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 â??Sweet Poison â?? Why Sugar is Making Us Fatâ?? by David Gillespie and from what I can gather (I havenâ??t read it) talks about the evils of Fructose â?? 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/stories/2009/2621415.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 itâ??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 doesnâ??t believe in exercise) heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Also like most conspiracies, he links them in with other conspiracies â?? 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 â?? 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 â?? Chris Forbes-Ewan looks at ALL of the evidence, no cherry picking here (pun intended!). Here is Chrisâ?? response on the same radio program a few months later, called â??Is Fructose The Root of All Evil?â?? (you can also listen/download or see a transcript at http://www.abc.net.au/rn/ockhamsrazor/stories/2010/2770728.htm).
Interestingly, Chris doesnâ??t discount everything that Mr Gillespie says, but says that it isnâ??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)! Iâ??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 isnâ??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) shouldnâ??t get one source (backed with (some) research) and then think that they are an expert â?? 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.
Exercise Physiologist, Sports Scientist and Sports Dietitian.