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Is Sugar The New Fat? -

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(generated from captions) What if you heard that sugar,
something we eat every day,

was largely responsible for the
worldwide explosion in obesity

and some of the most chronic diseases
of our time?

And what if you heard
that sugar is addictive

and yet it's added to way more food
products than you ever imagined?

Would you think
that was just alarmist bollocks?

So the first time I heard all about
this 'sugar being toxic' stuff

was an American bloke on the telly.

And to be honest,
I just rolled my eyes,

because it seems like everything
is toxic and bad for you these days.

And I don't have a lot of sugar.

I have some in my coffee.

I have the occasional cronut and I
figure I'm allowed 'cause I exercise.

So I just thought, "Well,
how bad can it really be?"

To find some answers,

I'm going to meet one of the world's
most vocal critics against sugar.

He's the man I saw on the telly,
Professor Robert Lustig,

and he's become a YouTube sensation.

So we are being
poisoned by this stuff,

and it's been added surreptitiously
to all of our food.

Every processed food.

OK? And the question is why?

How did this happen?

Professor Lustig is now
internationally sought after

for his potent anti-sugar message.

Three things that sugar does
that these other foodstuffs don't -

liver fat, cell ageing,

interfering with your
brain's functioning

to regulate how much to eat.

That makes it toxic.

Sugar, toxic?

Isn't that a bit shock-jock?

After all, water will kill you
if you overdo it.

Dr Lustig goes even further.

He compares sugar with one of the
most toxic substances out there.

It's not the nicotine that's toxic,
it's the tars that are toxic.

The whole cigarette is toxic.

Professor Lustig, are you saying
that the standard of evidence

for the toxicity of sugar

and the disease-causing effects
of sugar are the same as for tobacco?


How is it that people
are still lagging behind

in terms of their understanding of
the disease-causing effect of sugar?

Nigel, why do you think I'm
sitting down talking to you?

Because your viewers
need to understand

that what they've been told,

what they've been sold for
the last 40 years is a bill of goods

that has been designed specifically
to make money for the food industry

and to hurt them.

It's time to change the paradigm.

Well, something's got to change,

because more than 65% of Kiwi adults
are now obese or overweight,

and nearly 33% of children.

And as I look around,

I'm now wondering, "How much is sugar
implicated in all of this?"

So the first question is,
"How much sugar do you need?"

And the answer is zero.

There are no biological processes
in the body

that require dietary sugar.

Your liver has a capacity to
metabolise a finite amount.

A little is OK. A lot is not.

When you overwhelm your
liver's capacity to metabolise it,

you get in trouble.

And that is what we are seeing.

And he reckons that's because sugar
is being slipped into everyday food

without us knowing it.

So all this stuff has got me thinking
about how much sugar is in the food

that I would normally buy.

So I've come here to a typical
supermarket so I can have a look.

Right. So spreads.

Some of the stuff is obvious -

you know, your chocolatey
nutty spread.

You think, "That tastes nice but
it's bound to have heaps of sugar."

And it does.

Two teaspoons of sugar per serving.

But you wouldn't expect...I mean,
I wouldn't expect, say, Marmite...

..I wouldn't expect to have,
to be honest, any sugar in it.

But in fact it has 11.2 grams,
times 2.5...

28 grams of sugar in
one of these little pottles

which is seven teaspoons of sugar.

I would not have expected
seven teaspoons of sugar
in a thing of Marmite.

So, you couldn't get
more Kiwi than this.

Tomato sauce.

Oh, my God.

Per serving, right,
so per squirt of tomato sauce,

it's just over a teaspoon of sugar.

So every 'pfft' on the plate -
over a teaspoon of sugar.

That's a... I didn't know that.

Mayonnaise, we'll go
for the light, you know,

got the Heart Foundation tick.


For every 'pfft' of mayonnaise
that you put on your whatever,

that's a teaspoon and a half
of sugar.

Quite like tuna.

Almost a teaspoon of sugar
per serving.

Down here, one of the
old family favourites, baked beans.

That has...

Per... Good God.

Per serving, there's almost
four teaspoons of sugar.

I expect loads of added sugar
in fizzy drinks,

but it's come as a surprise

to find out fruit juice
is packed with it as well.

Sugar occurs naturally in fruit,
which is good.

But when it's juiced, you get
seriously concentrated sugars.

It seems
there's no escaping the stuff.

What's becoming really clear to me
as I'm wandering around

and looking at the stuff,

all the stuff
that I would normally buy,

it's not so much that
sugar is hidden,

but it's kind of hidden
in plain sight,

because it's in almost everything.

Without knowing it, I've actually
ended up eating quite a lot of sugar

without really even
thinking about it.

Which has got me wondering, "Why is
sugar in just about everything,

"and who decides how much?"

So I've come along to talk to
a food technologist

who does that stuff for a living.

Here, they develop food products
for food companies.

You know, it could be a muesli bar,
it could be a dressing,

it could be a meal.

Like, I think,
"Why is sugar in everything?"

I get why it's in
ice-creams and cakes.


It's cheap, so often it's used
to rebalance the cost of a product.

For example, a dressing,

and it was an oil-based dressing,

you'd take some of the oil out

because that's
an expensive ingredient,

and bump up the sugar.

So we're looking for
the cheaper products,

and to make the cheaper products,

you've got to put in more sugar
to reach that cheap price?

The marketers have a view

that the consumers won't go
beyond a certain pricepoint.

How do you decide
how much sugar to put in?

Well, I guess it's
a lot of trial and error.

So you taste the product

to make sure that everything
tastes just right.

The product would then
be taken to a panel.

Are they qualified tasters?

I mean, who are the people
on this panel?

Well, it's more the companies -

it'll generally be
the marketing manager

and maybe even the office staff.

A larger company might be able
to afford to run sensory panels

to get feedback
from the actual consumers.

What constantly amazes me
about the modern world

is that marketers, who seem to have a
profession built on fluff and wonder,

make these really important

Like, of course you would take it
to a marketer

to see whether the food tastes good,

rather than someone
who's actually a professional.

You know what I mean?

Well, the marketers are meant to
know what the consumers want, so...

If they've done their job properly,
they've done the research.

But is it really
about consumer demand?

Or is it about profits?

DR LUSTIG: The food industry has
been upping and upping the dose

over the past century,

and in particular
in the past 30 years.

And they found that
when they did that, we bought more.

So this is their juggernaut.

This is how they're making money
and they don't want to stop.

And they won't stop
until they are remanded to stop.

The question is
who's gonna remand them?

That's the question for debate.

I'm discovering that sugar
is in just about everything we eat.

But when it comes to
my own food and lifestyle,

I like to think
I choose healthy options.

This would pretty much be
how I would start most mornings.

It''s a coffee,
bit of a plunger.

Go with the one sugar.
Not a lot of sugar.

Low-fat milk because
that's what I've always thought
you're supposed to have.

That's followed with muesli,
nice fibre and oats

and all that sort of stuff in it.

I kind of feel like
I'm doing all of the right things.

So, yeah, I feel like
I can eat breakfast

with a fairly clear conscience,

I also take my exercise
fairly seriously.

About 20kgs of books,
made up with another 15kgs of rocks.

And who needs a gym?

You've just got to get
a bunch of heavy stuff...

..and apply it to a hill.

Crack on.

I know this probably seems
quite mad for most people.

But I've always subscribed to that
pretty well-accepted theory

that it's calories in,
calories out.

And I like sweet stuff, so if I do
this, then I can have my treats.

Always check.

Let me just walk you through
the nutritional goodness

that is my normal Friday night.

First off we have the Grand Angus,

Diet Coke, so that's good.

This is one of, I think, the crowning
achievements of human civilisation -

it's the Crunchie McFlurry.

Ooh. Look at that.

Yeah, I know.
But it's only on Friday nights.

The rest of the time I think
I'm pretty careful about sugar.

But what about us as a nation?

I was staggered to find out
that the average Kiwi adult

now consumes up to a massive
50 kilograms of sugar a year,

depending on which study you read.

That's around 32 teaspoons
of sugar a day -

way beyond the World Health
Organization recommendations

of up to nine teaspoons for men,

six for women and four for kids.

And the sugar in our diet
isn't just about added or free sugars

but also comes compliments
of refined carbohydrates,

which are quickly converted
to blood sugar.

Stuff like bread and muffins
and cake.

Can I have one of those
lovely cronuts, please,

with the almond shavings on top?

All that stuff that's cheap and
tastes really good - maybe too good.

Angela is your professional
young life-on-the-run Aucklander.

She shops, doesn't exercise
and she is a sugar fiend.

Sunday morning and I'm
just having a bit of a snack.

Carbs and sugar is essentially
my entire diet.

So...'cause I'm not
very domesticated.

I chose the working life.

I usually have takeaways
three times a day.

Three times a day
you would have takeaways?


WOMAN: What are you eating?
Um, a burrito.
But there's not enough sour cream.

Where can I go
that I don't have to cook,

that I don't have to do dishes,
that doesn't cost me that much?

KFC, Burger King, McDonald's.

I don't know,
this is sort of normal for me.

My mini jar.

I eat pretty consistently
throughout the day.

I'll keep lollies by my desk.


And I'm gonna show you my stash
that I keep next to my bed

and it's literally
within arm's length.

That's actually not that much.

There's a lot less
than what I'd usually have.

Now, at the risk of sounding like
the crazy guy on the street

that comes up and accosts you
about your sugar use,

do you ever think of yourself
as perhaps being a bit of
a sugar addict?

Uh...I want to say no
but I think it's pretty obvious.

Yeah, yeah, definitely.
I...I don't know.

I don't drink. I've never
been drunk. I don't smoke.

I've never done drugs
or anything like that.

And I think...

I'm allowed to have one thing that
I'm kind of hopelessly addicted to,
I guess.

And sugar's it for me.

She looks slim and healthy,

but I'm seriously worried
about Angela,

so I'm gonna send her
to a registered nutritionist.

I'm really nervous.

Think it's like going in
to get a growling from your parents

before you get the growling.

I've never seen a diet that bad
in an adult before...

So nervous! I'm sorry.

For so long.

I'm actually, like,
breaking my nails. That's not good.

People in your circumstances tend
to feel like they're bulletproof.

Hmm. Yeah.

And you don't think about diet

and the effects that it might have
in 20 years or 25 years' time.

If you keep going down this track
in terms of your diet,

you're only really inviting
those chronic illnesses

that you keep hearing about.

Yeah, I don't know how
I feel about that. Yeah.

A serious reality check.

Because if Angela keeps this diet up,

she could well join
the estimated 250,000 Kiwis

who are currently diabetic.

Here at Middlemore Hospital
in South Auckland,

they're dealing with the fallout.

580 people are now hooked up
to have their blood cleaned

and purified by dialysis machines.

And the rate of admission
is going up by 10% a year,

which roughly matches
the national statistics.

I'm meeting the clinical head
of diabetes, Dr Brandon Orr-Walker.

Um, Brandon, this looks expensive.
Yeah, no, this is.

Dialysis is a very, very
expensive business.

The machines,
the very high requirements of staff.

It's somewhere in the order
of $50,000 to $100,000
per year per person.

Per year?
And that's the dialysis costs.

Many of these patients,
because of their kidney disease,

for those that have got diabetes
and other problems,

have additional costs to do with
the poor blood flow to their feet,

problems with their heart,
vision and so forth.

And so there'll be other
direct health costs.

But even above that,
there is the cost that

many of these people
are people who could be working

who are now having
to interrupt their lives

to be stuck on a machine.

So it has indirect costs
which are far, far greater.

It's a huge burden
on the health system.

So, fundamentally, right now,

there may well be millions of dollars
of health costs just in this room...

Absolutely. Absolutely.
..just now?

Maori and Pacificer
are most prone to this disease.

It's affecting young and old
and is largely obesity-related.

What's your view about the connection
between sugar and obesity

and diabetes
and all these health problems?

Oh, there's a very clear link
between sugar consumption

and carbohydrate consumption
and diabetes at a population level.

Early intervention could have made
the difference but instead,

Middlemore is landed with
the high cost of intensive care

after the fact.

As a clinician,
as someone who works with this stuff,

how should we, as the general public,
think about sugar in our diet?

The simplest of those, really,
is to reduce sugary intake

and the simplest to identify that
adds no other nutritional value,

would be to reduce the consumption
of sugary beverages.

Are you having much pain in
your foot from the operation?


So, Nigel, Mr Chan's a patient

similar to those
we often see in hospital

who's got a lot of complications
from his diabetes.

Those complications
resulted in infections

and amputation of his big toe.

He's also got other complications.

He's got some difficulty with his
eyes and his kidneys and his nerves.

What do you think
caused your diabetes?

Uh, well, in fact
I was taking too much sugar.

That's what it happened to me.

WOMAN: Even though I've got
a family history of diabetes,

you know, to me it was, "Oh, Mum's
taking her pills, Dad's taking his."

Marilyn is 53.

She's had diabetes for 20 years

and has a long list
of related complications.

My retinals have come
away from the walls.

I've got cataracts
forming in both eyes.

Yeah. I've had a stent put in.
Your heart?

That was last year. Yeah.

How often are you having dialysis,
and how much time does it take?

Three days a week I come.

And, um, I'm four hours.

Four hours each time?
For each of those times that I come.

Right. OK.

What things now, you know,
if you had your time again,

would have made a difference
for you, do you think?

My diet.


Eating all these sugary things
that I shouldn't have been.


What sort of things were they,
thinking about just the normal...

In any day?

I was eating
a dozen apple doughnuts.


And eating chocolates
and lollies and, you know,

heaps of sugar in my cup of tea
and fizzies.

How many teaspoons?

Uh, teaspoons of sugar,
I'd have about four.

Marilyn, people talk about
that you can get addicted to sugar,

that you kind of have to have it.

Did it feel like that for you,
when you were having lots of sugar?


I had to have my lollies, you know,
the really sweet...

Like, a packet of jelly beans.

That amount of sugar is a lot.

I had to have it.

For me, this is what happened to me
with my love of sugar.

I love sugar too.

But all this is starting
to give me a few nagging doubts.

What about my blood sugar levels?

So I'm gonna have my blood
tested for good measure.

the more they learn.
And the more you're involved, parents called Learning Potential.
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Sugar is strongly implicated
in the worldwide obesity explosion

and obesity-related diseases.

For my part, though, I reckon
I'm pretty sensible about food

and exercise.

So just quietly,
I'd be pretty confident

that I'm doing alright in terms of
the health stuff and the diet stuff.

But I've had a blood test

and I've kept a food diary
for a couple of weeks.

And I've come for an appointment
with Dr Mikki Williden,

the registered nutritionist,
to see how I'm doing.

Well, I've got your results, Nigel.

Yeah. Um, I actually...

I don't think you're going to like
what I've got to say.

Oh, dear.


Um, I mean it's not...

..drastically terrible
deathbed stuff.

That's good.

Yeah, but, actually, it's not
something to be taken too lightly.


So the ones which
I'm concerned about

are in fact your triglycerides.

'Cause they're bad, aren't they?
They are bad.



Just so you know, triglycerides
are a type of fat found in the blood.

Triglycerides are a sign
of excess sugar in the diet.

So it just makes the blood
a little bit stickier,

which increases
the risk of clotting,

which can increase the risk
of heart attacks.

And the bad news just keeps coming.

The recommended level from
the National Heart Foundation

would be that you'd have them
below 1.7 millimoles per litre.

And yours are actually at 2.4.

That seems quite high.
It is actually quite high.

Yeah, yeah.

You know, you look fairly fit
and fairly lean

but that doesn't necessarily mean

you're not at risk of
inflammation and heart disease.

That was unexpected
and, to be honest, quite shocking,

because I thought this would just be
the, "Oh, yeah, you're great.

"You've got an outstanding diet."

And instead I discover
that actually I've got... diet and my blood results
are actually quite concerning.

And, it's, like, I'm 46.

I shouldn't have concerning
blood results at this point.

So, yeah, like, it's suddenly
become less a bit of a tally-doddle

and I'm thinking, "Shit, I need
to really seriously change
some things in my diet

"and look at what I'm eating."

It seems like everything I've been
led to believe about eating

may well be wrong.

But why is sugar
suddenly the bad guy?

All of my life, I've believed that
old dietary line that it's about fat.

So you eat low-fat,
which means you eat less fat,

which means you don't get fat.

The low-fat revolution really
took hold in the '70s and '80s

as alarm grew over heart disease.

The family roast with its
natural saturated fats was out,

and low-fat was in.

DR LUSTIG: When they took
the fat out of the food,

the food tasted like cardboard.

Food industry knew that.
Had to do something.

So what did they do?
Dump in the sugar.

And not just that -
low-fat didn't make us any thinner.

In fact, just the opposite.

We've got steadily
fatter and unhealthier

as the sugar in our diet
has increased.

So that's it.
High sugar is out for me.

Refined carbohydrates
are getting the heave as well.

At Nelson Hospital, they directly
implicate the white stuff

with another
incredibly serious health risk.



This time, it's the impact
soft drinks and juices are having

on children's dental health.

I'm in a theatre with
Dr Rob Beaglehole and his team.

What size problem
are we dealing with here?

In terms of the number of children
having their teeth extracted each
year, it's a huge number.

Last year, 34,000 children
aged under 14

had one or multiple teeth
extracted for dental reasons.

And we also know that this number
has been increasing year after year.

So, Rob, what's...because
even for a muppet like me,

that looks like something's
gone wrong there.

That's right, Nigel.

What I can see here is that all of
these front teeth here have holes,

dental decay.

These shadows here are decay.

What we can also see
is the permanent teeth up here.

So unfortunately, this tooth here,
which has decay into the nerve,

and is black in the mouth,
is going to need to be extracted.

It's worse than I imagined,
and totally preventable.

That tooth's coming out.

We heard from the parents
that they admitted

that they had a diet
high in sugary drinks

and we know that sugary drinks
is the number one source of sugar

in the New Zealand diet
for children.

The mother was talking
about Coca-Cola in her baby bottle.

People go on about a nanny state,

but sometimes
you actually need a nanny.

So, this general anaesthetic
is costing approximately $5,000

to the taxpayer.


I guess the thing that really
struck me is, standing watching this,

the room was full of anaesthetists,
there were dentists,

there were house surgeons,
there were theatre nurses,

there was all the cast
that was in there,

there was three hours' worth
of theatre time.

And I just kept thinking that
none of this needed to be.

In the end, this little girl
had six teeth extracted

under general anaesthetic,

which is a potentially dangerous
procedure at the best of times.

What implications does it have
if you lose six teeth?

Well, she's gonna have
eating problems.

Um, she's gonna
have aesthetic problems,

socialising problems,
and also, unfortunately,

she's gonna have major
orthodontic issues

which is going to involve complex
orthodontic treatment later down

to try and move the teeth around.

And as I soon learnt,
she was just one of several

treated by Rob and his team today.

How old is this child again?
She's just turned two.

On these front four teeth, there's
actually no tooth surface left.

All we can see is roots.

So this child has
been in a lot of pain.

Literally, the soft drink has
dissolved the tooth to the gumline.

To such an extent.

And it may have only taken about
six months for this to happen.

So we can see that the nerve
is actually bleeding.

I haven't even started yet.


As a parent,
this is excruciating to watch.

Look at that infection.
It's horrible.

What really smacks you in the face
about all of that

is that you've got
a whole operating theatre

full of really qualified people.

That's about 5 grand's worth
of theatre time,

let alone the fact we could be doing
other stuff with it,

to pull teeth out of 2-year-olds
and 3-year-olds,

because they're drinking
too many sugary soft drinks.

It's utterly preventable
and it's utterly wrong.

So just how much sugar
goes into the soft drinks

that are rotting our kids' teeth?

So the likes of this one here, right,
your pretty standard 1.5 litres.

Divided by four,
we get 40 teaspoons.

40 teaspoons of sugar.

Out of the 33,000 items

that are sold
in the average supermarket,

that is the number-one selling item.

This is green. That must be good,
surely. It's green.

Oh, this one's worse.
It's got 12.6 grams.

We get 47 teaspoons of sugar.

So this has the better part of 50,
if we're gonna round it up.

Almost 50 teaspoons.
47 teaspoons of sugar.

And this is your standard
kids' birthday party fare.

And if we have a look
at this product here,

this serving size is one,

and it has 600ml.

We get 16 teaspoons of sugar.

And if a kid has it...

Then they're having five days' worth
of sugar in one hit.

So this is five days' worth of sugar
in a bottle?

Good God.

I'm genuinely surprised by this.
I had no idea.

So now I want to find out
what the food industry has to say.

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In discovering
just how much sugar we all consume,

I've made some quite big changes
to my own life.

I've been following my nutritionist
Mikki Williden's advice

for the last two months

and now I've come back to see
whether that advice

has had any impact on my previously
dangerously high triglyceride levels.

Alright, Mikki,
so, a couple of months in.

What did the blood show?

Well, Nige, um, it's...

You've got some really
good results from it.

So, your triglycerides,
last time that we spoke,

they were up at about 2.4.

They've dropped down to 1.5,
which is great.
That's good.

Really good,

because those previously high
fat levels in my blood

could lead to strokes
and heart attacks.

And there's more good news.

I lost about 3.5kg in about 10 days
and it's all here.

Like, I've now...
I've gone in a belt size.

Big implications for me,

and there are potentially
big implications

for the world economy as well.

Credit Suisse,
one of the world's leading banks,

has also weighed into this debate,

directly linking the consumption
of excess sugar

with the worldwide increase
in type 2 diabetes,

obesity and a thing called
metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome includes

high blood pressure,
high blood sugar,

excess cholesterol and body fat,

all of which increase your risk of
heart disease, stroke and diabetes,

and brought on in large part,
Credit Suisse claims,

by too much sugar.

They surveyed GPs in Europe,
Asia and the US

and 90% of them
believed that that was the case.

Food industry doesn't want to
hear this. This is anathema to them.

So what do you think
they're gonna say?

"Shonky science, lousy, poorly done,
who's this American?"

"We don't believe it.

"We're gonna keep doing
what we're doing."

The food industry has its own
interpretation of the science.

I want to hear their opinion
about Professor Lustig

and his whole "sugar is toxic"

I think Robert Lustig
exaggerates the role of sugar.

I think a lot of his comments
are melodramatic.

Some of his comments
have been called hysterical.

And so when you look at the comments

from a number
of well-respected academics,

in New Zealand and around the world,

they'll say, "Look,
he's raising the issue

"about consuming too much sugar,

"but to say 'sugar is toxic'
and 'sugar is a poison'

"as a stand-alone statement
is patently untrue."

Maybe. But sugar IS heavily
implicated in bad health outcomes.

So why not price it
out of easy reach?

Why not introduce a sugar tax?

Nowhere in the world has a soda tax
made a big difference to obesity

or fat tax has made
a big difference to obesity,

because the issue is, it's not the
sugar or the fat, it's everything.

It's eating too much
and not getting enough exercise.

DR ORR-WALKER: I think it's
interesting with regard to sugar,

in particular soft drinks,

that they are often cheaper
on a per litre basis than water is,

delivered to the same place.

I think we could redress that

by having something
in the cost structure.

And industry haven't
done that themselves.

They've actually priced the water
as being more expensive.

Yes. Interesting. They say "Oh, no,
price won't make any difference."

Yeah, well, it's interesting that
price seems to be very relevant

for the constituency that are
drinking the most of the stuff

and it's typically children,
often poorer people.

The food industry argues
that a sugar tax

would only bump up the price of food

and hurt those
who can least afford it.

But the New Zealand Medical Journal
has published research

saying a 20% tax on soda drinks
would not only save lives

but generate millions in revenue
for health programs.

Part of learning to be an adult
is navigating your way

around all those choices,

because the choices you make
will have an impact on your life.

The government can't make you
go for a walk around the block.
Completely agree.

The government can't decide

what you want to put
in your supermarket trolley.

And I don't want to live
in a country

where the government
has that kind of control.

When we're talking about people

making better choices
around nutrition

and taking more responsibility,

how difficult is that in light
of the very skilful, focused

and effective marketing campaigns

that the people selling
most of this stuff do?

Let's not pretend for one second

that any marketing campaign
can force you

to take something off the shelf
and put it into your trolley.

It still comes down to
personal choice

and understanding
how important moderate eating is.

But the psychologist in me -
and I can't help being one -

says that they are very good
at influencing our behaviour.

So, I guess what I'm asking is,
in the context...

I have a different view.

I think advertising campaigns

give me the information
that I need as a consumer.

But I'll decide
what to put into my trolley.

It's all very well to
talk about personal responsibility,

but how's this for
a little bit of persuasion?

I've just been to the supermarket

and brought three 1.5-litre bottles
of soft drink for $6.


And a lot of the people
that I've been talking to

say they feel there's
little or no personal choice in it,

because they're addicted or, at
the very least, habituated to sugar.

So isn't it time
the food industry stepped up

and took more responsibility?

DR LUSTIG: Ultimately,
the food industry doesn't care
what they sell you,

as long as they sell you.

As long as their profits
are untouched,

they'll sell you anything you want.

And I'm not against
the food industry making money.

I am against the food industry
making money

by selling
things that hurt people.

So it has to be government level,
and it has to be across the board.

I don't see any way around it.

I don't see how government
can stay out of it.

Because how can the food industry
work in concert

without governmental leadership?


But while the opposing sides dig in,

at Yendarra School in South Auckland,
they're not waiting.

They're taking their own action.


Here they've banned soft drinks,

and they're encouraging
real lifestyle change.

Sue, how entrenched was all that
fast-food sugary drink stuff

when you first started?

Oh, incredibly entrenched.

It was just...the junk food
was who we were here.

We didn't see any healthy food.

We didn't see fruit, we didn't
see bread, we didn't see water.

So we would see the takeaways
coming in for lunch,

we would see the takeaways
come in for breakfast.

That was who we were at that time.

And there's been
a marked ripple effect.

In terms of changing behaviour
at home of parents,

has that made a difference?

We've used our children to be
the educators of their parents,

And it's really lovely
when parents come in and tell us

funny stories of when they've been
to the supermarket,

shopping with their 5-year-olds
who'll say, "No, we can't have that.

"We want to have healthy food
and this is the reason why."

No fast food here,

and the principal says
they're getting noticeably slimmer.

So what have you guys
got in your lunch today?

You've got an enormous bag of carrots
and, oh, look at that.

We've got the nuts in there.

And you've got oranges
and yoghurt and fruit.

What's better for your teeth?

Is it better to drink water
or fizzy drink?


Water makes you better.
Yes, it does.

Water makes you better.
And you go toilet.

Yes, that's true.

So here's the thing.

Clearly what Yendarra School's
achieved is remarkable.

They have changed the way that
their kids eat and because of that,

they've reduced
the amount of obesity in the school.

Who likes cucumber?


The kids are better in class,
their families are changing

and it's changing
the wider community as well.

It's all very well to talk
about personal responsibility,

and a lot of people
think that it's just...

..people should just
sort stuff out for themselves.

The truth is that
that's not how you change behaviour.

The psychology of how you change
behaviour is you need leadership

and you need focus
and you need follow-up.

And you need people
to steer the process.

It's what the team at Yendarra School
have done and it works.

that push themselves further. Those that give a little more. of the person next to them more than their own. as well as abroad.

You might not notice them, but those few standing proud some can stand at all.

Sugar is utterly entrenched
in our way of life.

Now so is diabetes.

It's one of the greatest
health crises we currently face.

Every day, it's estimated another
50 Kiwis are becoming diabetic.

DR LUSTIG: Every country
on the planet

has seen an uptick in obesity.

But worse yet,

we have seen an uptick in diabetes

that actually outclasses
the increase in obesity.

Can we turn that round
by cutting back on sugar?

In Paraparaumu,
just outside Wellington,

Maryanne is living proof that we can.

It smells nice.

Good paste.

My mother and her sisters

have all been diagnosed with
late-stage diabetes.

And Mum ended up
having a kidney transplant

and she was on dialysis before that.

She ended up in hospital,
and she ended up in a coma.

So you saw diabetes
take your mum's life

and then you were told
that you were pre-diabetic.

So that must have been
pretty crushing.

It was incredibly stressful
and very, very scary.

Gary came home one day after work,

after we'd been looking
at various sites,

he came home and he said,
"We're going sugar-free."

Gary, Maryanne's husband, is a pilot.
He led the charge.

Hey, Gary. Nigel.

I've come round to your place
to cook a curry.
Oh, lovely.

We went through the pantry,
we went through the fridge.

If it had more than 5% sugar,
it was gone.

We found dextrose or glucose
was our sugar substitute.

And then started eating real food.

How easy was it to give up sugar?

Because... Do you miss it?

Oh, that first couple of weeks

Probably the first four days
are the worst.

It smells really nice.

Part of me thinks this is fantastic
because it's really simple.

But where does this fit in terms
of all the sugar stuff?

The curry pastes that we use

have got less than one gram of sugar
per hundred grams.


And we advocate
with sugar-free cooking

that it's not actually sugar-free,

but it's within
four grams per hundred.

So you're not, like, a total zealot.

Like, you don't treat it
like it's toxic.

You'll still have
a little bit in there.

But you just keep it
at that lower end.
That's correct.

That simple choice has had a profound
effect on Maryanne's life and health.

What difference has it made for you
in terms of the physiology?

It's, um,
made 18 kilos difference to me.

And what about your diabetes?
What's happened with that?

That's gone.
I'm not pre-diabetic now.

So that's excellent.

So, I have absolutely no risk
of being diabetic, apparently.

What was your life like
before you got rid of sugar?

What were you like then?

I was big. Really big.

My peak got 106.
And now?


That's quite a significant drop.
Yeah. It's 25% of my body weight.

It does make me angry because
I shouldn't have got pre-diabetic,

my mother shouldn't
probably have died of diabetes.

And it makes me mad. They could have
avoided it if we didn't have sugar
in our lives.

There seems to be
this really lovely-looking...


It's Gary's berry fat bomb.

It's got no sugar at all.

That's really nice.

It tastes like it
should be really evil.

So you don't actually have to become
this sort of soulless,

joyless, nice-stuff-less life.

You can still have
really nice things.

The results speak for themselves.

Here are Gary and Maryanne
enjoying good food and good health,

in large part
by cutting right back on sugar.

When I started this journey,
I thought I was doing alright.

Moderation in all things, you know.

A bit of sugar to go with
the exercise.

Turns out I was far from alright.

My blood count was too high
in the fats that cause strokes

and heart attacks.

I discovered that our sugar-rich diet

and the volumes of soft drinks
we're swilling

is tipping us into
a crippling health crisis.

DR BEAGLEHOLE: Kids are coming
to the hospital,

having their teeth out
in record numbers.

What we do know is that

we don't give our
2-year-old kids tobacco to smoke.

We don't give our 2-year-old kids
alcohol to drink.

But do we give our 2-year-old kids
soft drinks to drink.

DR ORR WALKER: It's pret
straightforward -
it's reduce sugary intake,

and the simplest to identify that
adds no other nutritional value

would be to reduce the consumption
of sugary beverages.

DR LUSTIG: Question is,
how much proof do you need

before it's time to make a change?

We need to turn this around.

This is a public health crisis
and there's only one way to do it -

get the sugar out of the food.

Well, I cut sugar, and result -

my bloods came right
and I lost weight.

Sugar is now implicated
in all sorts of diseases.