Recently, both DeGeneres and Jeff Garlin spoke out against sugar and declared that they were off the sweet substance, as I recently wrote about in this opinion piece for AOL News.
In his "Sugar Wars" piece, correspondent John Donovan offers a fascinating look at the views of esteemed pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Robert Lustig, whose YouTube video -- entitled "Sugar: The Bitter Truth" -- has garnered more than a quarter of a million hits to date and clearly brought Dr. Lustig into the limelight.
In this Nightline segment -- which you can watch below -- Donovan calls Dr. Lustig "a man at war with sugar," because he argues that too much fructose and not enough fiber are to blame for our obesity crisis and metabolic syndrome.
"Fructose is the cause of the current epidemic," insists Dr. Lustig, director of UCSF’s Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health (WATCH) Clinic and UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology.
Nightline correspondent Donovan also includes quotes from the pediatric endocrinologist about how fructose confuses people's brains into thinking they're hungry and about how low-fat foods such as SnackWells cookies and fruit-flavored yogurt are filled with sugar. Dr. Lustig even argues that teens should be carded when buying sugary foods.
In the Nightline "Sugar Wars" piece, Donovan strives to be unbiased by allowing Dr. Lustig's ideas to be refuted by three pro-sugar advocates -- one from the American Beverage Association (formerly called the National Soft Drink Association) and two from the Corn Refiners Association, including a cardiologist, who has done studies funded by PepsiCo, the manufacturer of sugar-filled soft drinks.
Understandably, correspondent John Donovan seems to be like millions of Americans, who have a sweet tooth. In fact, the reporter readily admits that strolling with Dr. Lustig at San Francisco's Pier 30 (a hot spot filled with sugary foods such as waffle cones) can be "at times, well, a bit of of a downer. Because we love sugar, don't we, most of us?"
Donovan is absolutely correct in his assessment. Most Americans -- and people around the world -- are so keen on sugar that they imbibe it to their detriment. Unfortunately, the Nightline reporter did not mention that obesity is only part of the sugar story.
The average American's sugar consumption -- about 170 pounds per year per person -- also has been linked with heart disease, cancer, severe PMS, memory loss, depression, fatigue, headaches, infertility, low libido, polycystic ovary syndrome and many other ailments.In addition, regretfully, the Nightline piece did not point out that Dr. Lustig is in good company. His views are shared by many of us concerned health advocates. For instance, esteemed pediatric endocrinologist Dr. David Ludwig -- who was previously interviewed along with me for a "CBS News Sunday Morning" segment, "Is America Too Sweet on Sugar" -- is among those frightened by the massive consumption of sugar, particularly high fructose corn syrup, in this country and around the world.
Others sounding the sugar alarm include:
- Dr. Walter Willett of Harvard;
- Dr. Nancy Appleton, author of Suicide by Sugar: A Startling Look at Our #1 National Addiction;
- Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, who appears on my Gab with the Gurus Radio Show on March 31 to discuss his new book, Beat Sugar Addiction Now! ;
- Dr. Richard Johnson, author of The Sugar Fix: The High-Fructose Fallout That is Making You Fat and Sick.);
- Celebrity health and wellness expert J.J. Virgin, who will be on my radio show in May to discuss her upcoming book, Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy; and
- Myself, author of SUGAR SHOCK! How Sweet and Simple Carbs Can Derail Your Life--And How You Can Get Back on Track.
Now, I invite you to watch the eye-opening Nightline segment below.
I also encourage you to watch Dr. Lustig's YouTube video, in which he argues that the current obesity epidemic is due to the marked increase in people's consumption of fructose over the last 30 years. He also points out that fructose is toxic in large quantities, because it is metabolized in the liver in the same way as alcohol, which drives fat storage and makes the brain think it is hungry.
Finally, I invite you to watch this 3 Minute Ad Age segment, in which I reveal that if you're eating processed foods, it's virtually impossible to take in high fructose corn syrup in moderation, as the Corn Refiners Association ads assert.
FYI, this increased awareness about sugar's dangers comes at an exciting time for me, because next month, I celebrate my 12th year off sugar. If you'd like help to conquer your sugar habit and other bad habits, join the Smart Habits Fans on Facebook to get daily tips.
You're also invited to learn about my new 5-week, Break Free With Connie teleseminar program, which begins April 20. In honor of my 12th year kick-sugar anniversary, early-bird rates are now in effect.