| Rants |

The Great Sugar Debate: Is Sugar Evil?

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Sugar news has been flying all over the place. What - you missed the food fight? Well, here's a recap.

A YouTube lecture on sugar  goes viral. The speaker? A UCSF childhood obesity specialist who called sugar toxic -- not like, a little bit bad for you, like alcohol and cigarettes toxic -- a poison that's killing us.

Then, last month, the New York Times Magazine published a cover story on sugar by science writer Gary Taubes. He writes, "It's one thing to suggest, as most nutritionists will, that a healthful diet includes more fruits and vegetables, and maybe less fat, red meat and salt, or less of everything. It's entirely different to claim that one particularly cherished aspect of our diet might not just be an unhealthful indulgence but actually be toxic, that when you bake your children a birthday cake or give them lemonade on a hot summer day, you may be doing them more harm than good, despite all the love that goes with it."

Taubes talks about the video and also argues that sugar, whether it's high fructose corn syrup or sucrose (cane or beet sugar), wreaks havoc on your body -- and could be the major cause, not just of obesity, but also diabetes, heart disease, even cancer.

After that, came some rebuttals (and they're not just from the sugar industry).

David Katz, M.D. of the Huffington Post disagreed with the wholesale view of sugar as evil, citing after all, nectar in flowers or sugar present in breastmilk.

Then, Melanie Warner of BNET wrote about how the kind of sugar you consume, does make a difference. She says that most sugar that comes from nature is packaged with either

fat or fiber that totally changes how the body metabolizes it. She talks about how Taubes failed to mention how much of a difference fiber makes, that "fiber is part of the critical mechanism for making a bowl of strawberries a decent breakfast choice and a strawberry flavored popsicle a pretty bad one."

The debate goes on - with more people weighing in. What do you think? Do you think sugar is evil or just the latest food news scare? Tell us -- and remember, don't sugarcoat it!

Follow Clean Plate Charlie on Facebook and on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB.

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