Robert H. Lustig Headshot
Report a problem with this profile
[email protected]

Robert H. Lustig        

Endocrinologist, Professor of Pediatric Endocrinology, New York Times Bestselling Author

Dr. Robert Lustig is Professor of Pediatric Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Lustig has become a leading public health authority on the impact sugar has on fueling the diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome epidemics, and on addressing changes in the food environment to reverse these chronic diseases.

Dr. Lustig is a neuroendocrinologist, with basic and clinical training relative to hypothalamic development, anatomy, and function. In his New York Times best-selling book "Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processes Food, Obesity, and Disease," Dr. Lustig documents both the science and the politics that have led to the current pandemic of obesity and chronic disease. In the "Fat Chance Cookbook," Dr. Lustig provides practical examples for applying healthy eating principles with recipes by Cindy Gershen. His acclaimed YouTube video, “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” continues its popularity with the lay public.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Lustig went to Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976, and received his M.D. from Cornell University Medical College in 1980. He completed his pediatric residency at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in 1983, and his clinical fellowship at UCSF in 1984. From there, he spent six years as a post-doctoral fellow and research associate in neuroendocrinology at Rockefeller University. He has also been a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of Tennessee, Memphis. In 2013, Dr. Lustig received his master's in the study of law from the University of California, Hastings, to enable him to impact the food industry through policy change.

Dr. Lustig has authored 125 peer-reviewed articles and 73 reviews. He has mentored 20 pediatric endocrine fellows and trained numerous other allied health professionals. He provides endocrinologic support to several protocols of the Children’s Oncology Group. He is the former Chairman of the Ad hoc Obesity Task Force of the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society, a member of the Pediatric Obesity Practice Guidelines Subcommittee of The Endocrine Society, a member of the Obesity Task Force of the Endocrine Society, a member of the Pediatric Obesity Devices Committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a member of the Bay Area Board of Directors of the American Heart Association, and a member of the Steering Committee of Health Foods, Healthy Kids of the Culinary Institute of America. He also consults for several childhood obesity advocacy groups.

Speech Topics

Clinician Confidential: How industry hacked the health professions, and how to unhack them

Mountain Dew Mouth has been the scourge of dentists for decades. But there’s a new disease which affects even more people: Mountain Dew Liver. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) wasn’t even discovered until 1980 and now up to 40% of Americans suffer from it, and it is now the leading cause of liver transplantation. (Especially children - 13% of autopsies in children show NAFLD; and 38% of obese children.) This disease belies all our other chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. And it is due to our excessive sugar consumption.

Dietary sugar is composed of one molecule each of glucose and fructose. It is the fructose that is the primary driver of both diseases. Fructose gets turned into fat in the liver mitochondria, which drives NAFLD, which is the leading cause of liver transplantation now, surpassing alcohol. And now children get the diseases of alcohol without alcohol, because they are the biggest sugar consumers.

As my colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco have shown, the Sugar Research Foundation – the industry’s trade group – even sought to persuade clinical medicine to focus on saturated fat instead of sugar, and pushed clinical dentistry to focus on a vaccine for tooth decay rather than sugar reduction.

Altering our diet is where public health prevention starts. But the dark forces of Big Sugar conspire to keep us consuming even more. They employ many tactics, similar to those of Big Tobacco. But we are now wise to their efforts, and solutions are slowly being enacted to counter their influence.

Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity & Disease

In the late 1970s when the government mandated we get the fat out of our food, the food industry responded by pouring more sugar in. The result has been a perfect storm, disastrously altering our biochemistry and driving our eating habits out of our control. To help us recover our health, Dr. Lustig presents personal strategies to readjust the key hormones that regulate hunger, reward and stress; and societal strategies to improve the health of the next generation. Compelling, controversial and completely based in science, Dr. Lustig debunks the widely held notion to prove “a calorie is NOT a calorie,” and takes that science to its logical conclusion to improve health worldwide.


The Sugar-Addiction Taboo - Robert H. Lustig - The Atlantic
Robert H. Lustig is a pediatric neuroendocrinologist and a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. He is former chairman of the ...
Learning to Cut the Sugar -
Dr. Robert Lustig became widely known as “the anti-sugar guy” after a lecture of his called “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” was posted on YouTube and gained ...

Related Speakers View all

More like Robert