Health/Fitness :: Health

The Skinny on Obesity

by Robert Lustig and Alison Gang
Tuesday Jun 26, 2012
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America’s obesity problem has reached startling proportions. Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital shares his message that sugar is a toxin fueling the obesity epidemic. His UCSF talk, "Sugar: The Bitter Truth," appeared on University of California Television’s (UCTV) YouTube channel in 2009.

With over 2.4 million views to date, the video has sparked a national dialogue and inspired UCTV to go more in-depth on the subject with "The Skinny on Obesity." The seven part series features Dr. Lustig on the YouTube original channel, UCTV Prime, and its related blog and bonus content are all available for online viewing at the series website (http://www.uctv.tv/skinny-on-obesity/) and the UCTV Prime YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/uctv).

Throughout the series, Dr. Lustig 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 10-minute episodes provide a comprehensive perspective on an issue that affects everyone, of any weight. The series website also provides links to relevant research studies, quizzes and helpful tips for viewers looking to get a grip on their sugar consumption.

The following briefly describe each of the seven episodes.

"An Epidemic for Every Body (Ep. 1)"
How did we get so fat, so fast? The first 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.

"Sickeningly Sweet (Ep. 2)"
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.

"Hunger and Hormones: A Vicious Cycle (Ep. 3)"
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.

"Sugar: A Sweet Addiction (Ep. 4)"
It’s not 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.

"Generation XL (Ep. 5)"
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.

"A Fast-Paced, Fast Food Life (Ep. 6)"
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.

"Drugs, Cigarettes, Alcohol...and Sugar? (Ep. 7)"
In the series finale, 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.

To see these and learn more go to the website (http://www.uctv.tv/skinny-on-obesity/) or the UCTV Prime YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/uctv).

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