How Sugar & Processed Foods Impact Your Health


Huberman Lab

In this episode, we address the “calories in- calories out” (CICO) model of metabolism and weight regulation and how specific macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrates), fiber, and sugar can modify the CICO equation. My guest is Dr. Robert Lustig, M.D., neuroendocrinologist, professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and a bestselling author on nutrition and metabolic health.

We cover how different types of sugars, specifically fructose, sugars found in liquid form, taste intensity, and other factors impact insulin levels, liver, kidney, and metabolic health. We also explore how fructose in non-fruit sources can be addictive, acting similarly to drugs of abuse, and how sugar alters brain circuits related to food cravings and satisfaction.

The discussion then shifts to the role of sugar in childhood and adult obesity, gut health and disease, and mental health. We delve into how the food industry uses refined sugars to create pseudo foods and the implications of these on the brain and body.

This episode is replete with actionable information about sugar and metabolism, weight control, brain health, and body composition. It ought to be of interest to anyone seeking to understand how specific food choices impact the immediate and long-term health of the brain and body.

For show notes, including referenced articles and additional resources, please visit

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Eight Sleep:






(00:00:00) Dr. Robert Lustig

(00:02:02) Sponsors: Eight Sleep, Levels & Aero Press

(00:06:41) Calories, Fiber

(00:12:15) Calories, Protein & Fat, Trans Fats

(00:18:23) Carbohydrate Calories, Glucose vs. Fructose, Fruit, Processed Foods

(00:26:43) Fructose, Mitochondria & Metabolic Health

(00:31:54) Trans Fats; Food Industry & Language

(00:35:33) Sponsor: AG1

(00:37:04) Glucose, Insulin, Muscle

(00:42:31) Insulin & Cell Growth vs. Burn; Oxygen & Cell Growth, Cancer

(00:51:14) Glucose vs. Fructose, Uric Acid; “Leaky Gut” & Inflammation

(01:00:51) Supporting the Gut Microbiome, Fasting

(01:04:13) Highly Processed Foods, Sugars; “Price Elasticity” & Food Industry

(01:10:28) Sponsor: LMNT

(01:11:51) Processed Foods & Added Sugars

(01:14:19) Sugars, High-Fructose Corn Syrup

(01:18:16) Food Industry & Added Sugar, Personal Responsibility, Public Health

(01:30:04) Obesity, Diabetes, “Hidden” Sugars

(01:34:57) Diet, Insulin & Sugars

(01:38:20) Tools: NOVA Food Classification; Perfact Recommendations

(01:43:46) Meat & Metabolic Health, Eggs, Fish

(01:46:44) Sources of Omega-3s; Vitamin C & Vitamin D

(01:52:37) Tool: Reduce Inflammation; Sugars, Cortisol & Stress

(01:59:12) Food Industry, Big Pharma & Government; Statins

(02:06:55) Public Health Shifts, Rebellion, Sugar Tax, Hidden Sugars

(02:12:58) Real Food Movement, Public School Lunches & Processed Foods

(02:18:25) 3 Fat Types & Metabolic Health; Sugar, Alcohol & Stress

(02:26:40) Artificial & Non-Caloric Sweeteners, Insulin & Weight Gain

(02:34:32) Re-Engineering Ultra-Processed Food

(02:38:45) Sugar & Addiction, Caffeine

(02:45:18) GLP-1, Semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy, Tirzepatide), Risks; Big Pharma

(02:57:390 Obesity & Sugar Addiction; Brain Re-Mapping, Insulin & Leptin Resistance

(03:03:31) Fructose & Addiction, Personal Responsibility & Tobacco

(03:07:27) Food Choices: Fruit, Rice, Tomato Sauce, Bread, Meats, Fermented Foods

(03:12:54) Intermittent Fasting, Diet Soda, Food Combinations, Fiber, Food Labels

(03:19:14) Improving Health, Advocacy, School Lunches, Hidden Sugars

(03:26:55) Zero-Cost Support, Spotify & Apple Reviews, YouTube Feedback, Sponsors, Momentous, Social Media, Neural Network Newsletter


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