For those not yet convinced about the dangers of sugar, look no further than today’s New York Times op-ed page with Mark Bittman’s column “It’s the Sugar, Folks.” Bittman cites a study from the journal PLoS, released yesterday, strongly linking higher sugar consumption with higher levels of diabetes (the study deals with type 2, not type 1). “The study demonstrates this with the same level of confidence that linked cigarettes and lung cancer in the 1960s,” Bittman writes.
In the study the authors found that when comparing the diets of people from 175 different countries, each 150 calorie per day increase in sugar consumption — that’s one twelve -ounce can of soda — resulted in a 1.1% increase in the rate of diabetes. (By contrast, each 150 calorie increase of non-sugary foods resulted in a statistically insignificant 0.1 increase in the diabetes rate.)
One of the study’s authors, Robert Lustig, is the same scientist whose work formed the basis of Gary Taubes’s argument in his New York Times Magazine piece “Is Sugar Toxic?”
For Bittman, this latest study answers that question definitively. “The next steps are obvious, logical, clear and up to the Food and Drug Administration. To fulfill its mission, the agency must respond to this information by re-evaluating the toxicity of sugar, arriving at a daily value–how much added sugar is safe?–and ideally removing fructose (the “sweet” molecule in sugar that causes the damage) from the ‘generally recognized as safe’ list, because that’s what gives the industry license to contaminate our food supply.”
So it may be that Bisi is ahead of the curve, and that things will change more quickly than I’d thought. I hope so.