The Sugar "Fix": The Addiction and The Treatment

Dr. Robert Lustig and Dr. Nicole Avena will have a conversation about sugar, based on many years of scientific and clinical experience.

They will begin with a brief history of the evolution of sugar in our food environment and move on to where we are today regarding types of sugar and sweeteners, as well as the pervasiveness of these in our food supply. Questions explored will include: How do various types of sugar and sweeteners affect your brain and body systems? Is moderation possible when evidence suggests sugar may be "addictive"? What are the options if you want something sweet? You will have an opportunity to ask questions and will gain valuable insights to help you understand sugar and reduce your intake if need be.

Dr. Nicole Avena is an associate professor of neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and a visiting professor of health psychology at Princeton University. She is a research neuroscientist and expert in the fields of nutrition, diet and addiction, with a special focus on nutrition during early life and pregnancy, and women’s health. She has done groundbreaking work developing models to characterize food addiction and the dangers of excess sugar intake.

Robert H. Lustig, M.D., M.S.L. is emeritus professor of pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, and member of the Institute for Health Policy Studies, at UCSF. Dr. Lustig is a neuroendocrinologist, with expertise in metabolism, obesity, and nutrition. He is one of the leaders of the current “anti-sugar” movement that is changing the food industry. He has dedicated his retirement from clinical medicine to helping fix the food supply any way he can, to reduce human suffering and to salvage the environment.


Patty James


A Nutrition, Food & Wellness Member-led Forum program. Forums at the Club are organized and run by volunteer programmers who are members of The Commonwealth Club, and they cover a diverse range of topics. Learn more about our Forums.

Photo courtesy the speaker.

Image - Nicole Avena

Dr. Nicole Avena

Associate Professor of Neuroscience, Mount Sinai School of Medicine (New York City); Visiting Professor of Health Psychology, Princeton University; Author, Sugar Less

Image - Robert H. Lustig

Dr. Robert H. Lustig

M.D., M.S.L., Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, and Member of the Institute for Health Policy Studies, UCSF; Author, Metabolical

Image - Patty James

Patty James

Chief Innovation Officer, Foogal; Co-chair, Nutrition, Food & Wellness Member-led Forum,  Commonwealth Club World Affairs of California—Moderator