An April 7, 2016 Guardian article is entitled: “The sugar conspiracy.”
“In 1972,” the article notes, “a British scientist sounded the alarm that sugar – and not fat – was the greatest danger to our health. But his findings were ridiculed and his reputation ruined. How did the world’s top nutrition scientists get it so wrong for so long?”
I found the story of what happened to the British scientist John Yudkin, as described in the April 7, 2016 Guardian article, of much interest. Equally of interest was the reference to a leading postwar American nutritionist, Ancel Keys, who denigrated and ridiculed Yudkin at every opportunity. Keys played a key role in the destruction of Yudkin’s career.
Ancel Keys, before I learned more about him, has in years past been among my heroes; in fact, some years ago I tracked down two of his out-of-print books, just so I could follow his recipes for cooking beans. Keys was a cult-like, self-assured figure with a forceful personality – and a powerfully misleading scientist, as it has (or as it has appeared to have) turned out, these many years later.
The sugar wars
A January/February 2017 Atlantic article is entitled: “The Sugar Wars: Science can’t prove it and the industry denies it, but Gary Taubes is convinced that the sweet stuff kills.”
The article, which reviews a book entitled The Case Against Sugar (2016), covers the same ground as the above-noted Guardian article.
From a practical point of view, I’ve made some progress (less so, over the holidays but still, doing much better than before) in keeping my sugar intake to no more than 25 grams per day, as recommended by the World Health Organization:
At first I found it a challenge, to cut down on sugar, but having read the above-noted Guardian and Atlantic articles among others, the going is getting easier.
A corollary to the story is: Eat your fruits and vegetables:
An Oct. 13, 2016 undark.org article is entitled: “In the Fight Against Obesity, the Real Enemy Is Oversimplification: Fat used to be Dietary Enemy No. 1. Today, it’s sugar. But reductions in the consumption of both have done little to curb obesity rates. Why?”
A Dec. 30, 2016 New York Times article is entitled: “How Much Sugar Can You Avoid Today? The typical American diet includes far too much added sugar. Can you stay under a healthy limit?”
A Jan. 12, 2017 CBC article is entitled: Added sugar often found in Canadian products marketed as ‘healthy,’ researchers find: Why ‘you really need to be a detective’ when reading food labels.”
A Jan. 16, 2017) CBC The Current podcast, entitled “Is sugar killing us? Author Gary Taubes makes his case,” provides a great overview of the distinction between evidence (that is, the facts of the matter, in this case related to the science related to nutrition) and the frame within which scientific facts are positioned.