Robert Lustig of the University of California, San Francisco, offers a new explanation for the increase in obesity rates in the United States. According to Lustig, the mainstream view of the problem is based on the dogma that "a calorie is a calorie." That dogma, he argues, is incorrect. While it is true that we eat too much and exercise too little, he says, the real problem is our exposure to sugar, which is, in effect, toxic to the body. Chronic sugar consumption promotes an array of diseases, and over time it tricks the brain into desiring more food because a calorie of sugar is not properly logged as a calorie eaten. Lustig suggests that if sugar is indeed an addictive, toxic substance, then it may be necessary for the government to intervene. Lustig argues that, from a policy perspective, the U.S. needs to enact public health measures to limit sugar exposure.
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