The Roundup - Edition 23

The Roundup


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Here is The Roundup, Edition 23, bringing you the best from around the web from the past two weeks!

Blast from the Past

Recent research has found that there is no reason to replace fructose with glucose when portion sizes and calories are the same. While the two types of sweeteners have different effects on blood sugar, lipid production, and insulin release, the net effect of both sweeteners is the same. One of the study’s lead researchers, Dr. John Sievenpiper, suggested that “in calorie-matched conditions, we found that fructose may actually be better at promoting healthy body weight, blood pressure and glycemic control than glucose.”

This may come as a bit of a shock to folks who are convinced that fructose is the root of obesity and diabetes, but when caloric intake is kept under control, the type of sweetener plays little role in the metabolic effects of the diet. I discussed my thoughts on fructose in a post called “Ask Chris: Is Fructose Really That Bad?” In this post, I explained how fructose found in fruit and other natural, whole foods sources is perfectly healthy, especially when part of a calorically appropriate diet. While many Paleo “gurus” consider fructose a toxin, I personally feel that there’s nothing uniquely fattening or toxic about fructose when it isn’t consumed in excess.

Ultimately, a few servings of fructose-rich fruit is a healthy addition to most people’s diet, barring certain conditions like FODMAP intolerance or severe insulin resistance. So feel free to have a handful of grapes or a crunchy apple as a snack, without fear of developing diabetes or cancer!

Research Report

  • A new study shows that as sugar intake increases so does mortality from heart disease.
  • Coffee, when consumed in moderation, provides similar hydrating qualities to water.
  • Research shows that eating at least two servings of seafood per week during pregnancy has beneficial effects on child development, including higher IQ in children.
  • A study shows that skipping or eating a crappy breakfast during childhood correlated with obesity later in life.
  • People exposed to sunlight during day have better cognitive function than those exposed to artificial light. Go outside!
  • There are beneficial effects of pet ownership on some aspects of human health and behavior.
  • Coffee consumption—both regular and decaf—is associated with lower risk of death. (But individual tolerance matters).

Worth a Look

  • Gluten Free Girl wrote an inspiring, heartfelt and insightful post about our farm-to-table Vashon event.
  • Indigenous diets worldwide – from forest foods such as roots and tubers in regions of eastern India to coldwater fish, caribou and seals in northern Canada – are varied, suited to local environments, and can counter malnutrition and disease.
  • A CDC infographic shows that the average restaurant meal is 4 times larger than in the ’50’s.
  • The war against butter is over… and butter won.
  • The growing risk of antibiotic resistance in CAFO meat may be the most important reason eat pasture-raised/organic.
  • The New York Times explains why it’s never too late to exercise and move more.

For the Foodies

  1. One more point chris forgot to mention. Fructose is not more fattening on a per calorie basis, the problem is that excessive and/or long term consumption of fructose eventually leads to LEPTIN RESISTANCE – and that point is when a calorie is no longer a calorie.
    Short term, moderate consumption of fructose may have the same metabolic effects as glucose, but when consumed in excess fructose is far more harmful than glucose. That is why every isocaloric overfeeding study has shown that the group consuming fructose puts on more weight and tends more towards metabolic syndrome than the glucose consumption group.

  2. Hey, I want to hijack this thread because it’s recent and I wanted to ask you about something because your “50 shades of gluten (intolerance)” was nearly the only thing I could find on the internet that broached the subject of my concern. The long and short of it is that, after bungling my way to relative health using an SCD diet, and being able to eat nearly anything after 6 months of strict adherence to the diet, I am perplexed that the one food I can’t tolerate when in post-repair condition (wherein I pig out on incredibly unhealthy food choices because I hadn’t had anything decadent in 6 months) is pasta. I can eat all kinds of breads and rices that destroy me when I’m in distress but cause no disruption when I’m repaired, but pasta, no matter how healthy I am down there, provokes a crescendo of symptoms and discomfort until I am compelled to use an enema for relief, both of the pressure and volatility down there, and of the peripheral symptoms of tension, runny nose, headache etc . The stuff I read in “50 shades” about the varieties of gluten components seems like the map to understanding this anomaly. Specifically I’d like to ask if you know if there is a specific class of gliadins and glutenins that are in pasta that are not in most breads? After a lifetime of distress in the darkness I suppose it’s a miracle to be at this place where I can control my health to the point where I’m trying to understand one specific food’s effect on my body when considering the pain of my past life I would eat broccoli alone for the rest of my life for the freedom to feel human, but goddamnit I really miss tortellini. I hope you know something. Oh, and by the way, though I suffer without fail with decent pasta it was interesting that I ate some instant mac and cheese (literally a cup that you add hot water to, then add the powder pack… never seen that before) and it didn’t affect me. My off the cuff theory is that whatever class of gluten protein is natural to pasta that hurts me might have been processed out in the method of making that mac and cheese have a shelf life. Any info is appreciated, thanks.

  3. Another new Research Report to add to the list I found in the journal “nutrients”, Dec. 2013, The Prevalence of Antibodies against Wheat and Milk Proteins in Blood Donors and Their Contributions to Neuroimmune Reactivities. 400 donors tested found neuroimmune antibodies from wheat and milk in 50% of the donors.

  4. Can you comment on claims that drinking diet soda leads to diabetes? When you dig deep into these claims, the basis seems to be that artificial sweetener makes you crave sugar, so you end up eating a lot of sugar anyway, gaining weight, getting sedentary and boom, you are diabetic.

    But if drinking diet soda does not make you crave sugar, and thus you do not go and consume it in excess, is there still a link between artificial sweeteners and diabetes for some other physiological reason?

  5. The Sievenpiper quote “in calorie-matched conditions, we found that fructose may actually be better at promoting healthy body weight, blood pressure and glycemic control than glucose,” almost sounds like it could have come from a Ray Peat article.

  6. Hi Chris,

    You have a great point, that fructose in grapes vs glucose in an apricot isn’t inherently evil. I think where fructose gets its bad wrap is in high fructose corn syrup in a SAD diet in all the processed foods. Sugar in a whole food like raw fruit in its natural state in moderation is a great source of energy!

      • Grapes are about 7g fructose, 7g glucose, and 0.5 sucrose (which is half fructose) per 100g. That’s actually more fructose than 100ml of Coke (which is about 10g of sucrose/HFCS, i.e. 5-6g of fructose).

        Watermelon is about 4g of fructose, 2g of glucose, and 2.5g of sucrose, i.e. a total of about 5g fructose per 100g.

  7. Chris, I’m sorry but it looks like you fell again for the latest sugar industry fake “research” by Dr. John “Coca Cola” Sievenpieper.

    Sievenpiper is sponsored by Coca-Cola, Snapple, Unilever etc. and works for sugar and beverage industry lobbying groups such as Calorie Control Council and ILSI. One of his co-authors is founder of the Glycaemic Index Lab and is therefore promoting fructose, even to diabetics!

    The “meta-studies” by Sievenpiper are consistently biased. Typically, he selects old studies that were run on diabetics, i.e. people who can’t metabolize sugar adequately anyway. Also, he usually compares pure fructose to “other carbohydrates”, including sugar and HFCS!! Note that the latter are half fructose! He then concludes that fructose is not worse than “other carbohydrates”. This is ludicrous, because it is well known that pure fructose is very poorly absorbed by the intestine. Usually 30 to 50% of the participants end up with diarrhea, i.e. the fructose doesn’t even hit the liver! Of course Sievenpiper knows this, but doesn’t mention it… This issue also applies to his current fake study comparing pure fructose with pure glucose (the latter being 100% absorbed).

    Another major bias: controlled calorie-intake is not realistic. The sweetness of fructose and the fact that only fructose bypasses satiety hormones (insulin, leptin) is the very reason why people overeat in the first place.

    Chris, I recommend to you the book “the fructose disease: how a single molecule has caused every lifestyle disease”. After reading it, you will think twice about advertising fructose ever again.

    Nobody needs fructose. Not from Coke, not from cake, not from fruit juices, not from daily fruit. Fruit used to be a very rare special treat, available once a year prior to cold winter. On top, wild fruit contains only about half the fructose compared to modern cultured fruit (see book). It is for good reason that most zoos removed bananas from the diet of their monkeys: it ruined their teeth, made them fat, diabetic, and hyperactive. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it…

    • Clark, have you ever heard of the Hazda? A significant portion of their diet is from Honey, and they themselves call it their most prefered food source. Honey has a fair amount of fructose in it, and yet the Hazda are very lean and tend to be very healthy.

      Also, just because we don’t “need” to eat fruit, that doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t be better off (both in terms of health and enjoyment) if we do choose to eat it.

    • I’ve read numerous papers on this subject, and not all of them (or even most) were authored by Sievenpieper. I have also read Lustig’s work and several other similar perspectives. I have not seen any compelling evidence that fructose is harmful when consumed as whole fruits and vegetables. I challenge anyone to show me a study that contradicts this. The effects of fructose in SSBs are not remotely comparable to the effects of fructose in whole foods. Moreover, the effects of fructose in SSBs are different in a hypocaloric or isocaloric state than in a hypercaloric state. This may be somewhat of a moot point because SSBs promote overeating, but it’s worth mentioning.

      • @Chris: I mention Sievenpiper because both your first and your current blog entry on fructose were in response to a Sievenpiper paper. Both of these papers are methodologically fundamentally flawed, and so are the conclusions drawn from them.

        To my knowledge, the only other 2013 paper arguing that fructose is not worse than glucose came from Prof. Ian MacDonald, who is sponsored by Coca Cola and Mars (and who sits on the UK advisory council for carbohydrates, as was recently exposed by British media…).

        The effects of fructose in fruit and in soda are exactly the same, because it’s chemically identical. The sooner we stop the myth of “natural sugar”, the better. (Or else, allow the tobacco industry to speak of “natural nicotine”).

        The only, albeit important difference is this: it’s harder to overeat on whole fruit due to the fiber (though there are groups such as “30 bananas a day”, consuming about 500g of “natural sugar” per day, ie 10 times the US average). Plus, some (not all!) fruits contain significant amounts of anti-oxidants that help our body protect partially against some of the adverse effects of fructose. But your teeth are still exposed, your gut is still exposed (think of all the people with a low fructose absorption, who get digestive problems after just one modern, sweet apple), and your metabolism is still partially affected.

        Fruit juices are a whole different story anyway, comparable to soda (“Studies involving commonly consumed fruit juices showed that natural fructose carbohydrates can alter lipid and protein oxidation biomarkers in the blood, and mediate oxidative stress responses in vivo”,

        For the most recent example of the adverse effects of too much fruit, see the article of the English zoo that banned bananas recently (others did it long ago):

        So I don’t say fruit per se is bad, but we should see it as an occasional treat again, like it used to be prior to green houses, cold stores, monoculture and apples from New Zealand. Whether you like it or not, modern fruit has become a globalized, multi-billion dollar industry, mostly controlled by large corporations, not least Coca-Cola and Pepsi when it comes to fruit juices and smoothies (Tropicana etc.)

        @John: The hunter-gatherers in Tanzania are actually called Hadza. Their main food is tubers (!) and meat, plus, depending on the season, berries (note that wild berries contain very little fructose, usually 0-2g. This is also true for wild Brazilian Acai. In industrial countries, Acai is served as sugary pulp, of course…). Honey is available only a few months a year (prior to the dry season, nutritionally comparable to our winter), and only in some regions. To get it, they don’t go to the grocery store, but climb tall baobab trees. If they fall, they may die (so much for the power of fructose :-). And now guess what happens to the Hadza during honey season: they fatten up, especially women! Is this bad? No, this is great, especially for pregnancy! Exactly how it was “intended” by Nature. (see

        In fact, what many modern people forget is this: subcutaneous fat was both vital and attractive during most of human history. You get it thanks to carbs and a working insulin system. Visceral (organ) fat is dangerous. You get by consistently overdosing on fructose (almost impossible prior to modern times), which blocks insulin! This is measurabla within just a few weeks (see e.g.

        Sure, fructose gives enjoyment, at least spikes of enjoyment, by releasing dopamine. That’s how plants lure animals, and how food and beverage corporations lure consumers… 🙂

            • Clark is absolutely right. I Really don’t understand where chris is coming from with this new angle on fructose. Of course fructose is not going to be very metabolically harmful if you don’t eat it in excess, but every isocaloric study I have ever read comparing glucose to fructose found that fructose is more likely to promote weight gain and metabolic syndrome than glucose. These are isocaloric studies, so the hypo/hyper caloric distinction is completely moot here.

            • Before the introduction of HFCS, people were averaging receiving about 1 pound a year. Now they are averaging 57 pounds a year. For most people, they don’t have to completely eliminate it but be aware of it and minimize it.

              For ones diet, It really comes down to what the entire total toxic load of what one eats is on ones body vs how resistant one is to that toxic load. People will be different so they just need to find enough balance to keep themselves healthy.

      • Also, Doctor Rocky Patel, author of The Carb Nite Solution, will recommend every now and again for performance athletes to drink a can of soda for the fructose to enhance their performance.

    • The per capita US consumption of sugar really hadn’t increased much. It was pretty steady between 1920 and 1980. It still increased maybe 15% more since 1980. Pointing to sugar as implicated into the skyrocketing health problem makes no sense. HFCS started to skyrocket from 1975 and on.

      There is no economic reason to use HFCS. Sugar is cheaper to import but it is artificially inflated so the food companies can rationalize the use of HFCS to the consumer. The food companies can’t even rationalize the economics

      Heinz ketchup use to have one ketchup that had the same ingredients for 60+ years. What they did do in recent years. They put HFCS in their ketchup. Not only did they do that but they also had an organic brand and non HFCS brand. They even have a ketchup which says no preservatives and all natural but has HFCS. There is a blatant attempt to deceive people.

      So not only have they increased the cost of processing the ketchup but they also increase the cost of packaging. There is not just very suspicious activity but counters their production based on economic arguments.
      How much does adding sugar to a product – a couple pennies. This doesn’t make people decide or not to decide to buy the product.

      Even the Soda companies can’t rationalize the economics because the profit margin is huge. Only Sierra Mist uses sugar.

      Let me ask Chris a few questions.

      Why do you think the powers that be are allowing so many toxic chemicals and GMO into the food supply ?

      Why do you think the water is fluoridated ?

      Why do you think vaccinations are pushed ?

      Why do think the cost of HFCS is subsidized ?

      Do you think the military and national security agencies are there to protect the populations from harm ?

    • I know some years back the cost of importing sugar would be 7 cents a pound. Much less the cost of HFCS. Consumer is forced to use 22 cents a pound sugar due to the government prohibiting imported sugar. This alone is overt circumstantial evidence that something is wrong.

      There are many studies not being done simply because there is no money to do it. The powers that be have a lot of control over what is studied and the careers of scientists. There are no law enforcement and security agencies in existence who can officially investigate the powers that be mass poison of the food supply. Congress itself consists of 535 sociopaths. They have sat silently in this assault.

      There are many people who view greed as the motivating factor for everything going on because it comforts them and that is all their little minds can understand. They neglect the fact that the power structure can manufacture unlimited amount of currency at the blink of an eye via federal reserve and with no real oversight. People rather turn a blind eye towards large scale organized evil.