On 60 Minutes, Alumnus Dishes Bitter Truth on Sugar

by Jay London on April 4, 2012

in Alumni Life, Health, In the News, Media, Research

The average American consumes almost seven ounces of sugar every day, or 130 pounds per year. While excess sugar consumption has long been linked to weight gain, new research by Dr. Robert Lustig ’77 indicates that sugar consumption in the U.S. is a public health crisis and can lead to type II diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Lustig appeared on the April 1, 2012 episode of the CBS program 60 Minutes to discuss the serious toll sugar can have on one’s health.

From 60 Minutes (April 1, 2012):

Central to Dr. Lustig’s theory is that we used to get our fructose mostly in small amounts of fruit–which came loaded with fiber that slows absorption and consumption–after all, who can eat 10 oranges at a time? But as sugar and high fructose corn syrup became cheaper to refine and produce, we started gorging on them.

Dr. Lustig believes those sweeteners are helping fuel an increase in the most deadly disease in America: heart disease. For years, he’s been a controversial voice.

Lustig, who was profiled in the March/April 2012 issues of Technology Review magazine, advocates a balanced diet and recommends that women consume only 100 calories of added sugar per day and men no more than 150, or the equivalent to one 12 ounce can of Coca-Cola.

What’s your take? Do you feel that eliminating sugar wrongly vilifies one food and, as the U.S. Sugar Association advocates, more focus should be put on reducing calories and exercising? Let us know on Facebook or in the comments section below.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

s. April 4, 2012 at 11:05 am

here i definitely side with dr. lustig more than the sugar lobby… for me, personally, i wasn’t successful at weight loss until i vastly reduced my sugar intake. reading the labels, i found that sugar flavors almost everything, from savory frozen meals, to salad dressings, pasta sauces and peanut butter, even fruit juices which already possess natural sugars! research studies have shown that sugar mimics the brain activation patterns of addictive substances in the brain, so it seems plausible that yes, people are addicted to sugar, and it follows from that, that cutting out sugar would reduce obesity. so yes, i believe that reducing calories and exercising should be a part of a healthy lifestyle but sugar has a very high ratio of calories/gram so you’re probably taking in more calories eating sugar as well.

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K April 4, 2012 at 2:19 pm

There was an article in the New York Times a couple years back that discussed changing the Food Bill, which was created in response to the Depression. Subsidies were earmarked for food industries, with the intention of making food that would last in storage and help the masses gain weight to stave off starvation. The food that is the least expensive, has become the most addictive and contains the worst nutritional value. Sixty years later the government still provides subsidies to large corporations without having changed the Food Bill. I would encourage congress to completely do away with the food bill and start from scratch with the subsidies going to only those products that are fresh, sugar free, and low fat, so that the masses of people can actually afford to eat healthy food. This would greatly reduce the cost of healthcare for preventable diseases in otherwise healthy individuals who are struggling to make ends meet.

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jack phillips April 25, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Americans are not only ingesting too much sugar, our food supply is also contaminated with too much bromine, which replaced iodine in bread in the 1980s according to reports, and perchlorates, exceesive amounts of which even show up in lettuce. These substances, with fluorine in many water supplies, create serious thyroid problems.

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