Science vs the Fructose/HFCS Conspiracy

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Science vs the Fructose/HFCS Conspiracy

Post by supertrain-int » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:41 am

Hey guys, this topic came up recently on an Australian Dietitians mailing list and I thought some of you might be interested in it. It relates to a book called “Sweet Poison – Why Sugar is Making Us Fat” by David Gillespie and from what I can gather (I haven’t read it) talks about the evils of Fructose – which no doubt also paralleled by the High Fructose Corn Syrup debate that rages in the US.

David Gillespie was featured on a Science Radio Show in Australia and gave a short synopsis of the book in a story which you can listen to via this link http://www.abc.net.au/rn/ockhamsrazor/s ... 621415.htm. In short, it sounds like he believes that fructose is the sole source of many modern diseases (and so is high fructose corn syrup - even though it is almost identical to sucrose!!)

Like so many other pseudoscientists and conspiracy theorists, when you listen to their argument, it seems logical and simple, but it’s not until you start looking beyond their claims and simple solutions for complex problems that you find the real story. It seems from this interviews that Mr Gillespie would have you think that the rise in sugar intake and obesity is directly and wholly related (it seems that he doesn’t believe in exercise) heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Also like most conspiracies, he links them in with other conspiracies – Big Pharma.

I must admit that when I heard that this guy was a lawyer, my BS detector went off. Lawyers, like salespeople, make a living out of presenting evidence to support their claim. This is the opposite of science, where the evidence should first determine the claim that you are going to make! As an aside, another Fitness Guru celebrates the fact that he finds out what works first and then finds the evidence to support it – but you can CHEK in for a discussion about him another time!

So before you jump on the Fructose and HFCS bandwagon, seemingly compelled by the evidence and studies that Mr Gillespie quotes, a qualified Dietitian – Chris Forbes-Ewan looks at ALL of the evidence, no cherry picking here (pun intended!). Here is Chris’ response on the same radio program a few months later, called “Is Fructose The Root of All Evil?” (you can also listen/download or see a transcript at http://www.abc.net.au/rn/ockhamsrazor/s ... 770728.htm).

Interestingly, Chris doesn’t discount everything that Mr Gillespie says, but says that it isn’t that simple, nor do we have all of the answers! He also looks beyond the abstracts, critiquing the studies, Gillespie references and also putting them into context with the larger body of research!

Chris has also gone directly after Gillespie on his blog (which is at http://www.raisin-hell.com) posing a number of questions, that at the time of writing has gone unanswered (although he has managed a few sledges and more conspiracy theories cast at Chris)! I’m not quite sure that Gillespie has been dishonest in presenting his theories, but we will soon know, since Chris has pointed out the errors in his work. Hopefully Gillespie isn’t so married to his theory and has the same vested interest that he claims Big Sugar and Big Pharma have, and will modify his stance in the face of ALL of the evidence!

Check out the info, it is a great example in why people (especially when you step out of your area of expertise) shouldn’t get one source (backed with (some) research) and then think that they are an expert – despite how logical and obvious it seems and how much anecdotal evidence also supports (eg it worked for me and my friends)! This can equally be applied for numerous diets (Mediterranean, French, Metabolic type etc) and other topics like barefoot running.

Enjoy!

David Driscoll
Exercise Physiologist, Sports Scientist and Sports Dietitian.

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Post by stuward » Fri Apr 02, 2010 9:11 am

David, Perhaps David Gillespie was extreme in his book, focusing on one item when there may be several that are relevant (i.e. industrial seed oil, excessive dieting, over reliance on cardio, etc) that all contribute to diseases of civilisation. Fructose and especially HFCS are worse in some ways than sucrose due to the way they are processed in the liver. The main problem is the volume in the mainstream diet. The problem existed before HFCS came out but it's worse now. The solution is a reduction in sugar consumption from all sources, including refined flour. A moderate reduction in sugar consumption is probably insufficient. In a healthy population, moderate consumption could be tolerated but in order to correct the problems caused by western diets, sugars of all types need to be minimized, if not eliminated.

There are always more than one way to look at a subject and it's important to look at it from all angles but that doesn't mean that because a theory is supported by "official" policy that it's right and all other theories are merely "anecdotal".

The advise given in the second article: "Prevent weight gain: be physically active and eat according to your energy needs." This seems so simple but it completely ignores that difference in the activity and in the makeup of what you eat makes a difference.

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Post by Ironman » Fri Apr 02, 2010 6:52 pm

Your first link is broken. Other than that it looks good.

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Post by Peter Rouse » Sat Apr 03, 2010 5:03 pm

This guy has been all over the forums pushing this one topic backed by shady science. Just ignore him all he is doing is looking for attention.

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Post by Ironman » Sun Apr 04, 2010 12:53 pm

Peter Rouse wrote:This guy has been all over the forums pushing this one topic backed by shady science. Just ignore him all he is doing is looking for attention.
Actually the critique on of Gillespie looked accurate and fair to me. My only problem with what Forbes-Ewan says is when he discounts the views of people who do not have all his credentials, and have a job like being a lawyer. That sounds like the inverse of the proof by authority fallacy. Then the 2nd part is the guilt by association fallacy. He does go on to say that that does not discredit Gillespie all together, and actually agrees with him on most things. However he was poisoning the well at the very least.

I have the same criticism of Gillespie. It's not that simple and it's not all HFCS. We should all beware of confirmation bias too.

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Post by Peter Rouse » Sun Apr 04, 2010 3:04 pm

Besides at just looking at the fact of sugar consumption what is even more important is the fact that HFCS is GMO and there are major concerns with human consumption of GMO despite the establishments attempt to cover it up.

In general sugar consumption should be greatly reduced to near zero. Personally I thing grains are far more dangerous than HFCS discounting the GMO concern which is present in both cases.

Every single person who I have had removed grains from their diet has dramatically improved their health (this has also been verified with their blood work).

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Post by Peter Rouse » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:42 am

People have short memory, remember Aspartame.

You say to trust the studies. They claimed the studies said that it was safe. They lied and falsified studies, this has been proven.

You trusted FDA when their own scientists said that it should not be approved and needed more testing. Instead political favors were called in by Donald Rumsfeld to get it approved.

http://www.wnho.net/history_of_aspartame.htm

You see similar story with HFCS. How many times does this need to happen before people realize the FDA is not there to protect the public but rather to service industry.

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Post by Peter Rouse » Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:44 am

It's funny how this guy posts this all over the forums on the internet but when called out on it he disappears. Guess that shows how much he is willing to back up his statement.

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Post by stuward » Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:04 pm

I found 17 Google references to "Hey guys, this topic came up recently on an Australian Dietitians mailing list". It's not surprising that he hasn't responded. He probably can't remember where he posted it.

Edit: Besides exrx.net, he's posted it on:
www.precisionnutrition.com
www.strengthcoach.com
forums.jpfitness.com
tnation.tmuscle.com
forum.bodybuilding.com
strengthperformance.ning.com

He was called on it on this thread.
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/membe ... p?p=304576

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Post by frogbyte » Thu Apr 08, 2010 3:07 pm

What's the point of spamming those articles all over the place?

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Post by Peter Rouse » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:44 pm

He was looking for attention.... instead he had his ass handed to him.

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Post by Rucifer » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:18 pm

Perhaps he works as a lobbyist for the high fructose corn syrup industry...maybe he's like that guy in clerks that went on a big anti-smoking tirade when in fact he was a gum salesman trying to get you to buy. LOL

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Post by Ironman » Fri Apr 09, 2010 3:38 am

Peter Rouse wrote:Besides at just looking at the fact of sugar consumption what is even more important is the fact that HFCS is GMO and there are major concerns with human consumption of GMO despite the establishments attempt to cover it up.

In general sugar consumption should be greatly reduced to near zero. Personally I thing grains are far more dangerous than HFCS discounting the GMO concern which is present in both cases.

Every single person who I have had removed grains from their diet has dramatically improved their health (this has also been verified with their blood work).

I agree on those points.

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Post by Ironman » Fri Apr 09, 2010 3:53 am

Peter Rouse wrote:People have short memory, remember Aspartame.

You say to trust the studies. They claimed the studies said that it was safe. They lied and falsified studies, this has been proven.

You trusted FDA when their own scientists said that it should not be approved and needed more testing. Instead political favors were called in by Donald Rumsfeld to get it approved.

http://www.wnho.net/history_of_aspartame.htm

You see similar story with HFCS. How many times does this need to happen before people realize the FDA is not there to protect the public but rather to service industry.
Oh give me a break. That is typical conspiracy theory bull$h17. It is a verbose, red herring laden, pile of fluff. It also use the proof by authority fallacy. It conflates different chemicals. It uses guilt by association to sucker people who believe in other "food toxin" nonsense. It uses the word "toxin", which is a dead giveaway for bollocks in this context. It tries to spin this web of intrigue. The motive of which, is also the conclusion. This the logical fallacy called "begging the question".

Some of the quotes in there don't even support the conclusion. A doctor is quoted saying something negative but it included these words "high dosage levels for prolonged periods" and the study was on rats.

It also ignores negative studies done on people, which is confirmation bias.

I could go on, but frankly I see no point.

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Post by Nevage » Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:30 am

I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but I'd rather have aspartame over sugar any day. Isn't aspartame stupidly sweet so only minimal amounts are needed to sweeten? Compared to much sugar is consumed for that (pepsi vs pepsi max) sugar has to be worse!

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