NEWS | July 9, 2012

Renowned endocrinologist and sugar expert to speak at UC Davis Health System


Robert Lustig, the physician whose lecture titled "Sugar: The Bitter Truth" went viral on YouTube with more than 2.5 million hits, will speak on the Sacramento campus of UC Davis as part of the Pioneers in Integrative Medicine speaker series.

His lecture -- "Darwin, Diet, Disease and Dollars" -- is based on his investigations of the role of  sugar in conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and obesity. It takes place Thursday, July 12, from noon until 1 p.m. in the Matsui Lecture Hall of the Education Building, 4610 X St., Sacramento.

Robert Lustig © UC Regents
Robert Lustig

The event is free and open to the public. To register, visit

A clinical professor of pediatric endocrinology and director of the Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health (WATCH) Program at UC San Francisco, Lustig is a nationally renowned neuroendocrinologist interested in how biochemical, neural, hormonal and genetic influences contribute to obesity. He is controversial in his claim that sugar should be considered as addictive as alcohol and tobacco.

Lustig appeared in April 2012 on a "60 Minutes" segment with UC Davis nutritional biologist Kimber Stanhope to discuss the role of sugar in chronic disease. His work also has been discussed in The New York Times ("Is Sugar Toxic?" April 2011)  and Nature ("Public Health: The Toxic Truth About Sugar," February 2012).

Lustig earned his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College and completed a pediatric residency at St. Louis Children's Hospital and a pediatric endocrinology fellowship at UCSF. He then spent six years as a postdoctoral fellow in neuroendocrinology at Rockefeller University in New York. An author of more than 85 research articles and 45 book chapters, he is a member of the Endocrine Society's Obesity Task Force and the Pediatric Obesity Devices Committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He is the former chair of the Obesity Task Force of the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society.

"In taking on the fight against added sugar in our diet, Dr. Lustig explodes the myth that 'sweets are treats,'" said Rosane Oliveira, assistant director of the UC Davis Health System Integrative Medicine Program. "His research provides compelling new information for physicians, health-care professionals and policymakers to consider in the nation's battle against obesity and chronic disease."

UC Davis Health System is improving lives and transforming health care by providing excellent patient care, conducting groundbreaking research, fostering innovative, interprofessional education and creating dynamic, productive partnerships with the community. The academic health system includes one of the country's best medical schools, a 631-bed acute-care teaching hospital, a 1,000-member physician's practice group and the new Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. It is home to a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, an international neurodevelopmental institute, a stem cell institute and a comprehensive children's hospital. Other nationally prominent centers focus on advancing telemedicine, improving vascular care, eliminating health disparities and translating research findings into new treatments for patients. Together, they make UC Davis a hub of innovation that is transforming health for all. For more information, visit