The problem with this hypothesis

Too much fizzy pop or sweetened fruit juice alters the body’s metabolism, so that the muscles use sugar for energy, instead of burning fat, a study found.

The effect is long-term, making the pounds harder to shift and raising blood sugar levels, which increases the risk of conditions such as type 2 diabetes, it was claimed.

Is that the same would be true of any bolus of sugar that passed through the system. Like, say, our Neolithic forefathers feasting on the various fruits as they come into season.

Thus I\’d put it down as bollocks personally.

16 comments on “The problem with this hypothesis

  1. I’m no biologist but surely our Neolithic forefathers didn’t have masses of fresh ripe sweet fruit 365 days a year ?

    Isn’t that the point of the report that drinking a large glass of supermarket sweetened orange juice every morning isn’t what our Neolithic metabolisms have evolved to deal with.

    Tim adds: No, their claim is that as little as one month of sweet fizzy drinks permanently changes metabolism.

  2. “our Neolithic forefathers feasting on the various fruits as they come into season.”

    In the Neolothic, fruits were neither as sweet (plant breeding), nor as easily available as today (trade), and of course the bolus of sugar would have been in the context of the hard labour of the subsistence agriculturalist.

  3. Brain fart. Fructose vs sucrose.

    Tim adds: Yes, but the very same sugar fanatics are insisting that it is the fructose in HFCS which is the problem.

  4. We are only what, 10,000 years, from our forefather living off the land, eating what they could hunt and gather. Our digestive systems are what evolved to eat that diet, meat, veg and a small amount of sugars when fruits were in season. No complex carbs (no farming, so no grains), not much sugars for most of the time, main diet meat and plants.

    10000 years does not give us time to have evolved sufficiently to deal with the bounty that farming has provided us with, let alone the year round supply of everything that modern trade can supply. Is it any wonder that we have problems with our diets and digestions?

  5. The paper‘s talking about the effects of hyperglycaemia in only lightly active subjects. I doubt that the Neolithic was like that.

    The hypothesis itself seems plausible enough. Endurance athletes train to enhance their fat-burning metabolism – one method is to go for a long run before breakfast. If that works, why shouldn’t consuming sugar and not exercising have the opposite effect?

  6. Jim
    You can breed fruit flies to live twice as long as normal in only 10 generations.
    Likewise breeding dogs for specific tasks.
    So 10,000 years is plenty long enough to change metabolic rates and styles. As we see with large variation in rates of lactose tolerance, susceptibility to type 2 diabetes, etc in different populations.

  7. PaulB: “The paper‘s talking about the effects of hyperglycaemia in only lightly active subjects. I doubt that the Neolithic was like that.”

    From wikipedia:

    “Marshall Sahlins presented a paper entitled, “Notes on the Original Affluent Society”… [a]ccording to Sahlins, ethnographic data indicated that hunter-gatherers worked far fewer hours and enjoyed more leisure than typical members of industrial society, and they still ate well.”

  8. RA: yes, but according to the research behind it the !Kung were still doing over 40 hours work a week. That would mostly be physical labour, and hence implies that they were much more than “lightly active”.

  9. An experiment with only 11 volunteers? Hmm.
    The researchers say it’s hard to find kids these days who haven’t already had a diet full of fizzy drinks.
    Worth mentioning that it’s also hard to find kids these days who’ll submit to a muscle biopsy, which is very painful.

  10. Wild fruits tend to have much lower sugar levels than domesticated varieties that have been bred for higher sugar content.

    The pre-agriculture diet was much lower in fruit and veg as well. Hunting down a deer was a lot less work than gathering the same quantity of food and the fruiting season is pretty limited without domesticated varieties and heated green houses.

    Some neolithic sites show meat diets being well over 90%. So high that the entire animal had to be eaten to get all the required nutrients, even down to smashing up the bones and boiling them to extract bone marrow.

  11. PaulB,
    The !Kung are a marginalised people living in the desert! Of course they have to work longer hours than hunter gatherers living in more hospitable areas. I’m amazed they only have to work a modern industrial 40 hour week, a lot less than a subsistence farmer.

  12. It is health scare horseshit being peddled to position the state to “do something” about peoples diet. I will eat what I choose and suffer whatever consequences there may be. None of us is getting out alive.

    Ps–Don’t bother replying with any bollocks about the cost to the NHS. My family has so far paid in between us 100 years of tax thieving and “contributions” for nothing so far so they can take it out of that.

  13. Speaking personally, the only way I’ve ever been able to lose weight on (6ft 1in and 17 stone) is a version of the Atkins which sees me effectively eating loads of broccoli and chicken. And cheese, steak, bacon, coffee with cream etc.

    In the early days, everything basically except bread, spuds, pasta, rice, fruit (in the early stages), sweets, beer.

    Basically, no sugar.

    Luckily I’ve never had a sweet tooth (though I do have a beer one) and used to play rugby to a high standard; but once I jacked that in the weight piled on.

    Not sure what that adds – just wanted to mention it for the assistance of any other fat bastards who’d like to get back down to 13 stone.

  14. All dietary studies are bollocks.

    When the five-a-day was started as a pure marketing gimmick by some veg growers and a US cancer charity then you know that anything to do with diets are all fads, marketing, fake science, and shroud waving.

    Basically you don’t need to be told how to eat or what to eat. Just eat what you like when you are hungry.

    Just the same as the 2l/day bollocks. Pure marketing bollocks. You get nearly all that in the food you eat so you don’t need to go around carrying expensive water bottles around with you. I lived in Iran for a long period and never ever had to drink much water.

  15. Oh, and sugar doesn’t make kids hyper.

    Give kids lots of sweets but in a boring environment and when the parent’s pick them they’ll think the kids were given boring food. But give them veg and other boring food but lots of games and a real party atmosphere and the kids will be hyper and excited and the parents will think their kids have over indulged in sugary sweets. Proven by the very scientific study of a TV programme many years ago.

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