Too Much Sugar

“What the Health”: False Sugar Claims

“Sugar doesn’t cause diabetes!” So says just about every expert in the film “What the Health.” Of all the misstatements in the film, this one is the worst and most dangerous. It isn’t because the statement is false; it’s because of the way it’s presented. Expert after expert looks into the camera and says that excess sugar intake does not cause type 2 diabetes. On top of that, the explanations that they give to justify their position are misleading.

One expert said that sugar will be stored as glycogen in the liver and the muscles and the rest used for energy. That’s correct. Another talked about the Duke University Diet which included rice, sugar, and some fruit and fruit juices; one physician used it to help many people who were too sick for other treatments. All the experts filmed agreed that neither sugar nor carbohydrate caused type 2 diabetes. It just couldn’t.

They are stopping short of telling the truth or intentionally misleading the audience. Sugar doesn’t cause type 2 diabetes if the person does not overeat. The statement about glycogen? True, as I said, but when a person overeats carbohydrates, the liver stores as much glycogen as it can and then converts the rest to fat.

Excess carbohydrates lead to insulin resistance and eventually, type 2 diabetes. The Duke University Diet? That was from the 1940s. It was an ultra low-fat diet with no salt, and was used to treat the sickest patients but only under the care of a physician.

The section on sugar and diabetes was by far the worst. It intentionally misleads people to think that overeating is fine as long as it’s carbohydrates. But there was one study that was cited over and over that’s even worse in my opinion. I’ll cover that on Saturday.

What are you prepared to do today?

Dr. Chet


Reference: What the Health. Directed by K. Andersen and K. Kune. 2017.


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