How to tell when someone\’s lying like a bastard

So, we\’ve got this lecture on sugar and how it\’s evil, causing diabetes, fructose kills the liver and we\’ll all be murdered in our beds. And then we see this:

According to the historian and nutritionist Maisie Steven, Scots kids eat four times the amount of sugar they did in 1942.

At which point it doesn\’t matter what else is being said. They\’re clearly and obviously lying like bastards and we can ignore them.

Agreed, a slightly odd thing to say for I\’ve no doubt that the statement itself is actually true. But they\’re still lying like bastards.

For think back to what was happening in 1942. The menfolk of Scotland were off dying in their thousands in India and Africa, preparing to do so in France, as they battled the second most evil tyrant of the century, the womenfolk were scouring the moors for anything they could feed to their wee bairns and as to sugar for said bairns the Nazis were trying to shoot, drown or blow up anyone who had the temerity to try to bring them any sugar.

And you\’re going to try and use that time, the middle of a fucking world war and the U boat blockade, as your baseline for anything at all?

No, you\’re lying like a bastard, aren\’t you?

A 240ml glass of orange juice might contain 120 calories of sugar, or sucrose; half of that will be fructose. The fructose will all end up in the liver, which may not be able to metabolise (process) it fully, depleting vital chemicals in the organ and turning into fat. \”It\’s not about the calories,\” says Dr Lustig. \”It has nothing to do with the calories. It\’s a poison by itself.\”


Look, there are parts of the world where bananas are the staple food: like bread and potatoes to us, like rice to the slant eyes and corn to the chicanos.

And a ripe banana has four teaspoonfuls of sugar. \”That\’s natural sugar. It\’s fructose. That means it\’s from fruit,\” I was told.

So, do those parts of the world have everyone dead already from diabetes and liver failure? Hmm, what\’s that? No?

Then there\’s something wrong with the theory then, isn\’t there.

55 thoughts on “How to tell when someone\’s lying like a bastard”

  1. Before I even saw the link I knew it was the Guardian.

    Ironic that the ‘progressives’ are going after orange juice. Orwell mocked them as “fruit juice drinkers”, and now here they are, believing fruit juice is a poison.

    They are fucking insane.

  2. They probably think a good old war is what we need right now. Get rid of some of the surplus population, particularly the lower orders.

    Of course, letting them get rid of themselves on sugar wouldn’t do. That means they are consuming and that would never do for the lower orders, causes global warming among other things.

  3. What bothers me is the ease with which this rubbish is rationalised as an attack on “Big Sugar”. As if there weren’t at least two sides to each economic transaction…

  4. There seem to be features (read “propaganda puff pieces”) in ALL the papers just now about the evils of fructose.

    I imagine we’re being softened up for some regulatory onslaught.

  5. Fruit loops the lot of them.

    Mind you, I disdain the drinkers of coke and such but that’s because I find their tastes childish.

    P.S. “and such” does not include, obviously, Dandelion and Burdock.

  6. But the “ration diet” of WW2 is recognized to have been pretty healthy, so why is it ‘lying’ to refer to it ? The Scots do eat lots of sugar, and they have high rates of heart disease. Ignore the proven link at your peril.

  7. “But the “ration diet” of WW2 is recognized to have been pretty healthy”
    Tell that to the women whose teeth fell out in their thirties due to lack of dietary calcium.

  8. What’s more surprising to me is that Scots only eat four times the amount of sugar they did at the height of WW2. As opposed to twenty times, or some such.

  9. They won’t be happy until everyone is on bread and water, and even then the ultras will talk about “Big Bread’

  10. In their heart of hearts, the lefties do miss WWII. They had the power to tell people what to eat, wear, and where to work. Oh, the joys of total control, so sadly missed.

  11. It’s puritanism again, I’m afraid. The Left are all puritans at heart. As PJ O’Rourke pointed out, even “free love” among student radical lefties was a strangely joyless, perfunctory affair performed as a political act against bourgeois values rather than as for the pleasure of tingly naughty bits.

    They just naturally distrust anything pleasurable for its own sake, and long ago abandoned the temporary detour into purito-hedonism, as recorded by Mr Huey Lewis and His News in the song “Hip To Be Square”.

    This is why I’m a liberal; liberalism is basically additive. It says, “we have all this, what more can we have?” whereas progressivism/leftism is subtractive; it looks around the world at what we already have, like some Eye Of Sauron, looking for things to remove. Might be sex. Might be sugar. Salt. Twitter. Whatever.

  12. I’m going to go against the grain of the comments here, because the ‘sugar is the cause of the modern obesity epidemic’ chimes with my personal experience. I always had a sweet tooth and liked biscuits, cakes, sweets etc. And no matter how much I exercised and watched what I ate I couldn’t lose weight easily. If I killed myself at the gym 3 times a week (bearing in mind I work on a farm, so not sedentary working level of activity) I could keep my weight down. If I hadn’t watched myself and exercised constantly I would just have got heavier and heavier, as people in the West tend to do as they age. Middle aged spread and all that.

    Then due to the discovery of a digestive problem, or rather the discovery of the solution to a long term digestive problem, I gave up most carbs. All sugars and bread, though I still ate potatoes. And the weight fell off me. And this was at the same time as increasing my consumption of all the things we are told to avoid like the plague – butter, cheese, red meat with all the fat on. My weight went from 12 and a half stone to 11 and half inside six months, while I’d given up the gym too.

    And then as my digestion had improved due to the new diet I started eating a bit more sweet stuff again. The odd biscuit here and there, the odd pudding with meals out at restaurants. And slowly but surely the weight crept back on. Until I was 12 and a half stone again. A which point I said ‘Fuck this’ and cut all the sugar out again. And six months later my trousers are hanging off me, and I’m 11 and a half stone again. And I’m not going to be seduced by sweets again.

    Now the reason may be that fructose is a difficult thing for the body to metabolise, or it may be that you just can’t get as many calories from fats and meat that you can from sugars and carbs, so you can eat more of them and still lose weight, and its a purely calorific intake equation. Either way my experience is that cutting out sugar from your diet is the easiest way I’ve ever found to lose weight.

  13. Fructose does not require insulin for the metabolising process. Therefore there is no “Stop!” warning sign when you OD on fructose like you should encounter with glucose. Sweety manufacturers like fructose as a result, because they can pile it in, while claiming to reduce other sugars and that is why you can become obese even though you think you are eating healthily.

    Jim is right – it is sugar and carbs that give you the calories, fat doesn’t make you fat.

  14. Valid points, Jim, and I’m attracted to the carbs idea meself, but I can’t help wondering whether it’s just that cutting carbs cuts snacking and calorific intake.

    A while ago my fridge broke down and, on a diet of almost entirely fatty meat and oven chips I lost two stone. Mainly I presume because no fridge meant no sandwiches or snacks basically, so I just had meals from what I could store in the freezer. So, for instance today (I have a fridge again) I had two big cheese sandwiches because I was peckish, whereas in teh fridgeless days I’d have just waited for dinner and put up with being slightly ravenous. I’ve put most of a stone back on since I got the fridge again. And that’s without anything sweet except the occasional serial bar.

  15. If you google Dutch hunger winter or epigenetics or lactose tolerance you’ll find some astonishing stuff. Some of it may even be true. Even on wikipedia.

  16. @IanB: It may just be as you say, a coincidental cutting down on easy snacking, as its more difficult to snack on a roast dinner than a few biscuits, sweets or a sandwich etc. And there’s a limit to how much meat and cheese one man can eat (that being said I do get through a fair amount of it). Or it may be that fructose is the work of the devil. I don’t know. My personal theory is that human evolution is far behind the changes in our diet, and our digestive systems are designed to eat meat and plants mostly, that being what our caveman ancestors could get their hands on, with very little complex carbs and sugars – just a few fruits and berries when in season. The availability of complex carbs from grains only arrives with farming in the Middle East about 12000 years go, which is nothing in evolutionary terms. And obviously sugars in concentrated forms considerably less time than that. So I figure if we stick to what our bodies were ‘designed’ to cope with, we won’t go far wrong. (He said as a cereal farmer with fields of wheat all ready for harvest…..)

  17. Used to have a girlfriend who loved to lecture about the evils of this food, that drink, that chemical and whatever. Was very much in favour of ‘my body my choice’ when it came to abortion yet could not see the similarity when it came to other people’s bodies and their choices.

    I like sugar. Don’t overdo it, probably have around 40 sweets a year or less in total over the course of the year. I like soft drinks, couple of sugars in my hot drinks, orange juice etc. May not live to be 200, I will however have enjoyed the food and drink in my life. If I listened to the ‘experts’ about food and drink then I’d miss out on a lot of enjoyment in life.

  18. “We got so much food in America we’re allergic to food. Allergic to food! Hungry people ain’t allergic to shit. You think anyone in Rwanda’s got a fucking lactose intolerance?!”

    Chris Rock has it.

    Hungry people ain’t allergic to shit.

  19. But the “ration diet” of WW2 is recognized to have been pretty healthy, so why is it ‘lying’ to refer to it ?

    By whom, exactly?

    If the ‘ration diet’ is so healthy, why am I several inches taller than my relatives who grew up on it? Why are my nephews taller still?

  20. Jim, you’re on the Atkins diet. And yes eating just meat and fat allows you to lose weight because it stops you feeling hungry for longer than when eating carbs.

  21. I’m confused by this bit:

    A 240ml glass of orange juice might contain 120 calories of sugar, or sucrose; half of that will be fructose.

    Is he saying that half of the sucrose is fructose? If he is, then he’s a bigger idiot than at first appears. Fructose is not a sub-set of sucrose, it’s different stuff altogether. Yes, they’re both sugars, but so what? It’s like saying that he drank a pint of beer, half of which was cider.

  22. If anyone wants to lose weight, try this:

    It’s free and based on actual science (not nutritional science or exercise science or astrology science).

    There’s no way around “calories in – calories out = body mass added”, no matter what food fad you’re looking at.

  23. Moderation in everything and ignore the wibblers, whether medico wibblers with their rulebooks or journo-wibblers with diet fad books to promote.

  24. Lustig has been banging on about this for years and his theories have been thoroughly debunked.
    There is also a confusion between pure fructose and HFCS. There is little difference between the fructose content of HFCS and table sugar (sucrose) but the claim is that in HFCS the fructose is unbound and causes lipogenesis. But, as the linked article points out, humans ain’t mice and there is no evidence to support the lipogenesis claims. Remember how they warned us against eating more than two eggs a week because of cholesterol? They quietly removed that recommendation, but it took them 35 years to do it!

  25. @SBML: no, its not the Atkins because I eat potatoes. And potatoes are starch which the body metabolises to pure glucose, no fructose involved. Which is why I tend to think that fructose is the problem – I eat potatoes without getting fat, but if I each sugary foods I get fat. Logic to me dictates its the fructose that is the problem, as potatoes contain just glucose, and sugar contains glucose AND fructose.

    @Ian Bennett: no you’re the idiot. Sucrose (table sugar) consists of two loosely joined molecules, one of glucose, one of fructose. The first thing the digestive system does is split that bond, and then digests the two differing sugar molecules as if they had been ingested separately. So it is actually correct to say that sugar (sucrose) is half fructose, because as far as our bodies are concerned, it is.

  26. “Fructose is not a sub-set of sucrose, it’s different stuff altogether.” Ian Bennet

    Sorry Ian, but fructose IS a component of sucrose. It’s 50% in fact. Sucrose consists of fructose and glucose units bound by an acetal oxygen bridge.

  27. @Mike Power: which is why I think the HFCS demonisation is a red herring. All sugar is 50% fructose, effectively. And so much processed food has sugar (either sucrose or HFCS) added these days, our diets are stuffed with it without realising it. And having watched Lustig’s lecture I think its true to say that he accepts that eating fruit (which is high in fructose naturally) is not the problem, its the added sugars to our foods (and drinks) that are causing the problem. If people ate food cooked from natural ingredients rather than out of a packet, it probably wouldn’t be an issue. But they do, so it is.

  28. Readers of this thread will be pleased to know that I will shortly be serialising the “Switch Your Fridge Off Diet” in the Daily Mail’s “Celebrities Are Thinner And More Attractive Than You” section.

  29. Yes, it’s too early in the morning, isn’t it? Also, too long since A-levels.
    Unqualified apologies to all concerned.

  30. Logic to me dictates its the fructose that is the problem, as potatoes contain just glucose, and sugar contains glucose AND fructose. Jim

    Or it could just be that you have to eat a lot more spuds than sugar to get the same calorie intake. A bag of sugar has 4000Kcals. Equivalent weight in spuds is about 750.

  31. @Jim If Lustig stuck to just saying too much sugar is not good for us and helps make us fat I wouldn’t mind. But then he’d just be stating the obvious and there’s no celebrity status in that. He singles out fructose, particularly the fructose in HFCS as a major causal factor in metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease and fatty liver. And the evidence is against him. Unfortunately his ideas have been propagated mostly through YouTube (sic) and gormless, so called, health journalists, who probably got their information from YouTube as well. Nuff said.

  32. One more thing. Often overlooked in these issues is the problem of overdiagnosis. Diabetes is just one condition which is being overdiagnosed – asthma, prostate cancer and hypertension are some of the others – as is now being widely acknowledged in the medical community, particularly by those who don’t make money from inflating the numbers of “sick” people.

  33. Asthma I’ll concede, but hypertension? That’s *under*diagnosed if anything. High blood pressure is causally linked to early death.

  34. Just about anything with a “quantitative” diagnosis (“you have this disease if variable X is greater than Y”) is pretty much certain to be overdiagnosed.

  35. Jim, its still Atkins as it doesn’t say not to eat any carbs, just cut back which you are doing.

  36. there is only one diet pretty much proven to work and it is the “less cake more running” diet.*

    And yes, I know that there are all kinds of people who have made a fortune selling books that tell you to cut out this or match that with the other, but when you come down to it, the ones that actually work seem to either deliberately or co-incidentally cut down your calorie intake.**

    If people want to lose weight, reduce your calorie intake by 25% and run ten miles a week. Bet it works.

    *for men this can be rendered as ‘Fewer pies, more running.”

    ** my wife went on some cabbage soup diet, which worked, and seemed to think that cabbages had some magic ingredient. I did a bit of maths and worked out it was probably because if you only eat cabbage soup for two of your three daily meals it is almost physically impossible to eat as many calories as you normally would. She still doesn’t believe me, and thinks there is something magical about brassicas.

  37. DIabetes is pretty hard to overdiagnose – the only question is in people with mild cases, treatable by diet+exercise, is there really anything actually wrong with them or are they just the long tail of the distribution.

    Hypertension is regularly overdiagnosed. BP is supposed to be measured after 5 minutes rest, supine. That’s where the textbook figures come from. Not “walk down the corridor, sit down and have your result within 15 seconds”.

  38. let us not forget also that puritans just want to stop you having anything nice, because they think nice things are bad for you.

    Sugar is nice, ergo it must be bad. If you could prove that there was no causal link between this and diabetes, then they would just start banging on about how cultivative sugar prevented poor farmers from growing the crops they really needed and it was all the selfish west keeping them poor. Witness this splendid effort from the Grauniad , which one might think was satire if it weren’t actually there on the website.

  39. The basic question about weight though is this; is it possible for everyone to maintain a “not fat” body weight without actively dieting? It’s one thing to say, eat less and you’ll lose weight. It’s another to say that everyone *ought* to be naturally thin.

    So I cannot help but feel that there is a strong genetic component. Some people can sate their hunger and remain thin. Others will get fat if they sate their hunger, and are thus facing a lifelong choice of either being fat and not hungry or thin and hungry. And, being hungry being rather miserable, it’s natural for such persons to choose fat and not hungry.

    Observing the gangs of ferals around here in Chavvietown, it has long seemed to me that- and I am out on a limb here- there seem to be two different body plans in evidence and not much in between. One is plump, the other is “wiry” (think of those lads with veins sticking out of their arms who walk like they’ve shit themselves). I am skeptical that these two cohorts of teens have radically different diets; they’re all eating the deprecated proletarian diet, I’m sure.

  40. Ian B, the initial phase of the diet is pretty much carb free. The long term phase allows carbs but at reduced levels.

  41. Some people can sate their hunger and remain thin…

    I suppose that a lot of it comes down to basic biology. Food is fuel. Since for the vast majoity of history, the issue was getting enough, all animals are presumably hardwired to prefer the greatest efficiency when it comes to intake; so high calorie, high fat, high sugar things make us happy on some level. However, the invention of the motor car, the television, the remote control, and the internet means that for the last few decades it has become easier to get calories than ‘spend’ them. Give it a couple of million years and evolution might select out the preference for high-calorie food and we might get our serotonin / dopamine hits from celery.

    I am skeptical that these two cohorts of teens have radically different diets

    agreed. But I do suspect that one set eats a lot less than the other. I’m not talking about fasting, by and large it’s your habits, not your extravagances, that make the difference. A biscuit every day will do far more damage to your waistline than a doner kebab once a month.

  42. Sam-

    yes, but that might be because one group is “genetically less hungry” than the other group. That is, their body has a different proportion of fat storage that it’s trying to attain.

  43. “Look, there are parts of the world where bananas are the staple food…And a ripe banana has four teaspoonfuls of sugar. “That’s natural sugar. It’s fructose. That means it’s from fruit,” I was told. So, do those parts of the world have everyone dead already from diabetes and liver failure? Hmm, what’s that? No? Then there’s something wrong with the theory then, isn’t there.”


    Sorry, TW, but you’re confusing different cultivars. “Dessert” bananas do indeed contain a high level of fructose – 4.85% by weight. Plantains, however, which are indeed a staple food in many parts of the world, and are also true bananas, contain only 0.66% of fructose by weight.

  44. “The 64000 dollar question: what about booze?”

    Alas there I cannot help you, because I am one of those awful people who don’t drink a drop……..

  45. Hypertension is regularly overdiagnosed. BP is supposed to be measured after 5 minutes rest, supine. That’s where the textbook figures come from. Not “walk down the corridor, sit down and have your result within 15 seconds”.

    It’s still a good indicator though. The other part of the test is “over a sustained period of time”, so diagnosis shouldn’t be based on a single measurement. My blood pressure has always been high but I’ve been able to avoid treatment due to avoiding the doctor until after that time period expired. But then I got an ECG for an unrelated reason and found I had ventricular hypertrophy due to high blood pressure. Whoops.

  46. Offshore Observer

    Once again the only advice I ever follow is this: “eat food, not too much, mostly plants”. Ultimately it is calories in vs calories out which makes the difference, balance your macronutrients so 40% protein, 40% carbs, 20% fat, get sweaty 3-4 times a week. Job done, healthy lifestyle.

    I follow this rough guide, eat sugary stuff, drink a few beers and a bottle of wine a week, have a cigar now and then.

    It aint glamourous but it works. The “no fructose” diet is simply the latest in a long line of bullshit designed to sell diet books, Atkins, Dukan, etc etc. Living a healthy life isn’t hard and if you choose not to do it good for you, more health care for me in my old age as you will be dead from a heart attack, type 2 diabetes, cancer etc. So exercise your right to free choise, make more room for me, and tell the nannies to FUCK RIGHT OFF!

  47. @OO, but you can see the Mail headline.

    House prices crash as liberal says “eat what you wont*. But your pension might be safer”.

    *: No extra charge for the spell-checker-proof illiteracy masquerading as typo.

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