The Skinny on Obesity Print
Written by Dee McCaffrey, CDC   
Thursday, July 12, 2012


How did the entire world get so fat so fast?  That's the question Dr. Robert Lustig poses in the first segment of "The Skinny on Obesity", a 7-part short-video series produced by the University of California, San Francisco, Mini Medical School for the Public.

In 2009 Dr. Robert Lustig, the leading expert on childhood obesity, sparked a national dialogue about sugar, calling it a toxin that has fueled the global obesity epidemic.  As a doctor, he has a compelling way of explaining how sugar affects the body.  In this 7-part series from UCTV, Dr. Lustig and two of his UCSF colleagues tease out the science behind this alarming claim.  What I found the most valuable in this video are the simple animated depictions of how the body works, and also Dr. Lustig's easy to understand explanations. 

I think you will find it highly educational and extremely valuable in helping you understand how to get a grip on this important aspect of your health.  If you want recipes  and a healthy eating plan to help you put it all into practice, you can find that in my book The Science of Skinny.

The video series is presented in seven short segments that can be watched at your leisure, and also includes two bonus segments.  CLICK ON THE ABOVE IMAGE TO WATCH.  Here's a preview of each of the series topics:

Episode 1  (12 minutes)  An Epidemic for Every Body
The debut episode of this 7-part series debunks the theory that obesity only affects the "gluttons and sloths" among us and is, in fact, a public health problem that impacts everyone.  I love his explanation of why a calorie is not a calorie!

Episode 2  (9 minutes)  Sickenly Sweet
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.  Be afraid.  Be very afraid.

Episode 3  (8 minutes) Hunger and Hormones A Vicious Cycle
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.  The animations are great, and Dr. Lustig is convincing.

Episode 4  (8 minutes) Sugar: A Sweet Addicition
If you don't believe sugar is addictive, this episode will help you understand the cycle of addiction that sugar causes in the brain, much in the same way as drugs and alcohol. Sugar addiction can be just as tough to overcome as any other addiction.

Episode 5  (7 minutes) Generation XL
What a mother eats while pregnant can affect her child's weight.  Although born normal weight, or even underweight, and alarming number of children become overweight at 6 months or older.  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.

Episode 6 (7 minutes)  A Fast Paced, Fast Food Life
This episode explores how our fast paced lifestyles create stress that is a key contributor to today's obesity epidemic. Practical and effective solutions are offered that don't involve dieting and exercise, however they need to be combined with that type of healthy lifestyle.

Episode 7  (8 ½ minutes) Drugs, Cigarettes, Alcohol and Sugar?
The experts crack down on 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.  Some of this information was covered in my article Time to Regulate Sugar?