Chris Kresser Comes Clean on Sugar – It is Not a Toxin!

Last September I posted 5 Issues I Had With Your Personal Paleo Code, which was my review of Chris Kresser’s book. From that review:

#2 Refined Sugar is “Toxic”

No it is not. The fact there are carbohydrate sources with better nutrient profiles does not make sugar toxic. Chris likes and recommends ice cream, but says sugar is toxic. Well check your ingredient list there pal, ice cream has sugar in it. When I became underweight, I used sugar (in ice cream) to stimulate my appetite to regain weight. I also used a mix of refined white sugar and salt to lower my stress levels to get amazing sleep. Sugar is complicated at best. It is not toxic.

I got a lot of push back in the comments, but now I have someone else that agrees with me. Chris Kresser himself.

I want to give a hat tip to Danny Roddy for alerting me to a recent post by Chris Kresser titled Is Refined Sugar Really Toxic? Be warned that Kresser has an annoying newsletter pop-up window on every page. You don’t need to read the article, because I have and took notes.


Photo by Steve Rotman

The short version is Kresser no longer is saying sugar is toxic. Maybe he read my post and wised up? :) HA! Let me go through the 7 points made in the article and comment on a few of them.

1. We tend to over consume sugar calories in liquid form, which can lead to weight gain and other health issues.

It is the calories, not the sugar.

2. The evidence that sugar reduces your immune system is weak.

3. The simple narrative that cancer feeds on sugar is false. Cancer feeds “on the glucose in your blood; not necessarily the sugar you eat”. Avoiding high blood glucose levels is the goal, not eliminating glucose.

4. There is evidence that excess sugar is harmful.

The key word in that sentence is EXCESS. Again, it is the calories not the sugar.

5. Human studies have not reproduced rat studies showing binge like addiction behavior in sugar consumption.

Like the word “toxic” the word “addiction” gets thrown around way too easily. 

6. Sugar can interfere with hormones that control appetite and satiety.

This can be a good thing! If I am under weight, have a sluggish metabolism or a hardgainer seeking more muscle, I can use this knowledge to choose sugar as a tool to increase my caloric level past satiety.

7. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is not metabolically different than sugar.

Just what I suspected.

Final Quote: Sugar is Not a Toxin!

Chris concludes his article by saying:

Sugar is neither a toxin nor a replacement for real food. Ultimately, small amounts of sugar can fit into a whole foods, nutrient-dense, healthy diet, as long as you recognize it for what it truly is: a treat.

Exactly what I have been saying since 2012.

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