Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from January, 2014

Sorry Dr Lustig: A calorie is still a calorie

In his book: “Fat chance: The bitter truth about sugar”, Dr Robert Lustig argues that a calorie is not a calorie or basically, not all calories from different foods are equal. He makes three arguments to support his idea. This part of his argument is central to the subsequent claim he makes that sugar and in particular fructose is the villain of obesity. He begins by pointing out that weight loss frequently reaches a plateau because as we lose weight our resting energy expenditure falls. This resting energy expenditure is the energy required to keep our heart beating, our kidney’s filtering, our lungs breathing, our brain thinking and so on. It’s the calories you burn when you are asleep. The fall in resting energy expenditure is one of several adaptions the body makes when energy intake is restricted. Another adaptation is that the brain agrees to reduce its insistence on glucose as its sole fuel and agrees to start burning fats for fuel. If it did not do this, then the body would hav…

Oh Sugar! Wrong about fructose

Of late, the words “toxic”, “sugar” and “fructose” have been widely used together, implying a most dangerous aspect of sugar on human metabolism. The irony is that in Greek mythology, Cronus, the Titan leader was fed so much honey that he fell into a deep sleep during which time his son Zeus killed him. The original words of the Greek legend refer to the “intoxicating effect” of the large intake of honey on Cronus. Just as we are amused but not troubled by the language or beliefs of Greek mythology, we should not be so troubled by the same nonsense reformulated in modern Californian mythology.Honey was always held as a truly prized food: hard to harvest, made by bees through some mysterious process foreign to all other plant and animal foods, golden in colour and above all, sweet as nothing else ever known to man. The sweetness of honey was down to a combination of two simple sugars, fructose and glucose present at 55% and 45% respectively. Sugar, as we know it today, is also an ancie…

Nutrition in the first 1,000 days: How strong is the data?

The first 1,000 days represents the development of a child from conception through to 2 years of age. Maternal and infant nutrition during this period has become the corner stone of many international programmes to combat malnutrition. The message relayed within this area is simple: Optimal height for age and optimal cognitive function are largely determined during the first 1,000 days. If a child suffers poor nutrition during this period, then there is permanent reduction in stature and a permanent loss of cognitive function. The UN initiative “Scaling Up Nutrition” (SUN) which has now been adopted by 45 countries has the first 1,000 days and maternal-infant nutrition as its core. However, a recent review and analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and led by Andrew Prentice of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine[1], would certainly demand a more rigorous review of a policy which effectively espouses the view that the first 1,000 days is the ma…