I was recently invited by Professor William McCarthy from the UCLA School of Public Health to participate in an Expert Roundtable on Added/Free Sugar at the Luskin Center at UCLA. The meeting was sponsored by the Kaiser Permanente Policy Institute in partnership with the American Heart Association and hosted by Drs. Sue Babey and William McCarthy from the Center for Health Policy Research at UCLA. Kaiser Permanente wants to be a leader in clinical and policy approaches to reducing excess added sugar intake.
A wide range of topics were discussed at the meeting from the detrimental effect of excessive fructose consumption on metabolic health and on fatty liver disease to legislative approaches to reducing population access to sugary beverages. The task to stand up against the powerful lobby behind the farm and food industry (adding sugar and high fructose corn syrup to just about everything we eat) is enormous. However, some companies have become partners in this effort. Jessica Sperling from Dannon (now DanoneWave) gave an excellent example of the laudable efforts this company makes to reduce sugar in dairy products and their example will hopefully be followed by others.