Calling Bullshit: What the Health Part 3

What the Health

Part 1

Part 2

Here we go, back on the merry go round of propaganda and bad statistics. Today we are going to have some fun with Dr. Garth Davis’ claim that sugar cannot be stored as fat.  Already seems pretty spurious doesn’t it?  Just wait.

Image Courtesy of Don A Carlson

The first thing we need to realize is that our table sugar is what is called a disaccharide and it is composed of two different molecules, glucose and fructose.

Dr. Davis claims that due to the metabolic pathways involved these molecules cannot be stored as fat.  I am going to show how that is patently untrue.

He bases this claim on the fact that your body will store carbohydrates as glycogen instead of fat.  However, there are several problems with this namely:

  1. Glycogen stores have a maximum.
  2. Your glycogen stores are not normally overly depleted.

In order to give this some context, we first need to pause for a moment and realize what glycogen is.  Glycogen can most easily be explained as our bodies carbohydrate storage system in our liver and muscles.  It stores up the carbohydrates we consume and then releases them when we need them.

This study pretty clearly shows that Dr. Davis’ claims are not based in the science of carbohydrate consumption.  It shows we have a maximal glycogen storage of approximately 15g/kg for men and and going much over that “net lipid synthesis contributes to increasing body fat mass.”  That seems pretty clear-cut to me.  So claiming that sugar cannot become fat is just objectively wrong.

There is one other claim I need in about this part of the movie I need to take issue with because of the way that it preys on parents fear.  They claim that if your child develops type 1 diabetes they are taking 19 years off their life.  This is approximately accurate, but then they are using the potential link to dairy, but ignoring the same link that comes from wheat based products (like the cereal grains they push for) (this link is in rats, but still).  Here.

This what I’m referring to when I say that this movie relies upon fear-mongering.  They selectively pick their factors and correlations in order to give a very focused message.  They do it so slickly to that it is often hard to notice.  This is the real danger of the movie.  The diet they promote is not dangerous, is probably good for the environment, the danger is that it promotes bad thinking.  Sloppy thinking.  Unscientific thinking.  And that is something we here at Scientific Nutrition are not okay with.


2 thoughts on “Calling Bullshit: What the Health Part 3

  1. I think it’d be interesting if you gave a breakdown of IIFYM vs “eating clean.” There’s a lot of conflicting info on the benefiting of sticking to low glycemic foods when dieting vs “calories in calories out”


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