Skip to main content

Sugar: Hiding in plain sight - Robert Lustig


49,624 Questions Answered

TEDEd Animation

Let’s Begin…

While sugar is easy to spot in candy, soft drinks and ice cream, it also hides out in foods you might not expect -- including peanut butter, pasta sauce and even bologna! Robert Lustig decodes confusing labels and sugar's many aliases to help determine just how much of that sweet carbohydrate makes its way into our diets.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

When you eat something loaded with sugar, your taste buds, your gut and your brain all take notice. This activation of your reward system is not unlike how bodies process addictive substances such as alcohol or nicotine -- an overload of sugar spikes dopamine levels and leaves you craving more. Nicole Avena explains why sweets and treats should be enjoyed in moderation.
For all the TED-Ed Lessons about food (and eating it too), check out this series: You are what you eat.
Dr. Lustig assesses the health dangers of sugar and its link to Type 2 diabetes and the global obesity epidemic. He is the author of several books and many articles on childhood obesity, including the recent "Obesity Before Birth."
Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco, spoke to students at the University of California Hastings Law School, where he studied food policy law. Dr. Lustig claimed that sugar is the reason for the high percentage of Americans who are obese, and that politics are preventing sound food policy.
See more about Robert Lustig here.

Next Section »

About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Robert Lustig
  • Director Bill Keaggy
  • Artist Chris Roettger
  • Animator Jacob Heberlie, Eric DeFord
  • Writer Shawn Gauthier
  • Narrator Michelle Snow

More from You Are What You Eat