Are you a “sweet-nik”?

Welcome to SweetNix

God Will Save Me!

— McPhail W (2017). The New Yorker
“I see, and have you tried worrying about it?”

Childhood Obesity Rates in the U.S.:

“Imagine a moment when the sensation of honey or sugar on the tongue was an astonishment, a kind of intoxication. The closest I’ve ever come to recovering such a sense of sweetness was secondhand, though it left a powerful impression on me even so. I’m thinking of my son’s first experience of sugar: the icing on the cake at his first birthday. I have only the testimony of Isaac’s face to go by (that, and his fierceness to repeat the experience), but it was plain that his first encounter with sugar had intoxicated him—was in fact an ecstasy, in the literal sense of that word. That is, he was beside himself with the pleasure of it, no longer here with me in space and time in quite the same way he had been just a moment before. Between bites Isaac gazed up at me in amazement (he was on my lap, and I was delivering the ambrosial forkfuls to his gaping mouth) as if to exclaim, "Your world contains this? From this day forward I shall dedicate my life to it." (Which he basically has done.)”

— Pollan M (2001). The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World.

Known and Suspected Benefits of a LCHF (low-carbohydrate, high-fat) diet

†See the LDL Particle Test for discerning good LDL (large, buoyant particles) from bad LDL (small, dense particles). The commonly obtained LDL-C is merely a calculated, not measured, quantity (hence the “C” in LDL-C) that does not involve measuring LDL at all. While LDL-C correlates well with measured LDL levels, a standard laboratory measurement of LDL does not distinguish good LDL from bad — and neither does LDL-C. A low LDL-C may in fact be unhealthy if the LDL particles are mostly small and dense. Similarly, a high LDL-C may be healthy if the LDL particles are mostly large and buoyant. A high carbohydrate diet tends to yield unhealthy small, dense particles.


☆ Yudkin J (1972). Pure, White, and Deadly: How Sugar Is Killing Us and What We Can Do to Stop It — sugar has no nutritional value for humans; human consumption of sugar (and carbohydrates in the absence of fiber) is very recent in the ~200,000 year existence of Homo sapiens (or ~2 million year existence of genus Homo); sweet or starchy, low-fiber foods are unhealthy by causing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, etc.

★ Volek K, and Phinney S (2011). The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living — a well-written information resource and guide to help people identify a healthier, usually (but not always) low-carbohydrate diet optimized to their individual needs.

☆ Taubes G (2016). The Case Against Sugar.

U.S. Surgeon General (2016). Facing Addiction: The Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health — drug addiction is a major problem, yet sugar and carbohydrate addiction and dependence are likely much costlier to society. Sugar just kills us slower, so it receives less attention.

Popular Press

Searing L (2020). Obesity now affects 42 percent of U.S. adults, CDC says.

Reiley L (2019). Sweet excess: How the baby food industry hooks toddlers on sugar, salt and fat. Now that the “food” industry has its hooks in adults, it's going to make sure we never escape, by addicting babies.

Muhammad KG (2019). The Barbaric History of Sugar in America. The history of sugar in America and most of the world is only a few hundred years old. The powerful attraction of sugar has fueled slavery.

Velasquez-Manoff (2018). The Germs That Love Diet Soda. Food additives may be selecting for more virulent strains of bacteria, like multi-drug-resistant C. difficile.

☆ Friedman RA (2017). What Cookies and Meth[amphetamine] Have in Common — “In 1990, no state in our country had an adult obesity rate above 15 percent; by 2015, 44 states had obesity rates of 25 percent or higher. What changed?” — excellent resource focused on sugar and its overconsumption; does not address the unnaturally high-carbohydrate, low fiber, often low-fat diet that government policies and the food industry have trained consumers to crave and that the species Homo sapiens had little experience with during its first ~200,000 years of existence.

U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (2015). Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, Eighth Edition.

Foundation for Economic Education (2017). The FDA Thinks Pop Tarts Are Healthier than Avocados — even today, FDA regulations still demonize fat and downplay sugar in our diets.

NPR (2017). Fresh Food By Prescription: This Health Care Firm Is Trimming Costs — And Waistlines — for one healthcare insurer, it is at least 24 times cheaper to prevent diabetes-related complications by giving patients free, fresh food and some cooking instruction than to treat the health problems they would otherwise encounter eating the “standard American diet” (SAD).

American Heart Association (2016). By Any Other Name It's Still Sweetener — recommended daily maximum of 6 teaspoons (24 grams) sugar for women, 9 teaspoons (36 grams) for men. (Zero intake would be best, but all of the sugar addicts—i.e., everyone—would complain!)

World Health Organization (2015). WHO calls on countries to reduce sugars intake among adults and children — recommended maximum of 25 grams (6 teaspoons) sugar per day.

Coca-Cola (2016). Nutrition Facts. — 39 grams of sugar in one 12 oz. can of Coke

FAGE (2016). FAGE yogurt. — 29 grams of sugars per serving of honey yogurt; 23 grams of sugars per serving of coconut with dark chocolate yogurt; 16 grams of sugars per serving of other fruit flavors; 8 grams of sugars per serving of plain yogurt.

61 Names for sugars on food ingredients labels — not comprehensive; does not include combinations with the irrelevant words “natural” or “organic”.

Harvard Health (2016). The lowdown on glycemic index and glycemic load.

Harvard Health (2015). Glycemic index and glycemic load for 100+ foods.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2017). Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among U.S. youth, 2011-2014N.B. the study did not count consumption of 100% fruit juices, which are generally very sweet and low in fiber (bad combination).

☆ Heil N (2017). The Science of Sweet — alert to how the food industry has manipulated and subverted food science for 50 years — it's the sugar (and carbohydrates without fiber), not the fat, in our diets causing so many health problems.

☆ Murphy TJ (2016). Is a Ketogenic Diet Right for You? — extreme atheletes are restricting intake of nearly all carbs and setting new records; a LCHF diet produces easy, transformative weight loss; skip the milk or half-and-half in your coffee and use full-fat cream instead (if you wish).

National Institutes of Health (2016). Vitamin D — fat-soluble vitamin found naturally at high-potency levels in animal-based foods.

Crew B (2017). The First Signs of Obesity in Certain Arctic Groups Have Been Linked to Instant Noodles.

☆ O'Connor A (2016). Study Tied to Food Industry Tries to Discredit Sugar Guidelines — Cardiologist: “It's unfair to single out sugar and not starch. I would like to see recommendations to limit both sugar and starch. But that's half the calories in the food supply.” — In other words, the food industry overproduces carbohydrates to such an extent that it—and the conflicted government—will not recommend healthy guidelines for limiting carbohydrate consumption, for fear of disrupting an entrenched, highly profitable, global economy.

CBS Minnesota (2017). New study denies there are health benefits to moderate drinking — hmmm... could it be the carbs? (yes!)

Palmer J (2017). Climate change is turning dehydration into a deadly disease — under conditions of dehydration, the body actually synthesizes fructose, which is nephrotoxic; the problem is often exacerbated by affected individuals consuming sugary soft drinks as well.

★ Mole B (2016). Sugar Industry Bought Off Scientists, Skewed Dietary Guidelines for Decades.

Rabin RC (2016). A Gut Makeover for the New Year.

Kolata G (2017). Why Everything We Know About Salt May Be Wrong.

Mole B (2017). Controversial new CDC director may reconsider Big Soda's health funding — Coca-Cola wants to blame obesity on lack of exercise (laziness), distract from the overwhelmingly simple role of diet.

On-line Video

☆ CBS 60 Minutes with Sanjay Gupta (2012). Is Sugar Toxic?. (13′) (Also on youtube) — a “balanced” diet doesn't include sugar.
CBS 60 Minutes Overtime with Sanjay Gupta (2012). Sugar and Kids: The Toxic Truth.

☆ Canadian Broadcasting Company (2013). The Secrets of Sugar. (45′)

British Broadcasting Company (2015). The Truth About Sugar. (57′)

☆ Loring and Inkinen (2014). Fat Chance Row — non-stop 2765-mile row from San Francisco to Hawaii in 45 days, to demonstrate peak human performance on high-fat and protein based real food; Inkinen had become pre-diabetic, despite being an extreme athelete, and thus swore off sugar and processed carbs.

RTE One (2016). Sugar Crash. (83′)

★ Lustig R (2009). Sugar: The Bitter Truth (90′) — making the case that sugar is poison; drinking a beer is as damaging to health as drinking a sweetened soda.
Lustig R (2011). Robert Lustig | Talks at Google. (64′)
Lustig R (2013). Sugar — the elephant in the kitchen | TEDxBermuda. (22′)
Lustig R (2015). Is a Calorie a Calorie? Processed Food, Experiment Gone Wrong. (100′)
Lustig R (2014). What is metabolic syndrome, and why are children getting it?. (72′)

★ McCarter J (2015). The Effects of a Year in Ketosis. (8′)

Oz M (2017). Fatty liver disease (20′) — 80 million Americans currently have fatty liver disease; two-thirds of adults with normal liver function tests are destined for liver dysfunction without a lifestyle change; eat healthy; cut carbs. including alcohol; it's not the fat in our diets causing all these problems.

Volek J (2015). The Art and Science of Low Carb Living: Cardio-Metabolic Benefits and Beyond. (48′)

Zinn C (2015). Low Carb, Healthy Fat: Weight Loss and Sport. (26′)

Unknown (2015). Low Carb Diet Mistakes — 7 Most Common. (4′)

Oliver J (2015). Jamie's Sugar Rush. (48′)

Feature-length Documentary Films (often freely available in public libraries)

In Defense of Food (2015) — You can't go wrong here!

King Corn (2007) — the corn industry is too big and too vertically integrated to be disrupted by government dietary guidelines — through knowledge, we must save ourselves.

Fed Up (2014; narrated and produced by Katie Couric) — sugar is unhealthy; people trying to lose weight through diet and exercise often do it wrong—and consequently suffer while failing to achieve or maintain their targets; counting calories is too imprecise and doesn't work.

That Sugar Film (2014) — the sugar content of a typical diet of so-called “healthy” processed foods causes rapid, deleterious changes in metabolism, health and well-being; industry spreads the “American diet” of processed foods globally, as these unnatural substances can be shipped great distances and stored indefinitely without spoiling.

Carb-Loaded: A Culture Dying to Eat (2014) — even as of 2010, the effectiveness of government dietary guidelines emphasizing reduced fat (especially saturated fat) and increased carbohydrate intake, dating back to the first guidelines issued in 1980, have not been tested—a grand experiment conducted on the entire U.S. population—while powerful evidence suggests the recommendations were completely wrong; extreme athletes are setting new records by restricting intake of all carbohydrates.

Forks Over Knives (2011) — NOT RECOMMENDED — The film does a good job of highlighting health problems that are behavior-based but it is misleading and wrong on many counts, confuses and conflates dietary issues, and extolls a wholly vegan, low-protein, low-fat diet informed mostly by the flawed research (and flawed conclusions) of T. Colin Campbell. It oddly ignores the carcinogenic effects of carcinogens (aflatoxins in this case) on rats that consumed a normal 20% protein diet and ignores the combined hepatotoxic effects of aflatoxins and a low, 5% protein diet that caused the premature death of many more rats before 1 year; exaggerates the protein content of high-starch, low-fiber plant foods like potatoes; ignores the amino acid imbalance of humans eating plant-based protein alone; does not address the potentially deleterious effects on health of eating soy-based products (re: phytoestrogens); does not recognize fiber as a healthful component of real food (which is not present in potatoes or rice); even pasta (a processed food that lacks fiber) is deemed healthy simply because it's plant-based; conflates sugar with fat (including fat from any source—animal or plant) as producing “rich”, unhealthy foods; sugar is almost a secondary concern; fat (whether from plant or animal sources) is wrongly characterized as being unsatisfying because it doesn't bulk up the stomach like plant foods often do; concludes animal meat consumed in moderation is unhealthy, from studies in which overeating animal protein was unhealthy; concludes that if overconsumption of animal protein is unhealthy, then consumption of animal fat is unhealthy; ignores the fact that most plants and plant-based foods do not provide adequate dietary calcium and vitamin D without fortification; a large study conducted by Campbell in China used the common 95% confidence level for determining statistical significance, but so many thousands of tests were performed that many results (1 in 20) would be expected purely by chance to satisfy such a weak confidence level; 60 mg/dl is said to be a normal blood sugar level (it's not!); yada-yada-yada. Widespread criticism of this movie and Campbell's research are available elsewhere on the Internet.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Health effects of dietary risks in 195 countries, 1990-2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 (2019). A bad diet is the leading cause of death world-wide.

The GBD 2015 Obesity Collaborators (2017). Health effects of overweight and obesity in 195 countries over 25 years — one-third of the world population is overweight (over 2 billion people total) or obese (over 700 million people, including over 100 million children); Almost 40% of deaths attributable to high BMI occurred in persons who were not obese.

★ Kearns CE, Apollonio D, Glantz SA (2017). Sugar industry sponsorshop of germ-free rodent studies linking sucrose to hyperlipidemia and cancer: An historical analysis of internal documents — the sugar industry suppressed its own research 50 years ago that implicated sugar in the development of coronary heart disease and some forms of cancer.

★ Guasch-Ferre M, Hu FB (2019). Are fruit juices just as unhealthy as sugar-sweetened beverages? — yes, close enough.

Friedewald WT, Levy RI, Fredrickson DS (1972). Estimation of the concentration of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in plasma, without use of the preparative ultracentrifuge — original reference for the Friedewald equation that is commonly used to compute the LDL (so-called “bad”) cholesterol concentration in patient blood samples, a figure that is typically reported in lab results as “LDL-C”; the method can not distinguish “bad” LDL from “good” LDL cholesterol (yes, there is such a thing as good LDL cholesterol); an expensive LDL particle test (LDL-P) is necessary to distinguish small, dense (“bad”) LDL cholesterol (sdLDL) particles from large, buoyant (“good”) LDL cholesterol particles; a “normal” LDL cholesterol level is not necessarily a healthy condition, especially if one is eating refined carbohydrates (sugar and fiberless starch).

Cahill GF, Jr. (1967). Brain Metabolism during Fasting — the brain is well-suited to using fat products (i.e., “ketone bodiesβ-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate) instead of glucose for energy.

Bunn HF et al. (1976). The biosynthesis of human hemoglobin A1c. Slow glycosylation of hemoglobin in vivo — early evidence for why measuring one's HbA1c level is typically a good indicator of their ~3 month average blood glucose level and risk of diabetes.

Messier SP, Gutekunst DJ, Davis C, DeVita P (2005). Weight loss reduces knee-joint loads in overweight and obese older adults with knee osteoarthritis — each pound of weight loss yields a 4-fold reduction in the load exerted on knees while walking.

☆ Aronson D, Rayfield EJ (2002). How hyperglycemia promotes atherosclerosis: molecular mechanisms — glucose (and fructose) chemically reacts non-enzymatically with proteins and other compounds in the body to produce advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) that cause or contribute to many chronic health problems.

☆ Uribarri et al. (2010). Advanced glycation end products in foods and a practical guide to their reduction in the diet — excellent resource for identifying (and reducing the consumption of) dietary sources of advanced glycation end-products.

O'Donnell M et al. (2014). Urinary sodium and potassium excretion, mortality, and cardiovascular events — much higher levels of sodium and potassium intake than recommended by the AHA and WHO are associated with even lower risk of cardiovascular events and mortality from any cause. (People who are hypertensive or pre-hypertensive should continue to follow their doctor's recommendations for salt intake.)

★ Heyman MB, Abrams SA (2017). Fruit juice in infants, children, and adolescents: Current recommendations — juice offers no nutritional benefit over whole fruit and plays no essential role in healthy diets of children; children should be encouraged to consume whole fruit, not juice; fruit juice offers no nutritional benefits for infants under 1 year; juice should be limited to 4 ounces daily for toddlers ages 1-3, 6 ounces daily for children aged 4-6, and no more than 8 ounces daily at ages 7-18. (See the Conclusions section.)

Kitada et al. (2017). High salt intake reprioritizes osmolyte and energy metabolism for body fluid conservation.

Rakova et al. (2017). Increased salt consumption induces water conservation and decreases fluid intake — dietary salt can promote conversion of body fat to water.

Harcombe Z et al. (2016). The universities of Stellenbosch/Cape Town low-carbohydrate diet review: Mistake or mischief? — mistakes or mischief in the scientific literature can obscure the effectiveness of a low-CHO diet for weight loss.

Schnabel RB et al. (2015). Fifty-year trends in atrial fibrillation prevalence, incidence, risk factors, and mortality in the community — the incidence of a-fib in the Framingham Study has increased dramatically over the past 50 years and is associated with increased obesity.

☆ Taylor CL et al. (2014). Including food 25-hydroxyvitamin D in intake estimates may reduce the discrepancy between dietary and serum measures of vitamin D status — 25(OH)D or Calcifediol occurs naturally in animal-based foods (tissue and fat); eating 25(OH)D appears to be several fold (up to 18X) more potent than supplemental vitamin D at increasing serum D levels in humans.

The “Sugar Papers”:
Kearns CE, Glantz SA, Schmidt LA (2015). Sugar Industry Influence on the Scientific Agenda of the National Institute of Dental Research's 1971 National Caries Program: A Historical Analysis of Internal Documents.

☆ Kearns CE, Schmidt LA, Glantz SA (2016). Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease Research: A Historical Analysis of Internal Industry Documents.

Topiwala et al. (2017). Moderate alcohol consumption as risk factor for adverse brain outcomes and cognitive decline: longitudinal cohort study.

Rules of Thumb

1 teaspoon of table sugar (sucrose) = 4 grams

1 Calorie = 1 kilocalorie (or kcal) = 1 food or dietary calorie

1 gram of a simple sugar or typical protein = 4 Calories = 4 kilocalories

1 gram of fat = 9 Calories

1 gram of alcohol (ethanol) = 7 Calories

Table sugar (sucrose) is a disaccharide composed of half fructose and half glucose

Sugars in 6 oz. orange juice: 18 grams / 72 Calories

10 dietary calories consumed superfluously (not burned) per day for a year will yield 1 pound of weight gain in the form of fat.

Maximum energy stored in the human body (liver and muscle) in the form of glycogen: ~2500 Calories (~3000 Calories for top athletes)
Hitting the Wall”: sudden fatigue and loss of energy caused by depletion of glycogen stores.
Energy available per pound of body fat: ~3500 Calories
Energy consumed by 180 lb. man running 1 mile in 10 minutes: ~136 Calories
Maximum distance that can be run using glycogen energy stores: ~2500/136 = ~18 miles
Distance that can be run by converting 1 pound of body fat to energy: ~3500/136 = ~26 miles (1 marathon)
Distance that can be run by converting 20 pounds of body fat to energy: ~3500/136 = ~520 miles
Distance from Los Angeles to New York City: 2779 miles (107 pounds fat-equivalent)


Think about how fat—especially saturated fat—was demonized by government dietary guidelines (and by the so-called “food” industry) from the first guidelines released nearly 50 years ago. Now consider it is sugar that should have been so-demonized instead. Then try to fathom the human toll this misguided policy has taken—and still takes—in the U.S. and worldwide, as the “food” industry has pushed its toxic diet into the far reaches of the planet.

Are statins so widely prescribed so people can continue to overeat sugar and starch (without dying so soon)?

Are vitamin D supplements so widely recommended — and are D-fortified foods so common — because misinformed government dietary guidelines have led people to eat too little fat from fish and animals — fat which contains a much more potent form of vitamin D than D supplements provide?

“Garbage In, Garbage Out In

Dr. Robert Atkins: “Count carbs, not calories” — when intake of sugar and starch without fiber is restricted, the resulting healthy, low-carb diet avoids overeating naturally, because satiety from fat, protein and fiber is longer lasting than from sugar; the need to count calories can become unnecessary—possibly even the need to count the calories from carbs becomes unnecessary; and no mood swings or sleepiness due to the “insulin shock” that occurs when carbs wear off.

Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Related Topics



Precautionary Principle — considering the strength of evidence that sugar is toxic, strong controls over its presence in the food supply are warranted until the food industry can provide convincing evidence to the contrary (fat chance!); this won't happen anytime soon though because the food industry has cultivated our addiction to carbs for over 50 years and built a massive, global, vertically integrated economy of carbohydrate production.

Tragedy of the commons — the “commons” in this case is human health, which has been jeopardized by the selfish actions of players in the food industry.

Confirmation bias
Cognitive dissonance
Cultural cognition
Social proof
Availability heuristic
Illusory truth effect
Dunning-Kruger effect vs. Imposter Syndrome

Johnson SK (2017). “Science curious” more likely to explore data contradicting their world view.

Zernike K (2017). The hidden subsidy that helps pay for health insurance — the federal tax credit for employer-sponsored health insurance preferentially benefits the upper-middle class and is five times costlier than all subsidies combined provided under the Affordable Care Act.

Glantz SA, Slade J, Bero LA, Hanauer P, Barnes DE, Koop CE (1998). The Cigarette Papers — tobacco companies and the sugar industry have used similar marketing techniques for their deadly products.

Oreskes N, Conway EM (2011). Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming.