Is sugar toxic

Relevant literature on sugar’s health effects

  • Vasanti Malik et al. (2010) Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Risk of Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes. In: Diabetes Care 2010 Nov; 33(11): 2477-2483.
    • “In addition to weight gain, higher consumption of SSBs [sugar-sweetened beverages] is associated with development of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. These data provide empirical evidence that intake of SSBs should be limited to reduce obesity-related risk of chronic metabolic diseases.”
    • Source recommended by the Dutch Diabetes Fund.
  • Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (2015). Carbohydrates and Health.
    • “The majority of the evidence on sugars, sugars-sweetened foods and beverages is derived from cohort studies. There are very few data on individual sugars such as glucose, fructose or sucrose. Due to the paucity of studies, there is a lack of evidence to draw conclusions on the impact of sugars intake on the majority of cardio-metabolic outcomes in adults, including body weight.”
    • British Health Council Report; source recommended by the Dutch Diabetes Fund.
  • World Health Organization (2015). Guideline: Sugars intake for adults and children. 
    • “Free sugars contribute to the overall energy density of diets, and may promote a positive energy balance. Sustaining energy balance is critical to maintaining healthy body weight and ensuring optimal nutrient intake. There is increasing concern that intake of free sugars – particularly in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages – increases overall energy intake and may reduce the intake of foods containing more nutritionally adequate calories, leading to an unhealthy diet, weight gain and increased risk of NCDs [Noncommunicable diseases]. Another concern is the association between intake of free sugars and dental caries.
    • Source recommended by the Dutch Diabetes Fund.

Relevant literature on the toxic nature of sugar

  • Gary Taubes (2016). The case against sugar. In: Aeon
    • “The sugars and refined grains that make up such a high proportion of the foods we consume in modern Westernised diets trigger the dysregulation of a homeostatic system that has evolved to depend on insulin to regulate both fat accumulation and blood sugar. Hence, the same dietary factors – sugars and refined grains – trigger both obesity and diabetes. By focusing on the problems of eating too much and exercising too little, public health authorities have simply failed to target the correct causes.”
  • Stephan Guyenet (2017). Bad sugar or bad journalism? An expert review of “The Case Against Sugar”. Guyenet’s website, 26.1.2017,
    • “A core principle of journalism is the accurate, objective, and complete transmission of pertinent facts to the reader. The Case Against Sugar is a journey through sugar history and science that is heavily distorted through the lens of Taubes’s personal beliefs. By this metric, it is not journalism, but advocacy. To a general audience that has little basis for evaluating its claims, the book will be misleading.’
  • Seth (2017). The Case Against The Case Against Sugar. In: The science of nutrition, 20.7.2017,
    • Seth argues that Taube’s book should not have been written. “Maybe you are the type of person that wants information on sugar. You’d like to know the history of sugar farming and sugar consumption, the chemical structure of sugar, the different types of sugar (fructose, sucrose, glucose, galactose, maltose, etc.), how sugar is made, where it’s made, the health effects, and the nutrient content. Then just look at the Wikipedia entry on sugar and you can find all that and more! Maybe Wikipedia is beneath you and you’d prefer a more curated, scholarly text on sugar. There are dozens of academic and peer-reviewed papers on sugar and its effects on dental caries, cardiovascular disease, weight gain, and diabetes. Simply look it up on Google Scholar or PubMed or whatever. I’ll get you started. Here are links to just a few of the systematic (and non-systematic reviews) in just the past few years.


Sources recommended by the Dutch Diabetes Fund in Dutch: