Food and Behaviour Research

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28 Sept 2011 - New Scientist - Obesity expert: Sugar is toxic and should be regulated

by Tiffany O'Callaghan - New Scientist

It might taste good, but sugar is addictive and fuelling the obesity epidemic, says Robert Lustig

FAB RESEARCH COMMENT:

Robert H Lustig MD UCSF Professor of Paediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, gave a lecture called 'Sugar - The Bitter Truth' on 26 May 2009. 

The following July, it was then posted on YouTube and to date has been viewed well over a million times. 

In his lecture, Professor Lustig explores the damage caused by sugary foods.  He argues that too much fructose and not enough fibre appear to be cornerstones of the obesity epidemic, through their effects on insulin and other hormones that normally help to regulate appetite and satiety. 

For details, see

Professor Lustig's lecture was reviewed for the New York Times on 13 April 2011, and you can view the resulting article here:

More recently, Tiffany O'Callagan of New Scientist interviewed Professor Lustig for New Scientist:

Your lecture on sugar has been viewed more than 1.6 million times on YouTube. Why do you think it's had so much attention?

The obesity epidemic just gets worse and people are looking for answers. Diet and exercise don't work and the idea that obesity is about personal responsibility has come into question. Many people have said sugar is bad, but they didn't supply the biochemistry. I supplied that.

Do you think fructose - which along with glucose makes table sugar - drives obesity?

I don't think fructose is the cause of obesity, but I do think it is the thing that takes you from obesity to metabolic syndrome, and that's where the healthcare dollars go - diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

So the idea that "a calorie is a calorie" is wrong?

As far as I'm concerned that's how we got into this mess. If a calorie is a calorie, the solution is eat less and exercise more. Except it doesn't work.

View the rest of this interview at New Scientist here:

Obesity expert: Sugar is toxic and should be regulated