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Sugar - Are we overreacting?

Commented on October 10, 2013
Created September 25, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Can someone tell me why it would be so disastrous for my health if I had a completely paleo recipe (full of fat and fibre), I added a teaspoon of sugar? If we are active, and I'm not interested in ketosis, there's no reason why sugar in very small quantities should hurt, is there??

Medium avatar

(15)

on October 10, 2013
at 08:09 PM

That's quite an overestimation. From 1909 to 2000, sugar consumption in the US increased from roughly 80 to ~150 pounds per capita and year. So it barely doubled.

(Source: USDA Nutrient Content of the U.S. Food Supply, 1909-2000).

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on October 10, 2013
at 07:04 PM

Mark Sisson uses real sugar in his coffee. A teaspoon is not a big deal (unless you are diabetic). The real problem is that average consumption in the US has gone from 5 pounds per year to 150 pounds per year over the last 100 or so years. A lot of it from sodas and such. Don't get all crazy over little stuff.

E54d3e489635ab606ff13d73a650eaba

on September 27, 2013
at 10:09 PM

0.25-.5g of fat per pound of bodyweight per day is generally optimal for hormone synthesis. 0.8-1.2 g of protein per day per pound of bodyweight is generally optimal for muscle maintenance/growth and workout recovery. The rest of your daily macronutrient needs can be filled with carbs from various sources.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 27, 2013
at 08:10 PM

how much fat and protein is necessary for optimal health?

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on September 27, 2013
at 02:44 AM

i think @Methodician concerns may lie with the possible arsenic levels of the brown rice syrup (& not phytate), depending on the source of the syrup. having said that i believe that white rice syrup also has the arsenic risk as well.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 27, 2013
at 12:29 AM

fruit is not 100% fructose. there are a lot of beneficial vitamins and minerals that are difficult to get in other forms. Also for someone who spends as much time on the go as I do, a banana is about as easy a meal as exists. And other than apples and a couple others, fruit sugar is only about 50% fructose.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 27, 2013
at 12:25 AM

thank you for making my point for me.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on September 26, 2013
at 11:38 PM

I don't get it. You say sugar is toxic, yet you "eat fruit all day every day." Is this the opposite day?

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on September 26, 2013
at 11:37 PM

Such hare-brained statements deserve only hare-brained retorts.

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on September 26, 2013
at 10:25 PM

Also: "The symposium was sponsored by the American Society for Nutrition and supported in part by an educational grant from the Corn Refiners Association. Author disclosures: J. M. Rippe, consulting fees from ConAgra Foods, PepsiCo International, Kraft Foods, the Corn Refiners Association, and Weight Watchers International."

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on September 26, 2013
at 10:20 PM

The problem with brown rice is the phytate in the bran. There's no bran in rice syrup.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 26, 2013
at 06:48 PM

It seems odd that you can eat fruit all day and also say that fructose provides nothing nutritionally. If you believe that fruit is loaded with empty calories why do you eat it? Why not squeeze it, eat the pulp and throw the fructose-laden juice away?

Medium avatar

(15)

on September 26, 2013
at 05:16 PM

"Recent research reviews have reported that fructose consumption at up to the 90th percentile population consumption level in either healthy weight or obese individuals does not result in increased triglycerides or weight gain"

" A further meta-analysis of NHANES data by this same team did not show a link between different levels of fructose consumption and either uric acid levels or metabolic syndrome"

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 26, 2013
at 05:06 PM

I didn't say to *not consume fructose*. I simply presented the other side of the conversation. I eat fruit all day every day.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 26, 2013
at 05:04 PM

your refrence says nothing of the sort. All it says is, "We looked at other people's results and feel that the data is conflicting"

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 26, 2013
at 05:04 PM

A strawman? You are better than that

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 26, 2013
at 05:03 PM

the problem with this is that the fructose we eat cannot and does not change the amount produced or used within the seminal vesicle. It produces the amount needed on request, not as a function of the amount in the body. Thus there is still no need for external ingestion. Of course this could be said for glucose, but the main difference is that the body will use dietary glucose to reduce the need to produce glucose (via GNG0.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 26, 2013
at 03:04 PM

I agree with "it's probably fine". Other than that, our ancestors didn't pick and choose their foods based on whether they contained fructose, and ate anything they could digest to survive. They weren't optimizing. By your logic, butter, bacon and beef liver are all Neolithic foods which we are therefore maladapted to eat. I guess we better get them out of our diets if we want to be properly paleo.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on September 26, 2013
at 11:12 AM

"There is no organ that has a fructose requirement"...looks like that may be incorrect, especially if we widen the statement to "There is no 'part of the body' that has a fructose requirement"

the subject (including refs) was discussed here is-fructose-necessary

Tho it would also seem that we do not actually need to source fructose from our diet (our bodies can produce it if it has to).

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on September 26, 2013
at 10:04 AM

Don't be daft; fructose is not toxic. Just because some youtube video claimed so doesn't make parroting it without critique cool.

Medium avatar

(15)

on September 25, 2013
at 10:57 PM

Keep the scary talk at bay. Fructose at normal intake levels poses no health risk.

New review sums it up nicely: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23493540

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on September 25, 2013
at 10:44 PM

as an alternative to white rice syrup, you may have more luck finding tapioca syrup or cassava syrup. Jaminet lists it on his supp page. he sees it as better/safer than brown rice syrup (& may be even white rice syrup?)

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on September 25, 2013
at 10:36 PM

brown rice syrup is mainly maltotriose and maltose, but it all breaks down to glucose.

wiki/Brown_rice_syrup

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on September 25, 2013
at 10:21 PM

on the honey subject, the amount of fructose & glucose/fructose ratio will vary greatly in honey. Sugars (fructose, glucose, maltose, sucrose) will vary between honeys. one article i read tested different honeys with fructose varying between 27.5g & 52.4g per 100g.

Low fructose honey tends to look solid & crystallized (not runny).

Medium avatar

(624)

on September 25, 2013
at 09:11 PM

I tend to think we Paleo types over justify honey. It's a great sweetener, but it's got about the same fructose/glucose ratio as table sugar and it's not exactly packed with nutrients.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on September 25, 2013
at 07:06 PM

It's highly processed junk. Try honey.

56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on September 25, 2013
at 06:42 PM

that's the idea. all natural sugars.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 25, 2013
at 01:27 PM

you know other than the sugar in the fruit that I intensified through reducing the water content. but other than that....

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on September 25, 2013
at 11:48 AM

i do not crave sugar...but i do use it as a 'supplement' when/if required

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11 Answers

0
4886d3390cb1de913ecc198e72cc072c

on September 28, 2013
at 01:34 AM

Why not use honey or maple syrup? That's how I avoid sugar, and keep the inflammation down as I reverse my health problems.

0
E54d3e489635ab606ff13d73a650eaba

on September 27, 2013
at 05:11 AM

Yes, honestly eat all the carbs and sugar you want if it fits within your caloric guidelines and you are getting enough fats and protein for optimal health. Avoidance of grains and cleaner eating in general is where the real value of paleo lies.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 27, 2013
at 08:10 PM

how much fat and protein is necessary for optimal health?

E54d3e489635ab606ff13d73a650eaba

on September 27, 2013
at 10:09 PM

0.25-.5g of fat per pound of bodyweight per day is generally optimal for hormone synthesis. 0.8-1.2 g of protein per day per pound of bodyweight is generally optimal for muscle maintenance/growth and workout recovery. The rest of your daily macronutrient needs can be filled with carbs from various sources.

0
Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on September 26, 2013
at 05:59 PM

IF you are currently deciding how much to eat each day based on your body's natural satiety signals AND IF you are currently in equilibrium AND IF that added sugar adds calories without making the food any more satiating, then eating it repeatedly over time could lead to weight gain. Also, IF that extra sugar makes the food more palatable, it MAY shift your body's satiety signals causing you to eat more than you otherwise would have (assuming our satiety signals are tuned to work for unprocessed foods).

For most people, not all of those IFs and assumptions are true, so a small amount of sugar likely wouldn't cause any problem. For some people, maybe it would.

0
Medium avatar

on September 25, 2013
at 10:59 PM

Yes, we are overreacting. No, there is no reason why such amount should hurt. Just do it.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on October 10, 2013
at 07:04 PM

Mark Sisson uses real sugar in his coffee. A teaspoon is not a big deal (unless you are diabetic). The real problem is that average consumption in the US has gone from 5 pounds per year to 150 pounds per year over the last 100 or so years. A lot of it from sodas and such. Don't get all crazy over little stuff.

0
Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 25, 2013
at 10:31 PM

If you have a paleo recipe that excludes sugar, you should exclude sugar, but high fat and fiber is not the recipe that everyone uses. Fructose is a naturally occurring part of the foods our ancestors consumed. I can understand excluding processed sugar-containing foods and HFCS, but avoiding the addition of naturally occurring sugars like honey and dates doesn't make much sense.

0
Medium avatar

on September 25, 2013
at 05:13 PM

Thread Hijack: What are your thoughts on brown rice syrup? I'd like syrup of white rice but all I see on amazon is brown rice syrup. It's glucose, not fructose right? Does that make it a "safe starch" in moderation? I assume it spikes blood sugar a lot faster than white rice...

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on September 25, 2013
at 10:21 PM

on the honey subject, the amount of fructose & glucose/fructose ratio will vary greatly in honey. Sugars (fructose, glucose, maltose, sucrose) will vary between honeys. one article i read tested different honeys with fructose varying between 27.5g & 52.4g per 100g.

Low fructose honey tends to look solid & crystallized (not runny).

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on September 25, 2013
at 10:44 PM

as an alternative to white rice syrup, you may have more luck finding tapioca syrup or cassava syrup. Jaminet lists it on his supp page. he sees it as better/safer than brown rice syrup (& may be even white rice syrup?)

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on September 25, 2013
at 07:06 PM

It's highly processed junk. Try honey.

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on September 26, 2013
at 10:20 PM

The problem with brown rice is the phytate in the bran. There's no bran in rice syrup.

Medium avatar

(624)

on September 25, 2013
at 09:11 PM

I tend to think we Paleo types over justify honey. It's a great sweetener, but it's got about the same fructose/glucose ratio as table sugar and it's not exactly packed with nutrients.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on September 25, 2013
at 10:36 PM

brown rice syrup is mainly maltotriose and maltose, but it all breaks down to glucose.

wiki/Brown_rice_syrup

0
Medium avatar

(238)

on September 25, 2013
at 02:47 PM

If you saw the inside of my mouth from a childhood of eating sugary treats and soda you would not think overreaction has much meaning. Can't think of anything good about sugar. I threw it all out a few years ago, although my wife bought some brown sugar (just as bad) for some recipe she made. I keep a jar of raw honey around for the occasional beef jerky for the kids that gives the slightest hint of sweetness but even that is really not needed for me.

0
7904c7276d7e48f1be887fabd263bfd9

(300)

on September 25, 2013
at 02:35 PM

while it is not ideal(as your body does not need it) like you said it will probably not have any serious negative effects in small quantities.(just like any bad thing)

the problem is when your eating multiple items with 10-30g added fat per day on top of an already high carb/nutrient deprived diet; thats when you get into trouble.

tl: dr- use common sense, dont be 'orthorexic'

0
10ec51c0e6e41939215a55316ad3d0b7

on September 25, 2013
at 01:43 PM

I don't complain if there's a little sugar in dishes and used like a spice--I don't see how a teaspoon could provide a worrisome amount of fructose. But I personally use honey and maple syrup because I feel that they're more "complete" (and offers some health benefits), while sugar just seems like a processed, isolated, and concentrated "unnatural" food.

0
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 25, 2013
at 01:26 PM

When we talk about sugar, it's important to really be specific. Of course the body needs glucose (which I refer to as a starch), but I think your question focuses more on sugar which is either fructose or sucrose (which is about 50/50 fructose/glucose). Fructose has limited redeeming value (I would go so far as to say no redeeming value), and is toxic. The only thing that Fructose and Glucose share is a formula and caloric load.

As with most things, there is a threshold where an item goes from not -going-to-kill-you to toxic. And typically, the distribution is exponential. Fructose/Sugar is probably tolerable in small amounts, but most animals have a hard time self-regulating. And as we have selectively bred fruit, and created processed versions (HFCS) to have low fiber and high sugar -- we have create an environment where self-regulation is near impossible.

Fructose provides nothing nutritionally. It has zero redeeming qualities (other than a source of cheap bio-available energy that is too short lived to be beneficial). So there is no redeeming quality to it. While there is no dietary requirement for glucose, our brain runs on glucose (hence the GNG adaptation). There is no organ that has a fructose requirement. In fact, some believe that the reason fruit contain fructose is to encourage animals to eat the fruit so that they excrete the undigestible seeds, thus encouraging the life of the fruit. If that's correct (and it sounds good to me), fructose is a trap.

In addition, fructose leads to malabsorption in the intestines -- this increase bacterial overgrowth can can lead to a variate of health issues. The other primary fault of fructose is that, unlike glucose, it cannot enter the blood stream. Fructose causes glycation and can be extremely dangerous. So the liver either (1) uses it for immediate energy or (2) stores it as fat. Too much of this, and you can deliver fatty-liver and insulin resistance.

Other than that, it's probably fine.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 26, 2013
at 03:04 PM

I agree with "it's probably fine". Other than that, our ancestors didn't pick and choose their foods based on whether they contained fructose, and ate anything they could digest to survive. They weren't optimizing. By your logic, butter, bacon and beef liver are all Neolithic foods which we are therefore maladapted to eat. I guess we better get them out of our diets if we want to be properly paleo.

Medium avatar

(15)

on September 25, 2013
at 10:57 PM

Keep the scary talk at bay. Fructose at normal intake levels poses no health risk.

New review sums it up nicely: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23493540

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on September 26, 2013
at 11:12 AM

"There is no organ that has a fructose requirement"...looks like that may be incorrect, especially if we widen the statement to "There is no 'part of the body' that has a fructose requirement"

the subject (including refs) was discussed here is-fructose-necessary

Tho it would also seem that we do not actually need to source fructose from our diet (our bodies can produce it if it has to).

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on September 26, 2013
at 10:04 AM

Don't be daft; fructose is not toxic. Just because some youtube video claimed so doesn't make parroting it without critique cool.

0
56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on September 25, 2013
at 12:21 PM

I still get a small tea spoon in my espresso. Sorry, that is not negotiable. But I just made some jars of jam, rose hips and pears picked in the woods. I cooked them down long enough that no sugar was needed.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 25, 2013
at 01:27 PM

you know other than the sugar in the fruit that I intensified through reducing the water content. but other than that....

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