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Think Out Loud

Toxic Sugar?

Pete Springer/OPB

One of my first childhood memories is getting caught eating brown sugar straight from the clear plastic container in our kitchen closet. Later mom put us all on a strict dietary regime that included a sugar prohibition.  Of course, that just made me covet it and eat as much as I could whenever mom and dad weren’t around. Forbidden fruit is always the most enticing — especially when it’s candy-coated. I don’t eat brown sugar straight anymore, but I do consume a fair amount, whether it’s in my coffee, my soda, my morning muffin or my favorite chocolate ice cream. But recently I saw two things that gave me sugar pause.

One was the New York Times Magazine article asking if sugar was toxic — the other a billboard on my way to work that told me that every time I drank a soda, it was like eating 16 packets of sugar! The billboard is part of a Multnomah County health push focused on sugar and obesity — in part because this generation of kids is not expected to live as long as their parents.

Are you aware of how much sugar you eat? Do you struggle with controlling how much sugar you or your kids eat?  Do you suffer from diabetes, heart disease or obesity? What do you want to know about sugar?


  • Gary Taubes: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation independent investigator in health policy research at the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health and author of Why We Get Fat
  • David Vanadia: author of Stop Being Sweet blog, has been “sugar abstinent” since 2005.

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