We’ve chronicled the numerous sugar scares promoted by bureaucrats and activists. Armed with alarmist comparisons to poison and cocaine as well as unscientific claims that sugars in food and drinks are uniquely harmful, they seek to institute onerous taxes, bans, and other regulations. Some, like Robert Lustig, will not rest until soda is banned outright. In an effort to give a sober second thought, we have continuously tried to highlight the good science in the debate. A new textbook, Fructose, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sucrose and Health, synthesizes the best science on sugar’s nutritional effects and helps illustrate how much hype is contained in this debate.
Written by scientists highly qualified in nutritional sciences, the text seeks to dispel what editor and nutritionist James M. Rippe calls the “misinformation and hyperbole in this issue” and to provide “unvarnished, scientific facts.” Among the prevailing claims that the text pushes back on include: sugar is addictive; sugar is uniquely harmful; and sugar is the cause of various ailments including obesity and diabetes. The authors argue that the science just doesn’t exist to back up these claims. In one chapter, for example, several scientists led by University of Toronto’s Adrian I. Cozma reveal:
Much of the evidence cited in support for a role of sugars in the increasing prevalence of obesity is derived from weak animal and ecological studies that establish associations, but not cause and effect relationships… the current evidence fails to show a clear link with, or between, sucrose and fructose and the increasing incidence of diabetes.
These findings are in line with the current body of science on the issue. Surely many activists will reject this new synthesis and these scientists’ claims because it threatens their credibility, pocketbooks, and quest for power. But we hope the public will ignore their attention-grabbing headlines and instead listen to the science.