Is sugar a toxin that’s fueling the global obesity epidemic? That’s the argument UCSF’s Dr. Robert Lustig makes in “Sugar: The Bitter Truth,” a video that appeared on UCTV’s YouTube channel in 2009 and has since gone viral with over 2.2 million views, sparking a national dialogue and warranting coverage in The New York Times and most recently on CBS’ 60 Minutes.
On UCTV Prime’s new series “The Skinny on Obesity,” Dr. Lustig and two of his UCSF colleagues tease out the science behind this alarming claim and the dire threat it poses to global public health. The first episode in the 7-part series, “An Epidemic for Every Body,” premieres today on UCTV Prime, a YouTube original channel, with new episodes every Friday through May 25. And make sure to check out “The Skinny on Obesity” website for bonus content and guest posts from UCSF experts.
Throughout the series, Dr. Lustig, a UCSF pediatric endocrinologist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, and his colleagues Elissa Epel and Barbara Laraia, co-directors of the UCSF Center for Obesity Assessment, Study and Treatment (COAST), unpack the scientific and sociological factors that have contributed to the startling rise in obesity rates over the last 30 years. Featuring interviews, charts and graphic visualizations, the 6 to 12-minute episodes provide a comprehensive perspective on an issue that affects everyone, of any weight.
Here’s what’s coming on “The Skinny on Obesity:”
April 13 “An Epidemic for Every Body”
How did we get so fat, so fast? The debut episode debunks the theory that obesity only affects the “gluttons and sloths” among us and is, in fact, a public health problem that impacts everyone.
April 20 “Sickeningly Sweet”
Dr. Lustig illustrates the overabundance of sugar in today’s processed convenience foods and explains how our bodies metabolize these sugars in the same way as alcohol or other toxins, causing damage to the liver and other organs.
April 27 “Hunger and Hormones: A Vicious Cycle”
Sugar impacts the brain just as much as the waistline. In this episode, Dr. Lustig explains the biochemical shifts that sugar causes, making us store fat and feel hungry at the same time.
May 4 “Sugar: A Sweet Addiction”
Sugar isn’t just sweet, it’s addictive. This episode explores the cycle of addiction that sugar causes in the brain, much in the same way as drugs and alcohol.
May 11 “Generation XL”
An unnerving trend of obese infants is just one indication that obesity can be passed on from mother to fetus. This installment looks towards the next generation, with an emphasis on preventive care and pre-natal health.
May 18 “A Fast-Paced, Fast Food Life”
The pace of modern life is a key contributor to today’s obesity epidemic. Elissa Epel and Barbara Laraia explain the connection and offer practical and effective solutions that don’t involve dieting and exercise.
May 25 “Drugs, Cigarettes, Alcohol.and Sugar?”
Our experts offer a frank indictment of the country’s agricultural policy and food industry, which have made it nearly impossible to avoid sugar in our daily diet, and suggestions for possible remedies.