drinks at most :-). In fact, work is proceeding on new dietary guidelines for Australians. I’m not sure when they will be finalised, but I understand that it will be in the next year or two.

    But another problem I have with Terry’s list is that he hasn’t mentioned limiting salt. Reducing sodium intake at the population level is regarded as one of the key dietary measures we can take to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The Australian division of World Action on Salt (AWASH) is a good source of information on this for the non-professional:
    http://www.awash.org.au/

    Section 1.7 of the NHMRC report on Dietary Guidelines for Australian Adults provides a more scientific rationale:
    http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/file/publications/synopses/n33.pdf

    Terry says: ‘I do not go along with the line advanced by Chris that obesity and the diseases of civilization have multiple causes, such as that set out in his shopping list – everything from stress, through hormones, to lack of exercise.’

    I didn’t claim that all these factors were contributing to obesity, only that they have been advanced as possible causes or contributors to obesity. I suspect that some may have nothing to do with obesity (but I don’t know which).

    Terry then puts forward an interesting hypothesis about how obesity might come about. Only time will tell if his hypothesis is correct. On the grounds that no-one knows the cause (or causes) of obesity, Terry’s guess is about as good as that of anyone else at this stage. However, as discussed above, I think we can safely discount Terry’s belief that:

    ‘Some levers such as use of sustained vigorous exercise (e.g. for 90 mins) to lose weight … are virtually irrelevant.’

    Even Robert Lustig, one of the few nutritionists who might be regarded as a natural ally of David Gillespie, emphasises the value of physical activity in weight control (as described in my comment dated January 28, 2010 7:12 AM).

  • Terry H says:

    Chris,

    I will respond to your latest posts in detail, when I have a respite from having to earn a dollar. For now, suffice it say that you have:

    1. Once more engaged in an ad-honimen attack

    So what if Gary Taubes is a journalist (albeit one of the most highly awarded science journalists in the world, who just happens to specialize in writing about bad science), David is a lawyer, you are a member of a profession called nutritionist, or I am a humble mathematician.

    Please address the science, not the person’s background. Given that Taubes cites over 2,000 studies, worked for 5 years on his book, has never been seriously challenged and the studies supporting him keep rolling in, my guess is that he is on the money. Just tell me where is he wrong? My personal review of his book and the supporting evidence suggests he is spot on.

    2. Not addressed the science, but rather sourced all your own beliefs back to industry bodies.

    The difference between us is that where my health is concerned, I (as did David) always read the primary sources and unfortunately find that in some cases they contradict the views of industry bodies (and in others are supported by industry bodies).

    Let us follow the truth, not the advice of bodies which are dominated by people who make a living doing research which advances their careers and is often funded by industry or government bodies with an agenda.

    In this respect, I think David is doing the community a service in drawing attention to the contradictions between the science and the commercial recommendations of some of these industry bodies, in respect of fructose consumption.

  • In his latest message, Terry claims that I have:

    ‘1. Once more engaged in an ad-honimen attack’

    This is in response to my statement that citing a book written by a journalist (Gary Taubes) and a TV program hardly constitutes science-based evidence.

    If Terry (or anyone else) wants to see an ad hominem (note the spelling, Terry) attack, try the second comment on this blog, the one sent by Terry on January 13, 2010 at 8:30 PM, in which he describes my Ockham’s Razor program as an ‘ad honimen non-scientific religious like attack’. See also the blog entry by David Gillespie titled ‘Attack of the Chocolatier’ in which he dismisses my Ockham’s Razor program as an attack by a chocolate-maker (I am not, and never have been) who may have undisclosed links with Nestle (I do not, and never have). I mentioned these points in my comment sent on January 30, 2010 at 2:23 PM. In that comment I also requested that Terry identify those aspects of my Ockham’s Razor program that constitute an ad hominem attack, and I asked what did Terry think of David’s false claims about me. Terry hasn’t responded to that comment.

    Terry claims that Gary Taubes is a science journalist who specialises in writing about bad science. In 2002, Taubes wrote an article titled ‘Big Fat Lies’ in which he argued that carbohydrate, not fat, is the main cause of our diet-related health problems. In this, he is in agreement with Robert Atkins, the (deceased) founder of the Dr Atkins diet.

    An article in the November issue of the Nutrition Action Health Newsletter of the Center for Science in the Public Interest makes interesting reading in this regard. Real experts on nutrition castigate Taubes mercilessly for his shoddy and selective reporting of the evidence. Here is the reference:

    http://www.cspinet.org/nah/11_02/bigfatlies.pdf

    Terry (yet again) claims I do not provide references. Terry, please read my comments; you will see that I do provide references where I make specific claims, and not to articles written by journalists who have no nutrition qualifications, or to TV programs, but to either the original scientific literature or to reputable health or nutrition authorities.

    Terry even repeats his claim that organisations such as the National Health and Medical Research Council, American College of Sports Medicine, American Diabetes Association and so on are ‘industry associations’. I’ve dealt with that claim previously (see my post sent on February 4, 2010 at 12:35 PM). I have no intention of wasting everyone’s time by going over old ground yet again. Terry, we’ve been there and done that; can we please move on.

  • I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but David Gillespie has been conspicuous by his absence in this discussion.

    I’ve sent 20 comments so far, and the only response from David has been one in which he claims to have mentioned human studies involving fructose feeding after 1985 on page 59 of ‘Sweet Poison’. (He did no such thing, by the way, either on p. 59 or anywhere else in ‘Sweet Poison’).

    David, are you still there? If so, can I at least ask you to respond to the six following questions. I will be away from my computer from Saturday 6 Feb until Thursday 11 Feb. I would greatly appreciate it if you could respond by then.

    (i) In light of the evidence provided by Rosemary Stanton that there has either been no increase or a slight decline in food intake in the last 30 years (see my comment sent on January 29, 2010 at 8:48 PM), do you still believe that food intake has increased by 30% in Australia in the last three decades?

    (ii) Taking into account your claim that average Australian intake of fructose is about two-thirds the average intake in the US, and that the US intake accounts for 9-10% of total energy intake (references provided in my comment sent on January 29, 2010 at 10:10 PM) do you still believe that almost 20% of our energy intake is now derived from fructose?

    (iii) Noting that the authors of the 1985 paper by Reiser et al. [Am J Clin Nutr. 1985 Aug;42(2):242-51] refer (more than once) to a ‘… lack of relationship between the onset of the abnormalities and the type of dietary carbohydrate’, do you still claim that fructose consumption was the cause of severe heart conditions in four participants in that study?

    (iv) Noting that at least 19 human fructose-feeding studies were conducted after 1985 (references provided in my comment of January 30, 2010 at 6:02 PM) do you still claim that no further human studies were conducted following that date?

    (v) Noting that the World Health Organisation recommends that the maximum safe intake of added sugars is 10% of total energy (or rather just short of 10%); that the NHMRC dietary guideline is to ‘consume only moderate levels of sugars and foods containing added sugars’; that the American Heart Association sets safe upper levels of intake of 35 g of added sugar for men and 25 g for women, and that 12 of the 19 references to human studies conducted in the period 1985-2007 reported positive or, at worst, neutral effects attributable to fructose, do you still believe that added fructose is a poison in the diet at any dose?

    (vi) Given that the NHMRC in Australia and ACSM in the US (and other national health authorities) recognise the value of physical activity in weight control, do you still believe that physical activity has no role to play in weight control?

    I will be very interested to see if you have answered these questions when I return on Thursday of next week.

  • Chris,

    People are dying because the nutrition establishment (which you so vociferously support) has gotten it wrong. We can argue over the details of how they have gotten it wrong till the chocolate melts in the sun, but the evidence that the advice doesn’t work is there in spades.

    Those who smugly accuse the overweight of gluttony or sloth (or both) are neither helpful nor supported by evidence.

    This is not a theoretical argument. Real people are following ancient nutritional guidelines (because people like you say they should) and are suffering very real and very debilitating diseases as a result.

    Anyone citing those guidelines in their nutritional advice would be well advised to be very certain of their scientific ground because they are ethically, morally and legally culpable for their recommendations.

    Cheers
    David.

  • As expected (and predicted by several people I know), David did not answer any of my questions. To anyone who has been following this discussion, the reason for this should be clear—David does not have answers to those questions.

    David also states that people ‘citing (the NHMRC) guidelines in their nutritional advice would be well advised to be very certain of their scientific ground because they are ethically, morally and legally culpable for their recommendations.’

    The same applies to David. As I have demonstrated ‘beyond reasonable doubt’—a phrase I am sure David is familiar with—his arguments are not science-based. (If they were, he would have been able to answer the questions I posed).

    In reply, I will ask David (yet again) to please answer the following six questions (with a seventh question thrown in for good measure):

    (i) In light of the evidence provided by Rosemary Stanton that there has either been no increase or a slight decline in food intake in the last 30 years (see my comment sent on January 29, 2010 at 8:48 PM), do you still believe that food intake has increased by 30% in Australia in the last three decades?

    (ii) Taking into account your claim that average Australian intake of fructose is about two-thirds the average intake in the US, and that the US intake accounts for 9-10% of total energy intake (references provided in my comment sent on January 29, 2010 at 10:10 PM) do you still claim that almost 20% of our energy intake is now derived from fructose?

    (iii) Noting that the authors of the 1985 paper by Reiser et al. [Am J Clin Nutr. 1985 Aug;42(2):242-51] refer (more than once) to a ‘… lack of relationship between the onset of the abnormalities and the type of dietary carbohydrate’, do you still claim that fructose consumption was the cause of severe heart conditions in four participants in that study?

    (iv) Noting that at least 19 human fructose-feeding studies were conducted after 1985 (references provided in my comment of January 30, 2010 at 6:02 PM) do you still claim that no further human studies were conducted following that date?

    (v) Noting that the World Health Organisation recommends that the maximum safe intake of added sugars is 10% of total energy (or rather just short of 10%); that the NHMRC dietary guideline is to ‘consume only moderate levels of sugars and foods containing added sugars’; that the American Heart Association sets safe upper levels of intake of 35 g of added sugar for men and 25 g for women, and that 12 of the 19 references to human studies conducted in the period 1985-2007 reported positive or, at worst, neutral effects attributable to fructose, do you still believe that added fructose is a poison in the diet at any dose?

    (vi) Given that the NHMRC in Australia and ACSM in the US (and other national health authorities) recognise the value of physical activity in weight control, do you still believe that physical activity has no role to play in weight control?

    New question:

    (vii) Noting that the conclusion of the most recent meta-analysis (in the December 26 edition of Clinical Nutrition) concludes that ‘There is no support from the human literature for the hypothesis that sucrose may be physically addictive …’, do you still insist that fructose—the relevant component of sucrose in this context—is addictive in humans?

  • While we’re waiting patiently for David to answer my seven questions, I want to raise a new issue. This is the question of who do you trust.

    For example, if you have a blocked drain, whose advice would you seek—that of a lawyer, a nutritionist or a plumber?

    What if you need high quality legal advice; would you ask a plumber, a nutritionist or a lawyer?

    And if you want science-based advice on diet and lifestyle to maximise health and well-being, would you read a publication about this by plumber, a lawyer or by the nutrition experts whose Dietary Guidelines for Australians are published by Australia’s peak health body, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)?

    I know who I would be asking: the relevant expert (or experts) in each situation.

    Despite the fact that the NHMRC’s dietary guidelines are written by nutrition experts (not by a lawyer) and are still current, David refers to them as ‘… ancient nutritional guidelines’.

    For the record, the Dietary Guidelines for Australians were published in 2003. They are hardly ‘ancient’. If you go to
    http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/
    publications/synopses/
    dietsyn.htm
    you will find that the guidelines ‘… are based on the best available scientific evidence and provide information for health professionals and the general population about healthy food choices.’

    David’s advice, on the other hand, is not science-based. If it were, he would have been able to answer the questions I have twice asked him. Those questions cut to the core of his claim that he has done a good job of interpreting the science. In this regard, his silence is deafening.

  • Paul says:

    Chris – There is no need to keep repeating your final submissions we heard you the first time.

    While your hair splitting sugar consumption distinctions are of great interest to you and the processed food industry they are little practical significance and of even less relevance to the general population.

    The fact remains that you AGREE that 25 g ( 12.5 g teaspoons of added fructose) is the safe limit for women and 37 g (18.5 g of fructose for men). You also conceded that the majority of Australians would be consuming well over that amount and probably are ignorant of the risk they are taking.

    David says people should avoid ALL added sugars and if they really want something sweet stick to whole fruit, glucose or milk.

    Your ‘confected’ outrage about David’s position is of minor interest at best.

    One 600 ml carton of flavoured milk
    , 1 can of soft drink, some milk or white chocolate (or even your home made jam) will blow those AHF limits away like Dirty Harry.

    In practice – even if you try to follow David’s prescription you will be lucky to keep within the AHF 37/25g limits due to the way so many products are laced with your precious white stuff.

    I for one hope David spends his time on more useful activities than picking nits with Don Quixote of Scottsdale.

    Cheers.

    Snippets from your show.

    “… In August 2009 the American Heart Foundation released guidelines on safe intakes of added sugars. Their recommended levels are well below current average American intakes…..)

    Many Australians do eat excessive amounts of sugar, and would do themselves (and their waistlines) a favour by reducing sugar intake.

    It may be that sugar in beverages is especially undesirable. Consumption of large quantities of sweetened carbonated soft drinks seems to be particularly implicated in obesity, because it appears that people do not always compensate for the added kilojoules they consume in soft drinks by reducing their intake of other foods. ……

    …… Although it is not conclusive, the evidence in the last couple of years – that is since the publication of Sweet Poison – does suggest that fructose may have a tendency to stimulate, rather than satisfy appetite. If this proves to be correct, it could implicate high fructose intake as a major contributor to the obesity epidemic. Recent results also suggest that high fructose intake may increase the risk of conditions such as gout, kidney stones, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, and may also lead to blood lipid profiles associated with greater risk of heart disease.

    ……. The evidence to date suggests that in moderate doses fructose may actually be beneficial for public health, while in large doses it is very likely harmful. This is in stark contrast to David Gillespie’s conclusion that ‘Every day that fructose remains a part of our diet, is a death sentence for thousands of Australians’ and his call to ‘… immediately ban added fructose as a food’.

    The cause (or causes) of the obesity epidemic remain unknown. I still believe that to reduce your risk of obesity, the best advice is to follow the Dietary Guidelines for Australians. In the context of this talk, the two most relevant guidelines are:

    Consume only moderate amounts of sugars and food containing added sugars; and

    Prevent weight gain: be physically active and eat according to your energy needs.”

  • Paul,

    I didn’t exactly ‘AGREE that 25 g
    (12.5 g teaspoons of added fructose) is the safe limit for women and 37 g (18.5 g of fructose for men)’. Rather, I pointed out this is the recommendation of one authoritative health body (the American Heart Association). I also pointed out that WHO recommends keeping intake of added sugars to below 10%. For a man whose daily energy intake is ~12 000 kJ, this corresponds to an intake of up to ~70 g of sugar (i.e. 35 g of fructose).

    The point is that EVERY authoritative health-related body acknowledges that there is a safe intake of fructose. David Gillespie does not recognise this.

    For a while I wondered why you continually claim that I am engaging in hair splitting (or nit picking), when to me the issues I raise seem of critical importance.

    I think I may have worked out why this is so. I am approaching David’s book and Ockham’s Razor program from the viewpoint of a scientist. I checked the validity of his so-called ‘science’ and found it to be seriously flawed. To you this doesn’t matter very much—your main interest is along the lines ‘what does it mean to my health and wellbeing?’ That is, as a non-scientist you care less about the process David has used than about the value of his advice. Am I correct on this?

    If so, I believe that you also need to take into account how well David has argued his case scientifically, because the quality of his conclusions and his advice depends on the quality of his science. I have demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt (and David has confirmed this by his inability to answer my questions) that his science is so bad it is actually non-science (or perhaps pseudo-science).

    Of relevance in this regard is private email correspondence I have had with Eran Segev, President of the Australian Skeptics (reproduced here with Eran’s permission). Eran states that at the 2009 convention of the Australian Skeptics:

    ‘… David was an invited speaker. I had the first question, which I opened by thanking David for honestly admitting to having no scientific qualifications and then spending the next 30 minutes proving that that was indeed the case … he had shown no understanding at all of what the scientific process is … and appeared to lack any ability to appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of trying to come to conclusions from a comprehensive literature review.’

    Based on the shoddiness of David’s approach to making a science-based case, Eran invited me to submit an article for publication in the magazine of the Australian Skeptics. The article will appear in the next issue (which I believe will be published in March). I’ll send the URL in a comment when the article is available.

    In conclusion, David’s extreme and alarmist position is not supported by science. Even if it does turn out that excessive fructose intake is the major cause of obesity and many of the chronic diseases that afflict mainly (but no longer exclusively) the populations of western nations, David will not have made a worthwhile contribution to this finding. Contrary to David’s claims:

    (i) There is no need to avoid all sources of added fructose, simply moderate intake of added sugars;
    (ii) There is no convincing evidence that fructose is addictive to humans; and
    (iii) Physical activity has a vital role to play in overcoming overweight and obesity.

    David Gillespie is not a reliable source of information on the effects of fructose consumption on human health.

  • Paul says:

    Chris,

    Hmmm, so you now believe that the basis of our ‘disagreement’ is that you are a scientist and I am not.

    That is the point I made in my very first post on this thread but clearly you did not understand what I was alluding to.

    It certainly was not that the scientific method or objective enquiry were unimportant.

    I was alluding to the tedious way scientists resort to ‘I am a high priest with secret knowledge’ technique whenever they are engaging in a debate that cannot be answered by the scientific method.

    The climate debate is another example of this sort of ‘high priest’ nonsense – and both sides of that debate are offenders.

    My criticism was that your program lacked context and perspective and would lead the listener to conclude that David was an ‘alarmist’ (as you now put it) and his warnings about fructose could be safely ignored.

    Yes you had a few mild caveats in there as well to ‘tin plate’ your position but the thrust of your program was clear.

    “Keep on tucking into those wonderful desserts”

    Of course in your more recent posts you have turned that ‘tin plate’ into ‘boiler plate’ such that I (nor probably David) can hardly disagree with the puritanical approach you take to the consumption of processed and concentrated sources of fructose.

    But that is not the message conveyed by your Ockham Razor program.

    Now we hear that the President of the Australian Skeptics association is taking time off from disproving water diviners and spoon benders to commune with you about David’s supposed lack of knowledge of the scientific method and the dangers to new players (the un-annointed non priest caste) of surveying the scientific literature.

    Marvellous stuff.

    At least now I know why I haven’t heard much recently about interesting work being done by the Skeptics.

    I find it remarkable that the Skeptics are devoting their energies to scrutinising the techniques/approach of a non-scientist who is spending his own time and money drawing attention to the effects (proven or possible) on public health of an extremely pervasive food additive that was introduced into the food supply only a relatively short time ago and at a time when there was no testing or investigation of the risk of doing so.

    It is particularly remarkable when those who have a motive to obscure any scrutiny of one of the key ingredients of the food processing industry hardly need the assistance of an organisation like the Skeptics to run interference.

    It is worth remembering that until late in the 19th century the majority of the population would only encounter fructose if they ate whole fruit in season or ransacked a hive of bees.

    Thus consumption of concentrated forms of fructose in anything other than small amounts is NOT in any way natural and represents a significant change to the human diet.

    Even the recent AHF recommendation for women of 25g per day is equivalent still to 9 kgs of sugar per year. A level of consumption that would have been unimaginable during most of recorded history.

    Yet – you claim that you are being scientific in demanding that there be overwhelming proof that this significant change to the human diet is a risk before serious action is taken.

    What an amazing inversion.

    If you really are serious about the science of sugar and the scientific method you should join David in calling for immediate action to warning people about sugar/fructose UNTIL the sugar industry or public health authorities have conducted the rigorous science reqquired to PROVE that refined sources of fructose are SAFE and the levels at which it is safe to consume them.

    But then you are not serious and all this huffing and puffing is really just professional jealousy that a non scientist (an ex lawyer to boot) is leading the running on this issue in Australia.

    Thus my initial post – it really is about whether or not you are a scientist.

  • Paul wrote:

    ‘Hmmm, so you now believe that the basis of our ‘disagreement’ is that you are a scientist and I am not.’

    No Paul—you’ve misunderstood my meaning. From your dismissal of my criticisms of David’s lack of scientific rigour, I inferred that you were less interested in the process than the outcome. This would be a natural response for a non-scientist. However, you now say that you are interested in the process: ‘It certainly was not that the scientific method or objective enquiry were unimportant.’

    In that case, why do you continually describe my questions to David as splitting hairs or nit picking? If David cannot answer those questions satisfactorily, it must be crystal clear to you and everyone else reading these comments that he did not use a scientific approach to his investigation of the effects of fructose on human health. Rather (as I pointed out in my Ockham’s Razor program) he adopted a legal approach and appointed himself ‘counsellor for the prosecution’. If his approach is not scientific, his conclusions and advive are not reliable.

    I am certainly not claiming to be a ‘high priest with secret knowledge’. Every reference I have made has been to the scientific literature or to reports published by authoritative health bodies based on comprehensive reviews of the scientific literature by competent scientists. David, on the other hand, appears to believe he has ‘secret knowledge’ that the scientific world has missed. If anyone deserves criticism for behaving like a ‘high priest’, it is David Gillespie.

    Paul wrote:

    ‘My criticism was that your program lacked context and perspective and would lead the listener to conclude that David was an ‘alarmist’ (as you now put it) and his warnings about fructose could be safely ignored.’

    Paul, we’ve been down this path before. As I have already explained, in my program I made it clear to anyone who understands plain English that excessive intake of sugar may be harmful to health. I also quoted the NHMRC dietary guideline to ‘eat only moderate amounts of sugar and foods containing added sugar’. Perhaps you could stop repeating this incorrect claim.

    And your criticism of the Australian Skeptics is equally unwarranted. David Gillespie evidently revealed a lack of understanding of the scientific process when he addressed the Australian Skeptics at the AS annual meeting. The article I have submitted for publication in the AS magazine simply confirms the impression David created during his presentation at that meeting.

    You claim that David ‘is spending his own time and money’ on his investigation of fructose. Strange, I had to pay about $30 for my copy of his book, and I’m pretty sure I noticed that he charges for access to some of the information available on his site.

    Paul then states that my ‘huffing and puffing is really just professional jealousy that a non scientist (an ex lawyer to boot) is leading the running on this issue in Australia.’

    Where is the science in this claim, Paul? It is simply another ad hominem attack and isn’t worthy of a response.

  • Paul says:

    Chris,

    If the seven questions that you posed went to the core of the issue, namely whether significant fructose consumption poses risks to health, I would have little issue with your position but they don’t.

    You seem very excited that you have detected some ‘gotcha’s’ or mistakes in David work and perhaps you have but they are at best points of criticism not killer blows.

    Nothing that you have written since your program is inconsistent with David’s position with one exception. You are confident that complete abstinence is unecessary. Though you don’t seem very keen on endorsing its consumption at anything other than very low levels in any event.

    Well that is precisely what David says in his book.

    Incidently, your only started really pushing the line that David argues for complete abstinence of fructose when it was clear that your own position is that normal sedentary people should avoid anything more than very low levels of added fructose.

    David acknowledged in the book the research that suggests that some fructose may be important as a catalyst. He also endorsed eating fructose in moderation in the form of whole fruit.

    But seeing that you are very excited about David dodging your questions perhaps you might address the issues I raised:

    1. There is nothing natural about refined/concentrated fructose in the form of cane or beet sugar or industrial fruit juice.

    2. That until recently – namely the last 120 years or so – the average level of consumption of fructose was extremly low. I refer to David’s book for this statement but if David is wrong please set me straight – following your approach I will assume if you don’t respond to this point that you concede David is right.

    3. That the level of consumption of fructose over the last 30-100 years in particular represents a significant change to the human diet.

    Do you dispute this – what are your consumption figures that establish a long history of human consumption of fructose that would allow you to characterise the levels of recent decades as ‘natural’.

    4. That this change occurred without any scientific research or understanding of the effects of the change in diet.

    Please reference all the science that was done to establish the safe use of sugar as a common additive in the last part of the 19th and 20th centuries.

    5. That the burden for establishing that this change is safe falls on those promoting the change to the human diet not on those questioning it.

    6. That the role of any skeptic or believer in the scientific method should be to question changes that are made without any apparent scientific investigation or reseach to justify them.

    You seem to have just assumed that there is something natural about consuming quantities of industrially refined fructose and thus the ‘scientific’ burden should fall on anyone who questions what you consider to be natural.

    What is the basis of your assumption? – Quote some papers please.

    You have been extremely evasive when it comes to specifying how much additional sugar the average person can safely eat. When pressed you say you persaonlly hardly eat the stuff at all.

    The essence of scientific enquiry is to test accepted beliefs and complacent thinking but you seem to have a blind spot when it comes to sugar – and I can’t help but wonder why.

    As you deny any professional interest in defending the industrial applications of refined sugar/fructose, you deny eating much o f the stuff yourself and your disagreements with David now seem limited to debating points rather than a substantial disagreement about the need for caution in the consumption of sugar/fructose, the only conclusion left is that you are engaging in a scientific form of grandstanding.

    Well enjoy your 15 minutes because by doing so you are actually making a contribution to David’s efforts to raise awareness about this issue.

  • Paul says:

    Certainly, the scientific method should be applied to all research into the issue (whether for or against) and I am as interested as you are in new research that confirms or contradicts the thesis that David propounds.

    But when it comes to complex areas such as the impact of individual components of the diet on human health establishing causation beyond all doubt is extremely difficult due to the number of variables that need to be controlled.

    Accordingly, the default position should be to exercise caution when making significant changes to the human diet. The introduction of industrial sources of fructose into the diet over the last 100 years clearly fits the description and thus it is appropriate that considerable caution is exercised.

    And the simple fact is that until recently (15-20 years is pretty recent in terms of such a significant change to human diet)there has been very little research and that which has been conducted clearly raises concerns.

    Do I think that there are other aspects of diet and good health that people need to have regard to? Of course I do but that does not mean that fructose is not deserving of close examination.
    Note: On reflection I was too harsh on the Australian Sceptics as I do not know the context in which those comments were made and I may well have made some unwarranted assumptions about that organisation’s position on issues such as sugar and fructose.

    I am confident that the Skeptics are taking a skeptical stance in relation to the original introduction of significant quantities of fructose into the diet and also in relation to those who question the introduction of sugar to the diet. I am confident that they would be applying their critical powers as much to the sugar industry and its PR hacks and demanding scientific proof that the fructose at current levels of consumption does not cause harm as they would appear to be doing to those who question the use of fructose.

    In fact the Skeptics have a long history at questioning received opinion and are precisely the sort of organisation that is equipped to highlight the problematic nature of claims ‘that there is no proven scientific link between consuming ABC and XYZ’

    The long and tawdry experience last century with the tobacco industry and its claims about ‘no proven link’ illustrates how easily vested interests can misuse science, the scientific method and scientists.

    I look forward to the Skeptics continued constructive engagement in this issue.

  • Paul says:

    As we are now really just raking the coals of this thread I will make this my final comment.

    You stated

    “Even if it does turn out that excessive fructose intake is the major cause of obesity and many of the chronic diseases that afflict mainly (but no longer exclusively) the populations of western nations, David will not have made a worthwhile contribution to this finding.”

    Leaving aside the incredibly sour grapes in such a commment. (Though such pettiness is sadly unremarkable in the ‘saintly’ world of science).

    Do you really think that if the science continues to support the claims made by David about the dangers of excess fructose (ie the amounts most people currently eat) he would have made no worthwhile contribution by raising awareness amongst the general population at this time?

    I suppose you would have been saying the same things about anti-tobacco groups in the 1950’s.

    In any event history will be the judge of that not you.

    Adios

  • Paul has raised the question of the naturalness and safety in the diet of ‘refined/ concentrated fructose in the form of cane or beet sugar …’

    Paul, sugar cane and sugar beet are ‘natural’ products, but that says nothing about their safety (after all, deadly nightshade is also ‘natural’). I’ll come back to the issue of safety later in this comment.

    Paul also wrote: ‘… the default position should be to exercise caution when making significant changes to the human diet. The introduction of industrial sources of fructose into the diet over the last 100 years clearly fits the description and thus it is appropriate that considerable caution is exercised.’

    Paul, what do you mean by ‘industrial fructose’? If you are referring to high-fructose corn syrup, then you are talking about the major sweetener used in the United States. Sucrose (which is not an industrial product) is the major sweetener used in Australia.

    But if you want to eat a natural diet, you are going to have to eliminate a lot more than sucrose. The paleolithic diet — the diet that existed at the time we were evolving into modern Homo sapiens — consisted almost entirely of game meat, fish and other (easily gathered) seafood, fruits and berries, some wild vegetables (including root vegetables such as yams, but not potatoes) and perhaps nuts. Our remote ancestors’ thirst was quenched only with water. (To learn more about this, I suggest a PubMed search for ‘Cordain L’). So in addition to sugar, you are going to have to eliminate the following: all farmed meat; bread, pasta, rice and other cereal foods; milk, cheese, yogurt and all other dairy products; beans, peas, lentils and other legumes; tea, coffee, alcoholic beverages, and all other sources of fluid besides water. You must also avoid any processed food, and refrain from using salt in cooking or at the table.

    None of the above foods went through the process you suggest sugar must be subjected to before you will accept that it is safe in any dose. Why single out sugar for special treatment when the same argument applies to most of the components of the modern diet?

    Paul wrote: ‘You have been extremely evasive when it comes to specifying how much additional sugar the average person can safely eat.’

    In what way have I been evasive, Paul? I’ve mentioned the recommendations of the AHA and WHO (~5% and ~10% of energy intake as a maximum respectively). In addition, the NHMRC advises that total intake of ‘sugars’ (including those intrinsic to fruits and milk) be kept to 15-20% of total energy intake. No reputable health authority suggests that added fructose is a poison at any dose. David Gillespie claims to be the only person in the entire army, let alone the regiment, who is in step on this issue.

    Paul wrote: ‘When pressed you say you personally hardly eat the stuff at all.’

    That’s not what I said. I said I have moderate intake of sugar and foods containing added sugars. These include my home-made jams, a teaspoon of sugar in my daily cappuccino and dessert 3-4 times per week. This is consistent with the dietary guideline from the NHMRC. It is not consistent with David Gillespie’s belief that ‘Every day that fructose remains a part of our diet, is a death sentence for thousands of Australians’ and his call to ‘… immediately ban added fructose as a food’.

    More in my next comment.

  • Paul states that: ‘… when it comes to complex areas such as the impact of individual components of the diet on human health establishing causation beyond all doubt is extremely difficult due to the number of variables that need to be controlled.’

    This is precisely my position. As I mentioned in my Ockham’s Razor program, we simply don’t know the cause (or causes) of the obesity epidemic. Yet you believe that David has found the cause, when the entire world of nutrition science has failed to do so. You also claim I have put myself in the role of a ‘high priest with secret knowledge’ despite my admission that I don’t know the cause of the obesity epidemic (and neither does anyone else), yet David is apparently innocent in your eyes despite claiming to possess knowledge that is unavailable to others! This can only be described as sheer sophistry.

    Paul asks what evidence do I have that current average fructose consumptions are safe. I don’t have any evidence for this. In fact, as I stated very clearly in my Ockham’s Razor program: ‘Many Australians do eat excessive amounts of sugar, and would do themselves (and their waistlines) a favour by reducing sugar intake.’

    Paul states that the seven questions I have asked David (six of them twice) — and which he still hasn’t attempted to answer — do not go to the core of the issue.

    Paul, David claims (incorrectly) that fructose caused the heart problems in the 1985 study by Reiser et al. As a result, he claims (again incorrectly) that no further human fructose-feeding studies were conducted after 1985. So he then bases his case on the results of rat-feeding studies. Studies involving animal models cannot be used to demonstrate unequivocally that the same effects will occur in humans. To determine this, human studies must be conducted. Contrary to David’s claim, human studies WERE conducted post-1985, and the majority (12/19) of the studies I found to the time of publication of ‘Sweet Poison’ reported either neutral or positive health effects of fructose on humans.

    The other questions address his ability (or inability) to come to appropriate answers to questions such as the level of fructose intake in Australia; the level of total food intake in Australia (he claims it has increased by 30% in 30 years; the evidence suggests this is not correct); and the likelihood that fructose is addictive to people (the latest meta-analysis says it isn’t).

    My questions go to the core of whether or not David Gillespie has conducted a scientific review or a pseudo-scientific review of the literature.

    Not only has David failed to show that fructose is addictive to humans (although it may be to rats), he has also failed dismally in his attempt to implicate fructose at any dose in the obesity epidemic or the onset of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

    Please note that this does NOT exonerate fructose as a possible contributor to the obesity epidemic and to chronic diseases; it simply means that David has failed to make a solid case.

    I’m pleased you have changed your mind about the Australian Skeptics. However, I’m afraid you may be disappointed in your hope that AS ‘are taking a skeptical stance in relation to the original introduction of significant quantities of fructose into the diet.’ My article in the AS magazine reflects the science-based arguments in my Ockham’s Razor program and in these comments. It concludes that David Gillespie has not made a valid contribution in the investigation of the effects of fructose on human health, and that he is not a reliable source of information on this or any other nutrition related subject.

    Paul then attempts to draw a parallel between the attitude of orthodox nutritional science towards David Gillespie and the attitude of the pro-tobacco lobby of the 1950s. The difference is that the pro-tobacco lobby did not have orthodox science on its side, while the anti-Gillepsie group (i.e. virtually every competent nutritionist or dietitian) does.

  • Paul says:

    Chris – There is nothing new or interesting in your responses.

    The simple fact is that fructose consumption from industrial sources such as sugar cane/sugar beet and preserved fruit juice has dramatically increased over the last 100 years. You clearly do not dispute this.

    This level of consumption has only in the last 20 years become the subject of close investigation.

    Those investigations at the very least indicate considerable cause for concern and, if you accept David’s thesis, serious cause for concern.

    Yet you prefer to plant your head deep in the sand and castigate David for doing what you are clearly incapable of doing – drawing attention to a serious issue of public health.

    Even while your own consumption of fructose is extremely low and well below the level consumed by the general population.

    “These include my home-made jams, a teaspoon of sugar in my daily cappuccino and dessert 3-4 times per week”

    Your position is perverse but it is a free country.

    Fortunately, with the level of new research currently underway we will not need to wait long to find out whether David’s early warnings, based on his review of the studies to date, were justified.

    Sweet Dreams until then.

    PS: I have now checked out the Skeptics website and sadly it appears they are still primarily directed to ghost busting, miracle cures and spoon bending. I hope your article connects with its intended audience.

  • Paul, I thought we’d lost you! Welcome back.

    You state that my ‘position is perverse’, apparently because I castigate David for having written a book that he claims is based on science, but in which the science is so shoddy it deserves the epithet ‘non-science’, or perhaps even ‘pseudo-science’. You also appear to be concerned that I follow the advice given by the NHMRC (‘eat only moderate amounts of sugar and foods containing added sugars’) — advice that I also give in my Ockham’s Razor program. Frankly, your logic (if that is what you claim to be using) is lost on me!

    You also state: ‘Fortunately, with the level of new research currently underway we will not need to wait long to find out whether David’s early warnings, based on his review of the studies to date, were justified.’

    Unfortunately, David’s ‘review of the studies’ didn’t include a review of the human studies conducted after 1985. This is because, in both ‘Sweet Poison’ (p. 59) and in his Ockham’s Razor program he denies that they even occurred. So his argument that fructose is harmful is based almost exclusively on rat studies. His ‘early warnings’ are clearly relevant to rats, but any warnings he gives to people are not justified by the evidence he has cobbled together.

    Finally, you state: ‘I have now checked out the Skeptics website and sadly it appears they are still primarily directed to ghost busting, miracle cures and spoon bending.’

    Strange, I just went to the Australian Skeptics home page (http://www.skeptics.com.au/) and found nothing about ‘ghost busting, miracle cures and spoon bending’. Are you sure you went to the correct site?

    I did find interesting and topical articles about neurotoxicology, homeopathy, the anti-vaccination movement, water divining … oh, and an article about David Gillespie’s presentation at the Brisbane meeting of the Australian Skeptics.
    Here are some extracts from the article, which can be accessed at:
    http://www.skeptics.com.au/latest/
    blog/comments-from-a-philosophical-skeptic/

    ‘David Gillespie speaks of fructose as a “poison”. He tells us the reason we’re fat is the introduction of fructose in ever increasing amounts to our food. Hmmm … As David readily admits, he is not a scientist; and as our president (Eran) pointed out, it showed. His presentation was not that of a scientist, even as one would speak to a lay audience … There were also assumptions regarding motivations and collusions that had a disturbing flavour of the conspiracy theory about them. Any presentation that says “they don’t want you to know this” is effectively going about the process in the wrong way …’

    Could it be that you saw this article, decided that the Australian Skeptics were not to your taste, so you would try to discredit them by falsely claiming that they address issues such as ‘ghost busting, miracle cures and spoon bending’? Surely not!

  • It is now 12 days since I sent a comment containing six questions directed to David Gillespie. Those questions addressed the validity (or otherwise) of David’s scientific approach. David chose not to answer any of the six questions.

    Six days ago I again asked David to please answer my questions, and I threw in a seventh question for good measure. I also pointed out that ‘If David cannot answer those questions satisfactorily, it must be crystal clear to … everyone … reading these comments that he did not use a scientific approach … If his approach is not scientific, then his conclusions and advice are not reliable.’

    And David’s response has been … nothing!

    To paraphrase David in his blog entry titled (inappropriately) ‘Attack of the Chocolatier’:

    And that’s it. That’s all he has. The end.

    PS As a nutritionist who has no qualifications and no experience in legal matters, I am thinking of writing a book on an aspect of the law … corporate law, perhaps.
    Who wants to lay odds that my book will be just as uninformed about law as David’s book is about nutrition?

  • Paul says:

    Chris,

    Now you are just being funny!

    I was being kind about the skeptics!

    I quote

    “Australian Skeptics is a loose confederation of groups across Australia that investigate paranormal and pseudo-scientific claims from a responsible scientific viewpoint. Most people are familiar with the more popular subjects that we investigate such as astrology, fortune telling, UFOs and crop circles; But did you know that we also investigate topics like fundamentalism, Feng Shui, subluxations and vitamin supplements?”

    Vitamins are about the only subject of interest to the non-obscurantist.

    And here are some choice selections from the page of what they ARE skeptical about.

    http://www.skeptics.com.au/about/us/things-we-are-sceptical-of/

    Ghosts
    Ghouls
    Goblins
    Poltergeists
    Spoon Bending and Uri Geller
    Icons (Weeping, Perspiring, Milk-Slurping etc)
    Jim Morrison (Survival of)
    Fairies
    Speaking In Tongues
    Perpetual Motion Machines

    Milk Slurping???

    BUT no mention of fructose health warnings.

    You better tell them to update their list so they can squeeze it in between

    Free Energy Machines

    AND

    Fuel Economizers

    You make me smile Chris!!

  • Paul says:

    Chris wrote

    “It is now 12 days since I sent a comment containing six questions directed to David Gillespie. Those questions addressed the validity (or otherwise) of David’s scientific approach. David chose not to answer any of the six questions.”

    Clearly David has more sense than I do and decided it was pointless to engage you in debate.

    Exhibit 1 – You concede that on your own review of the literature 47% (9/19) of the studies on humans showed clearly negative effects and yet you persist in claiming David is an alarmist.

    Give it up Chris!

    Sink your teeth into one of the weighty topics that a talented skeptic like yourself is more suited to.

    Take your pick!

    You won’t get any argument from me on any of these.

    Bone Pointing
    Bridey Murphy
    Bunyips
    Cattle Mutilations
    Chain Letters
    Urine Therapy
    Vampires
    Virgin Births
    Visions
    Vitamin Supplements
    Voodoo
    Werewolves
    Witchcraft
    Yetis
    Yowies
    Zero Point Energy
    Zombies
    Tarot Cards
    Tasseography
    Tea-Leaf Readings
    Telekinesis
    Telepathy
    Theosophy

    Now I must go as I fear I we are becoming co-dependent and are driving every body who previously posted to this thread nuts with this exchange.

    Thankyou linesmen

    Thankyou Ball Boys.

  • Eran says:

    The reason Paul said “At least now I know why I haven’t heard much recently about interesting work being done by the Skeptics” becomes clear once you read the rest of his comments about Australian Skeptics.

    David, oops, I mean Paul, clearly hasn’t been paying attention, becasue he knows absolutely nothing about what we do. Perhaps it’s a PR failure on our part but I can assure you we do lot more than ghost busting.

    For example, we tackle pseudo scientific claims made by people who are clearly not equipped to deal with the material they try to investiate, but are too limited in their knowledge to realise the ridiculousness of their attempt.

    I must admit that I thought David had an interesting idea until I heard him speak in Brisbane and noticed that he used all the usuall tactics of pseudo science (It’s all a conspiracy to kill you! It’s a miracle we’re still alive! “They” don’t want you to know it! All the scientists have been bamboozled, but I alone found the truth!!!)

    I then realised that David had nothing interesting to say. Not because he was wrong – I was not in a position to judge – but because he was ‘not even wrong’, which is to say he himslef has no ability to judge his own idea. In skeptical circles, we call such a person a quack.

    It was not until I heard Chris on the radio that I relaised that the one lie I caught David at in Brisbane was a tiny little one compared to what he has done in his book.

    Refusing to answer questions (under his own name, at least), is another tactic of quacks. Well done, David. You are doing a wonderful job proving what we suspected already.

    Eran Segev
    President – Australian Skeptics

    P.S. Since I suspect this has become a bit of a private conversation by now, I will not be making any further comments or replying to any further straw-men posted here. But note that I wrote under my own name.

  • Paul says:

    Rest assured Eran, Paul is not David. (Talk about conspiracy theories!)

    Paul is just someone who has found both David’s passionate concerns about fructose and Chris’ passionate defence interesting.

    I am debating with Chris because I don’t understand his position whereas I have read David’s book and I know what David’s view is.

    I feel that Chris (and perhaps the skeptics) are missing the forest for the trees.

    Or to put it another way Chris has allowed himself to be distracted by David’s polemical style and is ignoring, whatever one may feel about aspects of David’s position or the way he presents it, that there is a clear case that fructose warrants close and careful investigation.

    If no other reason that fructose digestion is completely different to glucose digestion.

    I am genuinely surprised that the Skeptics place concerns about the level of fructose consumption by the general community in the same category as spoon bending.

    The good thing about fructose concerns is that they are able capable of scientific testing and thus you and I can watch with interest further research in this field.

    You may think that David does a poor job os surveying the field but you should keep in mind that he is not doing the primary research and people like yourself and Chris are free to conduct your own survey.

    But as I pointed out in my last post to Chris even his survey of the recent human studies showed 9 out 19 (47%) demonstrated clearly negative effects.

    You can not simply dimiss such research as little more than a bent spoon.

    Cheers
    Paul

    PS: I will take out a 12 month subscription of Skeptics when I get home as it is only fair that I give your organisation the benefit of the doubt. The world definitely needs more skeptics.

  • Susan says:

    Currently I am feeling like a fool. I am a big fan of the skeptics and David Gillespie. I do not know who to believe. I feel I am a victim of very clever communicators.

    Can somebody please tell me which part of the fructose metabolism David has incorrectly interpreted from the science he has looked at.

    Hoping to feel less like a fool soon!!

    Susan.

  • Paul (or perhaps David … or perhaps both) wrote: ‘You concede that on your own review of the literature 47% (9/19) of the studies on humans showed clearly negative effects and yet you persist in claiming David is an alarmist’.

    Paul (or perhaps David … or perhaps both), I’m sure your arithmetic is good enough to calculate that 12/19 studies (a majority at 53%) did NOT show negative effects from fructose. Clearly, the evidence is not conclusive one way or the other. Yet David concludes that we can ‘be absolutely certain that fructose is a killer of epidemic proportions’. No we can’t.

    In any case, those studies were not identified by David Gillespie. As I have mentioned umpteen times, he DENIED their very existence (and still hasn’t admitted that they exist). His conclusions did not take those (or any other human studies after 1985) into account. And you still accept that his (or perhaps your) approach to science is appropriate!

    As I have mentioned more than once, if David cannot answer the seven questions I have asked him, then he is tacitly admitting that he cannot substantiate his claim to have conducted a scientific review of the literature. His conclusions and advice are then of no value.

  • Susan, I understand and sympathise with your dilemma. David Gillespie is a smooth operator and I wouldn’t expect anyone who is not a nutritionist to be able to readily determine that he is a quack. Even the President of the Australian Skeptics wasn’t entirely sure until he heard my Ockham’s Razor program.

    As I’m sure you are aware, there are many quacks just as bad as David Gillespie and some even worse. Fortunately, if you take his advice, but also follow the dietary guidelines (which he describes as ‘ancient’) you will probably not be harmed by his pseudoscience.

    And quacks have been with us for a long time. Abraham Lincoln, who died 145 years ago, said ‘you can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.’ David, your time is up. You don’t fool anyone now.

  • Paul says:

    Chris (or is it Eran?) wrote

    “His conclusions did not take those (or any other human studies after 1985) into account. And you still accept that his (or perhaps your) approach to science is appropriate!”

    Now that is an excellent idea!

    Sorry David I am joining Club Chris.

    Chris – I am more than happy to rely on your review of the literature. (Though your approach to this issue hardly gives me confidence!)

    If you are telling me that 47% of the human studies since 1984 show clearly negative effects from eating fructose then that is more than enough for me (and I suspect most normal people) to avoid eating fructose whenever possible.

    Even a rat would not accept those odds.

    If you are comforted that 53% of studies that show either a postive or ‘Neutral’ result (what exactly was the split between the positive and neutral studies anyway?)that is your choice but you should have set that out in your Ockham Razor program.

    Perhaps it should have been titled.

    “Fructose – Playing the Odds – 53% good/maybe v 47% bad”

    or

    “Sugar! – Do you feel lucky punk?”

    By the way Chris – despite the great volume of your posts you have never addressed the point raised by Susan.

    Is David’s understanding how the body metabolises fructose incorrect?

    It has been my impression that you don’t seem to appreciate that there is a major difference between glucose and fructose and how they are metabolised in the body? In particular the specific role of the liver in relation to fructose.

    Perhaps you should set out all the science in David’s book that you DO agree with just so Susan and I are clear on where you believe the science ends and the quacking starts.

    Be careful!

    It would be embarassing if your only substantive disagreement is that David did not realise that the evidence in support of his position was even stronger than he realised (47% of human tests clearly negative).

    Lately your position has become very precarious. It seems David is a quack because when he said fructose was bad he did not fully reaslise how bad it was. GOSH that must be the crime of the century.

    Perhaps you are not splitting hairs – perhaps you are splitting quills.

    Cheers
    Paul

    If it gives you any comfort there are some things that David says in the book that I don’t agree with but they are not matters of great susbtance and do not detract from the central message of his book which is that there is NO GOOD reason for adding fructose to the diet beyond what you would get from whole fruit.

    Do I follow his advice strictly – unfortunately no – but to the extent that I do I feel a whole lot better than I did before.

  • Susan says:

    Dear Chris,

    Thanks for trying to make me feel less like a fool, but I am still really interested in the errors in David’s understanding of the biochemistry of fructose. I dont suppose you could outline the problems briefly for me.

    Thanks

    Susan.

  • Paul,

    I realise that if you are not David Gillespie (and according to the President of the Australian Skeptics you clearly are) then you are at least his mouthpiece. If the latter applies, I don’t know whether you are self-appointed or anointed by David.

    I also understand that your main function is to try to distract the readers of these comments from David’s unwillingness to answer my questions (because if he did answer them honestly he would be admitting he had botched his attempt to implicate fructose in the obesity epidemic and as a cause of most of the chronic diseases afflicting the developed world).

    As it stands he has tacitly admitted this by not answering those seven questions.

    But I won’t play your little game. I have already addressed the issues you brought up in your latest comment.

    Rather, I will wait until my article is published in the Australian Skeptics magazine and then send the URL in a comment to this blog entry. My article addresses some new issues about David’s lack of understanding of scientific concepts.

    BTW, you have already retired twice from this list, only to make two comebacks. If you keep this up you will start to rival Nellie Melba!

  • Susan,

    If you read my 25 or so comments you will see that there is no need to go into David’s understanding of the biochemistry of fructose; it is irrelevant to my criticism (and that of the President of Australian Skeptics) of David’s treatment (or rather abuse) of the science behind his claims.

    If you are genuinely interested in improving your knowledge of how food and physical activity can improve your health, I suggest you access the information available at the following sites:

    (i) Nutrition Australia:

    http://www.nutritionaustralia.org/

    (ii) The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating:

    http://www.goforyourlife.vic.gov.
    au/hav/articles.nsf/pages/
    Australian_Guide_to_Healthy_
    Eating?open

    (iii) The ACSM physical activity guidelines:

    http://www.acsm.org/AM/Template.
    cfmSection=Home_Page&TEMPLATE=
    CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=7764

    Happy eating (and exercising)!

  • Paul says:

    Cheers Chris

    As I am now a subscriber to Skeptics I can read your article when it arrives in the post!

    I am surprised that after our long debate you would think I am a mouthpiece for David or anyone else for that matter. As for Eran being convinced that I am David well his powers of deduction need some polishing.

    David’s book alerted me to the difference between fructose and glucose metabolism and the significance of that difference. It also caused me to pay close attention to my sugar intake and reduce it significantly.

    The net result is that after reading his book the amount of sugar I eat is a lot less than I did before, but I am no abstainer even though I am satisfied it would do me no harm to limit my fructose intake to eating moderate amounts of whole fruit.

    Sure David uses some strong and colourful language and some of it was perhaps too polemical – even though I had no trouble getting the essential point he was making.

    But your reaction was and has been progressively more off the planet and unreasonable as our debate has progressed. Which is unfortunate because you were not nearly so unreasonable in your radio program.

    Had you limited your criticism to David’s more literary flourishes you would have been on safer ground but then I suppose those quibbles would have hardly made for good radio.

    Likewise if David was as sober and precise as you seem to think he should have been he would not have had a radio program nor published a book and I would still be eating far too much sugar than even you would approve.

    Best wishes.

    Paul.

    And no I am not Nellie Melba (or her mouth piece)

  • Susan says:

    Dear Chris,

    Can you let me know if you agree or disagree with the following statements?

    We have increased our sugar comsumption in the last 30 years.

    Levels of insulin and leptin in the bloodstream allow the hypothalmus to regulate our appetite.

    High levels of fatty acids in the blood block the action of leptin and insulin.

    Fructose is invisible to these hormonal appetite controls.

    Eating sugars increase LDLs in the blood

    Eating sugar increases the uric acid levels in the blood.

    Eating sugar increases cortisol production.

    Increase sugar consumption does correlate to an increase in CHD.

    Increae in fat consumption does not correlate to an increase in CHD.

    Metabolism of fructose leads directly to the producation fatty acids in the blood.

    Thanks.

    Susan.

  • Susan,

    As mentioned in my response to your earlier comment, the questions you ask aren’t relevant to the issues I raised in my Ockham’s Razor program and in the 25 (or thereabouts) comments I have already sent in response to ‘Attack of the Chocolatier’.

    Your questions raise a whole new issue. Frankly, I would rather run a marathon barefoot over broken glass than take part in another 70-message exchange about David’s dodgy science.

    However, I will point out that I have never denied the possibility (and it may even be a reasonably high probability) that excessive (note the word ‘excessive’) consumption of fructose is involved in the obesity epidemic.

    My main point is that David Gillespie’s argument is so weak that he hasn’t contributed one iota to showing any such relationship.

    Other problems I have with David’s position include his claims that added fructose is a poison at any dose and that it is addictive in humans. There is no scientific evidence to support either of these beliefs.

    Finally, there are many possible causes of (or contributors to) the epidemics of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and so on. The scientific evidence (as opposed to the pseudo-scientific evidence David has put forward) is equivocal about what is driving these epidemics. It is too early, and may even be wholly incorrect to conclude, as David does, that we can ‘be absolutely certain that fructose is a killer of epidemic proportions’.

    Anyway, I’m off to have a cappuccino (with one sugar) and a Tim-Tam.

    Now let’s see … what will I have for dessert tonight? How about a small serve of tiramisu … or apple pie (with ice cream) … or perhaps cassata …

    Cheers and happy eating (but remember to consume only moderate amounts of sugars and foods containing added sugars)

  • Susan says:

    Dear Chris, I totally understand you do not want to get into a long discussion of the biochemistry.

    I would be really grateful if you could just answer one of my questions.

    Is it true that after the ingestion of sugar (glucose and fructose)the brain only ‘sees’ half the calorific value i.e. the fructose is invisible to the particular part of the endocrine system that allows the hypothalmus to govern our appetit?

    This, for me, was a big revelation in “Sweet Poison”. I have a degree in biochemistry and microbiology. This was gained 25 years ago, however, I have kept an interest in the field and have friends who are nutritionists and research scientists in the field. I had not managed to pick up this info. from them or the mainstream ‘health’ media. I managed to get the message about 30 mins of walking each day and to just consume lean meat, fruit and vegetables. I also gained a belief that low fat food was the way to go.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Susan.

  • Susan says:

    Hi anybody reading this, I dont know if you are aware, but I have asked Chris a question about fructose in my last post. He has not answered it. He has been on the ‘sweet poison’ site as he has made another comment on the blog concering the article about margarine advertising. At the risk of being a pain, I thought I would let everybody know.

    It would be great if you could answer Chris!!

  • Um … Susan … you asked your question yesterday afternoon and you are impatient towards me for not answering it by this afternoon!

    I’ve sent something like 30 comments to this site over the past three weeks (at an average rate of more than one per day). Today I sent a comment to some of David’s other blogs, to his blog entry on Crikey and to several other email discussion lists. In the past two weeks I’ve also written an article about ‘Sweet Poison’ for the Australian Skeptics (it will be in the March issue of the AS magazine). I’m prepared to spend an hour or two each day on this matter, but no more.

    Also, many (or most) of the comments I have sent about David’s inappropriately titled ‘Attack of the Chocolatier’ were highly critical of his approach, yet the only comment he sent in response contained yet another incorrect claim.

    I have also been trying for more than two weeks to get answers from David to questions that effectively demolish his argument if he cannot satisfactorily answer them. He hasn’t attempted to answer any of them (his only response did not address any of my questions).

    So perhaps you could forgive me for not replying immediately to your question.

    However, the main reason for not answering immediately is that I simply don’t know the correct answer. It is 40 years since I studied biochemistry formally, and I haven’t kept up with the literature enough to be in a position to give an expert opinion.

    There are biochemists on the Nutritionists Network (‘Nut-Net’). I’ve emailed your message to my work address and will forward your question to Nut-Net tomorrow.

    I hope to be able to provide you with an informed answer this week.

    Cheers and happy eating.

  • Susan says:

    Dear Chris,

    Thanks.

    Susan.

  • Susan says:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090325091811.htm

    I found this article describing research done at John Hopkins.

    Its findings show that fructose increases appetite and glucose decreases it. I dont suppose you would be able to comment on the science. It is about 1 year old so I am sure your nutrition/biochemistry buddies would be across it.

    Susan.

  • Susan says:

    Sorry, I should have addressed that last post to Chris. I actually imagine it is just you and I here!

    Susan.

  • Susan,

    No-one on Nut-Net argued against the idea that fructose isn’t ‘seen’ by the hypothalamus, while glucose is.

    I believe it is entirely reasonable for the authors of the article you referenced to conclude that ‘There is a large literature now that correlates, but does not prove that a culprit in the rise of teenage obesity may be fructose.’

    I also believe that fructose is a possible culprit in adult obesity, but so too are three or four other prime candidates (which I have previously mentioned).

    One Nut-Net subscriber sent the following (from Medscape, 8 Jul 08):

    ‘Fructose is a monosaccharide found naturally, primarily in fruits. It is typically consumed as sucrose (table sugar), which consists of equal parts of fructose and glucose or as a component of HFCS. Both HFCS and sucrose are frequently added as sweeteners to many processed foods and beverages. Patterns of fructose consumption among US children and adults have not been well described previously, although a study by Bray and colleagues in the April 2004 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition estimated that total fructose intake for US adults and children 2 years of age and older increased from 8.8% from 1977 to 1978 to 9.4% between 1989 and 1991 and 11.5% between 1994 and 1998.

    ‘Animal studies suggest that long-term fructose consumption causes dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, obesity, and other features of the metabolic syndrome. There are no long-term, controlled trials in humans, but short-term studies have shown that fructose concentrations ranging from 7.5% to 25% of total kilocalories per day may result in hyperlipidemia and insulin resistance.’

    Another sent a reference to a book chapter from 2004 that discusses the (then) understanding of hormonal influences on obesity. The URL is:

    http://ep.physoc.org/content/89/5/507.full.pdf

    Another sent the following:

    ‘While it doesn’t specifically mention fructose, a paper in Medscape of 4 Feb 2010 goes through the hormonal influences on appetite and body fat levels. The role of insulin is somewhat different from the David Gillespie view.

    ‘It doesn’t argue against the basic laws of thermodynamics, but has a good explanation of why appetite regulation varies with exercise and the differences in this between men and women.’

    In summary, I believe that the NHMRC dietary guideline to ‘consume only moderate amounts of sugars and foods containing added sugars’ is wholly appropriate.

    Happy eating.

    Chris.

  • Susan says:

    Dear Chris,

    Thanks for that.

    Susan.

  • rachel says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Matte says:

    AT first i though it had to do with a new way of technology that is been tested in chocolate for some weird reason. But it ended up some how being some type of propaganda for Nestle. What will come next an alliance to make
    Viagra last longer

  • Tony Curl says:

    What is OUR Role in all this. We listen to arguments, we look at all the conflicting Diet Books in the Book Stores, we pick our way through all the LOW FAT options at the supermarket, we watch as our friends and relatives all choof of to the gym, yet somehow the world is getting fatter. We don’t seem to be helping each other here. The basic principle in my eyes is simple, we are primarily Hunter / Gatherers who walked a hell of a lot. That is the regime that I have and funnily enough, I sit in any healthy weight range for my size. David’s book further opened my eyes on some of the dangers of both sugar and artificial sweeteners, and for that I can only thank him. Stay educated, stay informed and make the choices that best suit you….WE have brought this obesity epidemic on.

    Curly

  • Freda says:

    All I know is that since I have cut Fructose out of my diet, my appetite control has kicked in and I have lost 7kilos in 9 weeks. I am very sedentary because I have an injured ankle and can’t walk anywhere for long. Thank you David for opening my eyes to all of this.

  • rayhome says:

    Wow what an entertaining read this blog has been. Here’s a quick summary from a very lay person’s perspective. Chis,Paul,Terri and not so much David have engaged in an almost hilarious tet-tet about “facts”. Like it or not there can be no argument about the fact that we all consume more sugar than perhaps we should. David’s book alerted me to the insidious hidden sugars in the food we eat. Chris failed to answer any of Susan’s questions other than refering to a bunch of texts. At least David and Paul tried, but I don’t blame them for pulling out of the debate. Chris should try reading this blog from the begining and see how petty his arguments are. Sure David’s book might have drawn what may, by the “scientific” community be seen as unsupported conclusions SO WHAT. There can be no doubt that restricting sugar in your diet will help loose weight. Thank you Susan for your succinct posts asking the important questions. From a former sugarholic who has lost 8 kgs and seen his cholesterol drop by 3 points. Who is healthier than I have been in 15 yrs simply by cutting out fructose from my diet, well I don’t care if Davids book is based on hard science it works for me. Go David skeptics be damned.

  • Paul says:

    Hi Rayhome

    Yes the thread is a long and winding road. Glad you enjoyed it – if that is the right word!

    One thing that I have found the longer I have been on ‘fructose’ alert is that my sense of ‘sweetness’ has continued to re-calibrate. I have found that I have become increasingly sensitive to ‘sweet’ and now find unpleasant the way that many many foods are laced with fructose in its many forms.

    If the sweetness of glucose is 1, fructose is about 1.7 (getting towards twice as sweet) – do a comparison taste of pure fructose and glucose and the difference is remarkable. When people talk about sweetness, they are talking about fructose.

    Where I once ‘tucked into wonderful desserts’ on a regular basis I find most of them now cloying and sickly.

    Not only is the body not designed to metabolise the large quantities of fructose encountered in most people’s diets, I believe the intense sweetness of fructose is strongly habit forming if not actually addictive. (some studies on rats have given support for this already)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_addiction

    Needless to say – not all people will find fructose habit forming or addictive in the same way not all people become hooked on smoking or other addictive drugs.

    But I am confident that over the next few years we will find that many many people are very susceptible to the ‘sweet’ sensation.

    I think many of the major food processors know this very well already.

    It is just a shame that Chris prefers to obscure the issues and remain part of the problem as he appears to know his way around scientific literature.

    Cheers
    Paul.

  • rayhome says:

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for the support. I also have had the same experience with sweet things. Most importantly for me has been the appetite control. Once upon a time I would happily sit down to a three course meal including dessert, and be looking for supper of cheese and port a couple of hours later. Now I order a main only and I happily watch all my friends adding to there waistlines as they chug into pudding and sticky wines. I don’t know how many other people have had this experience but it has been a huge influence on how I eat. It gets hard when you go out for dinner with friends and watch them eat and all you want to do is jump on the soapbox and cry out “STOP EATING SUGAR”.However most of my friends are more interested in how I lost so much weight so quickly. Sometime I wish I was getting a commission from David for the number of books he has sold directly as a result of my experience. Good health due to fructose exclusion from my diet has been the best thing to happen to me.

  • Freda says:

    Ummmmmmmmmm….Chris is very quiet.

  • Hello Freda, and welcome to the debate.

    You wrote: ‘Ummmmmmmmmm….Chris is very quiet.’

    I tried last week to send a comment, but Google works in mysterious ways — the password that worked perfectly last year wasn’t accepted, so my comment disappeared. Here is a second attempt, with a new password.

    There isn’t much I can say that I haven’t already said, either here or in other forums. I can really only reiterate that David Gillespie has grossly exaggerated the case against fructose as the sole cause of the epidemics of obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Rayhome has hit the nail on the head by pointing out that ‘David’s book might have drawn what may, by the “scientific” community be seen as unsupported conclusions …’. David’s conclusions are not only unsupported, they are based on inexcusable distortions of the scientific evidence.

    David — whose sole qualification in this area is that he ‘almost failed Biology and Chemistry in high school’ (Sweet Poison, p. 9) — claims to have demonstrated from the scientific evidence that fructose is a poison at any dose and that zero consumption is the only safe level. The world’s most highly qualified researchers and experts in the field have examined the same evidence and unanimously concluded that there is a safe dose. The World Health Organisation, American Heart Association, the (Australian) National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and other health bodies have all set limits on the safe level of consumption that are above zero.

    David claims that the debate is over — that fructose is unquestionably the sole cause of the epidemics previously mentioned. I know of no reputable nutritionist who agrees that the debate is ‘over’. The title of a recent and very comprehensive review of the literature by Wiernsperger et al. (Clinics, Vol 65, No. 7, 2010) makes this clear: ‘Fructose and cardiometabolic disorders: the controversy will, and must, continue’. These authors ‘infer from the available dataset that (fructose) is harmless in healthy individuals, at least at levels below 50-100 g/d. However, it also appears clear that individuals at risk for metabolic syndromes, T2DM or cardiovascular diseases should be cautious because evidence shows that they are much more susceptible to (high fructose consumption) than the general population. Thus, the controversy continues …’.

    David compounds his errors by having nothing to say about the deleterious effects of excess sodium in our diet (most Australians consume about five times their physiological requirement for sodium, resulting in high blood pressure, strokes and heart disease among many middle-aged and older Australians). He also neglects to mention the inappropriately high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in the typical Australian diet, our generally poor status with respect to iodine, vitamin D and (especially in women) iron. In short, his advice exemplifies the old saying ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.’

    Unlike David Gillespie, the NHMRC’s Dietary Guidelines for Australians take a whole-of-diet approach to health, including the recommendation that we ‘consume only moderate amounts of sugars and foods containing added sugars’. The Dietary Guidelines aim to ensure that diet promotes good health in a holistic manner, while David is ‘putting all his eggs in one basket’ (with no hard science to support his case).

    As I’ve mentioned many times previously, David Gillespie is not a reliable source of information on diet for weight control or for health, or on the effects of added fructose on human health.

  • Paul says:

    Hi Freda,
    Not quiet enough
    I received this post from Chris but it did not appear on the blog. In this spirit of encouraging a range of opinions thought I would try to post it within a post by me.
    Needless to say I have some comments which I will make in due course.
    In the meantime here is a more interesting read from the New York Times
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all
    Regards
    Paul

    “Hello Freda, and welcome to the debate.

    You wrote: ‘Ummmmmmmmmm….Chris is very quiet.’

    I tried last week to send a comment, but Google works in mysterious ways — the password that worked perfectly last year wasn’t accepted, so my comment disappeared. Here is a second attempt, with a new password.

    There isn’t much I can say that I haven’t already said, either here or in other forums. I can really only reiterate that David Gillespie has grossly exaggerated the case against fructose as the sole cause of the epidemics of obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Rayhome has hit the nail on the head by pointing out that ‘David’s book might have drawn what may, by the “scientific” community be seen as unsupported conclusions …’. David’s conclusions are not only unsupported, they are based on inexcusable distortions of the scientific evidence.

    David — whose sole qualification in this area is that he ‘almost failed Biology and Chemistry in high school’ (Sweet Poison, p. 9) — claims to have demonstrated from the scientific evidence that fructose is a poison at any dose and that zero consumption is the only safe level. The world’s most highly qualified researchers and experts in the field have examined the same evidence and unanimously concluded that there is a safe dose. The World Health Organisation, American Heart Association, the (Australian) National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and other health bodies have all set limits on the safe level of consumption that are above zero.

    David claims that the debate is over — that fructose is unquestionably the sole cause of the epidemics previously mentioned. I know of no reputable nutritionist who agrees that the debate is ‘over’. The title of a recent and very comprehensive review of the literature by Wiernsperger et al. (Clinics, Vol 65, No. 7, 2010) makes this clear: ‘Fructose and cardiometabolic disorders: the controversy will, and must, continue’. These authors ‘infer from the available dataset that (fructose) is harmless in healthy individuals, at least at levels below 50-100 g/d. However, it also appears clear that individuals at risk for metabolic syndromes, T2DM or cardiovascular diseases should be cautious because evidence shows that they are much more susceptible to (high fructose consumption) than the general population. Thus, the controversy continues …’.

    David compounds his errors by having nothing to say about the deleterious effects of excess sodium in our diet (most Australians consume about five times their physiological requirement for sodium, resulting in high blood pressure, strokes and heart disease among many middle-aged and older Australians). He also neglects to mention the inappropriately high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in the typical Australian diet, our generally poor status with respect to iodine, vitamin D and (especially in women) iron. In short, his advice exemplifies the old saying ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.’

    Unlike David Gillespie, the NHMRC’s Dietary Guidelines for Australians take a whole-of-diet approach to health, including the recommendation that we ‘consume only moderate amounts of sugars and foods containing added sugars’. The Dietary Guidelines aim to ensure that diet promotes good health in a holistic manner, while David is ‘putting all his eggs in one basket’ (with no hard science to support his case).

    As I’ve mentioned many times previously, David Gillespie is not a reliable source of information on diet for weight control or for health, or on the effects of added fructose on human health. “

  • Paul says:

    Welcome back Chris,

    I see that your deep affection for things fructose laden has not diminished the bitter and sour notes in your posts!

    I have tried to ignore your tedious play the man not the ball technique even though you have clearly cranked up your quill to the ‘scratch’ setting

    I have to agree that you don’t have much to say that you hadn’t already said but I did detect a few changes in nuance in your post ( greater distortion of David’s central message, further retreat from your initial ‘tuck into those wonderful desserts’ position) no doubt because you too are finally becoming aware of the increasing concerns around the world regarding excessive fructose consumption.

    Your opinion is clear – provided you are a fit healthy individual who undertakes high levels of exercise you can safely eat amounts of fructose far less than what the average person normally eats.

    So what!

    Your position is meaningless to the millions of average people who do not live the vigorous active life of the average jam making Tasmanian chocolatier. Nor to the millions of people who have developed metabolic syndrome (due most likely to excessive fructose and fructose laced High GI refined carbohydrates). Nor to the millions of people who continue to think that fruit juice is a healthy snack for school children. Nor to the millions of people who find it incredibly difficult to resist eating foods that have been laced with the intense sweetness of fructose by food manufacturers.

    The food processing industry use the intense sweetness of fructose to lace all sorts of products to increase sales. That is why fructose is added to just about everything including lots of Hi GI highly refined carbohydrates.

    Take a walk through the super market and count the number of aisles where the products are little more than ‘fructose’ delivery systems.

    A bit of healthy scepticism in the direction of the food processing industry might be a better use of your time but of course that might conflict with your apparent role as defender in chief of the sugary contents of SAS ration packs.

    Cheers
    Paul.

  • Paul says:

    Hi Freda,
    Not quiet enough

    I received a post from Chris but it did not appear on the blog – you may also received it. In the spirit of encouraging a range of opinions I tried to post it within a post by me. At first it appeared but then it vanished. Thus my response to his post appears but not Chris’s actual comment. Which is frustrating.

    Here is a more interesting read from the New York Times. It is by Gary Taube who wrote the good calorie Bad Calorie book. It is interesting because in that book Taube did not especially pick out sugar from the carbohydrates (he is generally a low carb proponent). It appears that he is developing an interest in the specific issues concerning fructose. Search yourtube for Lustig and you find his videos.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

    Regards
    Paul

  • Sorry for all the confusion. I have now discovered that Google has an automatic spam detector for comments. For some reason it decided that what Chris had to say (and Paul’s reposting of it) was spam ….

    Anyway, I’ve told it they aint and it appears to have reinstated them above, so now we can read the comments in context.

    Cheers
    David.

  • Google is still not behaving itself. This is my fourth attempt to post the following comment.

    In a recent comment, Paul recommended a newspaper article by a journalist, Gary Taubes. Unusually for Paul, he has actually referred us to something approaching a scientific argument on this occasion.

    And although Taubes’ ideas do bear some similarity to those of David Gillespie, Taubes does not claim that the debate is ‘over’ — i.e. that fructose is clearly the cause of obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Rather, Taubes points to evidence that high (note the word ‘high’) fructose intakes may (note the word ‘may’) be causing these problems. He concedes that most of the evidence comes from animal studies, and then states that “If what happens in laboratory rodents also happens in humans, and if we are eating enough sugar to make it happen, then we are in trouble.” He is personally convinced that the evidence is strong enough for him to worry (‘Sugar scares me …’), but finishes with: “Officially I’m not supposed to worry because the evidence isn’t conclusive, but I do.”

    This hardly constitutes a science-based claim that the case against fructose has been proven. Paul, after you have read Taubes’ article, try the article by the Boden Professor of Nutrition at the University of Sydney, Prof Ian Caterson, available at:
    http://www.abc.net.au/health/talkinghealth/factbuster/stories/2011/03/29/3176597.htm
    Prof Caterson—who is one of Australia’s leading nutritionists, not a journalist (or lawyer)—states unequivocally that ‘the notion there’s a direct link between eating sugar and developing diabetes is a myth.’
    The debate is clearly far from ‘over’.

    Paul also claims that I have a ‘deep affection for things fructose laden …’ and that I initially recommended that people ‘tuck into those wonderful desserts’. Paul is clearly an ideologue who has no intention of letting the truth get in the way of his pre-conceived and non-science-based beliefs. My position is, and has been throughout this debate, that fructose in large quantities is very (even overwhelmingly) likely to be harmful to human health, while fructose consumption in moderation is almost certainly harmless. My position has also been, and continues to be, that David Gillespie has grossly exaggerated the case against fructose as the sole cause of the epidemics of obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

  • Gordon says:

    I’m so glad that this thread has been reactivated!

    I was very distressed to read this blog and the posts by Chris in his attempts to detract from David’s message. David’s hypotheses are very interesting and he is certainly not alone in his conclusions about the dangers of fructose consumption in the forms supplied in high doses in our western diet.

    I did some further reading (as much as I could) into the studies reportedly showing neutral or beneficial effects that Chris mentioned before. I was alarmed to find out that I think that Chris has misinterpreted some of the conclusions of these studies. Some of the negative effects were not mentioned in the article abstracts but buried in the full text. I could not get full text for some of the journals either unfortunately. Here is my very concise summary of the articles below.

    Am J Clin Nutr l984;39:525-53
    Crapo et al: two week study of 11 people. Neutral effects. Showed that swapping pure fructose for sucrose in an otherwise similar (low fat) diet caused a reduction in post meal glucose levels and insulin levels. No effect was noted on insulin resistance, and triglycerides.

    Diabetes Care May 1989 vol. 12 no. 5 337-344
    I couldn’t get full text of this one. Anderson et al. six month study of 16 subjects comparing a high carb/high fibre diet to one with added 50-60g fructose. Neutral effects on plasma triglycerides or cholesterol although subjects on test diet did gain weight.

    Am J Clin Nutr 1994;59(suppl):753S-7S
    Uusitupa. Review article. Neutral to negative effects. Reduction in post meal glucose and insulin. But may cause a marked increase in triglycerides in some individuals. Recommended a safe amount is less that 35-50 grams total sugars per day. (THIS IS A VERY SMALL AMOUNT! One bowl of sultana bran contains about 60g sugar and most people would not consider this to be a sweet cereal.

  • Gordon says:

    Am J Clin Nutr 2006;84:1374–9.
    Le et al. Four week study of 7 people. Negative effects mostly. Four weeks of high fructose diet caused a marked increase in circulating VLDL and triglycerides. The authors concluded that even a modest increase in fructose is likely to cause a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease. There also seemed to be some impairment of glucose production caused by high fructose. Interestingly, after four weeks none of the subjects showed a weight gain or decreased insulin sensitivity (which I guess would be considered neutral effects). The subjects in this study were fed the fructose as a fructose solution (not as sucrose or HFCS). So the absence of glucose in the mix may make the results not relevant to the real world.

    Diabetes Care November 1996 vol. 19 no. 11 1249-1256
    THIS STUDY WAS PARTLY FUNDED BY THE BRAZILLIAN SUGAR COOPERATIVE
    Melerbi et al. Month long (on each diet) study of 16 type 2 diabetics fed three different diets for one month each (low sugar – high starch, all sugars as sucrose, all sugars as fructose). Neutral effects on triglycerides and cholesterol seen between all three groups. Although there was a statistically non-significant trend in the high sucrose/fructose diets for increased triglycerides and cholesterol.

    Diabet Med. 1987 Jan-Feb;4(1):62-4
    Couldn’t get full text for this one. For week study of ten type 2 diabetics. Beneficial effects. During the test diet, 25% of the usual carbohydrates were substituted with fructose. The test diet resulted in improved glucose tolerance without affecting serum triglycerides or cholesterol.

    J-Intern-Med. 1993 Feb; 233(2): 145-53
    Koivisto et al. Three weeks on each diet study of 10 type 2 diabetics. Beneficial and negative. Replacement of sugars with fructose in the test diet resulted in better glycaemic control without effects on cholesterol BUT also resulted in higher serum triglycerides.

    Am J Med. 1987 Aug;83(2):249-55
    Osei et al. 12 week Study of 18 type 2 diabetics (mostly insulin-dependent). Neutral effects. Comparing high fructose diet in one group with sugar free diet in control group. No significant differences between two groups.

    Diabetes Care 24:1882–1887, 2001
    Moore et al. Study of five obese type 2 diabetics. Beneficial effects. Study showed that addition of 7.5g fructose to a 75g load of glucose improved glucose tolerance. This study was specific for the tolerance of the body for an acute glucose load. In consideration that fructose (in the form of sucrose) in the diet is chronic rather than acute I’m not convinced about the relevance.

    Diabet Med. 1989 Aug;6(6):506-11.
    Couldn’t get full text for this one. Osei et al. Study of 13 poorly controlled type 2 diabetics. Beneficial effects. Test diet substituted fructose for normal sugars over a six month period for each diet type. The fructose diet seemed to help the subjects glycaemic control a small amount (their glycaemic control was still poor even on the fructose diet). No differences in triglycerides or cholesterol.

  • Gordon says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Gordon says:

    Diabet Med. 1987 Jan-Feb;4(1):62-4
    Couldn’t get full text for this one. For week study of ten type 2 diabetics. Beneficial effects. During the test diet, 25% of the usual carbohydrates were substituted with fructose. The test diet resulted in improved glucose tolerance without affecting serum triglycerides or cholesterol.

    J-Intern-Med. 1993 Feb; 233(2): 145-53
    Koivisto et al. Three weeks on each diet study of 10 type 2 diabetics. Beneficial and negative. Replacement of sugars with fructose in the test diet resulted in better glycaemic control without effects on cholesterol BUT also resulted in higher serum triglycerides.

    Am J Med. 1987 Aug;83(2):249-55
    Osei et al. 12 week Study of 18 type 2 diabetics (mostly insulin-dependent). Neutral effects. Comparing high fructose diet in one group with sugar free diet in control group. No significant differences between two groups.

    Diabetes Care 24:1882–1887, 2001
    Moore et al. Study of five obese type 2 diabetics. Beneficial effects. Study showed that addition of 7.5g fructose to a 75g load of glucose improved glucose tolerance. This study was specific for the tolerance of the body for an acute glucose load. In consideration that fructose (in the form of sucrose) in the diet is chronic rather than acute I’m not convinced about the relevance.

    Diabet Med. 1989 Aug;6(6):506-11.
    Couldn’t get full text for this one. Osei et al. Study of 13 poorly controlled type 2 diabetics. Beneficial effects. Test diet substituted fructose for normal sugars over a six month period for each diet type. The fructose diet seemed to help the subjects glycaemic control a small amount (their glycaemic control was still poor even on the fructose diet). No differences in triglycerides or cholesterol.

    Am J Clin Nutr 1989;50:1015-1022
    Crapo et al. Three month study of five type 2 diabetic subjects. Neutral effects with one very negative comment. The diet fed had all the sucrose replaced with fructose alone with calories carefully adjusted to maintain weight. There were no changes in blood triglycerides or VLDL after three months. The five subjects had pretty good triglycerides at the beginning of the study. The “negative” effects were that there was actually a sixth subject that was not included in the study because they had high triglycerides at the beginning. After 50days on high fructose their serum triglycerides and free fatty acids went WAY up (about 65%).

    Clinical Nutrition (2006) 25, 617–621
    Vaisman et al. 25 type two diabetics divided into two groups. Neutral effects. Subjects were fed supplements three times per day causing an addition of 22.5g per day of pure fructose to their normal diet in the test group. The control group were supplemented with 22.5mg per day of maltodextrin. At the end of the study there were no differences between the two groups. The test group did not demonstrate an increase in circulating triglycerides. The researchers were also unable to demonstrate any improvement in glycaemic control in the test group which is what they were actually testing for. I’m not convinced of the relevance of this study as I couldn’t find any reference to how much sucrose/fructose was in the subjects’ “normal diets”.

  • I suspect that I’m not the only one having problems with access to this site. I received notification that ‘Gordon’ had sent several comments, which I also received, but apart from one reference to a comment having been removed by the author, none have appeared as a comment on Attack of the Chocolatier. Following Paul’s initiative, I’ll send the relevant ones I received from Gordon, embedded in messages from me, and will then respond.

    First message from Gordon:

    From: Gordon [mailto:noreply-comment@blogger.com]
    Sent: Sunday, 24 April 2011 7:43 AM
    To: forbes-ewan@tassie.net.au
    Subject: [Raisin Hell] New comment on Attack of the Chocolatier.

    Gordon has left a new comment on the post “Attack of the Chocolatier”:

    I’m so glad that this thread has been reactivated!

    I was very distressed to read this blog and the posts by Chris in his attempts to detract from David’s message. David’s hypotheses are very interesting and he is certainly not alone in his conclusions about the dangers of fructose consumption in the forms supplied in high doses in our western diet.

    I did some further reading (as much as I could) into the studies reportedly showing neutral or beneficial effects that Chris mentioned before. I was alarmed to find out that I think that Chris has misinterpreted some of the conclusions of these studies. Some of the negative effects were not mentioned in the article abstracts but buried in the full text. I could not get full text for some of the journals either unfortunately. Here is my very concise summary of the articles below.

    Am J Clin Nutr l984;39:525-53
    Crapo et al: two week study of 11 people. Neutral effects. Showed that swapping pure fructose for sucrose in an otherwise similar (low fat) diet caused a reduction in post meal glucose levels and insulin levels. No effect was noted on insulin resistance, and triglycerides.

    Diabetes Care May 1989 vol. 12 no. 5 337-344
    I couldn’t get full text of this one. Anderson et al. six month study of 16 subjects comparing a high carb/high fibre diet to one with added 50-60g fructose. Neutral effects on plasma triglycerides or cholesterol although subjects on test diet did gain weight.

    Am J Clin Nutr 1994;59(suppl):753S-7S
    Uusitupa. Review article. Neutral to negative effects. Reduction in post meal glucose and insulin. But may cause a marked increase in triglycerides in some individuals. Recommended a safe amount is less that 35-50 grams total sugars per day. (THIS IS A VERY SMALL AMOUNT! One bowl of sultana bran contains about 60g sugar and most people would not consider this to be a sweet cereal.

    More of Gordon’s first comment in my next message.

  • Part 2 of Gordon’s first comment, ‘posted by Gordon to Raisin Hell at April 24, 2011 7:43 AM’

    Am J Clin Nutr 2006;84:1374–9.
    Le et al. Four week study of 7 people. Negative effects mostly. Four weeks of high fructose diet caused a marked increase in circulating VLDL and triglycerides. The authors concluded that even a modest increase in fructose is likely to cause a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease. There also seemed to be some impairment of glucose production caused by high fructose. Interestingly, after four weeks none of the subjects showed a weight gain or decreased insulin sensitivity (which I guess would be considered neutral effects). The subjects in this study were fed the fructose as a fructose solution (not as sucrose or HFCS). So the absence of glucose in the mix may make the results not relevant to the real world.

    Diabetes Care November 1996 vol. 19 no. 11 1249-1256
    THIS STUDY WAS PARTLY FUNDED BY THE BRAZILLIAN SUGAR COOPERATIVE
    Melerbi et al. Month long (on each diet) study of 16 type 2 diabetics fed three different diets for one month each (low sugar – high starch, all sugars as sucrose, all sugars as fructose). Neutral effects on triglycerides and cholesterol seen between all three groups. Although there was a statistically non-significant trend in the high sucrose/fructose diets for increased triglycerides and cholesterol.

    Diabet Med. 1987 Jan-Feb;4(1):62-4
    Couldn’t get full text for this one. For week study of ten type 2 diabetics. Beneficial effects. During the test diet, 25% of the usual carbohydrates were substituted with fructose. The test diet resulted in improved glucose tolerance without affecting serum triglycerides or cholesterol.

    J-Intern-Med. 1993 Feb; 233(2): 145-53
    Koivisto et al. Three weeks on each diet study of 10 type 2 diabetics. Beneficial and negative. Replacement of sugars with fructose in the test diet resulted in better glycaemic control without effects on cholesterol BUT also resulted in higher serum triglycerides.

    I have more but will post it subsequently.

    Post a comment.

    Unsubscribe to comments on this post.

    Posted by Gordon to Raisin Hell at April 24, 2011 7:43 AM

  • Hmm … Google is being its usual unhelpful self. I sent a comment on behalf of Gordon (whose messages don’t seem to be delivered to this site, but are coming to my email address). That comment was apparently accepted, but didn’t appear! It included the first half of Gordon’s comment, which I divided into two because it was very long. However, my second comment, incorporating the remainder of Gordon’s first comment, did appear!!! (And if you can follow that explanation, you’re doing better than I am 🙂

    David, can you investigate what the heck is going on with Google, please? It is difficult enough to keep up with this debate even when all comments are delivered.

  • Paul says:

    Thanks for that Gordon. I had not checked all the sources Chris has been rattling on about so it is interesting, but not entirely surprising, to read your comments that Chris has been gilding the lily.

    I am not going to respond to Chris’s latest post in detail as it is just another half baked effort in bitterness by the Tasmanian Branch of the fructose defense league.

    But suffice to say it is clear that he clearly recognizes that his original position (and the one taken in his ABC program) is becoming more and more untenable.

    This is why he is pumping up the vitriol, increasingly distorting David’s central message and back peddling furiously from his ‘tuck into those wonderful desserts’ position.

    But as that is evident to anyone who reads the thread from the top there is no point setting that out in detail here.

    Needless to say it interesting that Chris made no reference at all to the work of Dr Lustig or the other researchers referred to by Taube. Perhaps Chris feels uncomfortable acknowledging that professional scientists share David’s concerns or perhaps he did not have time to type Lustig into YouTube.

    More likely Chris finds it difficult to maintain his attack on David’s use of the word toxic when that is the very word using by Dr Lustig!!!

    Here is something else that might broaden Chris’s rather limited horizons. Dr Johnson is a researcher into the effects of fructose and also seems to be of the view that there is a major issue concerning the consumption of fructose.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfLm8uxOUuQ

    and this

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOJ3SiRj4AQ&feature=related

  • I think I’ve resurrected all the posts that the spaminator killed (sorry but there is nothing I can do about that ‘feature’ from google). If I have missed any please let me know (david@sweetpoison.com.au) and I’ll rummage around in the spam folder again.

    I have now put a tag on this so I am immediately emailed every comment – so if something doesn’t appear please wait a bit and I will sort it out.

    Cheers
    David.

  • Okay, while we’re waiting for Google to start behaving itself, here is a summary (which I hope is reasonably accurate) of the main points Gordon made in the comments that were not posted to this site, but which were delivered to my email address.

    Gordon (who clearly has more patience than I do 🙂 accessed as many of the papers as he could that I referred to in my comment that was posted on 26 Jan, 2010.(I claimed that those papers showed beneficial or, at worst, neutral effects of high fructose intakes on human health).

    Gordon read the full papers (or the ones he could access) and concluded that only 8/19 found beneficial or neutral effects.

    Gordon, this is not relevant to my argument. The point I was making is that David claimed that NO studies were conducted on humans after 1985. There were many such studies, and not all those studies reported harmful effects of fructose. This is typical of David’s approach to the scientific evidence–‘if it supports my case, report it; if it doesn’t support my case, pretend it does (or pretend it didn’t happen)’.

    To see what Australian nutritionists and dietitians think of Sweet Poison, try the FAQ from the Nutritionists Network (‘Nut-Net’, a professional nutrition email discussion list with more than 800 subscribers):

    http://www.nutritionaustralia.org/national/frequently-asked-questions/fructose

    Also, click on the Attachment ‘Fructose_Printable Summary.pdf’

    I wrote the first draft of this FAQ by the way, but the final wording constitutes the consensus position of Nut-Net.

    Finally, Gordon wrote:

    ‘I’m irritated at Chris for constantly attacking the fact that David’s background is law. Lawyers are VERY talented researchers. Perhaps he had to learn a lot about his subject matter before he was able to really understand what he was reading but that does not invalidate his right to put forward hypotheses. Just drop it.’

    Umm … Gordon, you point out that David has a right to put forward hypotheses, but I should ‘just drop it’. Do you see some slight inconsistency there? 🙂

    And my point about David being a lawyer is that it perhaps explains why he cannot (or will not) interpret the science appropriately: he simply doesn’t understand how science works. Similarly, I wouldn’t attempt to advise people on a complex legal matter; I would leave that to a lawyer. This is because I don’t have the qualifications, training or background to be confident that my approach to a legal issue would be any better than the very poor science David has come up with in a discipline in which he has no qualifications or research experience.

  • In his latest comment Paul wrote:

    ‘Needless to say it interesting that Chris made no reference at all to the work of Dr Lustig or the other researchers referred to by Taube. Perhaps Chris feels uncomfortable acknowledging that professional scientists share David’s concerns or perhaps he did not have time to type Lustig into YouTube.’

    Paul, you’re going to have to start paying better attention. In a comment that was posted on
    January 28, 2010 at 7:12 AM I wrote quite extensively about Lustig.

    As I have made clear to anyone with an open mind who is actually reading my posts, my position is consistent with that of the vast majority of orthodox nutritionists. The following conclusions are supported by the present state of the science of fructose and its effects on human health:

    (i) Fructose in large quantities is very likely to be harmful (but this conclusion comes from the scientific evidence, not from anything David has said or written).

    (ii) In low-to-moderate doses fructose is unlikely to be harmful.

    (iii) There is no evidence for human addiction to fructose (although there is evidence for animal addiction).

    David’s claims are diametrically opposed to conclusions (ii) and (iii) above.

    With respect to David’s contribution to the scientific debate:

    (i) By exaggerating (and at times fabicating) the evidence, David has made a hash of his ‘case for the prosecution’ against fructose. I know of no orthodox nutritionist or dietitian in Australia who takes him seriously. (Nor should they.)

    (ii) David is effectively ‘putting all his eggs in one basket’ by blaming fructose for most of our chronic diseases. There is a huge list of purported causes of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other chronic diseases. Fructose is worthy of further study for its health effects, but the debate (and by that, I mean in the scientific world, not the blogosphere) will and must continue for many years before we understand the complex relationships between all aspects of diet (including fructose) and health.

  • Gordon says:

    Google makes my posts seem like complete crazy rubbish since they are now all over the place.

    Far out.

    I’ll try to read the comments and see if I can post without being detected as spam.

    I don’t think that Google let me put these last bits down.

    So of the 12 neutral/beneficial studies that Chris cited:
    2 actually showed negative effects
    1 showed beneficial and negative effects
    1 showed neutral effects but the authors noted that the HFD caused alarming effect on a subject’s triglycerides and free fatty acids.
    At least one of the neutral effect studies was funded by the sugar industry.

    So that brings down the ratio to 8/19 studies showing neutral/beneficial effects of which at least one is potentially tainted by bias. That is not compelling evidence in favour of fructose.

    In any case, I don’t know why I bothered with reading all those articles. If Dr Lustig (of “The Bitter Truth”) and Gary Taube, who are much more talented researchers than I am, are convinced that fructose is bad then that IS pretty compelling evidence. (I actually did it because the first one I read of Chris’s articles showed negative effects and then I just had to check the rest of them too.)

    Susan, you needed confirmation of the biochemistry that David talks of. So did I. Lustig’s lecture is very detailed in that regard. I’d definitely recommend a watch.
    http://youtu.be/dBnniua6-oM

    I’m irritated at Chris for constantly attacking the fact that David’s background is law. Lawyers are VERY talented researchers. Perhaps he had to learn a lot about his subject matter before he was able to really understand what he was reading but that does not invalidate his right to put forward hypotheses. Just drop it.

    Chris, I don’t mean drop your scientific analysis of David’s hypotheses just drop the snide references to his apparent lack of a degree in nutrition.

    Anyway, let’s see if this post works.

    G

  • Gordon says:

    Wow. I managed a post.

    OK. I’ll respond to Chris’s comment directed to me.

    Yes you are right. There were studies of fructose diets in humans after 1985. If that is the point you were trying to make then it is a good one. To me it seemed that you were trying to state that most of the studies found beneficial or neutral effects of fructose. But I found that you were mistaken in that belief.

    I still stand by the fact that lawyers are talented researchers. But it is possible for any researcher to make an error such as yourself with your positive/neutral studies.

    Indeed I agree with you that David seems to have made an error in his implication/stating that the four men were withdrawn from Reiser’s study due to effects of fructose. He also seems to have been erroneous in his connecting you to “big sugar”.

    For me, however, the crux of David’s argument was never Reiser’s study but it is the biochemistry of frucotse. Like Susan, I studied biochem some time ago and was genuinely surprised that I had not known about these fructose metabolism pathways. For me to be convinced about David’s argument I needed to confirm that he’s right about the biochem. Lustig has gone a long way towards doing that but I will continue to look further into it.

    I will gladly read the Nut Net FAQ.

    I do agree that most of the post 1985 studies seem to follow on from Crapo’s research. They did not seem to be done by her group but they were trying to replicate/explain her findings. Those studies are almost all in type two diabetics.

    Chris, can you please tell me is it normal for the best evidence in nutrition to be before/after studies with very small subject numbers? I might be mistaken but I would think that a study with such small subject numbers would not be able to be considered as very strong evidence.

  • Paul says:

    Chris,

    Fantastic we are making progress though of course you could drive a truck through your weasel words and the fuffy FAQ you appear to have generated for the Nut-Net (Did you guys focus group that name?).

    As you claim to be a scientist and appear to be drafting Nut-Net fructose policy I think it is reasonable to expect you to provide some helpful clarifications.

    I know in the past you have dodged these questions like the plague but perhaps this time you might make the effort.

    You concede that fructose in large doses is very likely to be harmful. What do you understand to be the reason that large doses of fructose to be harmful?

    Do you understand the biochemistry of fructose metabolism and how it is different to glucose metabolism?

    Are these differences relevant to the harm caused by large doses of fructose?

    Do you assert that the harm caused by large doses of fructose are purely due to ‘excess calories’ consumed?

    What do you understand to be a pattern of consumption that constitutes ‘large doses’ for the average person? This is important as the general public needs specific guidance as to whether their current pattern of consumption constitutes ‘large doses’.

    Judging from the fructose delivery systems in most supermarkets someone is eating the stuff in large doses. Chances are most people think large doses are what other people eat. You Nut-Net FAQ states that Fruit Juice is high in fructose. How much Fruit Juice is too much?

    Waffle words like ‘eat in moderation’ are simply obsfucations. Amatil claims that Coca-Cola has a place in a balanced diet.

    How many grams per day is a large dose.

    What harm do you concede that large doses will cause?

    You assert that the current evidence indicates ‘low-moderate’ does of fructose are unlikely to be harmful.

    What do you actually mean by low-moderate doses and what do you mean unlikely to be harmful.

    How many grams per day of fructose from sources other than whole fruit (as there seems to be some agreement that fructose in whole fruit is not a significant concern) do you believe is the safe limit for the average person.

    When you say unlikely to be harmful do you mean that the average person observing your limit is unlikely to suffer long terms health consequences as a result?

    What proportion of the population do you believe are current consuming less than the ‘low-moderate’ dose of fructose.

    You assert that there is no evidence that fructose is addictive but concede that it has been shown to be addictive in animal studies.

    What is the evidence that you are aware of that demonstrates that fructose is not addictive to humans or are you merely stating that you are not aware of any studies with regard to fructose and human addiction?

    Do you believe that it is unlikely that fructose will be found by further research to be addictive OR habit forming in humans.

    Do you deny Gordon’s assertion that you have misrepresented the contents/general thrust of the scientific papers you quoted extenstively in earlier posts?

    Perhaps you might find the time over the next few days to review the papers you have been sprinkling your posts with references to and advise whether you would like to clarify your understanding of their contents.

    I appreciate that I have asked a lot of questions but considering that you have deep seated objections to ex-lawyers providing their understanding of the answers to these questions you will understand my enthusiasm to receive your scientific responses.

    Cheers
    Paul.

  • Paul says:

    This is an interesting video on the subject of sugar addiction. Looks like there is some interesting work being done in this field. One can’t help wonder what research has already been done by the food processing industry.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJUKn2tHPgw&feature=related

  • Paul says:

    A quote from Chris’s original ABC program.

    “I also wonder how many people would willingly give up, for the remainder of their lives, chocolate, ice cream, honey, sweet drinks (including fruit juice) and desserts such as apple pie, wine trifle, tiramisu … (you can complete your own list of wonderful desserts here) and all other sweet foods? I suspect the appropriate answer is: not many. You could even revise the wording of the old joke, ‘Will I live any longer if I give up all sweet foods? Possibly, but even if you don’t, it will certainly seem longer’. After all, there is overwhelming evidence that humans are programmed to like sweet food. This is believed to have an evolutionary origin – poisonous plant foods are generally bitter or sour, while sweet foods are usually safe to eat.”

    Chris,

    The point of your comments seem to be that there is something natural and evolutionary about the consumption of fructose.

    There are a number of substances that humans commonly have preferences for that cause medical and other social problems – alcohol, nicotine caffeine, cocaine, opium, cannabis to name a few.

    What is the scientific basis of your assertion that a human preference for the sweetness of fructose indicates that fructose is safe to eat.

    Keeping in mind that fruit is sweet in order to encourage birds and other animals to eat it and thus disperse the seeds contained in the fruit, how is the long term impact of the consumption of fructose on humans relevant to the evolution of fruit bearing plants?

    Furthermore, what is the relevance of any pattern of whole fruit (or honey consumption) with the extraction of large quantities of fructose from sugar cane/beet and fruit (juice).

  • Gordon says:

    Hi Chris,

    It’s a bit hard to come after the last three posts but I wanted to ask you also one of the questions that Paul asked, namely:

    Exactly how many grams of sucrose is considered to be a “moderate amount”. Not being a nutritionist it is hard to know this amount. In the studies I was reading from your list it seemed to me that an high sugar diet seemed to be one where more than 15% of the calories came from sugar. Am I correct in this understanding. For most people, depending on weight, this seemed to be about 50-70g per day. Please feel free to tell me that I’m wrong.

    That amount being an “high” amount seems to be in line with the American Heart Association’s recommendation of 35g per day for a man (25g for a woman) for a safe amount.

    From examining some of the sources of extra sugar that I had in my diet I have found that a (admittedly large) bowl of sultana bran contains nearly 60g of sugar and a large dessert spoon of honey contains about 15g sugar. A handful of sultanas contains about 20g sugar.

    How is it possible to stay below 35g per day without being REALLY careful about one’s sugar intake?

    Thanks for your help.

    Gordon

  • Because this message is so long, it is being sent in two parts.

    PART 1

    Paul wrote (about me): ‘… of course you could drive a truck through your weasel words and the fuffy FAQ you appear to have generated for the Nut-Net.’

    Paul, was it you who also wrote ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’?

    No? You surprise me 🙂

    Paul then asked so many questions, I lost count. Paul, this debate has been going for more than a year and is up to more than 100 comments, with my contribution being something like 40 (or thereabouts). Nevertheless, some of your questions do deserve answers, so here goes.

    Your first few questions relate to the biochemistry of fructose. Our knowledge of the biochemistry of fructose comes almost exclusively from animal studies (it is considered rather unethical to feed massive quantities of fructose, or anything else, to humans and then sacrifice them to see what occurred :-). Human physiology is not identical to animal physiology, so the results of animal studies cannot be unquestioningly applied to people (although David Gillepsie makes this mistake). David goes even further with his mistake—he claims that every gram of fructose is inevitably converted to fat in the liver. This is not correct—fructose can go down either the ‘gluconeogenic’ pathway (to glycogen) or the fructolyitic pathway (to triglyceride, i.e. fat) in the liver.

    There is evidence that high (note the word ‘high’) consumption of fructose can lead to increased blood triglyceride concentration in humans, which is a risk factor for heart disease. However, fructose consumption is also associated with REDUCED HbA1c, another risk factor for heart disease [AJCN: 2008;88:1419–37]. The authors of this comprehensive meta-analysis conclude that fructose intakes of up to 50 grams per day are not associated with adverse effects on triglyceride and intakes of up to 100 grams per day have no effect on body weight.

    This neatly brings us to Paul’s various question about what constitutes a moderate (or safe) dose of fructose. Estimates vary, but from the above reference, 50 grams per day sounds pretty safe as a general rule of thumb. A few days ago I sent a quote from a paper [Clinics, Vol 65, No. 7, 2010] that comes up with virtually the same conclusion. The authors of that paper ‘infer from the available dataset that (fructose) is harmless in healthy individuals, at least at levels below 50-100 g/d.‘ National and international health organisations vary in their recommendations—as examples, WHO recommends that added sugars be restricted to less than 10% of total energy intake, while the American Heart Association (AHA) recently recommended about half this amount as being a safe dose. No reputable health body recommends total abstention from fructose as the only safe dose (but David does).

    Paul asks ‘What proportion of the population do you believe are current consuming less than the ‘low-moderate’ dose of fructose?’ I don’t know the answer to this, but I am pretty sure that a large majority of people are eating more than the AHA recommended maximum, while at a guess, a small majority (or perhaps large minority) are exceeding the WHO recommendation. This is why the NHMRC dietary guideline recommends only moderate amounts of sugars and foods containing added sugars (while recognising that there is no need for abstention).

    More to come in PART 2.

  • Paul says:

    Another interesting video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y99bE-OG9r8&feature=relmfu

    This one is about developing a framework for assessing food addiction in humans.

    Although not specifically about sugar – it keeps getting mentioned. You might almost think that there are a lot of scientists who suspect that sugar is a problem. Goodness me!

    Fortunately, just in the nick of time Chris has made it clear that he and the Nut-Net accept that large doses (whatever that means)of fructose are harmful and are now recommending great caution in the consumption of fructose.

    AND FOR THE SAKE OF AVOIDING ANY MORE TANTRUMS FROM TASSIE WE ARE ALL NOW GOING TO AGREE THAT THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING THAT DAVID HAS SAID OR DONE BECAUSE WE ALL AGREE HE GETS CARRIED AWAY WHEN WARNING PEOPLE ABOUT FRUCTOSE (AND HE IS A LAWYER).

    Sorry David.

    Our thanks to Chris and the Nut-Net scientists for alerting the general public to the specific and important health issues associated with consuming more than low-moderate doses (whatever that means) of fructose.

    And if you find it hard to stop at one Tim-Tam or one easter egg or one sugar in you coffee DON’T blame it on addiction or habit because the RESEARCH is not yet in. The Nut-Net will tell you when there is sufficient evidence to confirm that you have a sugar addiction.

  • Paul says:

    Good question Gordon.

    In Feb last year Chris answered that question as follows

    “Paul,

    I didn’t exactly ‘AGREE that 25 g
    (12.5 g teaspoons of added fructose) is the safe limit for women and 37 g (18.5 g of fructose for men)’.

    Rather, I pointed out this is the recommendation of one authoritative health body (the American Heart Association). I also pointed out that WHO recommends keeping intake of added sugars to below 10%. For a man whose daily energy intake is ~12 000 kJ, this corresponds to an intake of up to ~70 g of sugar (i.e. 35 g of fructose).

    I think this means he supported up to 35 g of fructose then but now he is lifting that to 50-70g.

    Back then he was unable to explain how someone could keep within those limits without treating added fructose almost as a toxin.

    One large glass of apple juice would put you well over the American Heart Foundation limits – add in a bowl of breakfast cereal or one of Chris’s wonderful desserts and there goes the WHO limit as well.

    Now he has lifted the limit on fructose to 50-70g per day he might find it easier to explain how you keep your consumption within those limits.

    While Chris is off splitting hairs with Dr Lustig and Dr Johnson about whether fructose is technically a toxin it might be safer and simpler for regular people to avoid foods with added fructose whenever possible.

    Just don’t get any crazy ideas this is what David is talking about.

  • Gordon says:

    Thank you Chris. I had been looking for a good meta-analysis of the research and started to read AJCN: 2008;88:1419–37.

    In the studies examined in this meta-analysis the fructose was fed to the exclusion of other carbohydrates (eg fructose instead of sucrose). In fact they specifically excluded studies that used high fructose corn syrup(HFCS) as a source of fructose. Obviously it’s necessary to do this to see the dosages at which fructose alone is dangerous but it does reduce the relevance to real life. In real life Australian and American diets fructose comes packaged as sucrose, HFCS, honey etc ie WITH glucose.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but for fructose to go down the fructolytic pathway, the gluconeogenic pathway needs to be saturated which it will be at much lower doses in combination with glucose than if fructose is fed alone.

    In the above meta-analysis, post-meal triglycerides increased at greater than 50g fructose per day which would suggest that at this dosage of fructose alone the fructolytic pathway is being used.

    Thanks Paul. I stand corrected. I do remember that post about Chris’s safe dosage of sugar now. Sorry Chris for asking again.

    As for me, I’m going to avoid my previous favourite breakfast cereal loaded with 75g sugar! And to think that I didn’t think that it was very sweet!

    Thanks, Gordon.

  • Gordon says:

    Hi Chris,

    I just discovered that the above mentioned meta-analysis was written by employees of a consultancy called Nutrition Logic.
    http://www.inlogic.co.uk/
    This consultancy is funded by grants from all sorts of confectionery companies including CocaCola, Mars, Kelloggs, Nestle. And sugar industry bodies from many countries. You can see the full list by following the link above and clicking on “Clients”.

    This potential source of bias is a serious issue. Much worse than the shortcomings of the analysis that I pointed out earlier.

    Gordon.

  • Paul says:

    Another interesting study on addiction is the following:

    Intense Sweetness Surpasses Cocaine Reward

    http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0000698

    The conclusion in the abstract appears below.

    Now this study involves rats not humans so there is absolutely no need to consider adjusting your behaviour in any way – unless of course you are a lab rat.

    Chris would be outraged that anyone may want to factor this rat study information into the manner in which they consider the inclusion of sweet foods into their diet.

    However, the study is very interesting because it suggests what might cause addiction is sweetness itself. This raised the prospect that, in addition to any metabolic issues, fructose may be a problem simply because it is sweet. (It is about twice as sweet as glucose)

    Thus lacing foods with the sweetness of fructose may result in excess consumption due to the sweetness alone. I am sure the food processing industry will be horrified at the possibility that they have accidentally encouraged over consumption of food generally by adding ‘sweetness’ to food.

    Also Chris will be shocked because he believes eating lots of sweet things is natural and something humans have been programmed to do.

    Of course this study suggests that artificial low-calorie sweetners may also present a problem in that while they are low calorie they may also encourage the over consumption of foods to which they have been added.

    Conclusions from the abstract.

    Our findings clearly demonstrate that intense sweetness can surpass cocaine reward, even in drug-sensitized and -addicted individuals. We speculate that the addictive potential of intense sweetness results from an inborn hypersensitivity to sweet tastants. In most mammals, including rats and humans, sweet receptors evolved in ancestral environments poor in sugars and are thus not adapted to high concentrations of sweet tastants. The supranormal stimulation of these receptors by sugar-rich diets, such as those now widely available in modern societies, would generate a supranormal reward signal in the brain, with the potential to override self-control mechanisms and thus to lead to addiction.

  • Paul says:

    So after all these new posts has the debate advanced any further?

    Not Really.

    1. Chris has gone to some pains to ensure we understand that he and his Nut-Net buddies now accept that fructose is a problem – even a major problem as he seems to accept that many in the community are eating way too much of the stuff.

    2. Chris hates David because he thinks David has exaggerated the case against fructose but mostly it seems because David is an ex-lawyer trampling in Chris’s garden.

    Thus Chris agrees there is genuine problem with fructose but he doesn’t like the way David talks about it.

    3. Chris prefers a fuzzy and vague FAQ warning about Fructose on the little read Nut-Net website while he is out and about in the main stream media claiming that David is an extremist crank for warning people not to add fructose to their food.

    So the difference now seems to be that David (the ex-lawyer) warns people in a widely read book not to add fructose to their food and Chris warns people (in a little read FAQ) not to add any more than low-moderate amounts of fructose to their food.

    When we try to work out what Chris actually means when he says low-moderate amounts of fructose it becomes a little unclear.

    Chris concedes that the American Heart foundation reckon that 18.5 g of fructose per day men and about half that for women is the limit, but he thinks as that is just one study we should be bold and go with studies that allow us to eat more fructose than that. Lucky us!

    Chris then trots out studies which suggest, for average sized men, 35 g, 50 g or even 70 g of fructose per day is unlikely to cause harm. Maybe next week Chris will find a study that lets a grown man eat 100g.

    This of course is not exactly comforting because most people regularly eat amounts of fructose well over those Chris endorsed amounts without even trying because so many foods are now laced with the stuff.

    So why why why is Chris being such a pedant when the distance between his position and David’s seems so short on a careful reading.

    Chris gives us the reason himself.

    While he may not be a chocolatier he is employed by an organisation that designs food and recommends to its client that they should add fructose to food stuffs to increase their palatibility (SAS ration packs)

    Chris’s contributions read as little more than standard corporate food processor obsfucations designed to cloud the issues sufficiently so that few people actually change their consumption behaviour while permitting deniability (you were warned in the fine print) in the event that some research pops up that fingers their products beyond doubt.

    As we all know from the tobacco and asbestos debates deciding when the scientific proof is beyond doubt is a slow slow process. Have the tobacco companies yet conceded problems with smoking? I think they are still generating studies that are ‘inconclusive’.

  • cachexian says:

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  • Gordon says:

    Thanks for the summary Paul. Quite succinct.

    I came across this interesting study showing a correlation between high GI diets and heart attack risk.

    Jakobsen MU, Dethlefsen C, Joensen AM, et al. Intake of carbo- hydrates compared with intake of saturated fatty acids and risk of myocardial infarction: importance of the glycemic index. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91(6):1764–1768.

    It’s a prospective cohort study of 53,644 subjects over a median 12 year follow up.

    The purpose of the study was to investigate the heart attack risk of changing the diet from one high in saturated fat to one high in carbs. Specifically they wanted to investigate the type of carbohydrate. They divided the carb diets into high, moderate and low GI.

    The study found that reducing your saturated fat in your diet and increasing your high or moderate GI carbs actually increased your risk of heart attack.

    You and I know that a high GI diet (in the real world) is one that is likely to be high in sucrose. But you couldn’t extrapolate these results to implicate fructose directly. (Perhaps only fructose in the form of sucrose/HFCS/juice/dried fruit).

    I still would really like to read a nice large size cohort study that compares diets high in starch with those high in sucrose/HFCS.

    Dr Richard Johnson seems to have done an intervention study comparing high starch with high sucrose diets in humans but I haven’t found it yet.

    Gordon.

  • Paul says:

    Gordon,

    Thanks for that I will give it a read.

    If you want to read a fairly colourful perspective on the saturated fat cholesterol issue there is a book called Ignore the Awkward by Uffe Ravnskov (you can get it (or just a sample) as a Kindle book from Amazon and read it using the Kingle PC app if you don’t have a kindle, iPad or iPhone). He makes many of the arguments made by Taube but in a more strident idiosyncratic way.

    Taubes first book Good Calories Bad Calories (also available as a Kindle Book) also is very much skeptical of the carbs are good approach but he didn’t really talk about fructose other than as a form of carboydrate.

    This is why his more recent book and his recent article in the NY times are so interesting. In his first book he did not really distinguish between types of carbs. Now he seems much more interested in the specific issues that fructose may raise.

    This is not surprising because the core of the low carb approach seems to be keeping the ‘fat’ hormone insulin under control by avoiding the blood sugar surges associated with eating lots of carb.

    Other books that are interesting are the books by Kathleen DesMaisons. Her back ground is the treatment of alcoholics. Over a number of years she noticed that she was achieving much better results if her clients avoided sugar in their diets. Thus her focus on sugar comes from the perspective of addiction and recent studies are starting to support her clinical experience.

    The New Sugar Busters is also an interesting read but mainly because they talk about sugar but make very little reference to fructose specifically. I got the feeling that they were unaware of the research that has been done on fructose specifically.

    The reason I read as widely as possible on the general area of sugar, fructose, GI, fats is that you can start to see possible connections between the work and experiences of people working in different areas and working from different perspectives.

    I am coming to the view that while fructose raises multiple issues, the combination of fructose with high GI carbs might be uniquely problematic.

    Eating High GI carbs (that pump up blood sugar levels) in combination with fructose may accelerate the development of metabolic syndrome.

    High GI carbs may be like fuel on the fructose induced metabolic syndrome fire.

    If a mechanism like this was established the obesity epidemic may actually correlate both with fructose consumption levels and also the levels of consumption of fructose laced High GI foods.

    A drop in total fructose/sugar consumption levels may not be enough if there are still high consumption levels of High GI foods laced with the fructose catalyst.

    A concept of course that Dr Barclay of the GI index and others don’t seem to have even considered as the low GI of fructose appears to have distracted them from the multiple issues raised by fructose. (possibly because it would be disastrous for the GI tick given to Logicane)

    End of Part 1 (I am turning into Chris with multi-part posts!)

    Paul.

  • Gordon says:

    Would be an interesting study but the study design would need to be quite complex. If you design the meals as isocalorific (is that the correct term) to maintain weight then you won’t be testing the theory that fructose helps you to eat more without feeling full. If you allowed the subjects to eat as much as they wanted then the study would have to have very large subject numbers to allow for variation in metabolic rate, eating habits, bmi, waist:hip ratio and physical activity, genetic susceptibility. It would be a very expensive study.

    Perhaps we need to leave the study design up to the medical researchers / nutritionists.

    G

  • Paul says:

    Yes the experimental professionals should design and run the studies but it is important to draw upon as many sources as possible (inside and outside of science) to generate ideas for topics of study especially in a relatively young field as nutrition.

    All professionals benefit from the observations and suggestions of people outside their field.

    This is why I have no objection and encourage people to comment on my area of professional knowledge. I find their observations a continually source of useful insight.

    Fresh eyes, even if technically untrained, can make all the difference.

  • Here is a response to some of the content of the latest comments by Paul and Gordon.

    Paul wrote: ‘Chris has gone to some pains to ensure we understand that he and his Nut-Net buddies now accept that fructose is a problem — even a major problem as he seems to accept that many in the community are eating way too much of the stuff.’

    My response: This is not news, Paul. I’ve been saying that for about 25 years! My Ockham’s Razor program — the one that triggered this blog entry — included: ‘Many Australians do eat excessive amounts of sugar, and would do themselves (and their waistlines) a favour by reducing sugar intake.’ Paul, as I’ve mentioned previously, you really do need to pay better attention.

    Paul wrote: ‘Chris hates David because he thinks David has exaggerated the case against fructose but mostly it seems because David is an ex-lawyer trampling in Chris’s garden.’

    Paul, it isn’t up to you to decide who I hate (or love). Please keep this discussion to the point. Not only do I not hate David Gillespie, I don’t even know him. I do like his style of writing and his gentle humour (as also mentioned in my Ockham’s Razor program). What I hate is sloppy science — which David is guilty of in spades. As the President of the Australian Skeptics has noted, if David Gillespie is correct, it will be by sheer accident.

    Gordon wrote: ‘I just discovered that the above mentioned meta-analysis (the one at AJCN: 2008;88:1419–37) was … funded by grants from all sorts of confectionery companies … and sugar industry bodies from many countries … This potential source of bias is a serious issue.’

    David pointed this out in an article in The Skeptic. David also pointed to an editorial in the same issue of AJCN. This editorial was critical of some aspects of the meta-analysis. (David claimed, inappropriately, that the authors of the editorial ‘castigated’ the authors of the meta-analysis). Here is the relevant part of the response I included in a letter to the Editor of The Skeptic:

    ‘As yet another illustration of David’s propensity to exaggerate (or distort) the evidence, … David implies that a non-peer-reviewed editorial (AJCN; 2008; 88: 1189-90) completely overrides the conclusions of a peer-reviewed meta-analysis (AJCN; 2008; 88: 1419-37). (The meta-analysis concluded that fructose is safe at relatively high intakes and may even be beneficial at moderate intakes, while the editorial questioned these conclusions.)

    ‘It is not appropriate to dismiss either the meta-analysis or the editorial — both points of view should be taken seriously. Furthermore, David exaggerates the differences between the meta-analysis and the editorial. The editorialists do describe some points of difference, including listing several adverse health effects that are associated with high (note the word ‘high’) fructose intake. However, they then state that “Whereas some of these effects have been reported only in animals, these findings raise important questions about the safety of high doses of fructose in humans.” This is quite different to David’s claim that fructose is indisputably a poison at any dose.

    ‘Clearly, there is no consensus on the role of fructose in human health, or on what constitutes a safe level of intake.’

    More to come in my next comment.

  • Gordon says:

    Thanks Chris. You make a good point. One should consider all the research papers and case studies and consider them all. That is what a meta-analysis does. And a meta-analysis always had very stringent exclusion criteria and these need to be considered before deciding on the relevance of the study. It seems to me that the exclusion criteria for the meta-analysis does render the analysis a little less relevant to real-life. The writers of the editorial you mentioned above did comment on that issue. I was hoping that you, being an expert in nutrition, would comment on that particular issue.

    Obviously having financial ties to sugar-dependent industries does not render the meta-analysis invalid but it certainly does reduce the weight of its evidence.

    Clearly there is need for more research into this particular topic.

    Thanks for your input.

    Gordon.

  • In a couple of confused (and confusing) diatribes posted on 24 and 25 Apr 11, Paul misinterprets (or perhaps more appropriately, misrepresents) my position on what is a safe dose of fructose.

    I don’t know (and have never claimed that I know) what a safe dose of fructose is. Nor does anyone else. I was conveying recommendations that others have made (e.g. WHO, AHA and the authors of two recent reviews).

    I do know that no reputable health body recommends avoiding all sources of fructose (while David Gillespie does take this extreme position, without providing science-based supporting evidence).

    I also know that the NHMRC is in the process of revising the Dietary Guidelines for Australians. This revision will be based on state-of-the-science evidence (also taking into account the level of evidence – i.e. it will be truly evidence-based).

    I am prepared to donate $1000 to a worthwhile charity (e.g. Freedom from Hunger, Salvation Army or similar) if the revised guideline on sugars recommends completely abstaining from added fructose. Paul, are you prepared to ‘put your money where your mouth is’ and match my bet? That is, are you prepared to donate $1000 to a worthwhile charity if the revised wording makes no mention of abstention from fructose? Before you respond, keep in mind that unlike the people you rely on (a lawyer and a journalist) for much of your information about the health effects of fructose, the scientists who are revising the guidelines are national experts in their field.

    Finally, any recommendations about ‘safe doses’ directed at the population level must be approximations – the safe dose for a 50-kg jockey will be substantially less than that for a 110-kg rugby forward or AFL ruckman, for example. And as I have previously pointed out, being physically active confers considerable protection from the ravages of dietary excess (of any kind). This explains why SAS soldiers, marathon runners and other active people do not succumb to obesity despite eating high-energy (including high-fructose) diets. And before Paul tells me (yet again) that most Australians are sedentary, I’ll point out (yet again) that sedentariness is not an appropriate or natural state for humans. Our bodies were designed for movement – disuse leads to decline in function as well as greatly increasing the risk of metabolic syndrome. The ‘couch potatoes’ need to be advised to include physical activity in their lifestyle and to moderate intake of sugar, salt, alcohol and so on, not simply to eliminate fructose, which is only one of many potentially dangerous (when eaten in excess) components of the diet.

  • In his comment posted on April 24, 2011 at 5:02 PM Gordon accepts that David has misrepresented the conclusions of the 1985 paper by Reiser et al., and that David is also mistaken in claiming that no further studies were conducted on humans after 1985. (Gordon didn’t have much choice by the way, these are incontrovertible facts). What Gordon may not know is that these errors are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to David’s misunderstanding (or misrepresentation) of the science of fructose, and of science in general. Here is the URL for an article published by the Australian Skeptics detailing the worst (but not the only) errors I found in Sweet Poison, including a couple of schoolboy howlers – his definitions of the joule and watt are simply laughable:

    http://www.skeptics.com.au/latest/news/david-gillespies-errors-a-summary

    As I mentioned in an earlier comment, James Watson (co-discoverer of the basis for the genetic code) accepts that scientists must exaggerate when writing for the general public, but he says the level of exaggeration must be ethical. Given that the science relating to the health effects of fructose is in a state of flux, I defy any reasonable person to find anything ethical about the following claims made by David in various forums (Sweet Poison, Ockham’s Razor and an interview on Channel Nine’s The Today Show):

    ‘It is a “miracle … that we are not all dead in the face of the incessant fructose doping.’

    ‘Every day that fructose remains a part of our diet, is a death sentence for thousands of Australians.’

    ‘(Authorities should) immediately ban added fructose as a food.’

    ‘(We can be) absolutely certain that fructose is a killer of epidemic proportions …’

    ‘Fructose is not an acute poison … it doesn’t kill you on the spot, but it will kill you within 20 years.’

    Let’s look at this last claim a little more closely. Life expectancy in Australia is about 80years (a little less for men, a little more for women). The vast majority of Australian children start consuming substantial amounts of dietary fructose before they turn five, and continue to have relatively high fructose intakes for most of the remainder of their lives. If David’s claim is correct, life expectancy in Australia should be no more than 25years. His claim is clearly bunkum (or at least unethical exaggeration).

    However, despite David’s failure to produce a science-based case against fructose, this does not mean that fructose is ‘squeaky clean’. As I mention in an article that was published in The Skeptic last year:

    ‘Does David Gillespie’s botched case for the prosecution mean that high fructose intake is “not guilty” of the crime of causing obesity and many major chronic diseases? Not at all. The prosecutor in the 1995 murder trial of OJ Simpson failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Simpson was guilty of the murder of his wife (Nicole Simpson) and her friend Ronald Goldman. This didn’t necessarily mean that Simpson was not responsible for causing their deaths. In fact, in a later civil trial he was found liable for their deaths on the balance of probabilities.

    ‘Although the case against fructose may not be quite as strong as the civil case against OJ Simpson, there is a body of evidence that could be considered to constitute a prima facie case against fructose when it is consumed by sedentary people in large quantities.’

    The scientific debate will, and must, continue. David’s claim that the debate is over, and that fructose is clearly the cause of the epidemics of obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease is simply untenable.

  • The epidemics of obesity and type 2diabetes began about 30 years ago. If David’s hypothesis (or wild guess) is correct, you would expect sugar consumption to have increased over the period shortly before 1980 and to have continued to increase since then. The graph shown under the heading ‘Sugars’ at the following URL makes for interesting viewing in this regard:
    (http://www.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/abs@.nsf/0/123fcdbf086c4daaca2568a90013939a?OpenDocument)

    Sugar consumption in Australia apparently reached a peak in 1948 at about 57 kg per person per annum, and then underwent an overall decline to about 43 kg in 1998 (with a couple of blips along the way). I couldn’t find results for sugar consumption since 1998 (Gordon, can you find any?) but at the 2010 Annual Conference of the Dietitians Association of Australia, Alicia Sim and Alan Barclay of the University of Sydney presented a paper titled ‘Sweet Truths: is increasing fructose consumption an underlying cause of the obesity epidemic?’ They concluded that as our average body fat levels have increased, fructose consumption has actually been decreasing in Australia. This does not bode well for David’s non-science-based belief that fructose consumption is driving the obesity epidemic in Australia.

  • Paul says:

    Chris,

    Your position is a farce.

    You acknowledge in increasingly strident terms that you share David’s concerns regarding fructose to the point that you now claim that you were warning the public about them before David.

    The only difference is that you claim David says no fructose and you say some fructose is okay (more if you run marathons).

    When I ask you how much is ‘some’ – you flap your jaws and say you have no idea – for men it might be as much as 70g but it may be as little as 18.5 g.

    But for your repeated dishonest statement that David says no fructose at all (he says fructose in whole fruit is fine) there is barely a hair’s breadth between your position and David’s.

    A person following your recommendations or David’s recommendations will be eating almost no fructose other than that obtained from whole fruit.

    I have noticed that you have failed to respond to my observation that Dr Lustig describes fructose as a poison/toxin.

    Oh dear now it seems that Professor O’Dea is also of the view that no added sugar is the best approach.

    http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/marie-claire/all-about-you/health/article/-/9180409/are-you-hooked-on-sugar/

    As the no added fructose opinion grows David is starting to sound like a moderate!

    Almost as moderate as you when you are being reasonable and explaining your view that people should avoid as much added fructose as possible (although not all of it) and not grinding your anti-lawyer axe.

    Cheers
    Paul

  • In a comment posted on April 24, 2011 2:14 PM, Gordon wrote ‘If Dr Lustig (of “The Bitter Truth”) and Gary Taube, who are much more talented researchers than I am, are convinced that fructose is bad then that IS pretty compelling evidence.’

    As a minor point of correction, Gary Taubes is not a researcher, he is a journalist, albeit a very talented and well-informed one.

    But just as one swallow does not make a summer, the fact that one researcher (Lustig) – supported by a journalist (Taubes)- is convinced that fructose is the cause of many of the chronic diseases afflicting developed (and, increasingly developing) nations does not constitute a consensus position. As I’m sure you are aware, science moves on a broad front. Because some scientists (e.g. Professor Ian Plimer in Australia) do not accept the theory of anthropogenic global warming, this doesn’t mean there isn’t a consensus about this. Plimer is one of a very small minority of scientists (and he is a geologist, not a climatologist) flailing against the prevailing consensus position that we are causing, or at least making a substantial contribution to global warming.

    The ‘fructose hypothesis’ is taken seriously (although I don’t know any competent nutritionist or dietitian who takes David Gillespie’s extreme position seriously) but even in its mild form it has its detractors. For example, one of Australia’s leading nutritionists, Professor Jenni Brand Miller (who is a supporter of Gary Taubes’ ideas about high GI carbohydrates being harmful to health, by the way), unceremoniouly dismisses Gillespie’s beliefs in an interview at:

    http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/wellbeing/how-hard-can-it-be-to-cut-sugar-20100630-zmvt.html

    Here is he relevant extract:

    ‘Jenni Brand-Miller is professor of human nutrition at the University of Sydney and a pioneering researcher into the glycaemic index and insulin resistance. Through her work with the Glycaemic Index Foundation she teaches people to avoid high-GI carbohydrates that break down more quickly into glucose in our blood.

    ‘She argues that the anti-fructose campaigners are wrong on a number of fronts. First of all, the research on the topic lacks many comprehensive studies and is often conducted on animals not people.

    ‘”It is really hard to find in the literature that high [sugar] consumption is associated with anything,” she says. “What you can show is a diet with a high glycaemic index is associated with type 2 diabetes, but the main problem is starch. People just seem to think starch is a completely innocent substance. Yet it is a source of glucose.”’

    Clearly there is no consensus on the effects of fructose on human health.

  • Paul says:

    Chris,

    As for whether David has gone beyond Peter Watson’s reasonable bounds of exaggeration when writing for the general public that is a completely separate issue.

    I tend to agree that some of his turns of phrase are a touch sensational but then much of the commentary about smoking and alcohol is as well.

    The problem that you face in prosecuting him on that charge is that by and large you agree with his concerns regarding fructose.

    The only real distinction arises when you manufacture the claim that David says no fructose at all when he clearly recommends avoiding all added fructose.

    But even on that point it is clear that are scientists who are currently describing fructose as a poison/toxin.

    Surely, it is time for you to let it go and look for an argument where your prospects of winning are stronger.

    Cheers
    Paul.

  • Paul says:

    With regard to Jenni Brand-Miller and the GI index.

    Their position on sugar/fructose is hard to understand. There would seem to be some very good reasons for people following the GI principles to exercise caution in their consumption of fructose.

    Many of the high GI foods on their hit list are made palatable by lacing them with sugar. It is very easy to overeat High GI carbs that have been sweetened with fructose whether or not you call that addiction.

    I suspect that their position on fructose is influenced by the low GI of fructose as for many years fructose was considered good for diabetics because of its low impact on blood sugar.

    But of course we now know the reason fructose has a low GI is because it is metabolised in the liver to blood fat rather than blood glucose.

    As I noted in an earlier post the drop in consumption of sugar may not indicate a drop in the consumption of fructose from all sources – I don’t think those figures include the consumption of fruit juice for example.

    But even they do indicate a drop in the consumption of fructose, fructose may still be implicated in the obesity epidemic if it is being used to increase the consumption of high GI and other carbs.

    It is worth noting that Brand Miller has changed her position quite substantially in recent years. Originally they were members of the anti-fat crusade but in their more recent publications they have modified their position along the good fats/bad fats line.

    That they have changed their position is good as it demonstrates that they respond to new research. Hopefully they will keep an open mind about the role fructose may play in issues of common concern.

    Cheers
    Paul.

  • Gordon says:

    Hi Chris,

    I was hoping that it would be possible to have an intelligent discussion about the evidence without the continual David Gillespie bashing.

    The reason I joined this discussion was to point out that it is possible for anyone to misinterpret data.

    You present yourself to be an expert and you are certainly one of the most outspoken anti-Gillespie people in public view. In spite of that you also misinterpreted evidence and misrepresented it in this forum. You also fail to point out the weaknesses of some of this evidence. These are exactly the crimes of which you have been unabashedly accusing David.

    The NHMRC guidelines are wishy-washy at best in relation to sugar consumption recommendations and are certainly not worded in such a way as any member of the public would bother to read. I am very interested to hear that they are being revised.

    I agree with Paul that, at least in his books, David does not recommend complete abstention from fructose, coming up with a figure of 10 grams. He also says that fructose if supplied with fibre is likely to be less of a concern. Perhaps David has said different things in interviews and online. I have only read his books to get his perspective.

    I was interested to read that you and other experts believe that sugar consumption has decreased. in recent times. I don’t know but I would doubt that sugar consumption figures would take into account such sweeteners as sugar alcohols (I recently saw “sugar-free chocolate” sweetened with maltitol), concentrated apple and pear juice (that fills children’s foods) and other non-sugar sweeteners. Obviously manufacturers put these things in so that they can reduce the GI of a food while still having it sweet (excellent marketing strategy).

    If you can put the Gillespie attack to one side for a while, I would still be interested to have your opinion on the cohort study I mentioned a few posts ago.
    Jakobsen et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91(6):1764–1768.

    Thanks,
    Gordon

  • Gordon wrote: ‘I was hoping that it would be possible to have an intelligent discussion about the evidence without the continual David Gillespie bashing.’

    So was I, but the continual uninformed defence by Paul of David’s untenable position makes this very difficult. And it was David’s inability (or unwillingness) to appropriately interpret the science behind the effects of added fructose on human health that was the main point of my Ockham’s Razor program, the one that led to his equally error-ridden blog entry ‘Attack of the Chocolatier’ (this one). Of course it is appropriate for me to point out David’s errors in this forum.

    Gordon: ‘You present yourself to be an expert …’

    While I claim to have expertise in ‘nutrition’, I don’t claim to be an expert specifically on the effects of fructose on human health. My comment posted on February 21, 2010 at 5:10 PM made this crystal clear. With respect to the biochemistry of fructose, my comment included: ‘It is 40 years since I studied biochemistry formally, and I haven’t kept up with the literature enough to be in a position to give an expert opinion.’

    However, I have 40 years experience at conducting, reading and interpreting nutritional science and I ‘smelled a rat’ as soon as I heard David’s Ockham’s Razor program. A little research convinced me that it wasn’t a small rat, either.

    Gordon: ‘… and you are certainly one of the most outspoken anti-Gillespie people in public view.’

    This may be so, but I am relatively kind to David compared to the discussion that has gone on behind the scenes on Nut-Net, within the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA), and the Australian Skeptics.

    Gordon: ‘… you also misinterpreted evidence and misrepresented it in this forum.’

    This is not worthy of you, Gordon. I’ve already explained that my inadvertent misinterpretation (which wasn’t a misrepresentation because there was no intent to deceive) had no effect on the points I was making. Despite claiming to have accessed more than 3000 papers and articles on the effects of added fructose on human health, David somehow managed to miss every study conducted on the effects of added fructose on human health conducted since 1985. Hence his false claim that no human studies were conducted after that date. Now THAT is misrepresentation! He also claims that the evidence overwhelmingly damns fructose. Whether it was 8 or 12 of 19 studies that reported neutral or beneficial effects is beside the point. The results of the 19 human studies I found involving very high fructose intakes – typically about twice the (already high) US average of 10% of energy – did not consistently support his position.

    More to come in my next message.

  • Continued from my previous message …

    Gordon: ‘I agree with Paul that, at least in his books, David does not recommend complete abstention from fructose, coming up with a figure of 10 grams.’

    Is this ‘added fructose’ or ‘fructose’? If it is ‘fructose’ and it is accounted for by his recommendation to eat two serves of fruit, then that is not part of the argument I have with David. I agree that two serves of fruit is an appropriate daily intake. This is part of the Australian 5 + 2 recommendation (five serves of vegetables plus two of fruit). David tends to use ‘fructose’ and ‘added fructose’ interchangeably. If I am guilty of not distinguishing between the two, it is because I am using his terminology in comments on his blog. As mentioned in a comment I posted yesterday, his more memorable quotes include:

    ‘It is a “miracle … that we are not all dead in the face of the incessant fructose doping.’

    ‘Every day that fructose remains a part of our diet, is a death sentence for thousands of Australians.’

    ‘(We can be) absolutely certain that fructose is a killer of epidemic proportions …’

    ‘Fructose is not an acute poison … it doesn’t kill you on the spot, but it will kill you within 20 years.’

    I will try to remember to use ‘added fructose’ in future, but in case I lapse into bad habits again, please remember that when I use the term ‘fructose’ it is understood to mean ‘added fructose’ unless otherwise specified.

    Gordon: ‘I was interested to read that you and other experts believe that sugar consumption has decreased.’

    As mentioned above, I am not an expert in this field. I can only go on the best evidence available. The paper by Alicia Sim and Alan Barclay that was presented at DAA last year has been submitted for publication (I’m not sure where). If it passes the peer-review process and is published, then I would regard that as the best evidence available. Until better evidence comes along, I would then accept that consumption of added fructose has probably declined in Australia (while it has increased in the US) at the same time as obesity has reached epidemic proportions in both countries.

    Gordon: ‘… I would still be interested to have your opinion on the cohort study I mentioned a few posts ago. Jakobsen et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91(6):1764–1768.’

    Very pleased to do so, but in another message (this one is already long enough).

  • Paul wrote: ‘As for whether David has gone beyond Peter (actually ‘James’) Watson’s reasonable bounds of exaggeration when writing for the general public that is a completely separate issue.’

    No it isn’t! For me it has been the central issue in this entire debate. My Ockham’s Razor program (the one that triggered this blog entry) was a de-bunking of David’s grossly exaggerated case against fructose.

    I simply don’t know if fructose is ‘guilty as charged’ or an innocent bystander. I do know that David hasn’t contributed one iota to our understanding of its role (if any) in the epidemics of obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. I also know that he doesn’t address the health issues associated with excessive consumption of salt and alcohol, and the potential consequences of inadequate intakes of iron, iodine and vitamin D (among other micronutrients) by Australians. I also know that he is selling thousands of copies of books that are not based on good science to unsuspecting members of the public.

    In another comment Paul wrote: ‘You acknowledge in increasingly strident terms that you share David’s concerns regarding fructose to the point that you now claim that you were warning the public about them before David.’

    Not me Paul, the NHMRC. The dietary guidelines were first published in 1979. I can’t find the actual wording of the original guideline for sugar, but it was along the lines of ‘reduce consumption’ or ‘limit consumption’ (or similar). This advice preceded the publication of Sweet Poison by almost 30 years.

    As I’ve mentioned previously, the dietary guidelines are being rewritten. I don’t know the form the revised guideline for sugar will take (but my offer to Paul to ‘put his money where his mouth is’ still stands).

    Paul: ‘The only difference is that you claim David says no fructose and you say some fructose is okay (more if you run marathons).’

    Paul, I don’t know if you are simply being your usual perverse self, or you genuinely cannot see that there is a chasm between David’s beliefs and mine. For your edification I’ve compiled three lists. The first shows areas (or the area) where I agree with David. The second shows two points on which I partially agree. The third details the many points on which we disagree.

    1. Point of agreement: I agree with David (and nearly everyone else who hasn’t been living in a cave for the past decade or so) that high intakes of fructose are almost certainly harmful to health.

    2. Points of partial agreement:

    (i) I agree that two serves of fruit per day is an appropriate recommendation. I do not agree that three (or even more) serves of fruit are likely to be harmful. I suspect that the entire world population of fruitarians (people who will not eat anything that had to be killed, so their diet consists mainly of fruit, nuts, honey and plant oils such as olive oil) would also disagree. Fruitarians eat prodigious quantities of fruit, but have few or no problems with weight control.

    (ii) I agree that physical activity is important for general health. In Sweet Poison, David lists seven reasons for taking part in physical activity. However, he blots his copybook by advising: ‘Don’t exercise if your dominant purpose is to lose weight: let a lack of fructose do that instead.’ The NHMRC, American College of Sports Medicine and every other health-related body I am aware of advises that physical activity is important in weight control.

    3. Points of disagreement … to be continued (this will take so long, I’m going to have to post it in a new comment).

  • Continued from my previous message …

    3. Points of disagreement between me and David Gillespie”.

    (i) I disagree that added fructose is a poison at any dose.

    (ii) I disagree that fructose is undoubtedly addictive to humans(the review paper in the December 26 edition of Clinical Nutrition found no evidence for this).

    (iii) I disagree that the evidence is overwhelming that added fructose is the sole cause of the epidemics of obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

    (iv) I disagree that the Dietary Guidelines for Australians are ‘ancient’ and that as a result of following them ‘real people … are suffering very real and very debilitating diseases’.

    (v) I disagree that there has been a clear and compelling association over the past 40 or so years between consumption of added fructose and the epidemics mentioned above.

    (vi) I disagree that the study by Reiser et al. [Am J Clin Nutr. 1985Aug;42(2):242-51] had to be abandoned because four participants nearly died as a result of being in the fructose group. The authors of this study state clearly that there was a ‘… lack of relationship between the onset of the abnormalities and the type of dietary carbohydrate.’

    (vii) I disagree that there were no further human studies following the one by Reiser et al. Studies continued and are still being conducted.

    (viii) I disagree that fructose accounts for 20% of our total energy intake. Using David’s own estimate that we eat about two-thirds as much fructose as Americans, and the consistent reports in the literature that American consumption accounts for about 10% of total energy intake, Australian fructose consumption is likely to be less than half the level claimed by David.

    (ix) I disagree that our energy intake has increased by 30% in the past three decades. Evidence provided by Dr Rosemary Stanton suggests that food intake has hardly varied in that time.

    To be continued …

  • Continued from my previous message …

    (x) I disagree that the American Dietetics Association recommends that ‘fructose should be completely avoided (by people with diabetes).’ The ADA position statement includes: ‘The myth that sugar causes diabetes is commonly accepted by many people. Research has shown that it isn’t true …’

    (xi) I disagree that ‘every gram of fructose we eat is directly converted to fat’. Fructose can be converted to glycogen (the form in which glucose is stored in the liver and muscles) or to triglycerides (i.e. fat).

    (xii) I disagree that ‘all processed foods contain some sugar’. The following is an incomplete list of processed foods that generally do not contain added sugars: Canned and dried soups; canned vegetables; frozen vegetables; dried vegetables; frozen fruit; dried fruit; most frozen ‘TV dinners’; cured meats; Vegemite; potato crisps; frozen potato chips; unflavoured corn chips; pasteurised milk; cheese; natural yogurt; unsweetened fruit-flavoured yogurt; cream; butter; margarine; cocoa powder; instant coffee; some breakfast cereals (e.g. Weetbix, rolled oats); and many savoury crackers/biscuits.

    (xiii) I disagree that ‘non-caloric sweeteners … contain the same number of calories per gram as any other carbohydrate.’ This is not correct – ‘non-caloric’ implies that no energy is provided by these artificial sweeteners.

    (xiv) I disagree that the ‘joule (is) calculated using Einstein’s famous equation E=mc2 …’. This would be true and relevant only if our stomachs contained fully functional nuclear reactors! The joule is the SI unit of work (or energy) and is defined as the work conducted (or energy converted from one form to another) when one kilogram of mass is accelerated at one metre per-second-squared over a distance of one metre.

    (xv) I disagree that the watt ‘measures electrical energy consumed per hour … a 60-watt light bulb uses 60 watts of energy every hour.’ This is probably best described as gibberish. The watt is the SI unit of power (i.e. the rate at which work is conducted). A power output of one watt occurs when work is conducted at the rate of one joule per second.

    Paul, do you still believe that ‘The only difference is that (I) claim David says no fructose and (I) say some fructose is okay (more if you run marathons)’?

  • Paul says:

    Chris

    Unfortunately holidays are over and I have to get back to my day job.

    I see you have generated an extensive list of the precise points of difference between David and you, and I am sure there are people out there who care as much about them as you do.

    It may stick in your craw that David may get credit for raising awareness when you think he has gone way over the top but I doubt many will care – if he is proved correct.

    As you may have gathered I am more interested in the points of common ground between you and David than whether David has ‘gone too far’ in his claims and public statements.

    I have only been critical of you insofar as your obsession with attacking David’s position/comments tends to obscure that there are real concerns, shared by you, concerning the consumption of fructose.

    At best the average person following David’s advice will reduce their fructose consumption to the eating of some whole fruit each day. This will probably mean they will greatly reduce their consumption of processed and packaged foods.

    That is hardly a frightening best case scenario.

    In practice even the most enthusiastic supporter of David’s position will still be eating added fructose in significant amounts simply because it is very hard to avoid the stuff.

    It seems clear that there is already enough evidence to warrant a cautious approach to the consumption of fructose.

    Further research will confirm/establish whether David’s strict recommendations are warranted but when the cost of being cautious is only eating less fructose it seems a fairly harmless exercise.

    As one my previous posts speculated I think the major problem with fructose may prove to be simply the fact that it is sweet and tempts people to overeat. It is the drive for sweetness that causes people to eat a packet of biscuits or keeping drinking soft drink and juices when they should have had their fill.

    Try some liquid glucose and you will understand what I mean when I say that when people are thinking sweet they are thinking fructose. Glucose simply doesn’t taste sweet.

    Needless to say if this ‘sweetness’ is part of a substance that has even some of the metabolic issues postulated by David there is a real problem to be addressed.

    Good Eating
    Paul.

  • Paul,

    I think we (you and I) have found some common ground at last.

    I agree with you (and with David) that consumption of added fructose in high amounts is harmful. I agree with you both that many (probably most) Australians consume too much added fructose.

    My main argument with David has always been that he has distorted the science beyond all recognition of reality to exaggerate the case against added fructose. As a scientist, I saw this as wholly inappropriate and inexcusable. You now say that you can also see how he has exaggerated the evidence.

    And although you believe that David has raised awareness of the potential problems of excessive consumption of added fructose, unfortunately he glosses over (or rather rejects as ‘ancient’) the other dietary guidelines, which are equally important as (or perhaps even more important than) the one about sugar.

    But I am very happy to (at last) leave David’s dodgy science behind and concentrate on discussing the real science.

    Finally, and for Gordon’s information, I’ve ordered a copy of the paper by Jacobsen et al. If it arrives tomorrow, I’ll read it on the weekend and comment on it on Sunday.

  • Paul says:

    Hmmmmm

    “..You now say that you can also see how he has exaggerated the evidence..”

    Nice try Chris but I did not say that.

    I have no difficulty with David’s strict position on fructose and the evidence to date either supports his position or is sufficient to warrant taking a cautious approach to the consumption of fructose pending additional research.

    It is a fairly straight forward and sensible application of the precautionary principle assuming you accept that large quantities of added fructose is a recent addition to the day to day diet and was introduced without thorough testing.

    It is a shame that there were not more keen eyed observers such as yourself on patrol when fructose was being introduced into the food supply in large quantities. I am sure that you would have been quite vigorous in defending the then low fructose status quo.

    If anything I would broaden the case against fructose as follows:

    * The intense sweetness of fructose is at least habit forming if not addictive

    * The sweetness of fructose encourages the over consumption of other foods to which it is added, particularly moderate – high GI carbohydrates but also staurated fats (chocolates etc).

    * Fructose inhibits hormonal appetite triggers

    * Fructose metabolism produces higher levels of blood fat.

    * Fructose consumption contributes to the development of metabolic syndrome.

    If you want to eat fructose eat fruit.

    Simple message.

    Cheers
    Paul.

  • Okay Paul, you didn’t exactly agree that David has exaggerated the case against added fructose, but in your comment posted on April 26, 2011 at 9.08 PM you wrote: ‘I tend to agree that some of his turns of phrase are a touch sensational’. I’m not sure how they can be ‘sensational’ without being ‘exaggerated’, but it appears that you are not prepared to soften your position. Neither am I, so there is no point in continuing this discussion.

    I will be going overseas next weekend on holiday (to the land of high-fructose corn syrup 🙂 so I won’t be able to send any more comments after this week. Unfortunately, the paper by Jakobsen et al didn’t arrive on Friday, so it will have to be later this week before I can send any comments about it.

    I’m also sick of having to try four, five or even six times to post each comment. Why Google worked well 12 months ago and now makes life very difficult, I don’t understand. Gordon, are you still having only intermittent success at posting comments?

    On another (but related) issue, readers of these comments (yes, both of you 🙂 may be interested in a new book titled ‘Planet Obesity’. Written by two of Australia’s leading obesity researchers, Planet Obesity proposes a whole new way of looking at the origins (and therefore possible treatment) of the obesity epidemic. It draws parallels between (and even talks about a common root cause of) the obesity epidemic and global climate change. This might seem far-fetched, but they make a persuasive case. For a review of Planet Obesity go to: http://www.suite101.com/content/a-review-of-planet-obesity-by-garry-egger-and-boyd-swinburn-a273625

    And for Paul’s sake, I’ll point out that added fructose isn’t considered by Garry Egger and Boyd Swinburn to be the sole cause of the obesity epidemic and global climate change).

  • While I’m waiting for the copy of the paper by Jacobsen et al, I thought I would bring up a couple of issues that haven’t been mentioned before in these comments — the social and cultural aspects of eating, and also acceptability.

    Firstly, acceptability:

    I know of no-one who eats solely for nutrition. Most people (or at least most sensible people) will also take acceptability into account. I mentioned recently that a liking for sweetness is natural in humans. The evidence for this is very strong. For example, neonates (i.e. new-born babies) will react to having a drop of water containing dissolved sugar placed on their tongue with facial expressions that indicate pleasure, and will readily open their mouths for more. On the other hand, a drop of water plus vinegar on the tongue will elicit facial expressions indicating disgust, and a refusal to accept more. This is before the baby has had any chance to learn food behaviour from its mother, so the liking for sweet-tasting food is clearly innate.

    Whether it is ‘natural’ or not to eat fructose other than in fruit, it is certainly a very pleasurable experience for the vast majority of people to eat sugar-sweetened foods. In moderation this is clearly harmless: people in most existing cultures prized sugar-sweetened foods — but generally ate only moderate quantities of these foods — for at least several centuries before the onset of the obesity epidemic 30-40 years ago.

    As mentioned in the first paragraph of this comment, food also has deep cultural and social values, and food habits help bind people together. The Greek family member who will not share the baklava with the other members of his/her family when it is offered for dessert would risk becoming a stranger in their own family, I should think! Similar comments apply to the Italian who rejects the panna cotta or gelato, and the French person who passes on the crêpes suzette or the crème brulée. Yet despite a fondness for rich, sweet foods, these nations buck the trend by having relatively low levels of obesity compared with the US, Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

    In my case, it is chocolate and desserts that I have no intention of ‘deserting’ (so to speak). Nor do I feel any health- or nutrition-related need to do so. I am weight stable, my BMI and all other health indicators (body fat percentage, blood cholesterol, blood pressure and so on) are in the normal or healthy range. Even if fructose is causative of obesity and metabolic syndrome when eaten in large quantities (and the evidence for this is equivocal), by eating only moderate amounts of sugar-containing foods and taking part in about an hour of light, moderate and vigorous physical activity each day I seem to be in no danger of succumbing to these pathogenic states. I can’t think of a good reason why anyone else should completely avoid sugar either.

    If you want to eat fructose, eat two serves of fruit per day and only moderate amounts of sugars and foods containing added sugars.

    Simple message.

    Cheers,

    Chris.

    PS Here is my recipe for my favourite home-prepared dessert — pears in red wine, which is ‘to die for’ (although not literally 🙂

    I use home-grown winter cole pears, one per diner.

    Take off the stalks and peel the pears. Place the pears in a saucepan containing red wine (about 100 mL per pear) which should be of at least good drinking quality, add sugar (to taste) cinnamon (a generous sprinkle) and a couple of splashes of vanilla essence.

    Bring to the boil, allow to simmer slowly for about one hour, or until a fork easily penetrates the pear flesh. Turn the pears every 10minutes or so while they are cooking to ensure that all parts spend roughly equal time under the red wine syrup.

    When the pears are cooked, place one in each dessert bowl, pour the red wine syrup over them, and serve with vanilla ice cream.

    Be a devil Paul and give it a go. I promise you won’t become obese that evening (or the next day) or die of a heart attack as a result.

  • Paul says:

    Thanks Chris

    That book sounds very interesting.

    There is no one true gospel when it comes to obesity and the more ideas research and debate the better.

    Perhaps we can discuss the ideas in that book on you return.

    Have a safe trip
    Paul

    On an unrelated subject I have you been connected up to the NBN in Scottsdale – is it good?

  • Gordon says:

    Hi guys,

    I’ve had no problems posting since David fixed it up. The reason I was banned at first was I was trying to copy and paste a very long pre-prepared comment in several parts. When I posted the second part of the commend, the first part was replaced by the second one. So then I re-posted the first one. I think that Google objected to me posting the same comment over and over. I don’t blame Google. If I were a computer and someone was posting duplicate comments repeatedly I’d think that it was a spammer too.

    Personally, I’d like to think that the content of the comment was really interesting and important – but, of course, a computer would not be able to see the “brilliance” of my literature analysis 😉 LOL.

    Anyway, since then I would for the comment to appear in my email before I post a second part.

    Chris, I think that your comment about acceptability is a valid point, especially the part in relation to a cultural need to share food. I agree that there is somewhat of a social need on occasion to take part in consumption of sweet. For example, I graciously accepted the gift of easter eggs last week. I also allowed my 3.5 year old to eat some chocolate easter eggs that he received as presents. I also made him some glucose sweetened chocolate. I did not personally eat any of the chocolate and gave it all to my brother, (who has a BMI below 20!). But I did eat a small slice of cake sweetened with sugar AND honey that my wife made for a dinner party last week.

    Mmmm that recipe does sound good. Especially the syrup drizzled over ice-cream bit. I reckon though that I’d be able to modify the recipe to be made with dextrose syrup and dextrose ice-cream and it would be just as good and fructose free 🙂 Don’t get upset, I’m just having a dig:-)

    I do have more to say about acceptability but I will write after I put my son to bed.

    Gordon.

  • Gordon says:

    On acceptability from a personal level…

    I was convinced enough by Sweet Poison to pretty much eliminate sugar from my diet.

    I saw the book as a hypothesis rather than incontrovertible truth. David uses the words “my conclusions” a lot in the book. Ultimately the book is a “case report” of one person’s success at weight loss (himself) with some really interesting analysis of the literature put in. I would never take any one person’s opinion on such a subject as true gospel and started to research the topic myself.

    I was most concerned about the potential for negative health effects of fructose (appetite, dislipidemia, free fatty acids) rather than the weight loss issues as I was maintaining my weight at a low BMI already.

    In any case, for about a month I’ve eaten much much less “fructose” than I used to. I have noticed the following in my body:
    -I lost 3-4 kilos without ever feeling as though I was depriving myself. I am in the low end of the healthy weight range. This weight loss has brought my BMI down to 21.5.
    -I have REALLY noticed a reduction in my appetite. The portion size I feel comfortable eating has probably reduced to about 1/3 to 1/2 less than what it was previously. Since I made this change I can now eat a “normal” dinner portion and actually not feel hungry. I don’t have to wait 20 mins I don’t have to drink vast amounts of water to get the full feeling.
    Previously, to lose weight (I put on quite a bit during a holiday in Italy) I had to be always hungry at the end of every meal. To maintain my previous weight at about 66.5-67.5kg I had to intentionally eat less than I wanted at most evening meals. In the 4 weeks since I reduced fructose I’m now down to 63.5-64kg and have lost this weight despite not intending to. I have eaten as much as I wanted (and often more out of habit).
    -My waist measurement has reduced.
    -I now taste things that I have never tasted before. I am AMAZED, for example, that Vitabrits actually have a flavour! I can actually really enjoy them now without the two desert spoons of sugar/honey that I used previously. So I actually enjoy my food more now than before despite it not being sweet.
    -About the other stuff: I don’t know whether my liver’s insulin sensitivity has increased or whether m cholesterol has decreased or whether my liver is pumping out citrate. I will be checking my lipids in the next few weeks and will be able to report back on whether the change has made any difference.

    My diet:
    It was already low in saturated fat. I mostly eat home cooked food with plenty of vegies and my preferred source of fat is olive oil. I prefer multigrain bread. If it is late at night, we often try to eat carb-free dinner. We do have takeaway about once per week.

    From reading the labels, I am amazed at how much sugar is actually added to most processed foods. Actually Chris some canned vegies and also natural yoghurt and even Weetbix do actually have added sugar. Miniwheats used to be very low in sugar but they changed the formula and nearly tripled the sugar to 8.8%.

    So back to acceptability:
    Is a 10g fructose per day diet acceptable to me? Yes, pretty much. I don’t want to turn off my taste buds again and lose the new tastes I have discovered. But on the other hand I still want to be able to have thai food and enjoy cakes made by my friends from time to time. I don’t miss most of the foods I’ve cut out. I don’t mind not having chocolate and ice cream if it means I can have chips. But I’ll probably still have some sugar, it’ll just be much less than it was before.

    There IS definitely some truth in David Gillespie’s hypothesis. There may not be convincing intervention studies (in humans) or a satisfactory cohort study to prove it yet but I hope that someone does them soon.

    Have a safe trip Chris.

    Gordon.

  • Gordon wrote: ‘Actually Chris some canned vegies and also natural yoghurt and even Weetbix do actually have added sugar.’

    You’re right about Weetbix containing sugar … Hmm, another mistake! 🙁

    However, according to Dairy Foods (http://www.dairyfoods.com.au/yoghurt/):

    ‘Natural yoghurt … has no extra sugar.’

    I also googled ‘Is sugar added to canned vegetables?’

    At http://www.healthyactive.gov.au/internet/healthyactive/publishing.nsf/Content/fact2
    the warning is given to ‘Select your frozen or canned fruit and vegetables carefully – some products have added sugar, fat or salt.’

    Depending on what proportion of canned vegetables contain added sugar, this could still be consistent with my wording (‘… generally do not contain added sugar’).

    But we’re starting to split hairs here. I’m happy to take canned vegetables and Weetbix out of my list. That still leaves a long list of processed foods that do not contain added sugar.

    It is David’s willingness to exaggerate that bothers me. If he had said that ‘most’ or even ‘the vast majority’ of processed foods contain added sugar I would have had no complaints. His claim that all processed foods contain added sugar is simply wrong (consistent with many of his claims).

    Gordon also wrote: ‘Ultimately the book is a “case report” of one person’s success at weight loss (himself) with some really interesting analysis of the literature put in.’

    From my viewpoint, how interesting anyone finds his analysis of much of the literature depends on how much they enjoy reading fiction :-). I am prepared to accept that some of his claims about the biochemistry of fructose may be shown to be correct. But they are based largely on animal studies, and we don’t know how relevant those results are to humans. Also, the aspects of his book I could be bothered reviewing contain so many mistakes I simply can’t take his writing about fructose seriously.

    Gordon also wrote: ‘There IS definitely some truth in David Gillespie’s hypothesis.’

    I can’t agree with this. David’s ‘hypothesis’ (which he puts forward as virtually incontrovertible fact) is that added fructose in the diet is the sole cause of the epidemics of obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. A flat claim of this kind cannot contain ‘some truth’ … it is either true or false. And the evidence simply isn’t sufficient to come to the conclusion he puts forward as absolutely and undeniably true.

    Again, if David had hypothesised that high intakes of added fructose are making a major contribution to the epidemics of obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, I don’t think anyone would have objected. This is consistent with the current state of the science. For example, Johnson et al. [Endocrine Rev. (2009); 30: 96–116] hypothesised that ‘… excessive fructose intake (>50 g/day) may be one of the etiologies of the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes’.

    But how many books would David have sold if he hadn’t grossly exaggerated the evidence so he could falsely claim that ‘(We can be) absolutely certain that fructose is a killer of epidemic proportions …’? My guess is ‘not many’. So it is in his (financial) interest to continue to exaggerate and distort the science.

  • Gordon says:

    Natural yoghurt: I must have gotten confused. Most natural yoghurts do have between about 5 and 10% listed in the “sugars” section on the nutrition panel. Perhaps this is all lactose? It is interesting that there is such a large range of “sugars” counts between the different brands. In any case, presuming it’s all lactose, I stand corrected. Sorry.

    Gordon.

  • Paul says:

    Hi Chris

    An interesting experiment the next time you are in the baby ward with an eye dropper might be to try a drop of water sweetened with a non fructose sweetener – preferable non calorific.

    I suspect that the babies will smile in a similar fashion as when you administer a drop of sugar.

    That might suggest that sweetness itself may be an important issue – whether or not it is accompanied by fructose.

    As we know people can smile after consuming a number of substances of doubtful merit so smiling itself is of limited assistance.

    Needless to say there are likely to be individuals who smile more than others following a sweet drop and thus may be more vulnerable to over consumption of foods that have been sweetened – whether of not that sweetening involves sugar.

  • In relation to a baby’s face registering pleasure when a drop of water with dissolved sugar is placed on its tongue, Paul wrote: ‘… sweetness itself may be an important issue, whether or not is accompanied by fructose’.

    I think that is almost certainly correct. You could probably elicit a similar response with glucose, lactose, aspartame or any other sweet-tasting substance. The point I was making is that enjoyment of sweetness is apparently ‘natural’ for humans. Of course this doesn’t mean we should all eat buckets of sugar, but it does mean that we are probably programmed to enjoy sweet foods, so it may be difficult for many people to eliminate them from their diet.

    The other point I would make is that there is no need to eliminate sweet foods, just eat them occasionally as ‘extras’. That is, follow the dietary guidelines and get plenty of physical activity.

    Cheers,

    Chris.

  • Gordon wrote about how he has lost weight with no hunger pangs, and feels much better after following David’s advice to cut added fructose from his diet.

    This is the usual effect of any restrictive diet. Thousands of people have sung the praises of the Atkins Diet, the Scarsdale Diet, the Pritikin Diet, the Total Wellbeing Diet (and every other restrictive diet that has ever been widely promoted).

    Although they are all effective -at least in the short term – some have firmer scientific backing as to their safety than others. For example, although it is somewhat controversial in the world of nutritional science, the Total Wellbeing diet is supported by research conducted by CSIRO and others on the effects of protein on satiety, and also on the likely health effects of following the diet.

    On the other hand, David’s claim that by simply deleting added fructose from your diet you will eliminate the risk of metabolic syndrome has no basis in science.

    Let me draw an analogy. I have a car that isn’t handling properly. I can choose to consult a qualified mechanic or read a book on the subject by a lawyer. I decide to trust the lawyer. His book advises me to make sure the petrol I’m using doesn’t contain a certain additive – one that is in all brands of petrol bar one. I go to a lot of trouble to locate the service station that sells this unique brand of petrol, and what do I find – my car is running a lot better when I follow his advice!

    However, I don’t know that my car’s brakes are in danger of failing and the steering is decidedly dodgy. A mechanic would have identified these problems, but I chose the cheap and easy option – buy a book written by someone with no relevant qualifications or experience.

    So now my car is running well, but there are underlying problems I don’t know about, but which have the potential to put me in life-threatening situations.

    Perhaps I should have taken my car to a qualified mechanic after all.

    Similarly, David states categorically that there is one simple way of virtually eliminating the risk of metabolic syndrome – eliminate one ‘additive’ (added fructose) from the diet. He neglects to mention that excessive dietary salt and alcohol are also harmful. He also forgets to advise (or perhaps doesn’t know) that the current very high ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the typical western diet may also be playing a role in promoting metabolic syndrome. He (inappropriately) recommends: “Don’t exercise if your dominant purpose is to lose weight; let a lack of fructose do that instead.”

    Perhaps we should be listening to the qualified nutritionists who devised the Dietary Guidelines for Australians, rather than to a lawyer.

    Cheers,

    Chris.

  • Gordon wrote: ‘… I would still be interested to have your opinion on the cohort study I mentioned a few posts ago. Jakobsen et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91(6):1764–1768.’

    I read the paper tonight.

    I can’t agree with your comment that ‘The study found that reducing your saturated fat in your diet and increasing your high or moderate GI carbs actually increased your risk of heart attack.’

    The authors actually report that ‘There was no association for carbohydrates with medium-GI values’.

    I do agree that the results of this study tell us nothing about the effects of fructose on the risk of MI.

    Was there some other aspect of the study that caught your attention? I’m struggling to see what relevance it had to the debate taking place in these comments.

    Cheers,

    Chris.

  • Some time ago I wrote in a comment:

    ‘The paper by Alicia Sim and Alan Barclay that was presented at DAA last year has been submitted for publication (I’m not sure where). If it passes the peer-review process and is published, then I would regard that as the best evidence available. Until better evidence comes along, I would then accept that consumption of added fructose has probably declined in Australia (while it has increased in the US) at the same time as obesity has reached epidemic proportions in both countries.’

    The paper has been accepted for publication in the journal Nutrients. It was e-published late last month:

    http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/3/4/491/

    Alan Barclay and Jenni Brand Miller are cited as the co-authors.

    The conclusion includes:

    ‘The findings confirm an “Australian Paradox” — a substantial decline in refined sugars intake over the same timeframe that obesity has increased. The implication is that efforts to reduce sugar intake may reduce consumption but may not reduce the prevalence of obesity.’

    Until better evidence comes along, I will accept that sugar (and therefore fructose) intake has decreased in Australia and the UK while the obesity epidemic has been surging ahead. This directly contradicts David’s claims that fructose intake has increased in parallel with the obesity epidemic.

  • Paul says:

    Chris,

    I hate to be nit picking but the point you were making was not that the enjoyment of sweetness is apparently ‘natural’ but that the intense sweetness of sugar (read concentrated fructose) is ‘natural’.

    Leaving to one side my point that a positive response to a substance is hardly a useful guide (a babe would probably smile at a drop of morphine or THC for that matter) the important issue is whether the sweetness of fructose is an issue.

    Few people schooled in the intense sweetness of fructose (1.7) compared to glucose (1) would consider glucose sweet at all. Buy some glucose syrup and some fructose crystals and try the taste test.

    What most people call sweet is nothing more than fructose sweet.

    I think there is a legitimate argument that the addition of fructose to many foods has desensitised our palettes and perhaps created an addiction/craving for intense sweetness.

    Perhaps like those lab rats the human response to sweetness is not that dissimilar to the responses to other drugs. That may explain why many people who give up nicotine find themselves with a persistent sweet tooth. Pushing the sweet button may be related to pushing the nicotine button.

    Not everyone gets ‘hooked’ on nicotine (social smokers) or even finds it stimulating and perhaps the same applies to sweetness. Some people can handle it in moderation while others are ‘trapped’ by its sweet embrace.

    Certainly good reason for caution and public awareness. But in that respect I think you and I are pretty much on the same page these days.

    Paul.

  • Paul says:

    That paper by Barclay and Brand-Miller is interesting and I have read their various books re the GI index.

    I note your careful choice of words as the article was hardly a ringing endorsement for the inclusion of fructose (sugar) in beverages. They appeared to approve the reduction that they believe they found in the consumption of sugary drinks by Australians.

    They described as a paradox that consumption appeared to have fallen whilst the incidence of obesity had increased. That is quite different to finding that fructose/sweetness has no role in the obesity epidemic.

    I am in no position to challenge their claims/evidence that the consumption of sugar/fructose has fallen but I think it would be interesting to investigate whether the intake of calories of food sweetened with fructose and/or artificial sweetners have reduced or increased over that period.

    The reference to the common occurrence of young people eating fast foods (Fatty/Hi GI foods) while drinking diet soft drinks was interesting but it is important to keep in mind that often many of the fatty / High GI foods are laced fructose/sugar – the sugar content of many sauces particularly BBQ can reach 30%.

    Thus the eating habits of the Coke Zero generation may still be strongly influenced by the use of sugar/fructose even if their drinks are free of the stuff.

  • Paul wrote: “I hate to be nit picking but the point you were making was not that the enjoyment of sweetness is apparently ‘natural’ but that the intense sweetness of sugar (read concentrated fructose) is ‘natural’.”

    No, that wasn’t my point Paul. My apologies if I didn’t make my meaning clear, but I actually wrote (and my intended meaning was): ‘… a liking for sweetness is natural in humans.’ That is, it is the sweetness per se that is naturally pleasing, not the source of the sweetness. The evidence I gave for this is that a drop of sugar-sweetened water on the tongue of a new-born baby invariably elicits a facial expression and behaviour indicative of pleasure. The reason I mentioned ‘sugar-sweetened water’ rather than any other source of sweetness is that this was the experiment that was conducted, as far as I can remember. (It was about 25 years ago I heard about this from a keynote speaker at a nutrition science symposium). I mentioned in a later message that similar results are likely for any kind of sweet taste, regardless of its source (sugar, glucose, lactose, aspartame, etc).

    Paul also wrote (about the dangers involved in high intakes of added fructose): ‘Certainly good reason for caution and public awareness. But in that respect I think you and I are pretty much on the same page these days.’

    We certainly are (and have been from the start of this debate, which seems like a couple of decades ago 🙂

    But unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. I’m heading off tomorrow with my wife for nearly three weeks of travel to New York, Florida (Orlando and Fort Lauderdale) and the Bahamas, so this is my last message for at least three weeks. Not sure if I’ll resume my role in this debate (even though it has been a lot of fun). Of course that will also depend on whether I survive the mountain of HFCS that will be forced down my oesophagus over the next few weeks 🙂

    Adios and all the best.

    Chris.

  • Gordon says:

    Dear Chris,
    Thank you for recommending Planet Obesity. Egger and Swinburn’s thesis drawing associations between various forms of growth is certainly interesting.
    I hope that your holiday in USA was good.
    Gordon.

  • Gordon says:

    For those interested parties who have followed this thread:

    On a personal note, I have continued to eat very little fructose. (I don’t say none because I won’t refuse offers of hospitality from others – but I’ve cut almost all sugar-containing foods from my diet). I’ve continued to eat starchy foods and even sweet foods (sweetened with glucose or dextrose).

    My weight has stabilised at about 62.7kg (BMi of about 21). At that weight my appetite increased again but not as high as it was when I was eating fructose. So that equates to a weight loss of 5kg in about 7 weeks without changing anything but fructose “elimination” – and it’s stayed stable at that level over about six weeks now. I am now thinner than I’ve ever been in my life.

    This is my simplistic summary: Robert Lustig presented the hypothesis that we have a biochemical drive to eat the calories that our body thinks we are going to expend (hunger). Fructose interferes with this biochemical process meaning that, if we eat what we want, in the presence of excess levels of fructose we will eat too much.
    As mentioned above, when I was eating fructose, I had to eat less than would satiate me in order to maintain a stable weight (at about 67 – which I thought was ideal for me). And I didn’t eat massively high amounts considering I don’t drink soda or juice.
    Upon eliminating fructose, it was as if my body was telling me to eat less by lowering my appetite. Over 7 weeks my body gradually consumed its excess fat. At 62.7kg my body then seems to have decided that that’s it and gave me back some appetite, which has maintained that weight. So my personal experience would support Lustig’s hypothesis.

    Obviously, it can’t be this simple! There would be more complex things going on inside, which would explain why it doesn’t work for everyone. But if you need to lose weight, why not try it. It’s not a starvation diet and there’s no doubt in the literature that too much sugar is bad for you – there’s just doubt about how much is too much.

    Chris, you wrote earlier that my experience is typical of various elimination diets in that it is simply a calorie-restricted diet of another type. I have no doubt that I ate fewer calories as a result of decreased appetite but I don’t feel that it was a diet of deprivation of any description. For example, above and beyond my normal diet (see prev post) I’ve personally eaten about 40 60g packets of crisps in the last two months as treats as well as plenty of nuts (those low in saturated fat). I wouldn’t advocate this food choice but it is fact that the weight loss occurred in spite of it.

    As mentioned previously, my main motivation for fructose elimination was to improve my blood lipid profile. I will be testing that in the next weeks so I’ll get back to you about whether there’s been any change on that regard. (I’ll be disappointed if not.) I wasn’t expecting to lose weight from the fructose thing. In fact, when I had been stable at 67.5kg for several months early this year I had some trousers that I had bought when I was 75kg resized to fit me as a reward. Annoyingly, those are now too large for me.

    Gordon.

  • Gordon says:

    Blood test results are in:
    Total Cholesterol: reduced
    HDL: remained stable
    LDL: reduced
    Triglycerides: reduced

    The only change that I made in my diet to achieve this was to eliminate sugar. I already was following a diet that was quite low in saturated fat.

    So much cardiovascular risk is now as low as it could be based on my lipid studies. So I’m happy about that and I see no reason that I will go back to my former diet that contained high levels of sugar.

    This is by no means a scientific study and I hope that researchers do do some really well designed prospective cohort studies to examine this phenomenon in the future.

    For anyone, like me who has found this blog trying to research if David’s theory holds any weight…be encouraged. Talk to your Dr. Try quitting fructose. It can only do you good.

  • Gordon says:

    Let me qualify that:

    It may do you good.

    Gordon 🙂

  • Paul says:

    As the readers of this thread, who have reached this point, clearly have an insatiable interest in all things fructose I thought it might be nice to point you to another fascinating debate thread at the conversation.

    https://theconversation.edu.au/what-role-does-fructose-have-in-weight-gain-7424

  • Formerfattie says:

    University of Sydney’s Bill Shrapnel slams David Gillespie on “seed oils” – what chance he runs my comment?

    Background:

    X Bill Shrapnel is Deputy Chairman of the Sydney University Nutrition Research Foundation and an experienced food-industry service provider (http://sydney.edu.au/science/molecular_bioscience/nrf/council_members.php )

    X Bill Shrapnel campaigned against the NHMRC’s recent toughening of nutrition advice against added sugar: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/health-science/a-spoonful-of-sugar-is-not-so-bad/story-e6frg8y6-1226090126776

    X Bill Shrapnel’s blog – The Sceptical Nutritionist carries his latest piece: “David Gillespie’s new book about vegetable oils is a load of codswallop”, at http://scepticalnutritionist.com.au/?p=673#more-673

    X My comment – submitted to Bill’s site for publication – is as follows:

    rory robertson (former fattie) on February 27, 2013 at 12:52 pm said:

    [Bill says: “Your comment is awaiting moderation”]

    [START COMMENT] After he got it so right on added sugar being a serious health hazard, Bill, it’s interesting that you say Gillespie now has got it so wrong on seed oils.

    That is, the Australian Government’s new, tougher dietary advice – issued last week – is that we “limit” food and drinks containing added sugar in the same way we “limit” our consumption of alcohol: http://www.australianparadox.com/pdf/canberradietary.pdf

    Here’s NHMRC CEO Professor Warwick Anderson on ABC TV explaining “the science” behind the NHMRC’s anti-sugar move: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-02-19/sugar-re-think-an-evidence-based-decision/4527312?section=business

    Official nutrition advice against added sugar just shifted big-time, and it will be interesting to see how long it takes supposedly professional organisations like the Dietitians Association of Australia, Australian Diabetes Council, Heart Foundation, Nutrition Australia and The Nutrition Society of Australia to get busy explaining the new advice to those seeking reliable information on critical health matters.

    Bill, only time will tell if David Gillespie – after correctly nailing added sugar as a disaster for public health – now has got it completely wrong on seed oils. I doubt it. END.

    Readers, don’t hold your breath waiting for my comment (above) to appear in the comments section of Bill Shrapnel’s latest post.

    rgds,

    rory

  • Formerfattie says:

    Readers,

    Good evening and Happy National Diabetes Week (Australia), 14–20 July. In an effort to counter the disturbing Australian and global trends to obesity and type 2 diabetes – together the greatest public-health challenge of our times – I am calling for a ban on all sugary drinks in all schools globally: http://www.australianparadox.com/pdf/Sugary-Drinks-Ban.pdf

    Let me know what you think. If after assessing the facts you think this proposal has merit, please forward the link to parents, students, teachers, principals and heads of schools, nurses, doctors, dentists and others involved in public health and education.

  • Formerfattie says:

    Hello readers,

    I have some questions for Chris Forbes-Ewan regarding a very interesting post he wrote here in 2011:

    “[From 6 May] Chris Forbes-Ewan said…

    Some time ago I wrote in a comment:

    ‘The paper by Alicia Sim and Alan Barclay that was presented at DAA last year has been submitted for publication (I’m not sure where). If it passes the peer-review process and is published, then I would regard that as the best evidence available. Until better evidence comes along, I would then accept that consumption of added fructose has probably declined in Australia (while it has increased in the US) at the same time as obesity has reached epidemic proportions in both countries.’

    The paper has been accepted for publication in the journal Nutrients. It was e-published late last month: http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/3/4/491/

    Alan Barclay and Jenni Brand Miller are cited as the co-authors.

    The conclusion includes:

    ‘The findings confirm an ‘Australian Paradox’ …” (May 6, 2011 at 9:08 PM ).

    Chris, I’m puzzled. You say the paper was sent away for publication by “Alicia Sim and Alan Barclay”, yet you report that it came back published by (new) authors “Alan Barclay and Jenni Brand Miller (sic)”.

    My question is: what happened? What happened to Alicia Sim? How come JBM became involved? Was the paper refused publication on the first attempt? Does the fact that the new lead author JBM also was operating as “Guest Editor” of the journal Nutrients explain why the spectacularly faulty paper was published the second time around?

    Chris, what should be done about the fact that the paper’s false conclusion – “an inverse relationship” between sugar consumption and obesity – depends on a negligent misreading of the available information, including embracing falsified data as fact?

    Chris, you are a professional nutrition scientist. What is the role of falsified data in “peer-reviewed” science? http://www.australianparadox.com/pdf/AustParadoxfalsifieddata.pdf

    I hope you can clear up some of these puzzles, Chris. Naturally, I hesitate to call these puzzles a paradox. I’m sure there is a simple explanation. But what is it?

    Can anyone else shed some light on these matters?

    Regards,
    Rory

  • Formerfattie says:

    As many readers are aware, I consider the University of Sydney’s Australian Paradox scandal – involving the false exoneration of added sugar as a menace to public health – to be a serious episode in “research misconduct” as defined by the NHMRC: Sections 1-10 at http://www.australianparadox.com

    I’m pleased to see that at least the University of Queensland treats allegations of research misconduct seriously – http://www.uq.edu.au/news/?article=26661 – rather than pretending that no proper investigation is required: Section 8 in http://www.australianparadox.com

    Where is the University of Sydney’s media release echoing what the University of Queensland is saying about the importance of scientific integrity?

    “…UQ places the highest importance on upholding the integrity of our research and will not only continue to do so with vigilance but will seek to identify further measures to strengthen that endeavour.

    By having the paper retracted, the University enables the global scientific community to learn that the research reported in the paper has no place in the body of scientific knowledge, and so cannot be used as a basis for further research. …”

    Why is the University of Sydney’s policy on scientific integrity different from UQ’s policy? Why is the Group of Eight all over the place on the basic issue of the need for scientific integrity?

    Readers, in my opinion, the only credible way forward for the University of Sydney is via the correction or retraction of its spectacularly faulty Australian Paradox paper.

    Here’s my proposed Retraction Notice: http://www.australianparadox.com/pdf/DraftRetractionNoticeAustralianParadoxPaper.pdf

  • Formerfattie says:

    Good morning readers,

    I note that BMC Public Health journal now is investigating the veracity of the extraodinarily faulty Australian Paradox paper, in response to this letter: http://www.australianparadox.com/pdf/LetterBioMedCentral.pdf

    regards,
    rory robertson, former fattie

  • Formerfattie says:

    Readers, there appears to be a bull-market is shonky pro-sugar science.

    Just today, the Sydney University Nutrition Research Foundation and Sugar Australia et al combined to launch a public-relations campaign to claim that while sugar is really yummy, it is not a problem for public health:

    “With so many conflicting headlines, it is no wonder consumers and health professionals are getting confused about sugar and its role in nutrition and health…[we] announce the launch of an evidence-based online information hub”: http://www.srasanz.org/ ; (deputy chair) http://sydney.edu.au/science/molecular_bioscience/nrf/council_members.php ; http://www.srasanz.org/about-us

    The advertising campaign asks: “Is Australia Losing its Sweet Tooth”? Its answer is yes. Alas, Australians are running a mile from the sweet stuff: http://www.srasanz.org/media/uploads/Is_Australia_Losing_Its_Sweet_Tooth.pdf

    Unfortunately, the “shonky sugar series” on which this claim is based was commissioned, funded and “framed” by the sugar industry, and is designed to mislead. I’ve detailed the fatal flaws with the sugar industry’s nonsense-based dataset at the bottom of page 17 here: http://www.australianparadox.com/pdf/GraphicEvidence.pdf

    Faulty though it is, it is truly ironic – not just Alanis Morissette “ironic” – that the sugar industry’s “shonky sugar series” explicitly contradicts the University of Sydney’s “Australian Paradox” claim of a “consistent and substantial decline” in per-capita sugar consumption over the past 30 years (p. 2 of previous link).

    That is, the University of Sydney/Sugar Australia-et-al chart here – http://www.srasanz.org/media/uploads/Is_Australia_Losing_Its_Sweet_Tooth.pdf – shows per-capita consumption to have increased from 41kg to 42kg over the 20 years to 2011.

    A chart featuring the sugar industry’s nonsense-based sugar series was published recently in the BMC Public Health journal. I have written to several hundred officials and scientists associated with the journal to alert them to the misrepresentations involved in the University of Sydney’s latest unreasonable formal claim that its extraordinarily faulty Australian Paradox paper is flawless: http://www.australianparadox.com/pdf/Letter-UoS-Academic-Board.pdf ; http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/13/898

  • Carole says:

    Correction: Dr. Robert Lustig is not an orthodox nutritionist. He is a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francsco. Like he says, he works with fat kids.

  • Chris Forbes-Ewan says:

    I’m sending the following as a comment to each site I’m aware of where Rory Robertson has criticised the Australian Paradox papers. The comment reads:
    Some readers of these comments may be interested in reading about the outcome of an inquiry into the Australian Paradox by an independent and highly-respected academic, Professor Robert Clark.
    In summary, the inquiry largely exonerated the scientists and came to the conclusion that they had no case to answer.
    A summary of the report and a link to the full report are available at:
    http://sydney.edu.au/news/84.htmlnewscategoryid=47&newsstoryid=13779

  • Chris,

    Thanks for your version of the University of Sydney’s spin on the matter. For what it is worth, the following is my summary of what happened on Friday.

    In a carefully worded judgement, the University of Sydney’s independent Investigator found – in an “on balance” decision – that the case for research misconduct (a.k.a. scientific fraud) against its influential food scientists and Low-GI advocates “has not been established”: p. 3 http://sydney.edu.au/research/documents/australian-paradox-report-redacted.pdf

    The Investigator found serious problems with the competence and integrity of the influential Australian Paradox research, however, so much so that he gave it a FAIL grade:

    “I have…identified a number of ‘lessons learnt’ from this case and I recommend that these be considered by the University and discussed with Professor Brand-Miller and Dr Barclay at Faculty level. In particular, I recommend that the University consider requiring Professor Brand-Miller and Dr Barclay to prepare a paper for publication, in consultation with the Faculty, that specifically addresses and clarifies the key factual issues examined in this Inquiry. This new paper should be written in a constructive manner that respects issues relating to the data in the Australian Paradox paper raised by the Complainant.” (p. 4)

    Yes, the Investigator gave the Australian Paradox research a clear FAIL and recommended that the authors be instructed to re-write their faulty paper from scratch UNDER STRICT SUPERVISION (“in consultation with the Faculty”).

    I assume the Investigator – in a highly unusual move (unprecedented?) – did this because he views the original “finding” of “an inverse relationship” between sugar consumption and obesity as untrustworthy.

    This is a big win for scientific integrity! The Investigator seems to have joined the growing group of reasonable people who consider that the Australian Paradox research is profoundly flawed and its main finding false.

    Naturally, I consider this formal result to be a vindication of my determined efforts over the past two and a half years. The Investigator advising the University of Sydney that its influential Australian Paradox research should be re-written is about as much as I could have hoped for this first time around.

    After pretending for nearly two years that there is no problem with its profoundly flawed research, the University of Sydney was never going to jump up and say that the highest-profile “finding” ever published by the most influential obesity and diabetes researcher in its new $500m Charles Perkins Centre is hopelessly wrong.

    After all, Professor Brand-Miller remains in charge of major projects, including the University’s pro-sugar Glycemic Index business as well as leading Australia’s contribution to the multi-million-dollar PREVIEW diabetes project: http://www.gisymbol.com/category/products/sweeteners/ ; http://preview.ning.com/page/resources ; http://www.glycemicindex.com/

    Obviously the University of Sydney was never going to say that its high-profile Australian Paradox research deserves a FAIL grade because it cannot be trusted. But – and correct me if I am wrong – that is exactly what the independent Investigator appears to be saying.

    Accordingly, I encourage Professor Brand-Miller and Dr Barclay to retract their profoundly flawed papers promoting false information – “an inverse relationship” between sugar consumption and obesity – from the scientific record and from the University of Sydney’s Glycemic Index business website: http://www.glycemicindex.com/

    Readers, I will have more to say on the slowly inflating Australian Paradox scandal in coming days and weeks.

    Regards,
    Rory

  • GettingHealthier&Slimmer says:

    I have been virtually fructose-free and seed-oil free since reading all of Dvaid Gillespie’s books about a year and a half ago, when I weighed 93.5Kg and I’m 5 foot six and a half inches (x? cm). Successfully maintaining a lower weight, having lost 12 kilos without even trying, and without excercsing on a regular basis either, I now weigh 81.5Kg. I also no longer undergo “change of life” hot flushes or night sweats, have far less aches and pains in my finger joints and feet, arthritically related, don’t suffer hayfever as much or as badly as I did, and generally have a far better feeling of well being. My (genetically and iron-related) high blood pressure is lower and constantly stable at standard levels now, I don’t have tooth-aches as often, hardly ever actually, and feel more “awake” and alive, not like I’m living though a “fog” which I used to feel like, I’m now more motivated and focused, far more clearly than I believed I was after a “sugar-high”. I go to sleep earlier, having previously worked shifts for many years and was a confrimed night-owl, and now I get up earlier and achieve more in a far less anxious state it seems than previously. I still need to lose weight, but have come off the obese BMI register and into the overweight BMI register, at least. I commenced this eating regime/lifestyle in order for better inner health, not really to lose weight, but am happy that weight loss is a by-product with little effort and no exercise , nonetheless. Both parents have had diabetes, mum is no longer type 2 but dad is type 1 and injects insulin regularly. I will need to exercise for fitness and inner-health, I understand that, and I will need to drink less too, and I realise more weight loss and more fitness will occur doing these things as well, however as a human experiment I believe I’m a good example of the proof of the pudding being in the eating, so to speak (pun definitely intended). I eat and drink full fat milk, cream, cheese, yoghurt, saturated fats and meat, I eat lots of veges, lots of greens, nuts and seeds, wholegrain bread and white bread – which I make myself. I use olive oil, butter, hard lards, coconut fat for cooking, I eat fruit, at least 2 pieces a day, but sometimes more, like berries and cream for dessert. I don’t add sugar to tea or coffee or cocoa, I do use dextrose (pure glucose) and I use rice malt syrup and barley malt syrup instead of honey or maple syrup. I air-fry home-made chips, I make all my own sauces, tomato, chilli, mint, apple, and home made mayonnaise and dressings, viniagrettes. I don’t use Balsamic ever, I DO allow limited (serving-size or less) Worcestershire Sauce, I use Soy sauce but don’t eat tofu or other soy products, I use limited Tomato Puree on occasion, and occasional commercial low-sugar (serving-size or less) mint sauce, though I generally make my own, and I do have the occasional Thai food or Chinese food or Indian food take-away, maybe only once a month, and sometimes dine out with family or friends. However I now make conscious choices as to exactly what I will eat and will allow, sugar and oil-wise. I’ve made up my own muesli mix and add fresh fruit on top, I don’t eat dried fruit, and I eat porridge and occasionally a serving-size portion of Cornflakes or Weetbix. I no longer eat fast food burgers or fast food chicken, and I used to be addicted to whoppers, but it’s the sauces laden with sugar and oil I avoid. I do have Subway on occasion. I DO drink red wine, or scotch, home-made soda water from rainwater (no flavouring) and occasionally with a squeeze of fresh lime or lemon juice and pulp, and I drink tea, coffee, unsweetened hot cocoa with dextrose instead, water, milk or cream and fruit smoothies with vanilla extract – am now also making my own home-made vanilla essence – and I drink unsweetened-cocoa smoothies and add dextrose or rice/barley syrup to sweeten. I’ve made my own homemade jams, ice-creams, crackers, biscuits, cakes, especially cheesecakes and all with dextrose or rice/barley syrups and am not missing out on anything “sweet”, though mostly I don’t seem to want to eat sweet things regularly, just on occasion or when visitors come over. I have no “discipline” issues, no “denials”, and am not “missing out”, or having any of those guilt feelings whatsoever, I’ve reset my appetite and don’t “crave” (a word used for addiction by the way – food and cravings have been synonomous since time began) any particular food or sweetness “longingly” at all. I am no longer interested in eating half a tub of commercial ice-cream a night in front of TV like I used to. I no longer eat the whole bar of chocolate over one or two days like I used to. I haven’t really eaten chocolate for a good year, tried the 85% cocoa and it was bitter, so bought all the cacau butter and cacau powder to make my own chocolate from scratch, but haven’t gotten around to it, as I don’t miss it at all, and I used to LOVE it. My craving for these things has stopped altogether and I NEVER would have believed that before, if you’d even suggested it. I regularly (every 3 to 6 months) check all my levels of blood pressure, iron, sugar, thyroid, liver function, kidney function, HDL, LDL, etc … and all my results are within acceptable ranges or are at very good levels. So I believe I’m a human test-example, when eliminating excercise as a factor, of the impact of reducing if not totally omitting fructose from the diet, and the BENEFITS it espouses. By the way I gave up drinking sugary soda drinks even before eliminating fructose, and used to have several cans of coke or other sweet soda a day on top of adding sugar to tea and coffee, and I used to drink coffee about 5 to 7 times a day as well (on shiftwork). I limit myself to one double-shot of espresso each morning now, but occasionally have a cup of Earl Grey tea or even green tea (these days) in the afternoon, or sometimes have one other coffee if visiting or out with a friend. I cannot praise enough how David’s explanations of how the body works and how fructose and seed oils and their impact in the workings of our bodies, has enabled me to better understand what the processed and commercial foods and drinks have been doing to me over the last 48/49 years (I turned 50 last December) and how ever since I read his works I have had a far greater respect for what I put into my body. And how I am now busy trying to undo the damage of all the years prior. “Reformed”-lawyer or Dr/nutitionist-not, David’s writings have encouraged me to make changes for the better, to hopefully avoid becoming a diabetes statistic or a dementia-statistic or a liver-disease statistic, let alone any of all the other conditions that can be related to the over-consumption of fructose and seed oils. Forget all the stats and research, concentrate on the real-life examples of David, like-mind-others, and my (or your) self, and be guided by what end-results ACTUALLY happen, as against what MAY or may not, what might be, or could be. I only went without “cane” sugar (as I knew it) for 4 weeks (took me a week longer than the example) and everything has changed for the better health-wise, weight-wise, and positiveity-wise. And it costs me less in money as I spend less at the grocery store these days, and didn’t have to fork out for any “diet-stuff” or “exercise-programs”. No diet pills, no diet-shakes, no exercise machines, are needed, and there are no self-esteem issues, denials or guilt necessary, just thanks to me, myself, and I, and a huge THANK YOU to David.
    Cheers, Larissa (:-)~xxx

  • Hi all,

    I just came across this “Attack of the chocolatier” conversation, when I was chasing up some facts for a journo.

    Wow, it’s quite a blast from the past.

    Alas, years later, the Australian Paradox scandal rolls on.

    I wrote today to the University of Sydney requesting the formal retraction of that extraordinarily faulty paper: http://www.australianparadox.com/pdf/Harmful-misconduct-Charles-Perkins-Centre.pdf

    Any thoughts on my four-point argument for retraction?

    rgds,
    rory

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