A recent video by a YouTube channel called “What I’ve Learned” shows us how sugar and alcohol have an equally damaging effect on the liver. The in-depth clip breaks down the biochemistry of how sugar is processed in the body and reveals information about the liver’s relationship with that substance which you probably didn’t know about.
There have been many controversial studies and papers published by experts that argue the impact of sugar on global health is so great that it should be regulated the way alcohol is. Like alcohol, sugar is processed primarily in the liver and frequent consumption of it can lead to a lot of chronic health problems like diabetes and heart disease in the long run.
“Okay, now you wouldn’t think twice about not giving your kid a Budweiser. But you don’t think twice about giving your kid a can of coke. But they’re the same,” says Robert Lustig, one of the leading scientists who believe sugar is harmful. “Sugar is a poison, it is a chronic, dose-dependent hepato-liver toxin.”
In his video, the host explains how exactly sugar is metabolized by the body and why it causes so many health problems. He does this by beginning small and painting a clear picture of how glucose travels through each one of our cells.
Like with alcohol, only a portion of the glucose that you eat actually makes it to your liver. The rest is metabolized by all the other cells in your body. The main difference between glucose and ethanol is that the liver has to work harder on processing the ethanol because 80% of it goes through it.
The video gets into a lot of detail regarding the biology of sugar and alcohol, but the main point stands strong throughout the whole clip. Experts who argue sugar is as harmful as alcohol and cigarettes, like Robert Lustig, don’t think the substance should be banned outright, but that instead the food industry should be held accountable and given a set of strict rules on how much sugar they put in their products.
He concludes the video by reminding us just how pervasive the culture of sugar is and how early it becomes ingrained in the minds of children: “The average American child sees 30,000 TV commercials a year advertising fast food or candy. While something like kid beer sounds evil, maybe it’s not all that different from these fun, colourful sugar-packed items kids have access to wherever they go.”