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July 10th, 2024

The impact of ultra-processed foods and fructose on metabolic health with Dr. Robert Lustig

  1. The impact of ultra-processed foods and fructose on metabolic health with Dr. Robert Lustig Dr. Gil Blander / Dr. Robert Lustig 1:12:48

In this episode of Longevity by Design, host Dr. Gil Blander talks with Dr. Robert Lustig, an emeritus professor of pediatrics at UCSF and a renowned neuroendocrinologist. Dr. Lustig dives into the impact of ultra-processed foods and fructose on metabolism, emphasizing how these contribute to obesity and metabolic diseases. He also discusses his journey from academia to public health advocacy, aiming to reform the food industry and reduce chronic diseases.

Episode highlights:

  • Introduction: 00:00
  • The Role of Insulin in Obesity and Metabolism 00:08:00
  • The Influence of Big Food Industries on Public Health Policies 00:29:16
  • The Misconception of Dietary Fats 00:40:0
  • The Impact of Stress on Visceral Fat 00:49:27

Key Insights:

Ultra-processed foods are detrimental to health

Ultra-processed foods, especially those high in fructose, have significant negative impacts on metabolic health. These foods contribute to obesity, fatty liver disease, and other chronic conditions by disrupting normal metabolic processes. They are typically high in sugar, low in fiber, and contain many additives and preservatives that harm the body's ability to regulate weight and insulin levels. The NOVA classification system highlights the degree of food processing, showing that the more processed a food is, the more it is associated with metabolic diseases. Consuming minimally processed foods (NOVA 1) is crucial for maintaining good health, as they are free from the harmful additives found in ultra-processed foods.

A calorie is not just a calorie

The concept that all calories are equal is misleading. Different types of calories have varying effects on the body. For example, calories from fructose and other sugars can lead to increased fat storage and metabolic problems, unlike calories from whole foods that contain fiber and other nutrients. The body's response to calories depends on factors like insulin response, satiety signals, and the presence of micronutrients. Studies have shown that ultra-processed foods cause people to consume more calories and gain weight compared to non-processed foods, despite having the same caloric content. Understanding this difference is essential for addressing obesity and metabolic diseases.

Fructose is a major contributor to fatty liver disease

Fructose, a type of sugar found in many processed foods and sweetened beverages, is a primary driver of fatty liver disease. Unlike glucose, which is metabolized by every cell in the body, fructose is mainly processed by the liver. Excessive consumption of fructose overwhelms the liver's ability to metabolize it properly, leading to the production of fat within the liver. This process, known as de novo lipogenesis, contributes to the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is increasingly common even among children. Limiting the intake of fructose by avoiding sugary drinks and processed foods is crucial for preventing and managing fatty liver disease.

Longevity by Design is produced by InsideTracker, your data-driven wellness guide for optimizing your healthspan. For a limited time, visit insidetracker.com/podcast for 20% off any InsideTracker plan.

InsideTracker Longevity by Design by InsideTracker

Longevity by Design is a podcast for individuals looking to experience a longer, healthier life. In each episode, Dr. Gil Blander joins a co-host and an industry expert to explore a personalized health journey. The show helps you access science-backed information, unpack complicated concepts, learn what’s on the cutting edge of longevity research and the scientists behind them. Tune into Longevity by Design and see how to add years onto your life...and life onto your years.

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