Morning Joe | January 08, 2013
>>> okay. joining us now for the weight assessment of child and teen program at uc san francisco dr. lustig. he's out with an extremely important new book. " fat chance beating the odds against sugar , processed food , obesity and disease." everybody should buy this book and read from it. this is going to be cutting edge in terms of how we look at food and, specifically, let's talk about sugar . which you lay the blame of obesity on sugar .
>> actually, i really don't. there are lots and lots of ways to get obese.
>> lots of different food stuff that contribute to weight gain . for instance, harvard school of public health showed potato chips and french fries were the biggest single contributors to weight gain .
>> the thing about sugar that is so cit is the cause. the thing that takes you from obesity to all the metabolic problems that occur secondary to obesity. that is the hypertension, the diabetes, the heart disease and likely the cancer and the dementia. conglomerately we call this metabolic syndrome .
>> got it. okay. that characterizes it well.
>> that's where the money goes.
>> it does, we can talk about --
>> this is a political problem as well as a medical problem. i think we have to talk about it in that context because of subsidies that go to corn industry, that go into farm bill . et cetera . i don't want to interrupt the doctor.
>> let's do the science really quick and then let's get to the money, which is the politics. would you consider sugar to be toxic?
>> in high dose, sugar does all of the same things as alcohol does. in terms of how it is metabolized and what it does to the liver and all the diseases down stream that alcohol causes, sugar causes, as well. now, if you are on the gridiron. if you've exercised for three hours. if you've depleted your liver starch or glycogen and you consume a sugar beverage like gatorade, you will rebuild that glycogen and everybody else, that's turning into liver fat and driving that insulin resistance in the liver and causing the same metabolic processes and causing the metabolic dysfunction. in high dose, sugar is toxic. you have to know where your dose is and probably it's different than everyone.
>> a 9-year-old drinking an orange soda and then not doing much that day.
>> that would be a problem.
>> what kind of a problem, doctor?
>> we now see that up to 13% of normal weight children and 38% of obese children now have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease . this was a disease not recognized to 1980 .
>> why do we even have soda --
>> one-third of americans and that can progress to sorosis and the single leading cause of liver transplantation in america.
>> kids are living on sugar all day long and this epidemic of behavior problems, as well. " national geographic " said if sugar were discovered today it would be a regulated narcotic. if it was just found today, it would be regulated under fda guidelines.
>> we don't know how much sugar is in our diet because we're not talking about buying candy or my obsession with soda pop .
>> one-third of the sugar in our diet is in sodas, sugar sweetened beverages.
>> you can taste it.
>> one-sixth is in desserts. you can know about those. but one-half of all the sugar consumed in this country is in foods that you didn't know had sugar . like, for instance, salad dressing, hamburger buns, hamburger meat .
>> the government is happy to subsidize that below cost for the sugar industry, as well. correct?
>> that's right.
>> it doesn't taste good, add more sugar .
>> guess what, it sells. that's exactly what is happening.
>> sugar is delicious.
>> what is your prescription then? there's this epidemic and people need to wake up to it and do what?
>> every single addictive substance and sugar is weakly addictive like alcohol is. every addictive substance has required personal intervention, which for lack of a better word we can call rehab and rehab and laws for cocaine, for nicotine, for alcohol, for heroin, you name it. sugar meets all of those same criteria of toxicity and abuse. we need a personal intervention, rehab, if you will. what will that look like? well, the bottom line is people need to know what's going on in order to be able to educate themselves. i just had an op-ed in the " san francisco chronicle " about how the food label had to change with respect to this to educate the populous. and then societial intervention. what would that look like? well, as long as the food industry is allowed to put any amount of sugar in any processed food that they want with ipunity, this cannot get fixed.
>> labeling is part of it.
>> you said we need an intervention rehab. were you joking around?
>> no, not at all.
>> that leads me to believe what i already believe and that some of these substances, including sugar , are addictive. that you, once you start eating them in large quantities, especially early on in life, you can't stop.
>> a lot of people who are obese are not undisciplined and are not jokes and are not to be made fun of, but they are part of the problem with our food environment and an addiction that has developed within their own bodies. am i crazy?
>> no, you're not crazy at all. the reward center of the brain and the reward neuro transmitter called dopamine when receptors go down which is what happens when you constantly bombard them, then what you need is more of whatever it is, in this case, sugar , to accomplish the same effect. that's called tolerance. and tolerance is the first step on the way to addiction. we have the data in animals that sugar is addictive. the question is, is it addictive in humans? the data is --
>> with i have to get in here because obesity is probably one of the greatest economic threats to this country, as well.
>> hundreds of billions a year are linked to obesity. cancer linked to obesity. so, listen, we're going to go bust if we don't figure this out. how do we solve it? tax the food companies and soda companies more? how do we fix it because it's literally eating our budget.
>> two politicians have taken it on. bill clinton in his foundation and mayor bloomberg who was here earlier. there are some real solutions.
>> mayor bloomberg has taken it on. i'll tell you that the big gulp ban is a baby step. it's in the right direction. it will not solve obesity. but it's at least a start.
>> it's willingness.
>> now, bill clinton is a different story. he and governor huckabee went to the beverage industry and they got them to remove sugared sweetened beverages from elementary schools and middle schools . whey do you think they did that? they didn't remove the juice and sports drinks . all they did was change their vending machines .
>> the book is " fat chance ." you can read an excerpt on our blog, mojo.msnbc.com. thank you for writing this book. thank you for being part of mine in the spring, which addresses addiction. i still truly believe we're going to have, just like the tobacco suits.
>> we're starting them. we're starting them. we're starting a nonprofit to do just that.
>> wow. that's going to be --
>> it's coming here.