60 Minutes Reports, Is Sugar Toxic? [Video]

60 Minutes Sugar Toxic

Sugar is actually a toxin. Scientific studies are starting to back this evidence up of sugar being a poison. On 60 Minutes that aired April 1, 2012, Dr. Sanjay Gupta reported new research is coming out of America’s most respected institutions, which find that sugar is a toxin.

Sugar is toxic, whether it be in the form of crystal or syrup. “They are basically equivalent. The problem is, they’re both bad. They’re both equally toxic,” says Dr. Lustig.

According to reports, the average American consumes over 130 pounds of sugar annually. This lead to increased diabetes and obesity, especially in children. The National Institute of Health states that diabetes affects 25.8 million Americans of all ages, and 215,000 people younger than 20 had diabetes in 2010.

Since the 1970s, sugar consumption has gone down nearly 40 percent, but high fructose corn syrup has more than made up the difference. Dr. Lustig says they are both toxic because they both contain fructose, that’s what makes them sweet and irresistible.

When you eat sugar in the form of fruit, you are getting other stuff with it. You’re getting fiber, micro-nutrients and also a slow absorbtion of sugar which is much more natural. That’s the way human bodies were designed to take in sugar.

When it comes to artificial sweeteners, the body is smart. Dr. Sanjay Gupta gave the example of when a person drinks Diet Coke then goes home at night and has two bowls of ice cream. He says, “It’s almost as if your body says, ‘You tricked me. So you know what, I’m going to make you go out and find real sugar and feed me.’ It’s sort of a punishment.”

Dr. Sanjay Gupta says that eating real food is the best piece of advice. Real foods like, vegetables, meat, and food that doesn’t come out of a box or package. Usually you’ll find real food on the outer perimeter of the grocery store. Food on the inner aisles is usually packaged and processed.

Is sugar bad for people with heart disease? People believe if they eat sugar, they put on weight and if you put on weight, you’re more likely to develop heart disease. People fundamentally get heart disease. Dr. Sanjay Gupta gave the example of a person eating a cheeseburger and thinking this is a fatty food and it will raise their cholesterol in which will put you at risk of heart disease. That’s what sugar is doing, maybe more so than fatty foods.

When a person consumes too much sugar, the liver gets overloaded with fructose and converts some of it into fat. That fat ends up in the bloodstream and generates the bad kind of cholesterol called small dense LDL. These particles are known to lodge in blood vessels, form plaque, in which are associated with heart attacks.

Kimber Stanhope said, “We found that people who consumed high fructose corn syrup had increased blood levels of LDL cholesterol and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.”

Esstenially, we need a balanced diet, but the idea of balance is a drastic reduction in sugar consumption. An American Heart Association report recommends men should consume no more than 150 calories of added sugars a day. And women, just 100 calories. That’s less than the amount in just one can of soda.

Dr. Robert Lustig says, “Ultimately this is a public health crisis. And when it’s a public health crisis, you have to do big things and you have to do them across the board. Tobacco and alcohol are perfect examples. We have made a conscious choice that we’re not going to get rid of them, but we are going to limit their consumption. I think sugar belongs in this exact same wastebasket.”

23 Comments on "60 Minutes Reports, Is Sugar Toxic? [Video]"

  1. I’m a survivor of 3 strokes. The first was a TIA that happened around late 2006 or early 2007 that caused me to fall down a flight of concrete stairs (I have no memory of this due to memory holes left as a result of my last stroke); the 2nd, May 19, 20007, a clot in my right hemisphere; the 3rd (hopefully my last) a hemorrhagic in my left hemisphere that nearly killed me several times and disabled me on Sept 16, 2008. All of this due to my love affair with taste. I let myself get fat and stay that way for 20+ years without exercising over and above work. I had high blood pressure and got diabetes but I lost 107 lbs since the clot, I’ve beaten diabetes and my blood pressure is great. I have a great exercise program too. I’m in the best health of my life, though I have many problems and daily struggles as a result of my strokes.

    From one who has experienced the worst of what abusing one’s body yields, pay heed to the advice of eating real food instead of processed, packaged, or canned foods. The fact is that natural food is our friend, not packaged or processed foods. If you choose to stay obese and eat unhealthy “food” be prepared to pay the piper, possibly with your life. “I can’t give up ” Bzzzt. Wrong answer. What a person eats is 100% choice so “can’t” doesn’t exist.

  2. So we all agree that sugar is toxic. Why? Because of the insulin reaction it produces. This is the same with table sugar, honey, high fructose corn syrup, sugar in the raw,etc., etc.- but also with most high glycemic carbs especially flour and processedfoods but also fruits and starchy vegetables, and also with overeating in general.

    What doesnt create an insulin response is artificial sweetener. I use it in very small quantities
    And find it doesnt create cravings for carbs at all (whereas if i had a teaspoon of sugar i would definitely have a carb craving after, due to the inevitable insulin response and consequent drop in blood sugar later)

    Sugar is killing you. Cutting it out should be a priority. Eating heathy is so easy. Eat meat,eggs , green vegetables, and healthy natural fats like butter and olive oil. If you add an artificial sweetener to that diet it is highly unlikely to create cravings for sugar – but if it does for you, stop using it. Easy peasy.

    • Cathy, I hope you mean natural sweeteners like Truvia or Stevia….anything else is a cancer risk.

  3. Yet another reason to dramatically cut down on sugar consumption. We need to start taking our health seriously.

  4. Henrietta braginton | April 2, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Reply

    Because I have had a by pass, cardiac neck,with that I had a stroke,also went blind,breast cancer,had to have chemo,radiation,during that time l had liquids radiation. At that time I almost died because they found out I have ten ulcers. Last year I had a hard attack,had two stints ,thank God It worked.AS I am writing this I have two tumers on my neck,something in my right breast.the problems,I can’t do anything about it right now because I take Plavix and they will not operation on me because I can bleed to death.where we’re you when I needed you. I can tell all of the world that sugar is the devil. Take it from someone who lived to tell you,oh, I forgot I had also a brain tumor.Is God with me or what?! See ya,Henrietta.

    • Henrietta,
      After reading your post I would say the thing you suffer from the most is lack of education as is apparent in your spelling, punctuation, and grammar. This information about sugar (and processed foods in general) has been available to the public in written media for more than 30 years. If you picked up a book and could read, or had even taken an interest in what you put into your body, most, if not all, of your health issues could have been avoided. You are a typical product of a society that is largely ignorant of where its food originates or how it gets from the fields to your supermarket shelf. Your health problems are entirely the result of the poor choices you have made all of your life. Here’s a hint: if it’s in a box or a can or and has more than 5 ingredients or has ingredients you cannot pronounce, DO NOT EAT IT.

    • Artemis, sounds as though you have a MOUTH that if FULL of SUGAR??? In that, nearly every word you have said to this woman is more poison than sugar!Didn’t your parents teach you as a child, if you can’t say something nice, then say nothing at all? Just sayin’…

    • I might not be a good writer, just to let everyone know,I had the brain tumor was in 1986. At that time they gave me 6 months.so,thank you lauri for being so sweet. I think the other person had a problem.I have faith. Henrietta

  5. Gopinath Sunil | April 2, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Reply

    I agree. I am an endocrinologist with over 15 years experience in the field and have done extensive research on the harmful effects of too much insulin on the body and how it assists tumor formation. The key is to tone down the insulin response, which concentrated sugar stimulates in the pancreas. There is way too much pancreatic cancer, just like the one that killed Steve Jobs, which used to be a rarity in my days of training. Steve Jobs had all the resources in the WORLD to advise him, yet he got poor advice. We need to educate people about the right way to eat and live longer.


    • Maybe consider preparing oats and all grains for that matter the way they were done traditionally – an overnight soak in an acidic medium such as warm water with 2 TBSP of yogurt, kefir, whey, lemon juice, etc. to each cup of grains.

  7. I really want to know more about this. I truly believe there is a whole lot of truth to this. Cancer and Diabeties is on the rise. Many of my loved ones are dying from it. I really love my sweets and want to find a way to get that same satisfaction from sugar in a piece of cake without the sugar. I want to know whats the safe substitute.


    • I cut the white sugar and white pasta and flour out of my diet and use whole wheat flour and pasta and only Sugar in the raw, which is all natural and raw honey to sweeten…both unprocessed, and lost 16 lbs in a short amount of time. Read labels and research!

    • Brigitte Cornelius | April 2, 2012 at 6:22 pm |

      Easy, Mommyof5 — begin reducing it just a bit at a time, cook the meals yourself. I started by cutting the sugar in cake etc. by just a 1/3 cup, then more, make your own tea and reduce the sugar slowly, drink more milk, eat more fruit and don’t purchase soda if at all possible, if there is candy, make it dark chocolate and a little at a time etc. You’ll love the challenge and in a while (takes at least 2 weeks) things with very little sugar will begin to taste sweet enough. There will be withdrawal, I sure had it! 🙂

  8. Dr. Gupta, Would you speak to the sugars, turned to alcohol, and how they affect our bodies in drinks like Wine and Beer and the harder Liquors?

  9. Barb Liberty | April 2, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Reply

    I greatly appreciate the story on sugar/fructose. I had no idea that it could promote cancer.
    I only wish the story would have also included sugar substitutes which I hear are just as bad for the body but most people think if they are consuming products containing sugar “substitutes” then this article doesn’t apply to them .
    Keep up the great informative work 60 Minutes!

    • Barb Liberty. From my layman’s understanding due to some of my own researching on the internet. By reviewing Dr. Mercola at mercola.com and Dr. Weil, I have found that the sugar substitutes are very bad and at the same level as sugar itself. Sweet and Low, Stevia, Nutra Sweet and Splenda should not be used. It’s sad that I did not journal all of my researching

  10. Re: consuming artificial/alternative sweeteners, as in Diet Coke, “It’s almost as if your body says, ‘You tricked me. So you know what, I’m going to make you go out and find real sugar and feed me.’ It’s sort of a punishment.”

    This really is nonsense. There are millions of type 1 and type 2 diabetics who regularly consume alternative sweeteners (which, BTW, are perfectly safe), and don’t go out to find “real” sugar as a response. The point is that the body needs nourishment, and if that is provided, with enough protein, enough carbs, and enough fat, the cravings cease. And those so-called “healthy whole grains” also turn to sugar in the body, a point which is often lost on nutritionists. Some diabetes educators advocate that diabetics consume over 180 grams of carb/day, then cover the blood glucose spikes with insulin. This is insane. It causes roller coaster blood sugars and hypoglycemic events, not to mention increasing insulin resistance.

    • Since I cut out sugar and went low-carb, my cholesterol, trigylerides and blood sugar levels are NORMAL!!! BTW- I eat artifical sweetener. I have not had more than a teaspoon of sugar at a time for over a year— but I regularly eat artificial sweeteners. It hasn’t affected my blood levels.

    • Actually, it’s not nonsense. It’s been well documented dating all the way back to the early 1980’s that artificial sweetners trigger a real chemical reaction in the brain which cause the human body to crave carbohydrates.

    • Research on artificial sweeteners and their effect on the metabolic response in the body has been done by Dr. Mark Hyman. This was discussed in his book, Ultrametabolism: The Simple Plan for Automatic Weight Loss. In his book, he says that agave nectar and honey are better than sugar (in its many forms) or artificial sweeteners, but the 60 Minutes report says even those are not good for you.

    • Well said! Totally correct! The problem is the insulin. The 60 minutes article could have been more accurate if the title was ” insulin is toxic”.

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