Monday, February 6, 2012

Australian Expert Slams US Study "Sugar as Toxic as Alcohol"

One of Australia’s leading diabetes experts has criticized a report of a study published in the journal Nature, on February 2, 2012 that was written by Dr Robert Lustig, Dr Laura Schmidt and Dr Claire Brindis of the University ofCalifornia San Francisco (UCSF).

The co-authors have claimed that high consumption of sugar “largely mirrors the effects of drinking too much alcohol” and should be regulated like alcohol and tobacco. Dr Alan Barclay, head of research at the Australian Diabetes Foundation, has responded to this study by saying, “The commentary is a provocative piece intended to encourage debate. Many of the statements simply do not apply to Australia and on certain issues there is little evidence to support their views.” Dr Barclay says that sugar consumption in Australia has “dropped 23 percent since 1980”, despite the US study claiming that over the past 50 years sugar consumption has “tripled worldwide”.

Dr Barclay said that despite the Australian drop in sugar consumption, obesity had doubled and diabetes had tripled in this time. Dr Barclay noted that Dr Lustig and his team in California believed that attention should be turned to ‘added sugar’, which was defined in the study as any sweetener containing the molecule fructose that is added to food in processing and claimed that fructose could trigger processes that lead to chronic diseases including liver toxicity.

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