Home The War on Sugar Video Vault: Sugar – The Bitter Truth

Video Vault: Sugar – The Bitter Truth

by Erika Nicole Kendall
Sugar: the Bitter Truth

I can’t believe I never posted this! Someone sent it to me asking if I’d heard of it, and when I went searching the site for my initial thoughts on it, I realized I never shared it in its own post! I’m slippin’!

Robert Lustig, also known as “Nutrition Bae,” is a brilliant man who you could easily say is a part of the beginning of the anti-sugar movement. His work, much of which is represented in this video, combined with much of the research regarding emotional eating to date, is a huge reason why the everyday person knows so much about how influential sugar is in their day to day relationship with food. Had it not been for his work, I can’t say we’d have the same insight we do now. I truly can’t.

Lustig’s work also made it clear to me that there was a whole world of nutrition information out there that I needed to know, hence my killing myself in these textbooks right now.

The video is long, but it’s one of the most “worth it” hours you’ll spend on YouTube, trust me.

In looking at the video again, I have a couple of quick notes I want to highlight:

1) Direct quote: “We all weigh 25 pounds more than we did 25 years ago. All of us”

2) There’s a graph that show that, as consumption of dietary fats decreases over the years, the prevalence of obesity increases greatly. When you look at that through the lens of food history, this is around when processed food was taking hold in American households, as a support system for two-income families. If the responsibility of food companies is to make palatable food, and you can’t use fat… what do you use in its place? Salt… and sugar.

3) A 20 ounce of coke every day is worth 26 pounds of fat per year. Chile… woooo.

4) “What’s in coke? Caffeine – what’s caffeine? It’s a mild stimulant. It’s also a diuretic – it makes you pee free water. There’s also salt. 55mg per can. It’s like drinking a pizza. What happens when you take on sodium and you lose free water? You get thirstier.

But why do you get thirstier? One explanation, is that the free water is a response to the amount of salt in your body – your body uses the water to “protect” against the salt. An excess of salt in your diet results in an excess of free water, something we generally refer to as “bloating.” An abundance of salt – combined with a reduction in potassium – creates a climate where the body not only desires more water in order to protect your internal organs from the high-sodium diet, but also the creation of more visceral fat as a means of protecting the organs from the acidity factor.

5) I like how he included the same ad I discussed on the blog a while back. “Why, you get your hair done by a doctor?” Pardon my snarl.

6) “We used to get our fructose from fruits and vegetables and, if we still did that, we’d only get 15 grams a day. […] By 1994, we were up to 54.7 grams per day. It’s not just that we’re eating more, it’s that we’re eating more sugar.”

7) “Juice causes obesity.” Gee, I wonder who said that, too? “Fruit juice consumption increases risk for type 2 diabetes.” Wonder who said that, too?

8) Carbohydrates affect your cholesterol, thereby affecting your blood pressure? Who dropped that gem once upon a time?

9) “Fructose doesn’t suppress the hunger hormone, ‘ghrelin.'” This is an important part of why we believe things like soft drinks contribute to weight gain – if virtually every food you eat is supposed to contribute to the suppression of a hunger hormone, but foods full of fructose do not, then that means you could continuously consume fructose and never actually receive the signal that you’ve consumed more than enough calories and that you should slow down…. or come to a grinding halt.

10) Somewhere around 45 minutes, you might be inclined to try to take a nap. Don’t do it. (But, if you insist, it’s okay to come back around the 64-minute mark.)

11) “For elite [endurance] athletes, a sports drink with high fructose corn syrup actually makes sense. But who’s drinking the sports drinks? The kids! Because it’s cool, and it tastes good.” Fructose is a speedy way to replenish a specific kind of energy source in the liver, and because endurance athletes need so much of it in the midst of performing, they can consume it in quantities that would seem ridiculous to others. Then again, endurance athletes can consume much of anything that would seem ridiculous to the average person and experience minimal penalty.

The every day average joe, though? Struggle. Joe Q. Teenager? He’d be screwed.

12) “Consume your carbohydrates with fiber.” At the 1:13:00 mark, when he starts to talk about fiber, pay close attention to his explanation… and then remember that Erika doesn’t like smoothies and juicing for a reason.

13) “A calorie is not a calorie.” “The more you think that ‘a calorie is a calorie,’ the more you think ‘oh, I just have to work out and I can burn them off.'”

I couldn’t agree more. That’s why it’s so important to highlight how wrong that is.

What questions do you have? What did you think?

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Cara Belle April 15, 2015 - 9:14 PM

got to the coke part and i’m already mortified

Regina Russell April 20, 2015 - 8:43 AM

I’ve had a few nutrion classes in my college days and ummm I never heard a lot of this stuff mentioned in this video and honestly I’m mortified!

Mary Pavlovsky April 20, 2015 - 2:10 PM

I just love you Erika. Thanks for always bringing us the truth. It’s so hard to understand the meaning of “healthy” with so much misinformation out there in the interwebs. Whenever you have the time or inclination can you please expound a little on a calorie is not a calorie? I really want to hear that I can eat all of the vegetables I want because I really want to eat a lot…calories be dammed!

With ravishing regards,


Erika Nicole Kendall April 20, 2015 - 4:20 PM

What a lovely comment! It’d be my pleasure. I’ll make a note to come back and link here once I’ve done so. 🙂

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