AirTalk for July 9, 2013

Can regulating sugar like alcohol help lower Americans' sugar consumption?


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Should sugar be regulated in the same way alcohol is?

Yep. That’s exactly what pediatric endocrinologist Robert Lustig at the University of California, San Francisco suggested in an interview at this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival. Lustig argues that sugar satisfies the four criteria used to determine whether a substance, like alcohol, should be regulated. 1. Ubiquity: it is everywhere. 2. Toxicity: that consumption in a large amount leads to chronic health problems. 3. Addictiveness: the more we eat it, the more we want it. 4. It has a negative impact on society.

Certainly, overindulging your sweet tooth could lead to diabetes, obesity and other health issues, but is sugar really as bad as something like liquor? Should we consider regulating sugar? What are the benefits and the drawbacks?  

Robert Lustig, M.D., a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco.

Keith Ayoob, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine

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