Last month, University of California-San Francisco professor Robert Lustig made headlines with his Nature article claiming that sugar was toxic and must be regulated like alcohol and tobacco. Since that time, we (and others) have heaped deserved scorn on that notion. One Sydney University nutritionist even told The Australian that she was “disgusted that Nature would publish this.”

Just last Thursday we wrote in the Las Vegas Review-Journal to debunk claims that sugar is the new cocaine. Instead of following food fads and sugar scares, we recommended following the only proven method of losing weight – expending more calories than one takes in.

As he told Las Vegans:

We’re always looking for that one “superfood” or one simple rule to build our diets around. There actually is one simple rule, but it’s not about a specific food or ingredient. It’s about balancing calories.

If the number of calories you consume from food and drink exceed the number of calories you burn off, you will gain weight. Want to lose weight? Burn off more than you take in.

Of course, balancing calories isn’t as easy as dieters might like, so there will always be a market for the next “superfood” fad or “bad food” list. Unfortunately, scares over foods detract from the truth that “calories in” have to equal “calories out” to avoid weight gain.

We also debunked scaremongering about the other white stuff that the Center for Science in the Public Interest calls the “deadly white powder you already snort”: salt. While activist groups like CSPI call for what one researcher deemed “an experiment on a whole population” in salt reduction, research is too often finding that salt reduction isn’t the miracle cure it’s purported to be. We wrote:

A review of 167 studies published last fall in the American Journal of Hypertension found that sodium reduction was associated with significant increases in both cholesterol and blood triglycerides (fat) — both risk factors for cardiovascular disease. 

Once again, the food police have allowed their agendas to get ahead of the scientific evidence. It’s not the first time, and unfortunately won’t likely be the last.