There’s nothing like a biologist-trained critical thinking mom. Seriously. Besides being one of my best friends on the planet, my mother is also perhaps one of the most thoughtfully smart human beings in the world, or at least this side of the Mississippi. In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m posting her email to me in response to the New York Times article I linked to a few weeks ago, in which the subject of sugar toxicity was discussed. Enjoy!
Sugar, i.e., sucrose, ain’t a bad guy. The two monosaccharides that make up sucrose are glucose and fructose, so digesting sucrose yields two components that your body has many uses for – energy molecules to fuel your daily activity and building blocks for bigger energy storage molecules like glycogen are just a couple of the uses. These sugars are definitely not “toxic” or “poison.”
That said, there is a potential problem with excessive amounts of most anything, including sucrose. Even water, imbibed in massive amounts, will dilute your body fluids to a dangerous, even lethal level. Eating excessive numbers of sugary treats, including HFCS ones, will likely mean you don’t have the proper intake of proteins and lipids or you exceed the total calories you need and store the excess as fat. Neither does a body good.
Balance and moderation seems to be the best rule of thumb. But that goes for life in general, doesn’t it?
Runner’s Delight back again. My mom’s thoughts do lead me to wonder if the Is Sugar Toxic article was busy referring to over-indulgence of sugar, or if it was, as I read it, discussing imbibing any trace amount of sugar. I know the world is full of scare tactics and fear-inducing news (thank my Michael Moore for pointing this out to me in Bowling for Columbine and to every class I took from Chuck Hunt as I majored in Sociology). But I also know all of that news is somewhat based on granules of truth…or at least, I hope it is. Much like stereotypes cae from one impression and we can always find something (or someone) to fit their mold, it seems that the same can be said for health-related fads.
Perhaps the truth is simply that what is true for one person is not true for another–which I suppose also applies to life in general. While we can attempt to make generalizations about the world at large, there are always exceptions to rules. And even when there are not exact exceptions, there are always variations within the group.
Oy, that line of thought makes me sound like someone who questions scientific findings, doesn’t it? I’m not. I’m all for finding truth, getting to the bottom of things, and sleuthing about for any and all purposes, including answers to health and fitness. I think, for myself, I tend to want to believe the simplest answers (isn’t that Ockham’s Razor? Yes, it is
). When it comes to doing your body good? Eat less, exercise more, everything in moderation.