The Diet Debacle

by Robert Lustig Robert Lustig is Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, Director of the Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health Program, and a member of the Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco. 28.05.2012

Introduction

Two seemingly benign nutritional maxims are at the root of all dietary evil: A calorie is a calorie, and You are what you eat. Both ideas are now so entrenched in public consciousness that they have become virtually unassailable. As a result, the food industry, aided and abetted by ostensibly well-meaning scientists and politicians, has afflicted humankind with the plague of chronic metabolic disease, which threatens to bankrupt health care worldwide...........

[A] calorie is not a calorie. Fats, carbohydrates, fructose, and glucose are all metabolized differently in the body. Furthermore, you are what you do with what you eat. Combining fat and carbohydrate places high demands on the metabolic process. And adding sugar is particularly egregious..........

We have a long way to go to debunk dangerous nutritional dogmas. Until we do, we will make little headway in reversing an imminent medical and economic disaster........

The United States currently spends $147 billion on obesity-related health care annually. Previously, one could have argued that these were affluent countries’ diseases, but the United Nations announced last year that chronic metabolic disease (including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and dementia) is a bigger threat to the developing world than is infectious disease, including HIV.

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