Annals of Health Law
HOW TO REGULATE TOXIC FOODS
induces a condition known as insulin resistance, which is now considered
the fundamental problem in obesity, and the underlying defect in heart
disease and in [type 2] diabetes. . .It might also be the underlying defect in
many cancers.” 58 Our bodies respond to insulin resistance by producing
more insulin, which ultimately causes blood sugar levels to rise. 59
“[H]aving chronically elevated insulin levels has harmful effects of its own
– heart disease for one. A result is higher triglyceride levels and blood
pressure, lower levels of HDL cholesterol (the ‘good cholesterol’), further
worsening the insulin resistance – this is metabolic syndrome.” 60
The biochemical waste product of fructose consumption is uric acid. 61
Excess uric acid is associated with gout, and also blocks endothelial nitric
oxide synthase, “an enzyme . . . that is responsible for generating . . . our
internal blood pressure.” 62 Therefore, sugar consumption is linked to
hypertension. 63 Sugar consumption is also associated with mental illness,
including depression. 64 There is also evidence that sugar is addictive. 65
58. Taubes, supra note 1. There has been a debate over many decades about whether fat
or sugar is the key culprit in heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Compare ANCEL KEYS ET
AL., SEVEN COUNTRIES STUDY (1980) (fat), with YUDKIN, supra note 8 (sugar). Given the
manner in which sugar is metabolized and converted to fat, it is possible that both fat and
sugar are implicated, with sugar being the worst culprit. One thing is clear: rates of obesity,
diabetes, and heart disease continued to climb while we focused on fat as the culprit.
59. Taubes, supra note 1.
60. Id. Diabetes occurs when the blood sugar level is too high. Risk factors for type 2
diabetes include “[o]besity, genetic predisposition, poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking [and]
drinking.” O’CONNELL, supra note 28, at 6 (quoting Dr. Reginald Rigsby, MD). In fact, type
2 diabetes is largely preventable and sometimes reversible. Id. But see Denise Grady,
Obesity-Linked Diabetes in Children Resists Treatment, N. Y. TIMES, Apr. 29, 2012, available
take-toll-on-children.html?_r= 3. Type 2 diabetes can sometimes be treated effectively with
changes in diet and other lifestyle patterns. Several years ago, in fact, Beth Israel Hospital in
New York City began a holistic approach to treating diabetes to help patients control their
blood sugar. Ian Urbina, In the Treatment of Diabetes, Success Often Does Not Pay, N.Y.
Times, Jan. 11, 2006, available at http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/11/nyregion/
nyregionspecial5/ 11diabetes.html?pagewanted=all. The program educated the public on
how to check their blood sugar, diet, and exercise. Beth Israel shut the program down
because the holistic approach worked so well that the costs in terms of lost revenue for
amputations and other complications of diabetes made the program financially
61. QUINN, supra note 31, at 52.
62. Id. at 53.
63. He supports this theory with evidence from a study by Dan Feig at the University of
Texas, San Antonio. Id. at 53-54.
64. O’CONNELL, supra note 28, at 79; DUFTY, supra note 8, at 48 (“It is quite possible to
improve your disposition . . . and change your personality for the better. The way to do it is
to avoid cane and beet sugar in all forms and guises.”). The so-called “twinkie defense” has
been criticized as a form of “defense du jour” that has no real legitimacy. State v. Stewart,
719 S.E.2d 876, 903 (W. Va. 2011) (Benjamin, J., dissenting) (the majority “encourages
such notable defenses as the “twinkie” defense (used in the defense of Dan White in the