Health

Should we blame sugar for our health problems?

Gary Taubes is no stranger to controversy. In 2002, the New York Times published his heavily debated article on low-carb eating, which he later expanded on in his book Good Calories, Bad Calories. Now he's stirred the pot again, with a new piece in the Times' magazine about the dangers of sugar — all sugar, not just the much-maligned high-fructose corn syrup — which he says could even cause cancer.

Getty Images

Gary Taubes is no stranger to controversy. In 2002, the New York Times published his heavily debated article on low-carb eating, which he later expanded on in his book Good Calories, Bad Calories. Now he’s stirred the pot again, with a new piece in the Times‘ magazine about the dangers of sugar — all sugar, not just the much-maligned high-fructose corn syrup — which he says some research shows could even cause cancer.

Taubes writes that we don’t yet know the full effects of the 90 pounds of added sugar — that is, beyond what is found naturally in foods like fruit — that the average American consumes each year, but he argues, with information from several different researchers, that they are a serious threat to our health, with links to diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

It seems like common sense that consuming hundreds of additional calories each day in the form of added sugars can eventually lead to weight gain, and all the problems associated with that. But should we be worrying about health effects beyond that, like insulin resistance — or worse? One researcher, Robert Lustig, whom Taubes writes about argues that we should start thinking of sugar the way we think of cigarettes and alcohol. Do you think that’s fair, or taking it too far?

Taubes, whose latest book is Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It, will be answering questions from New York Times readers; the date and time have yet to be announced.

FILED UNDER: