Should sugar be regulated like alcohol?
February 1st, 2012
08:00 PM ET
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Editor's note: Laura Schmidt and her colleagues, Robert Lustig and Claire Brindis, are the authors of "The toxic truth about sugar." To read the full commentary, visit the science journal Nature.

I am a medical sociologist, which means I study the health of whole societies. I've spent more than 20 years studying the best possible ways to address alcohol problems in societies - what works and what doesn't to protect people from harm.

I work as a professor in the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine and at the UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute. This allows me to connect with other scientists who come from very different backgrounds but who want to work together on big problems - think of a Manhattan Project, only one focused on protecting health through the collaboration of scientists who study everything from tiny cells to entire societies.

So three years ago, a pediatric endocrinologist named Rob Lustig walks into my office and asks for my help. Rob tells me that he's finding many connections between the metabolism of fructose (sugar) and ethanol (alcohol) in his work on metabolic functioning, liver damage and the obesity epidemic.

Read the full story - Opinion: Why we should regulate sugar like alcohol

soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. thoughtpoleece

    Hey hamsta are you gonna be home at 298 east 64th avenue Tuckahoe , New York . say four o'clock today? Just thought we would check!!!!!!!!!!! Leave the light on .

    Your Friends,
    Thought Police

    February 4, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  2. erik

    funny people have been eating/using sugar for a great many things for what...15000 years? suddenly it's bad for you. just folks trying to make a name for themselves

    February 4, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  3. hamsta

    enough with the nanny expecting the thought police to bust my door down next.

    February 3, 2012 at 1:31 am |
  4. tomanycommentsystemsonCNN

    Parents should be prosecuted for giving kids sugar, only adults 18 or over should be able to buy sugar!

    February 2, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  5. Kathryn (Kathy) (Bogala) Calgary Alberta

    Definitely not good for you in large quantities ... but do we really need to regulate it????

    February 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  6. Julie

    Let's just put half the country out of business and regulate sugar.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  7. Luke

    Please don't post half an article and then point the readers to a publication site that requires membership. Either talk to the authors and get a real article together or pick a different topic.

    February 2, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • czerendipity

      You don't need membership to read it. Learn to use the internet properly.

      February 6, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  8. David

    Actually, alcohol shouldn't be regulated either

    February 2, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Regulation Smegulation

      And grass shouldn't be illegal. But that's a different thread.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:57 am |
  9. abbyful

    No, no, and NO! The goverment's job is not to baby-sit us and control what we eat.

    I eat very little sugar, so while this wouldn't really effect me in my sugar consumption, it does effect my freedoms as a US citizen.

    It's a slippery slope. What's next? Regulating fat? No thank you! I do not buy into the high-carb, low-fat diet that the government pushes. I do NOT want the government controlling what I eat. It's MY CHOICE what to put in MY BODY.

    February 2, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Today's Lesson

      Breathe .... just breathe.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  10. Blather Blather

    More ridiculous nonsense out of California. Too bad we can't regulate stupidity out of exiztence.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • chi

      Too bad you can't spell.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:36 am |
      • Humor Nazi

        Too bad you didn't get that hair removed.

        February 2, 2012 at 10:52 am |
      • Blather Blather

        Here is an s for you, now go sthu already you tree hugging California grammar nazi.

        February 2, 2012 at 11:05 am |
      • Humor Nazi (Bobby DeNiro)

        You tawkin' to me?

        February 2, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  11. James

    Sugar may be toxic (neuro toxin) by High Fructose corn syrup is much worse. Shame on CNN for not bringing HFC into the discussion as well. HFC is metabolized like ETOH (Ethyl Alcohol) in the lIver and has the potential to create a "fatty liver". Sugar doesn't react this way. Go back to the ATP cycle! The obesity we see is the result of HFC in so many products. CNN needs to do proper research and reporting. Their commentary makes it seem they are bought by the corn industry.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:14 am |
  12. Domino

    "Should sugar be regulated like alcohol?" Regulating sugar to eliminate / reduce the number of obese people would probably have the same effect on people as regulating alcohol to eliminate alcoholism. Good luck with that and congrats on your grant application.

    February 2, 2012 at 7:45 am |
  13. Jim Naples Florida

    HOW ABOUT SELF DISCIPLINE? We are overly regulated as it stands now; how about we, as adults, simply assume responsibility for our own actions? Regulate sugar... YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME. Ask before you order.. how difficult is that?

    February 2, 2012 at 7:17 am |
    • Tracy

      Thank you! I really wonder if we as a society will ever be accountable for our actions. If you suffer health issues, educate yourself and read the labels. It's not that difficult!

      February 2, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • czerendipity

      The problem is that obviously, people don't do this. And those of us how do end up paying for a portion of the irresponsible groups healthcare.

      February 6, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  14. Joe Blow

    If you don't eat sugar, you'll live forever, right?

    February 1, 2012 at 10:11 pm |

    The sugar in too many dishes in one dinner at a time breaks down into alcohol molecular level which is bad on the liver over time

    February 1, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
  16. somethings missing

    obeseity liver damage metabolism alcohol & the small and big melecular cells have i got the big picture

    February 1, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  17. This is beyond belief

    I'll give you my sugar when you pry it from my cold, dead hands...

    February 1, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  18. Arturo FĂ©liz-Camilo

    It's probably as damaging or more than alcohol too...

    February 1, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
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