FAB Event: Sugar and the Brain: Food Choice, Addiction and the Mental Health Crisis, Professor Robert Lustig MD

13 March 2013 - Food and Behaviour Event - Oxford - SUGAR AND THE BRAIN: FOOD CHOICE, ADDICTION AND THE MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS - A Symposium with Professor Robert Lustig MD

Date: March 13 2013
Duration: 12.30pm to 5.00pm
Venue: Medical Sciences Teaching Centre, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PL

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FAB Research is proud to be hosting the first visit to the UK by Professor Robert Lustig MD of the University of California, a specialist in neuro-endocrinology and obesity who is internationally renowned for his research into the hormonal and other effects of dietary sugar.

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Robert Lustig UCSF photo

At this special symposium, Professor Lustig will outline the evidence for his claim that sugar is addictive, and toxic in excess.  If he is right, this would help not only to explain the current epidemic of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other degenerative physical health disorders, but also to give us new and important insights into a wide range of mental health disorders.  These have already overtaken physical health disorders in terms of their cost burden in developed countries, with potentially devastating consequences if their increase continues unchecked.

Serious mental health disorders like schizophrenia have long been associated with the same ‘metabolic syndrome’ that underlies diabetes and heart disease; and there is mounting evidence that excessive sugar consumption may play a role in conditions such as ADHD, antisocial behaviour, depression and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as contributing to the dramatic rise in eating disorders in recent years.

Public health advice still emphasises ‘low-fat’ diets for weight loss and general health, but such diets are almost always high in sugar and other refined carbohydrates. 

Hear the scientific evidence, and join in questions and discussion with our panel of eminent speakers and commentators, all of whom are experts in their respective fields.  Issues covered will include: 

  • Why have mental health disorders risen so dramatically in recent years – and why does this matter so much?
  • Has ‘healthy eating’ advice inadvertently been making matters worse?
  • What’s the evidence that diet can play a role in ADHD, depression, psychosis and dementia?
  • Can nutritional interventions really reduce antisocial behaviour or eating disorders?
  • Why might sugar be addictive and toxic – and if it is, what can we do about it?

Speakers and Panel:

Opening Remarks
Prof Michael Crawford
 (Imperial College, London; Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition)

'Pure White And Deadly' - A legacy remembered
Prof Michael Yudkin (Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry, University of Oxford; son of John Yudkin, the author of 'Pure, White and Deadly - How sugar is killing us and what we can do to stop it' which has recently been re-released by Penguin with a foreword from Robert Lustig)

Sugar, Hormones and Addiction
Prof Robert Lustig MD (Professor of Pediatrics, UC San Francisco; Author of 'Fat Chance: The bitter truth about sugar)

The Role of Dietary Sugar and Fat in Disorders of Behaviour, Learning and Mood
Dr Alex Richardson (Founder Director, FAB Research; Senior Research Fellow, University of Oxford; Author of ‘They Are What You Feed Them’)

Sugar, diet and violence: A diet of disaffection
Dr Bernard Gesch (Research Scientist, University of Oxford)

Nutrition and Mental Health - Time for a New Paradigm?
Professor Malcolm Peet (Consultant Psychiatrist, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Healthcare Trust; Honorary Professor, University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University)