Sugar, threat or menace?

So, the New York Times “had an article about sugar”:http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html.

Much of it wasn’t news to me–I knew about the interactions of fructose and the liver, for instance–while some of it was embarrassing for me not to have realized, like the fact that refined sugar is, effectively, 50% fructose (so, in that sense, those commercials the pushers of HFCS have been putting out lately are are right–there’s very little practical difference between cane sugar and corn sugar, though the fact that the fructose in HFCS isn’t bound up with anything else may mean it puts more stress on your liver).

The reason that I found this article much more compelling than the materials I’ve seen before from, say, the “Weston A. Price Foundation”:http://westonaprice.org/ is two-fold.

First, the article does not purport to be certain. I have an innate distrust of the sort of iron-clad certainty that the Weston A. Price Foundation presents when dealing with something as complex as the human body. Or most other things, for that matter–show me someone who is certain about something, and I will wonder just who they’re trying to convince, because I don’t usually feel like it’s me. For that matter, half the article makes the point that people’s certainty in the past is a large part of what got us into this mess.

Instead, the article talks about the reasons that one view is more likely, and explains why their may have been confusion–basically, it attempts to make me understand, rather than just accept.

Second, the article does not purport to impugn motives to people, and it does not take any sort of stance on their morality. The moment I read someone attributing motives to a corporation, especially “evil” motives, again, I am immediately distrustful.

Mind you, I have no love of large organizations of any kind–I think that they are inherently [_a_]moral, since morality is a necessarily individual thing, and as a consequence they will behave without consideration–but if your premise is that a corporation is setting out to consciously poison or kill its customers, you better be able to produce the memo to that effect. Otherwise, all you do by purporting to know a corporations heart is convince me that you are out of touch with your own.

So, all that out of they way, where do I stand?

Well, I don’t think sugar is inherently bad–that is, taken in small quantities, I think our bodies are resilient enough to deal with it, and I don’t give a shit about living forever–but I will be cutting down my outright intake even more than I have and taking the time to consider subtler alternatives that might allow me to reduce it still further. Perhaps one day I will remove it from my diet entirely, but I don’t see that happening soon.

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Michael Alan Dorman

Yogi, brigand, programmer, thief, musician, Republican, cook. I leave it to you figure out which ones are accurate.

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