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It seems like everyday you hear about a new do-it-all fitness regimen or a new study showing that the exercises that you once thought were best are actually bad for you. In our 21st Century Fitness series, we consult the brightest minds to try to cut through the fat and find out what it really takes to be fit and healthy today.

The Truth About Sugar

Image by Eliza Adam/Creative Commons via flickr

Sugar may be sweet, but it’s gained a bad reputation lately, and its rap sheet seems to just keep growing. Studies link its consumption to afflictions like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer.  A new University of Utah study suggests that sugar isn’t even healthy at supposedly “safe” doses. It could reduce reproduction rates and lead to an early grave. Tuesday we’re putting sugar under the microscope. We’ll take a peek at its cultural history, and we’ll also inspect the growing case for labeling sugar a toxic ingredient.

Got some time to kill and want to know more about chronic disease and its link to diet/suger? Read this 150-page report by the World Healh Organization. Dr. Robert Lustig referred to it on today's show.

In this widely viewed YouTube video, Dr. Robert Lustig explores the damage caused by sugary foods. 


  • Wayne Potts is a Professor of Biology at the University of Utah. He led a recent study examining “safe” sugar consumption levels in mice. That study appears in the journal Nature Communications.
  • James Ruff is a former PhD student at the University of Utah. He co-conducted the study of sugar consumption in mice.
  • Dr. Robert Lustig is a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco where he is a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics. He’s a noted expert of obesity studies and the author of the book Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Foods, Obesity and Disease [Amazon|Indiebound].
  • Rich Cohen is the author of many books, including Sweet and Low: A Family Story [Amazon|Indiebound]. His new book Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football [Amazon|Indiebound] will be released in October. His article “Sugar Love: A Not So Sweet Story” appears in the August issue of National Geographic.
Doug Fabrizio has been reporting for KUER News since 1987, and became News Director in 1993. In 2001, he became host and executive producer of KUER's RadioWest, a one hour conversation/call-in show on KUER 90.1 in Salt Lake City. He has gained a reputation for his thoughtful style. He has interviewed everyone from Isabel Allende to the Dalai Lama, and from Madeleine Albright to Desmond Tutu. His interview skills landed him a spot as a guest host of the national NPR program, "Talk of the Nation." He has won numerous awards for his reporting and for his work with RadioWest and KUED's Utah NOW from such organizations as the Society of Professional Journalists, the Utah Broadcasters Association, the Public Radio News Directors Association and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.