April 27th, 2012
08:00 PM ET
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This weekend on "Sanjay Gupta MD," Dr. Gupta takes a critical look at sugar and the impact it has on our bodies. Don't miss the in-depth investigation Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET, and Sunday at 7:30 a.m. ET on CNN.

Pushing her meal cart into the hospital room, a research assistant hands out tall glasses of reddish-pink liquid, along with a gentle warning: "Remember, you guys have to finish all your Kool-Aid."

One by one, young volunteers chug down their drinks, each carefully calibrated to contain a mix of water, flavoring and a precisely calibrated solution of high fructose corn syrup: 55% fructose, 45% glucose.

The participants are part of an ongoing study run by Kimber Stanhope, a nutritional biologist at the University of California, Davis. Volunteers agree to spend several weeks as lab rats: their food carefully measured, their bodies subjected to a steady dose of scans and blood tests. At first, each volunteer receives meals with no added sugars. But then, the sweetened drinks start showing up.

Read - Soft drinks: Public enemy No.1 in obesity fight? and How I kicked my Coke habit

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Filed under: Childhood Obesity • Diabetes • Health News • Sanjay Gupta

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  1. China Hood

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    January 31, 2013 at 5:15 am |
  2. China Hood

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    January 31, 2013 at 5:15 am |
  3. Lilybeth

    I sometimes marvel that any of us can think for ourselves anymore. Good grief – ANYTHING eaten in large quantities is going to be bad for you. Practice moderation and you'll be fine. I'm sick of the media trying to vilify everything that passes our lips First it was fat, then it was carbs and now they get specific with sugar. There is nothing wrong with sugar – eaten they way it should be – as a small portion of your diet rather than drinking it by the cups in soda or having it at every meal.

    May 9, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  4. DrDoolittle

    I learned in my freshman toxicology class that "...the dose makes the poison."

    May 8, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  5. Judith Wurtman

    Anybody would have a disastrous response to being force fed large quantities of any nutrient, including water. To extroplate from this study and claim that sugar is toxic is similar to saying that water is toxic is people are forced to drink pathological quantities. Since all carbohydrate is broken down to glucose as the essential source of energy in our body and without it, the body goes into ketosis, what does Gupta suggest as an alternative? Eating lard? Of course other carbohydrates such as grains or rice are much more nutritious than sugar but if I were ship wrecked and had nothing to eat but sugar to keep me alive, I would eat it..

    May 1, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  6. anthony corallo

    Dr Gupta,
    Your report on sugar was very important but told half the story.
    It is COFFEE drinking that encourages something sweet in the form of cookee, donuts, or on a teaspoon.
    If you do a correlation study on coffee consumption and obesity/disease, it validates the obvious fact. As coffee consumption rises so does the medical/surgical problems associated with SUGAR.
    Something bitter begs for something sweet.
    Now, about Starbucks, the market, economy, etc!
    Tony Corallo

    April 30, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Tim Little

      Stevia...the real stuff. great in coffee and helped me kick the sugar habit.

      May 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm |

    this is a staple in my kitchen that seldom finds it's way into my dishes

    April 30, 2012 at 5:40 am |
    • Good Night

      Then why is it a "staple in your kitchen"?

      April 30, 2012 at 7:52 am |
  8. j madore

    If sugar is sugar is sugar, should we also cut back on the amount of fruit in our diet? Bananas, pineapple, berries...wouldn't they increase blood sugar as much as an oatmeal cookie? I am also confused when Dr. Gupta mentioned limiting "added sugar." I understand sugar in sodas is added sugar but bread was one of the top ten foods with sugar in the American diet. Is the sugar in bread, ketchup, crackers, etc... included in the category "added sugar" or just limiting to 100-150 calories of table sugar?

    April 29, 2012 at 9:21 am |
  9. René S

    As a full-blown sugar addict, this program only confirmed what I've suspected for years. Now, all we need is a fix for the addiction, which should be as "easy" as, say, finding a fix for alcohol addiction, tobacco addiction and drug addiction. I guess we sugar addicts will just have to stand in line. Seriously, even the thought of going even one day without sugar puts me in a panic. Thank you Dr. Gupta, for helping to bring this sweet little secret to light. I'm looking forward to hearing your report on how to beat it.

    April 29, 2012 at 8:15 am |
  10. Mom

    "Sugar: The Bitter Truth" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM
    Also read: "Sugar Blues" by William F. Duffy

    April 28, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
  11. M. Brittain

    It's called "Sugar The Bitter Truth" YouTube link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM&ob=av3e

    He isn't selling anything so watch it with an open mind. It goes through the hard science of how your body metaolizes sugar. The real enemy is the Fructose. In nature Fructose comes with a large does of fiber. Humans do our best to elminate that fiber. Our low fat diets end up putting our bodies into a fat creating mode when we consume all the extra refined sugars. HFCS is just part of the cycle. It's the main villian just because it's a cheap sweetner to make the low fat crap taste better.

    Each your food closer to the way it came from nature. Eat the fruit, not the juice. Stop getting so much food from boxes and bags. When you go to the grocery store stick to the outer walls. Simple, liveable, changes to my diet have helped me slowly lose nearly 40 LBS in 14 months. With almost no change in daily activities. Good luck to all who try the same.

    April 28, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  12. Stephan Laurent

    This is fascinating. We may have chased the wrong culprit (fat) for decades, and ignored the real change that has occurred nutritionally in the last 100 years: the rise of sugar as an addictive drug that may be the cause for cardio-vascular disease and cancer. This is a must-see analysis, and a topic to be re-visited and investigated further.
    Apparently, Dr. Lustig's lecture is available on YouTube. If anyone finds it, please pass it on. This may be a major breakthrough in how we approach nutritional well-being.

    April 28, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  13. Margaret Gardner

    The sugar co-op is beginning to sound like the tobacco company of the 60's. We are dying in the thousands from diabeties brought on by sugar and white flour. My children did not go through the terrible 2's because I restricted their sugar consumtion. I agree with this report and feel the sugar companies are in denial just like the tobacco companies who tried to convinve us that cigarettes did not cause lung cancer. How many people have to die for this to be exposed for its real truth?

    April 28, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • harleyrider1978

      7 October, the COT meeting on 26 October and the COC meeting on 18
      November 2004.


      "5. The Committees commented that tobacco smoke was a highly complex chemical mixture and that the causative agents for smoke induced diseases (such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, effects on reproduction and on offspring) was unknown. The mechanisms by which tobacco induced adverse effects were not established. The best information related to tobacco smoke – induced lung cancer, but even in this instance a detailed mechanism was not available. The Committees therefore agreed that on the basis of current knowledge it would be very difficult to identify a toxicological testing strategy or a biomonitoring approach for use in volunteer studies with smokers where the end-points determined or biomarkers measured were predictive of the overall burden of tobacco-induced adverse disease."

      In other words ... our first hand smoke theory is so lame we can't even design a bogus lab experiment to prove it. In fact ... we don't even know how tobacco does all of the magical things we claim it does.

      The greatest threat to the second hand theory is the weakness of the first hand theory.

      April 30, 2012 at 5:48 am |
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