Dr. Robert Lustig on Fructose: “Alcohol without the buzz”

Here’s another for those of you with some time on your hands over this holiday season. Once again, I’ve known about this amazing video for some time but just finally got around to watching it yesterday.

Sugar: The Bitter Truth

In this video Dr. Robert Lustig takes you on an amazing educational journey about sugar and specifically, the vast difference between the two major types in your diet: fructose and glucose (regular table sugar is 50/50). Of the two, glucose probably isn’t that bad when consumed as a starch, whereas fructose is poison, out and out, and it’s every bit as poison in excessive quantities as is alcohol. It’s metabolized exactly the same way, and it’s what’s giving even children fatty liver disease, a precursor to cirrhosis.

Dr. Lustig raises one interesting aspect about obesity being no more complicated than a lack of activity combined with excessive caloric intake. If that’s true he asks, then how it is that he sees so many obese 6-month old infants in his practice? Obese infants; and we’re not just talking baby fat. Maybe here’s a clue?

Isomil a baby milkshake
Isomil: “a baby milkshake”

What utter junk-crap-poison to be giving to an infant. You know what girls? If you don’t like breastfeeding then you should not have kids. It’s that simple. Do it right, or not at all. You don’t even have to Google for the composition of human breast milk to know that of the above, only the coconut oil is a wholesome ingredient. The rest is pure garbage that I wouldn’t feed to a mean dog. By the way, just to keep things honest, corn syrup solids are not anything like HFCS. It’s essentially dehydrated regular corn syrup and is almost all dextrose (glucose). As such, it would be far and away one of the better sweeteners to use in cooking, if you must, and far better than even table sugar that’s 50% fructose. But you ought never be giving it to infants and children and especially not as a replacement for, uh…actual FOOD!

Alright. I’ll stop stealing Dr. Lustig’s thunder, now. Do watch.

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  1. emily on December 27, 2009 at 19:39

    so sad that people feed this to infants. i totally agree with your advice to breastfeed if you are going to go through all the trouble to have a baby.

  2. Kurt G Harris MD on December 27, 2009 at 15:53

    You keep beating me to the punch, Richard!

    This is my favorite nutrition video, period. I first saw it in October and keep meaning to blog about it.

    Nice work.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 27, 2009 at 16:10

      Yea, well lots of other blogged it too. It’s good to keep bringing it to the forefront.

    • Grok on December 30, 2009 at 16:10

      He has a knack for that Kurt. We are slackers. LOL

  3. Alex on December 27, 2009 at 16:25

    I emailed Dr. Lustig and asked him whether the fiber as built-in antidote to the fructose is in effect, regardless of how much fruit is consumed. I asked because there are people following Dr. Graham’s 80-10-10 diet that is 80% carbs, most of it from sweet fruit. He said that as long as it’s the fruit’s own fiber (and not, say, fruit juice mixed with a fiber supplement) the fruit’s fructose is not a problem. I dunno… knowing how large quantities of sweet fruit can have unpleasant effects on my blood sugar and metabolism, I’m still not convinced that a fruitarian diet is a good idea.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 27, 2009 at 16:48

      Yea, I was gonna write a bit about his fiber obsession but I just left it alone. Ultimately,paleos doing things right don’t gorge on fruit anyway.

      Not a problem for me and I suspect, most.

  4. Ed on December 27, 2009 at 18:01

    RE: Isomil label–at least it’s kosher!


  5. Beth on December 28, 2009 at 10:44

    BTW, I have a summary of this video up for those who are interested. See

  6. Pam Maltzman on December 27, 2009 at 22:33

    Some women can’t breastfeed for whatever reason. I am a twin, my mother was small on top, and she was afraid she’d never have enough milk for two of us. So we got the bottle.

    OTOH, if a woman doesn’t want to breastfeed but she’s still nutritionally aware, that’s what breast pumps are for. Used to work for a group of attorneys, one of whom was a new mom. She would pump her milk a couple of times a day, freeze it, and take it home to the baby. And yes, her husband was a stay-at-home dad who bottle fed their baby breast milk.

    I remember that when Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw’s humongous book “Life Extension” came out, they were touting fructose as a good replacement for regular sucrose. Interesting that they would be proved wrong on such an important point.

    BTW, I have a friend who is a type I diabetic who still eats grains and fruits (esp. fruit juice). It’s my guess that he has large swings in his blood sugar. I have offered to send him my copies of Dr. Bernstein’s books on diabetes.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 28, 2009 at 07:08

      I agree that a breast pump is a viable option. In whatever way, let’s get the kids on Paleo (meaning: human breast milk). The pump may even be a better tradeoff given the modern world demands such as work and so forth.

      • Pam Maltzman on December 28, 2009 at 16:03

        After reading about nutritional differences between breast milk and formula, I *wish* we had been breastfed, because I am dealing with health and nutritional issues now which might have been less severe otherwise.

    • marlene on February 17, 2010 at 10:53

      You are really off on your comment about women and breastfeeding. Probably not many people are more pro- breastfeeding than I am. I nursed three kids, two of them preemies, one who was very sick and in hospital for four months, and was extremely premature (thanks to the support of LaLecheLeague and my husband). I was a breastfeeding counsellor through LaLecheLeague for several years. Just so you know I know what I am talking about. Someone like yourself who never has and never will breastfeed should just respect the agony that many women go through to try and breastfeed in our non-friendly to breastfeeding culture. Everyone knows breast is best, not everyone gets the kind of support I had to accomplish the nearly impossible. Moms who make their best attempt and can’t manage it due to external factors are just as good moms as anyone else. Period. Motherhood is not a contest and no one should judge another based on whether they breastfeed or not.

  7. Janice H on December 28, 2009 at 04:16

    You couldn’t have posted this at a better time. I am on this blog all the time. Last year my DH and I started eating only real foods. We didn’t worry about fat and we felt great, lost the puffiness and each lost over 20 pounds. But then we started eating this crap again and well I guess I don’t need to tell you where we’re at.
    But I watched this last night and the other video you posted and can’t stop thinking about it. What are we doing eating this garbage. My cats eat better than us. So that’s it. I don’t know who I’m angrier at the people that allow this crap in our food our us for eating it.
    Thank you so much for this blog and for posting great info like this. It’s stuff honestly that I know but I needed a kick in the ass to get back on track.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 28, 2009 at 07:10

      Well Janice, today is the first day of the rest of your life, as they say. Don’t beat yourself up. Just do what you know to do.

      • Janice H on December 30, 2009 at 03:59

        Well the great thing is you start to see and feel results right away. I’ve been back on track since Sunday and already my pants are loosening up, my bloating has gone way down and I feel so much better. Plus as everyone is always saying on here I’m not starving. I think the thing that trips me up is lunches. If I have leftovers from dinner then I’m good but if not I struggle with what to eat. I really am not a huge salad lover. Maybe I just always need to make extras at dinner as the choices in the cafeteria at work are really limited.
        Since I don’t have a huge support system for eating this way this blog is my lifeline to this way lifestyle. I know my friends think I’m starving myself which is so funny as I am eating as much as I want of real foods. (except I do limit fruit but it’s not like I’m craving apples). You do a great service here Richard!

      • Richard Nikoley on December 30, 2009 at 10:12


        Yes, I think that since people usually do their bestest in good food and good prep for dinner that making enough for lunch the next day is absolutely the best way to help one keep on track. Plus, you might even go extra steps for really good dinners so you’ll actually look forward to the leftovers. Synergy.

        Keep in mind that a lot of the initial goodness is water loss from glycogen depletion, so don’t be discouraged if things slow down.

        And thanks for the nice comments.

      • Grok on December 30, 2009 at 16:15


        Your taste buds may change when it comes to salads. You couldn’t have force fed me salad a few years ago, now huge salads are like my long lost best friends!

        Check some of these babies out!

  8. William R Millan on December 28, 2009 at 09:23

    I think this “fiber cancels the fruit sugar” argument is wrong. To me, ‘sugar is sugar.” Fruit today is raised to contain as high a sugar content as possible and we eat it year round. I don’t eat any sugar, wheat or corn. Period.

  9. Grok on December 28, 2009 at 13:39

    Richard, that coconut oil is probably highly processed also, so even it’s no good! Most the time when I see coconut oil listed on a label it’s partially hydrogenated.

    Sad that the public is told this shit is good for their babies. Makes me want to cry! The kid never had a chance.

    “If you don’t like breastfeeding then you should not have kids. It’s that simple.” – Right on!

    You can buy new boobs! They’ll be cheaper than the medical bills, dental bills & medications for your fat ill-behaving child with ADHD and a messed up grill.

    • AP on December 30, 2009 at 12:31

      Do you even know what breastfeeding entails! Most soon to be mothers have all intentions of breastfeeding and then when the baby is born they find out they can’t for one reason or another. Just because you can’t breastfeed doesn’t mean you can’t be a good mother and raise a healthy child! It has nothing to do with new boobs…for some mothers the choice not to breastfeed means being there to see their child grow up. Being healthy is one thing but some people are going to extremes! Sugar in fruit is NATURAL just like breastmilk people. Anyone who eats junk food 24/7 is going to be unhealthy…it’s called common sense. You just need to learn about moderation. BTW my child is not a fat ill behaved ADHD child with a messed up grill. We get compliments every time we go out on how well behaved and plesant he is.

      • Grok on December 30, 2009 at 16:48

        Umm yeah… actually I do. Since this reply is a waste of my time, so I won’t go into a lot of my background here.

        And boobs do play a part. It’s not just the woman. Many guys do not want their partner to breastfeed.

        “Most soon to be mothers have all intentions of breastfeeding and then when the baby is born they find out they can’t for one reason or another. Just because you can’t breastfeed doesn’t mean you can’t be a good mother and raise a healthy child!”

        Well if they can’t, that’s a whole other story…. It has nothing to do with being a good mother. Three of my siblings were formula babies and they are healthy.

        a.) Are you trying to suggest in some way that the shit above is ok to feed to babies?

        b.) Did you read the list of ingredients?

        c.) Why can’t they put decent stuff in these formulas for the mothers who “have to” feed their babies this way due to “one reason or another.”

  10. I’m a secret lemonade drinker… « Nigee's Diet & Nutrition Blog on December 30, 2009 at 10:17

    […] Modern baby formulas are crammed with sugar. […]

  11. Richard Nikoley on December 30, 2009 at 13:45

    “Sugar in fruit is NATURAL just like breastmilk people.”

    Arsenic is “natural,” so any argument on that basis alone loses.

    But it’s a false comparison anyway. Human infants are designed to SOLEY east human breast milk. If you’re not providing it, you are MALnouishing them, and I don’t give a damn what you think, prefer, or have to say. It is MALnourishment, by DEFINITION, as that is the ONLY thing they are supposed to eat in the earliest stages of their lives.

    So, if you didn’t breast feed or pump and feed them breast milk or get a wet nurse to provide, you MALnourshed your kid and that’s indisputable. Deny that fact, and you are worthy of complete dismissal in any continued discussion. Whether it ultimately makes a difference in their health is beside the point. My dad lived through WWII and had to go to a special home for a time after the war due to malnourishment and being severely underweight. He’s in fine health now at nearly 72 so he came through OK. But’s thats a separate matter from whether he was malnourished or not, and he was, and so was everyone who did not get human breast milk. Fact.

    And fructose is not the same as lactose, for a number of reasons and just because all infants can digest lactose and the 2/3 of the world’s population that carry the 8,000 year old lactose tolerance gene — yes, lactose intolerance is the “normal” way, nature’s way of ensuring weaning — can digest it after weaning does not necessarily mean that anyone should consume much fructose or any lactose after weaning.

    • AP on December 30, 2009 at 14:42

      First off I would like to correct you in the fact that I DID nurse my child as long as I could. Secondly, you are sorely mistaken if you think a child that is not breastfeed is MALnorished. What you are is close minded. Thirdly, I am well aware of the differences between fructose and lactose. However, I don’t believe you are aware of their similarities. I read your bio and it is very impresive and you have lead a very interesting life. Yet I can’t help but notice you are lacking any training in Biology or Chemistry. Maybe you should leave these topics to those people.

      • Richard Nikoley on December 30, 2009 at 14:48

        “Secondly, you are sorely mistaken if you think a child that is not breastfeed is MALnorished.”

        You are dismissed for an inability to deal honestly with reality.

    • Grok on December 30, 2009 at 17:01

      I always like to point out that crude oil is “all natural” and “organic” too!

      Michael Pollan has written some good laymen stuff on the history of formula. I believe it was in his book “In Defense of Food”

      Bottom line = Food (breast milk in this case) is more than the sum of its nutrients.

      • Richard Nikoley on December 30, 2009 at 17:05

        And since we can’t perfectly duplicate breast milk (or even reasonably) then it’s malnutrition. Mal=bad or poor

        : a state of poor nutrition

      • Grok on December 30, 2009 at 18:27

        Seems like a no brainier to me.

        If man made nutrition held water, then we should be able to eat carpet & a multi-vitamin and still be healthy right? Ha-ha

  12. […] Only in an upside-down world would nonsense like stuffing one's self with fruit and other fiber all year round, never skipping meals, eating manufactured food, and tracking daily calories to an accuracy of within 100 be normal; while eating real food only, when hungry, modeling our animal heritage with a water-only fast now and then, and limiting carbohydrates to a natural low or moderate amount in accordance with our evolution be "extreme." And don't even get me started on "juice fasts." Besides, Dr. Mike Eades already lambasted Oz for that bit of lunacy. In short, giving your kid a big glass of fruit juice is about equivalent to giving him or her a beer. In terms of impact on the liver, it could even be worse. Don't believe me? Then believe Dr. Robert Lustig, who says that "fructose is alcohol without the buzz." […]

  13. […] and whoever else were successful in marketing campaigns to get babies off breast milk and onto fructose & soy laden poison commonly referred to as "formula," But That's Not All Folks! You Also Get…RICE CERIAL! […]

  14. orville9 on January 29, 2010 at 13:37

    breast feeding isnt easy , yep i know but if you really want to breast feed you perservere you don’t give up at the first hurdle , yes there are a small number of new mothers that can’t bf due to medications etc but the majority that do not simple don’t because of peer pressure family pressure especially there partners getting upset and jealous of the breast being used for the function they where designed for , also there is a lack of support for bf mums , society seems to think it fine to bottle feed a baby in a restaurant but if you bf a baby people complain
    i ve breastfed my 1st child for 18 mths my 2nd child for 33 mths my first child would not feed for the 1st 48 hrs and i was told i should bottle feed him by a nurse but a verywise midwife said when he first feeds he will not look back , my second child fed withim 5 mins but got jaundice and the nursing staff wanted him bottled fed to clear the bilirubin quicker and complained i took to long with him at the breast .breast feeding him was very difficult for the first 9 weeks as it was extremely painful as he had a tongue tie but again once again i perservered and he fed up till a fortnight ago , have found in the uk midwifes are given about 1 hrs training on breastfeeding so how the heck can they encourage women to breastfeed if they havent had children or did not bf themselves
    if 98% of norweigian mums can breastfeed why are so many mums giving up on such an amazing gift to their child the bond thats built up is amazing i loved it yes at times it hurt and i cried and wanted my breasts back but i know ive given both my children the best start in life and am proud of that
    one point i want to raise i was not able to get more than an oz at a time with a breast pump but could feed both babies at the breast

  15. Pushing String » Low-hanging fructose on February 7, 2010 at 10:50

    […] in knots because of broken preconceptions about stuff we used to understand instinctively. (Richard blogged this lecture, and also another I’ll touch on here sometime soon…) It sure looks like […]

  16. Joe Smoth on February 7, 2010 at 12:11

    Dr. Lustig is not telling the truth about fructose. There is an excellent critique of the information presented in his video here: http://www.alanaragonblog.com/2010/01/29/the-bitter-truth-about-fructose-alarmism/

    If you look at the comments he doesn’t defend himself well at all.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 7, 2010 at 12:20

      I read that a few days ago and was wholly unimpressed. Fructose is indeed pretty toxic and that fact that it usually comes with glucose is actually fortunate.


      And here’s Dr. Stephan Guyenet on the same study:


      There you see the effects by splitting the two, the contrast is stark, and over a very short period of time. So, for me, the takeway is to avoid all refined sugar like the plague and as for fruit, I eat it in moderation and principally limit it to berries.

      Works for me.

    • gallier2 on February 7, 2010 at 12:30

      One only needs to read a metabolism book like http://www.medbio.info/ especially the carbohydrate methabolism part to know that Prof.Lustig’s is right. But when I read that Alan Arogant is on monkey island I understood where he’s coming from.

    • Alex Thorn on February 7, 2010 at 12:41

      I pretty much destroyed Alan Aragon’s objections to Lustig’s position on increased CHO intakes, as presented in that article, on another forum. He selectively quotes the NHANES data to make it look like the only significant changes are increased total calories (mainly due to an increase in added fats). However, if you look at all this same data graphed out you can see that total fat intake, as a percentage of those calories, fell steadily over the last 30 years in spite of the increase in ‘added fats’, which were mainly from PU vegetable fats (animal fats did not rise). Protein as a percentage of total calories consumed remained stable and only carbohydrates increased their contribution to total calories over the same period. Also, the same data shows an increase in the number of people indulging in leisure time physical activities over the same period that calorie intakes increased – which would appear to cancel out the simple ‘calories in, calories out’ excuse for the increases in obesity and diseases of modern civilisation over that period.

      You can see them here:

  17. san on April 21, 2010 at 10:34

    “You know what girls? If you don’t like breastfeeding then you should not have kids. It’s that simple. Do it right, or not at all.”

    I would tend to agree. I breast fed both my children… but the reason why it’s difficult for mothers is because it’s difficult! Don’t be led into thinking that breastfeeding is easy. If there are no complications then breastfeeding eventually becomes easy. But not at first, its difficult and extremely painful with EACH child, as the baby gets older it becomes easier, but teething brings its own set of problems. Us girls need a heck of a family to support us if they don’t want a baby on the bottle.

    Secondly, as people have stated before – not all women can breastfeed. There could be a number of reasons for this, I know that I had to stop breastfeeding before I wanted to with my youngest child because he was allergic to my breastmilk. After a long time trying to cut the offending item from my diet (with doctors arguing it was nothing to do with my diet BLeh!!) and my son losing a lot of weight a decision was made that he should have a special bottled milk. His symptoms did improve but I couldn’t wait to get him off the stuff and we did quite early on – and his symptoms improved again, especially his mood swings. Funnily enough the milk didn’t contain fructose but high amounts of glucose – the so-called good carb.

    It also does not matter one bit how big or small a womens breasts are to be able to breastfeed. Also years ago when mothers couldn’t breastfeed, midwives did, or another female member of the family did.

  18. Roya on May 5, 2010 at 09:13

    Perhaps the concentration on sugar here in formula is missing a huge forest whilst looking at the trees:

    Soy as a protein substitute is evil.

  19. Los 10 alimentos menos saludables | intraEmprendedor.com on June 28, 2010 at 17:22

    […] de endocrinología pediátrica de la Universidad de California describe a la fructuosa como “alcohol sin la embriaguez“. Tales son los daños al hígado que produce. Otras de sus consecuencias incluyen ganancia […]

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