Sugar Free - thursday 2013-03-07 1530 last modified 2013-03-07 1530
Categories: Food
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I mentioned to a friend that I now avoid refined sugar, and she later passed along this recent article in the NY Times on a study reaching the conclusion that sugar is downright toxic. As certain as smoking can cause cancer, sugar can cause type 2 diabetes. Before, this was generally anticipated but not proven, and there was some suspicion that obesity was the cause. It isn't. It's sugar.

We've moved in a direction to regulate secondhand exposure to smoke and heavily taxed people's freedom to waste their money on a health adverse activity everybody now knows might kill them prematurely. The picture with refined sugars is a lot more widespread and complicated. Most people see it as benign and comforting, to be feared only in excess in combination with a lack of brushing. It is widespread and mixes in with nearly everything instead of standing on its own, to the point where avoiding it is both more time consuming and more expensive than leaving it be. Does that seem right? It costs more to get a product that doesn't contain one ingredient or even a substitute (most of which are terrifying in their own right; it may be the case that diet soda is far worse than normal soda). Unrefined sugar, which at least contains actual nutrients, is more expensive to obtain.

What else? Is refining and mass distribution a recipe for public health disasters? At least, it seems we're just not very good at managing consumables at this scale.

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