UCSF Obesity Experts Serve Up "The Skinny on Obesity" on UCTV

April 13, 2012
Contact: News Office (415) 502-6397

Is a calorie just a calorie, or does the body process calories from sugar differently? Is sugar an addictive substance? Should it be regulated?

These questions will be addressed in "The Skinny on Obesity," a seven-part original series that will air on UCTV Prime beginning April 13. The series will feature Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, and two colleagues — Elissa Epel and Barbara Laraia, co-directors of the UCSF Center for Obesity Assessment, Study and Treatment.

Lustig has been interviewed by the New York Times and, most recently, appeared on 60 Minutes discussing sugar and obesity. He initially caught the public's attention with his lecture "Sugar: The Bitter Truth," which has garnered more than 2 million views on YouTube.

The documentary series premieres April 13 on UCTV Prime, a YouTube original channel, with new episodes every Friday through May 25. The 6- to 10-minute episodes and bonus content are available at www.uctv.tv/skinny-on-obesity.

The series will feature the following episodes:

April 13 — "An Epidemic for Every Body"

How did we get so fat, so fast? The debut 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.

April 20 — "Sickeningly Sweet"

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.

April 27 — "Hunger and Hormones: A Vicious Cycle"

Sugar impacts the brain just as much as the waistline. In this episode, Lustig explains the biochemical shifts that sugar causes, making us store fat and feel hungry at the same time.

May 4 — "Sugar: A Sweet Addiction"

Sugar isn't 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.

May 11 — "Generation XL"

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 prenatal health.

May 18 — "A Fast-Paced, Fast Food Life"

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.

May 25 — "Drugs, Cigarettes, Alcohol...and Sugar?"

Our 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.

About UCSF Medical Center
UCSF Medical Center consistently ranks as one of the top 10 hospitals in the United States. Recognized for innovative treatments, advanced technology, collaboration among health care professionals and scientists, and a highly compassionate patient care team, UCSF Medical Center serves as the academic medical center of the University of California, San Francisco. The medical center's nationally preeminent programs include children's health, the brain and nervous system, organ transplantation, women's health and cancer. It operates as a self-supporting enterprise within UCSF and generates its own revenues to cover the operating costs of providing patient care.

Follow UCSF Medical Center on www.facebook.com/UCSFMedicalCenter or on Twitter @UCSFHospitals.