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Raising Global Consciousness

The Hidden Poison in our Food - Time for a tax on frucose

Wouldn't we all like to find a single culprit for our Obesity epidemic - especially something that was easy to change.

And wouldn't it be even better if the same solution also reduced type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and other chronic inflammatory diseases like arthritis and heart disease - and it gave people more energy and made them feel better.

It seems like the culprit has been identified if we can believe Dr Robert Lustig, a professor of Pediatric Endocrinology at UCLA San Francisco. According to him, Fructose is the cause.

In an interview with Norman Swan on Radio National's Health report yesterday (9 July 07) he went as far as saying "we're being poisoned to death, that's a very strong statement but I think we can back it up with very clear scientific evidence".

Since 1970, our consumption of fructose has gone from less than half a pound per year to 56 pounds per year in 2003 - thats an increase of more than eleven thousand percent. Now I feel safe to call that a massive jump and not feel like I have exaggerated.

So what is fructose and why is it so bad? Fructose is a fruit sugar. Normal table sugar or sucrose is 50% fructose. And why it is so bad is that is that it can only be metabolised in the liver and it is a liver toxin.

Without going into the details here, what happens in simple terms is that long term consumption of fructose sets in train a positive feedback loop that over-rides the normal negative feedback loop that controls energy balance in your body. This doesn't only cause you to overeat, but it also prevents your body from speeding up to burn off the extra calories - and because of this you not only overeat which keeps keeps the feedback cycle going, but you have low energy, feel lousy and have no inclination to do any exercise.

So basically, fructose that is added to food during the manufacturing process is behind our obesity problem.

Fructose follows the same metabolic pathway as alcohol with very similar consequences. In fact it would be fair to call fructose "alcohol without the buzz".

To quote Dr Robert Lustig again, "In fact fructose because of the way it's metabolised is actually damaging your liver the same way alcohol is. In fact it's the exact same pathway, in fact fructose is alcohol without the buzz".

Given that alcohol consumption is banned for under 18's and there is a tax on alcohol to mitigate for the increased health costs that are associated with it's consumption, it looks like we have a clear cut case for taxing fructose and possibly even banning it in children's foods.

The implications of this evidence are huge - the fact that many children are being poisoned on a daily basis by consuming fructose and no one is acting is tantamount to condoning and being complict in child abuse on a massive scale.

Now that we have the information we have to act or we stand guilty at a moral level and possibly even a criminal level.

I find it difficult to understand why the press haven't picked this one up and run with it. I can imagine the headlines - Our children being poisoned , PM knows but fails to act

I have sent emails to John Howard and Kevin Rudd and their respective Health Ministers - Tony Abbot and Nicola Roxon, and I have suggested to Norman Swan of the Health report that maybe he can get other Radio National programs to pick up the story such as Rear Vision, In the National Interest, Life Matters, Saturday Extra