Is Sugar Toxic?

Is Sugar Toxic?

Sugar is currently a hot topic in the news and there is a great deal of debate over it’s place in our daily eating habits.

Below is a video from Dr. Robert Lustig doing a Ted Talk on sugar where he discusses his belief that it is toxic.


Conversely, there are those who speak against this notion, and indicate that sugar, in moderation, can be part of a healthy diet. The key terms to note are “toxic” and “moderation.”

For discussion purposes, let’s take a look at what these terms mean. provides the following definition for the word toxic(1):


1. of, relating to, or caused by a toxin or poison; poisonous
2. harmful or deadly
3. (of a financial asset) likely to cause significant loss to the holder

And the following definition for the word moderation(2):

1. the quality of being moderate; restraint; avoidance of extremes or excesses; temperance.

Lustig’s claim, is that over time, the continual consumption of high doses of sugar is toxic and leads to many of the metabolic diseases plaguing people all over the world. Our metabolic response to sugar, which is very much like the one we have when we consume alcohol, does appear to be harmful. It is clear, that if sugar consumption can lead to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, etc., then it appears that it can be safely labeled as a toxin as it is both harmful and deadly.

As for moderation, the question becomes, what is a moderate level of sugar? Considering the amount of sugar present in many of the foods found in our supermarkets, it is likely, that many people are consuming sugar at levels that most would consider to be beyond moderate.

What are your thoughts? Let us know your position on this debate in the comments.


(1) toxic. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Science Dictionary. Retrieved January 04, 2015, from website:

(2) moderation. (n.d.). Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved January 04, 2015, from website:

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