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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My Sugar Intake Would Kill Fields of Mice

Posted by on Tue, Aug 13, 2013 at 4:39 PM

Via Rawstory:

Sugar is toxic for mice in dosages that in humans would equal a “safe” diet that includes three cans of soda per day, scientists said Tuesday.

Mice fed a diet in which sugar contributed a quarter of their daily calories did not become obese or ill, yet died younger and had fewer babies than animals on a healthy diet, said the team — raising red flags about “added sugar” levels some consider safe for humans.

“Added sugar” is a term used for the refined stuff that is added to sweet drinks, baked goods and candy rather than the natural sugars found in fruit, vegetables and milk products.

I like to think of myself as healthy, in general, but I consume refined sugar in a decidedly unhealthy way. I don't brush my teeth so much as I frost them. I routinely eat cookies for breakfast, or lunch, or as an after-milkshake snack. And I'm leisurely working my way through Salt Sugar Fat concurrently with a Costco flat of Mexican coke, because reading about sugar makes me thirsty for sugar (in fact, I'm drinking one while typing this).

I mean, why not? The FDA doesn't make recommendations about our daily sugar intake like it does with salt and fat. And until last month, neither did the American Heart Association. I also diligently subject my body to bruising workouts, so warnings about weight gain pretty much fall on ears plugged tight with Airheads.

But these emerging theories that seem to indicate that sugar is a form of candy-flavored poison that will hasten my death—or at least kill my body weight in mice—turn my stomach, and my mind, in a way that threats of bad skin and sugar crashes and weight gain never could.

Perhaps it's time I embrace a less dangerous love, like motorcycling or chainsaw juggling.


Comments (37) RSS

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seatackled 1
Typical Idaho diet?
Posted by seatackled on August 13, 2013 at 4:44 PM · Report this
Gern Blanston 2
Coke Zero is actually pretty good once you get used to it.
Posted by Gern Blanston on August 13, 2013 at 4:48 PM · Report this
venomlash 3
How to make soda good:
1. Put one part soda in glass.
2. Put two parts seltzer water (flavored or unflavored, but without any sweetener of any kind) in glass.
3. Imbibe.
Posted by venomlash on August 13, 2013 at 4:58 PM · Report this
The AHA really screwed up, a few decades ago, when it decided to go after fats instead of sugar. If you are of a scientific bent, I recommend "Good Calories, Bad Calories", otherwise (although neither book is really lite reading) "Why We Get Fat", both by Gary Taubes. The AHA gets raked over the coals for blowing this one, then dragging their feet on fixing it, as evidence mounts against them. A lot of people are dead, on account of this blunder. Replace your Frosted Flakes and skim milk with bacon and eggs, and you'll be making a big step towards living longer (and, sure, losing weight, if that's your thing.)
Posted by Eric from Boulder on August 13, 2013 at 4:59 PM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 5
You should read the Gary Taubes book while enjoying Tillamook Mudslide ice cream. It's the best!
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on August 13, 2013 at 5:24 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 6
Chainsaw juggling is only really dangerous if you don't know how to juggle.

/I juggle
//not chainsaws though
///but I would if I had three chainsaws
Posted by Urgutha Forka on August 13, 2013 at 5:29 PM · Report this
eastcoastreader 7
yum! time to go bake some cookies!
Posted by eastcoastreader on August 13, 2013 at 5:36 PM · Report this
guerre 8
Not to "defend" sugar but from my reading of the paper this was a poorly constructed study. I think it says little about mice, let alone humans. The mice were taken from the floor of a bakery(!?), the death rate was correlated at p=0.05 (barely noticable, p=1 is perfectly correlated, 0 no correlation), and the mice were sort of thrown together thus not controlling for competition for mates/food/space.
Posted by guerre on August 13, 2013 at 6:06 PM · Report this
guerre 9
Also the mice did not get their cause of death examined. Smells fishy
Posted by guerre on August 13, 2013 at 6:09 PM · Report this
sirkowski 10
So mice are a poor indicator of a healthy sugar level.

Now let's give chocolate to dogs.
Posted by sirkowski on August 13, 2013 at 6:22 PM · Report this
emma's bee 11
@4: "Replace your Frosted Flakes and skim milk with bacon and eggs, and you'll be making a big step towards living longer"

Uh, not quite. A Mediterranean diet, heavy on the veggies and olive oil and light on the fish is probably the one that will win the day. Also, low glycemic-index carbs are your friends. But ditching the sugar is a very important step.
Posted by emma's bee on August 13, 2013 at 6:46 PM · Report this
8Way 12
#2. Water tastes even better. No getting used to it either...
Posted by 8Way on August 13, 2013 at 6:50 PM · Report this
A surprising amount of what we consume thinking it is sugar is corn syrup / sweetener which is worse.

I agree with #3 Seltzer water is the way to go. Though disagree with the soda part of his recipe, use fruit juice and or tea instead.

Do not add sugar to any mass produced foods, or salt for that manner.

If you want cookies and what not, make them yourself, or buy em from someone who mixes the dough themselves.

There done your no longer consuming too much sugar/sweatner.
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on August 13, 2013 at 7:06 PM · Report this
Rob in Baltimore 14
For years AHA has been saying limit sugar calories to 100, 6 teaspoons a day, for women, and 150, 9 teaspoons for men. A single 12oz can of soda has about 8 teaspoons, putting women over the limit, and only slightly below it.

Here's a news story from 4 years ago citing the AHA recommendations, and they weren't new then either.…
Posted by Rob in Baltimore on August 13, 2013 at 7:35 PM · Report this
Clara T 15
Yep sugar is pretty fucking bad for you but don't worry about it before you're 40.
Posted by Clara T on August 13, 2013 at 7:36 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 16

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on August 13, 2013 at 8:01 PM · Report this
TVDinner 17
I heard sugar is ok if you inject it.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on August 13, 2013 at 8:10 PM · Report this
Yeah, I had no problem with sugar-- until I did. Until refined carbs combined with sugar made me faint.

I'm currently staring more-than-probable Adult Onset Diabetes in the face: which includes blurring vision and tintinitis.

So no more sugar for me, or white flour or any other refined carbs, if I can help it.

Which may still be too late.

Posted by judybrowni on August 13, 2013 at 8:47 PM · Report this
Posted by James McDaniel on August 13, 2013 at 9:56 PM · Report this
Bee@11: Veggies and olive oil, sure, cool, but I think you'd find the two books I suggested very interesting. He pulls together a critical review of a hell of lot of scientific literature, and the broad historical perspective he provides in GCBC is particularly unusual. Despite the cheesy sounding titles, neither book reads like just another "diet trend of the year" pamphlet.
Posted by Eric from Boulder on August 13, 2013 at 10:02 PM · Report this
Roofeo 21
"I mean, why not? The FDA doesn't make recommendations about our daily sugar intake like it does with salt and fat."

Maybe I just had a really good bio teacher. I can think of a whole list of 'why nots' when it comes to glucose spikes (and falls), insulin and diabetes.

It's the simple sugars silly.
Posted by Roofeo on August 13, 2013 at 10:26 PM · Report this
tainte 22
jesus, just take care of your teeth.
Posted by tainte on August 14, 2013 at 5:46 AM · Report this
dirac 23
@11 The implication is that reducing the carbs and processed foods (skim milk) in favor of plenty of healthy fat ratios (more omega 3 than 6)--although contra current conventional wisdom standard of low fat diets--seems to show improved health (weight loss, improved lipid panels, reduced blood sugar and blood pressure, etc).

Do I think there's anything definitive there? No way, but there seems to be building evidence for effectiveness of low carb type diets in helping reduce issues encountered with the obesity epidemic.
Posted by dirac on August 14, 2013 at 7:08 AM · Report this
dirac 24
@23 Oh, and this means increased vegetable consumption far more found in the standard diet as well.
Posted by dirac on August 14, 2013 at 7:10 AM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 25
When I worked at the Olympic Hotel, I regularly ate two big fat disgusting jelly donuts every morning without a thought. But then I changed jobs to one where I didn't have to run up and down the six flights of backstairs several times each morning (beautiful hotel, but you always have to go up three flights of steps to get anyplace in it) and it started to show.

I'm supposedly on the top end of the "ideal weight" range for my age, but I have a gut, and I hate it. It's not pretty, and I'm supposed to be the pretty one. Now I'm more stately.

But at the end of the day, it's important to remember Rose Castorini's words "Whatever you do, you're gonna die, just like everybody else"

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on August 14, 2013 at 7:10 AM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 26
@20, and it's worth highlighting that Gary is a 100% legit, award winning science writer. That the Crossfitters have been trying to clasp him in their shouty embrace is not to be held against him.
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on August 14, 2013 at 7:57 AM · Report this
bigg 27
Is Mexican coke better than American coke? I'm assuming you mean coca-cola & not Peruvian bingo dust.
Posted by bigg on August 14, 2013 at 8:16 AM · Report this
@27 Mexican Coke (coca cola) contains real sugar, not that crappy US high fructose corn syrup as the sweetener.
Posted by originalcinner on August 14, 2013 at 8:33 AM · Report this
Over a year ago, I finally gave up soda. I was an addict in the worst way. I said I didn't have a problem with sugar, because I didn't eat a lot of sweets, but that is because I was drinking it all day--5-6 cans minimum.

It was hard, I had to taper off for a month. Eventually, it didn't taste good to me anymore. One reason was I also gave up fast food and processed food, so I wasn't pairing soda with grease. Sounds gross, right? but it was a perfect match of flavors to me, like some people pair wines with food. When I quit eating greasy foods, it was easy to stick with water and unsweet iced teas.

I have succeeded in keeping away from all sodas completely and fast food about 85% and have lost about a 100 pounds in 15 months. I feel amazing, like I am 20 again. I also try not to eat processed foods, but that is only about 50% successful. I don't consider it a diet, just eating better. When you say diet, I go into panic mode and eat more, so I just say I am not eating poorly anymore.

I do think sugar is a drug because it triggers all kinds of physiological responses that make us feel better. I'd like to give it up totally, but unless I retire from society and live in a cabin in the woods that is not going to happen. When I eat sugar, but I try to eat it with a meal or just afterward.

Everything in moderation and it isn't bad for you.

Posted by Bugnroolet on August 14, 2013 at 8:48 AM · Report this
I'd think the best way to determine what healthy human diets look like is to examine humans. Instead, they watched what happened with mice and said, I wonder if this would play out the same way in humans. And how do you find out if it does? You examine humans.

Also, HFCS might not be as bad (or as much worse?) as it's cracked up to be:…
Posted by Irving on August 14, 2013 at 9:36 AM · Report this
I don't generally like sweet as a flavor. I never eat candy and I think sweet entrees (sweet and sour chicken, etc.) are especially gross.
So what really annoys me is how HFCS is sneaked into EVERYTHING. I don't like sugar! Stop tricking me into eating it in my tomato sauce!
Posted by chi_type on August 14, 2013 at 9:41 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 32
I like to chainsaw juggle while eating chocolate frosted sugar bombs, yum!
Posted by Will in Seattle on August 14, 2013 at 11:45 AM · Report this
treacle 33
I was gonna say, if she switched from Mexican coke to Columbian coke, Cienna would have no weight issues to worry about. Well, except possibly getting too thin. And then there's the hit to her bank account would take. Oh well, whatever, stupid plan anyway.

I heard that eating sugar messes with your eyes: "Eating lots of sugary, starchy foods may increase age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness," sez WebMD.

So, you know. blindness, eventually.
Posted by treacle on August 14, 2013 at 12:02 PM · Report this
How come all the fun stuff makes you go blind? Life's so unfair.
Posted by originalcinner on August 14, 2013 at 12:56 PM · Report this
Knat 35

You give me hope.

I typically drank 3-4 cans in a day, and it's really easy to do where it seems every place I've worked provides a giant cooler full of free soda. It wasn't until a cute girl started working with me a month or two ago that I started feeling self-conscious about my appearance, and by extension, my sugar intake. I think I've drank the equivalent of one can since she started. I still drink one here and there outside of work, but it's a huge decrease from my previous habit. I've already started to see a difference when I step on a scale.

I guess what I'm saying is that proximity to attractive people you hope to impress is a good motivator. Would that it could help everyone.
Posted by Knat on August 14, 2013 at 2:30 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 36
The butter in cookies encapsulates the sugar and renders it harmless.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on August 16, 2013 at 10:16 AM · Report this
@8. Quick statistics lesson: p=0.05 means that there is a less than 5% chance that the effect measured is due to random chance. So the paper suggests there is less than a 5% chance that the effects on longevity, reproduction, and territory are due to random chance (in other words, they have 95% statistical confidence that the effects are due to sugar- though you're right that there could be confounders they didn't take into account).

You confused p-values with R-squared. You are right that R-squared=1 indicates perfect correlation while R squared=0.05 which means essentially no correlation. But p=0.05 means pretty significant.

And the significant effects were dramatic. "Over the 32-week duration of the experiment, sugar-fed females died at nearly twice the rate of control females and the males controlled about one-quarter less territory and had one-quarter fewer offspring than their control counterparts." (…)

Posted by science police on August 17, 2013 at 6:15 PM · Report this

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