Paleo Diet: Is Water Toxic?

The funny thing about alarmism is that in the correct (or incorrect depending upon how you look at it) circumstances, absolutely anything can be toxic in excessive amounts. “Excessive” is a term that has a different me

aning based upon the subject. This article isn’t even about water, but I thought I’d pull you in with an interesting “alarmist” title. Did it work?

Having said that, it is true that water can indeed be toxic. I’m not kidding, it really can. No-one ever thinks that drinking too much water can seriously harm or even kill a person, but it can. Water Intoxication, also known as Hyponatremia, can actually kill people, and has killed people[]. It’s important to remember the fact that anything you ingest into your body, or even put ON your body can kill you in a large enough dose.

This brings me to the real topic of this article……sugar.

On April 1st 2012 the CBS show “60 Minutes” had a 15-minute segment called “Is Sugar Toxic?” Check out the video below:

If Sugar is so terrible, why didn’t they donate the whole 60 minutes of the program to the cause, instead of just 15 minutes?

Maybe you’ve heard the old adage, “The dose makes the poison”, credited to Paracelsus, the phrase means that even the most lethal poison known

to man, still has a specific lethal dose…..a certain amount that you would need to give a person to produce a lethal result. Below that level, it may not be harmless, but it isn’t going to kill you either….unless you’re super old and weak, or just immune compromised.

To say that sugar is a poison would be a real stretch, because sugar (in the form of glucose) is absolutely necessary for the body to function. If you eat absolutely zero carbohydrates, your liver will manufacture glucose for your brain. Even while in ketosis, while the rest of the body is functioning perfectly on ketone bodies, the brain still requires 25% of its energy from glucose. The muscles rely heavily upon glycogen stores, which is the storage form of glucose also. Anyone can function without glucose…..I did it for almost two years….but my muscles looked deflated at all times, and my strength was distinctly lacking. A substance like glucose, that your body absolutely needs, cannot logically be classed as poison, and obviously is not “toxic” at every dose level.

Can sugar BE toxic to people? People who are already metabolically compromised, like people with Type I or Type II Diabetes, have a diminished capacity to deal with the sugar they eat, but the average healthy human being, who’s body properly removes excess glucose from the blood should have no problem even dealing with large doses of sugar. Will this type of person get fat from consistently eating large amounts of sugar? If they eat more calories than their body needs, of course they will, but this excess sugar will be converted into saturated fat for storage in adipose tissue. I don’t personally believe that sugar alone (even fructose) is enough by itself to cause diabetes…..I think that our friend polyunsaturated fat has a hand in that process too. As far as cancer goes, Chris Masterjohn tells us that sugar can’t even be wholly blamed for the Acute Glycation End Products that everyone is talking about [].

In response to the 60 Minutes Sugar segment, Alan Aragon re-released a 30 minute video that he originally released in 2010, almost immediately after Robert Lustig released his “Sugar, The Bitter Truth” video. Check it out below:

Here’s another great video that was released recently as an answer to Robert Lustig. It was created by the University of Arizona, and features Professor Mark Kern. Check it out below:

And he actually spent 60 minutes explaining his position….I guess he cares more. :-)

Now, I’m not advocating that people all go out an eat a bunch of extra sugar…..but that’s mainly what we’re talking about here. Extra sugar. Not the amount of fructose in a couple of pieces of fruit each day, or the amount that people like to put in their morning cup of coffee. As Alan Aragon said, they overfed the people in the sugar studies by several hundred grams of added sugar, per person, per day. For an average person, that means drinking tons of high fructose corn syrup sweetened beverages, and probably eating a vast amount of bread, pasta, and starches, all in combination. People tend to forget that every carbohydrate source, unless it’s composed of insoluble fiber, eventually becomes glucose in the body, so if sugar is so toxic to us, even green vegetables would cause insidious health problems.

Also Check out this article by a Dr. Katz: “Sugar isn’t Evil: A rebuttal

If a person is eating according to the Paleo Template, keeping polyunsaturated fats at a minimum, and not over-eating food on the whole, they have no need to be scared of fruit, some starches, or even a little added sugar here and there……unless they are already metabolically challenged. Do we need to shout the dangers of sugar from the roof-tops? I don’t believe so, because avoiding the over consumption of sugar and HFCS sweetened beverages, comes right along with the Paleo mantra of “EAT REAL FOOD”… why worry?

The people who are eating tons of additional sugar are the people who are also eating the S.A.D diet, and we’re already trying to convert the world (including them) to Paleo, so they’ll get scooped up in the Paleo flood. However, saying that sugar should somehow be a controlled substance is sheer lunacy…..but hey, if everyone wants to live in a police state, let’s go ahead and support that potential bill, all the way to the Whitehouse.

[]. Fatal Water Intoxication

[]. Where Do Most AGEs Come From? O Glycation, How Thy Name Hast Deceived Me!


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Barry Cripps is a Paleo-based, Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, who operates out of Bowling Green, Kentucky.

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2 Responses to Paleo Diet: Is Water Toxic?

  1. ELindsay April 10, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    In response to your comments about water being toxic at certain levels, I think that is what Lustig is saying about America’s sugar consumption. We are consuming it at high levels which can be considered toxic and contribute to all of these diseases they discussed in the report. Makes sense to me. Also, the entire addiction aspect with dopamine trigger is hard to dispute. We saw it happen in the scan. Being a sugar addict myself, I can relate to this report and feel you are both being irresponsible to make such light of the actual science and studies that were discussed in the CBS report.

    • Barry Cripps April 10, 2012 at 7:54 pm

      I guess everyone needs something to blame for obesity crisis, but if you watched the videos in the article, you’ll see that the researchers were talking about 150grams of additional sugar per day, which is 600 calories of straight sugar. I don’t think that’s a number that many people realistically hit.

      As a Nutrition and Wellness consultant, I don’t allow my clients to make excuses about what they put in their mouths. We’re all in charge of what we eat.

      Sometimes when we crave something, it’s because our body actually needs it. If you’re low-carb, you might try adding some more carbs….that usually helps with sugar cravings. Thanks for posting!