FoodGate: The Problem with the US Food System

You can’t fix healthcare until you fix health. You can’t fix health until you fix the diet. And you can’t fix the diet until you know what’s wrong. What went wrong? FoodGate.

Endocrinologist Robert Lustig, Dentist Cristen Kearns and Health Policy Expert Laura Schmidt team up to explore how the US food system has led to higher rates in obesity and related metabolic diseases in the last 50 years.

Preventable disease rates keep going up, even while behaviors have improved: smoking rates are down, cholesterol and blood pressure are down, and physical activity is up. We should be reaping a health benefit, but we’re not. The primary reason: we’re eating too many refined carbohydrates and too much sugar.

How did the food system come to encourage this? Pharmaceutical companies benefit from long-term drug treatment of metabolic diseases. Organizations such as the Sugar Association and the Beverage Association fund questionable scientific studies to convince the public that obesity and sugar are not related. These efforts include funding aggressive marketing campaigns to influence public policy. According to Schmidt, they spent 31 million dollars in a single election to convince voters in San Francisco and Oakland not to support a soda tax.

But there is hope. Research into the effects of too much sugar is getting attention, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Lustig and others. There are many parallels between this issue and smoking. According to Schmidt, we’re about where we were in 1970. The tide is slowly shifting, but we have a long way to go. Policy-makers are just now beginning to recognize the negative consequences of an unhealthy populace on healthcare costs and future social security benefits. Lustig advises, “You want social security? Stop drinking soda and tell all your friends to do so, too.”

Watch FoodGate: The Break-in, the Cover-up, and the Aftermath.

Monthly Highlights: June 2012

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Featured This Month
Program Highlights
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FEATURED THIS MONTH

Meet a Diabetes Hero!

On the season premiere of Taking Control of Your Diabetes, Urban Miyares, a legally blind Vietnam veteran with type 1 diabetes, proves that a “can do” attitude and effective management can turn an upsetting diagnosis into boundless possibilities. Dr. Steven Edelman talks with Miyares, an accomplished athlete in both skiing and sailing, about his remarkable achievements in the face of a medical challenge.

CARTA: Culture-Gene Based Interactions in Human Origins

In the latest programs from the Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA), experts discuss how cultural traditions have shaped, and continue to shape, our genomes.

“The Skinny on Obesity” Wraps Up


Have you watched UCTV Prime’s “Skinny on Obesity” yet? Well, now’s your chance to catch up. The 7-part series concluded at the end of May and all the episodes — including bonus footage and a wealth of complementary web material — are available online for binge viewing. Of course, you won’t be binge eating much after you finish.

You’ll also want to check out “UCTV Prime: Cuts” Tuesdays in June for a carefully selected series of excerpts from the Dalai Lama’s April visit to San Diego.


PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

All programs repeat throughout the month. Visit the Program Schedule on our web site for additional air dates and times.

Health & Medicine

Research on Aging: Sleep Disorders in Older Adults

Health Matters: New Melanoma Screening Method

Practicing Medicine Longer: Assessment of the Aging Physician

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Science

Perspectives on Ocean Science: From the Titanic to the Tiny

To Be Human: What Makes The Human Brain Human? with Terrence Sejnowski

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Public Affairs

China Airborne: Aviation and the Future of China with James Fallows and Peter Cowhey

Exploring Ethics: Henrietta Lacks and Human Subject Research: A Look at Past, Present, and Future

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Humanities Humanities

Neuroscience and the Emerging Mind: A Conversation with the Dalai Lama on Consciousness and Compassion

Burke Lecture: Interpreting Islam in Modern Context with Tariq Ramadan

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Arts & Music Arts & Music

La Jolla Music Society SummerFest 2008: Beethoven’s String Quartet in F-Major

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Check out the latest additions to our online video archive

To Be Human: The Verve: How We Became Modern with Seth Lerer

Research on Aging: Aging and Life’s Goodies: Wisdom, Resilience, and Sex

More videos and podcasts>>