The Rock'em Sock'em battle of the gurus in Carblandia continued last week as both Lustig and Taubes took to the media airwaves. I'll now call them the sugar twins because ultimately both hinge their arguments on sugar/fructose. Lustig says that because fructose is converted to fat in the liver, sucrose is the one food on the planet that is both fat and carb together and that makes it fattening. That combo is particularly insulinogenic and insulin blinds your brain to leptin so you don't know when to stop eating cheesecake. Taubes is making his last stand at TWICHOO Bunker Hill by saying that all the bad things he's been telling you for years about carbs -- fat cells going wild, spontaneous horizontal growth spurts, starving cells, etc. -- you may be spared of this forever and eternity so long as you never bathed your liver in fructose. Fructose causes insulin resistance and sets the wheels in motion for fat accumulation. Both (misguided) positions hinge on SUGAR = OBESITY.
So, first up to the plate, Lustig went on Alec Baldwin's radio show. This excited Andreas Eenfeldt because low carb hacks see only the headline and have no interest in looking any further, so he alerted his readers to a "great interview" with Robert Lustig. (Transcript HERE)
So when Baldwin, who has publicly struggled with his weight for years now, was told by his doctor he was prediabetic, he listened. To what? Why Lustig and his viral YouTube video. I never thought Baldwin was all that bright, I liked him in Hunt for Red October (but Sean Connery ... well ... I hardly noticed Baldwin and that was Alec's prime) and outside of some sporadic performances, I'm not a fan. I live outside NYC and had no idea he had a radio show. Listening to his delivery, I think I know why. He picks the absolutely worst part of Lustig's video to cite.
So why do I call it the Coca-Cola conspiracy? Well, what’s in Coke? Caffeine, good, good. So what’s caffeine? It’s a mild stimulant, right? It’s also a diuretic. It makes you pee free water. What else is in Coke? We’ll get to the sugar in a minute. What else? Salt, 55 milligrams of sodium per can, it’s like drinking a pizza. So what happens if you take on sodium and lose free water, you get? Thirstier, right. So why is there so much sugar in Coke? To hide the salt.
Ummm ... Anyone know if there's a Starbucks conspiracy? Did Starbucks get people to ditch their usual 8 oz cuppa joe with half & half and a packet or two of sugar for 16 oz. frappucinos by adding some salt and more sugar? Because to listen to Robert Lustig, the rare Coke I had as a kid didn't have much sugar in it and no caffeine, and the reason I didn't drink more than 8-12 oz is because my thirst was quenched with one salt-free can. If common sense and memory aren't enough, Wikipedia is only a page surf away. You see, in 1903 they started putting caffeine in their soda. My bet is the miniscule sodium content is from sodium citrate vs. citric acid, or just trace from other stuff in there. How little is 53 mg sodium? That's 1/10th of 1/4 of a teaspoon of salt. That's 5 one-hundredths of a gram. There used to be a lot more sodium in diet sodas because of sodium saccharine. Go pour yourself an 8 oz cup of coffee or caffeinated tea and humor me and pull out your smallest measuring device -- hopefully 1/8th tsp, but 1/4 will do -- and put that amount of salt in there. Do you even taste it? That would be 5-10X. Do you need sugar or more sugar to hide that taste? This is THE biggest load of horse manure and people still listen to this guy? Apparently this moved Baldwin to give up sugar!
Next Lustig talks about the "stable" of kids he treats. Odd word that. But he goes on and on about these kids with hypothalamic obesity. This is a metabolic/hormonal milieu that bears no resemblance to that present in 99.99999999999999999999999999% of the population at large. He cites a octreotide study where 18% lost weight by lowering insulin and dropping their intake of carbs in the process. What foods does Lustig mention? Bugles ... all starchy items. Interesting study, but can we get to the sugar please?? Well, if we let kids loose in a restaurant with a 150 calorie soda, they eat more. Did they eat more, or not compensate fully, like in that Havel study Taubes likes to cite, so that they consumed more calories? So sugar blocks your leptin. OK ... let's skip the saga of Baldwin's LC weight loss. Celebs losing a lot of weight, rapid weight loss when someone goes from eating fishbowls of pasta and washing it down with Coke to a low carb diet are nothing new. Let's also factor in that Alec's impending nuptials to a younger Yoga instructor had any motivational factors to do with this ... nah ... And now we get to the kicker. After all the talk and worry and concern for the health of the nation and talk about addiction and HFCS and all that:
Are you FREAKIN KIDDING ME??????? This man who could afford to have a personal chef prepare all his meals -- you know -- since this is so important and it's not just weight but metabolic health. This man eats crap at least 2 meals a day and pats himself on the back for not eating sugar but twice a year. And he's overweight because why????? I thought sugar was THE problem. So the takeaway is:
- Lustig has weight issues despite shunning sugar -- his own experience is not explained by his hypotheses
- Lustig wants draconian taxes to limit access of others to the foods they eat because it wouldn't affect him. How about taxes on your crappy lunches??
- Do as I say not as I do. Or do as I do and it won't do what I say.
Meanwhile, Taubes took to the pages of the NYT to explain to us yet once again how carbs make us fat and if Tara Parker-Pope would just go low carb, she'd be as lean as she could hope to be. But he (almost) stepped in it on NPR. Coming in Part II