We live in an exciting day and age of information these days, don’t we? Thanks to the Internet, we have blogs, podcasts, and web sites galore providing information on anything and everything you can think of. The immense popularity of sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google, and YouTube makes finding new information on virtually any subject practically instantaneous right at your fingertips. And there’s plenty of invaluable stuff out there about health and nutrition that is worth taking a closer look at, including a 90-minute YouTube video by a pediatrics professor in California that has gone completely viral with most of the over 400,000 views and counting happening in 2010 alone.
Ever since he gave his now infamous lecture entitled “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” in July 2009 at the University of California-San Francisco “Mini Medical School for the Public” event, physician Dr. Robert H. Lustig who teaches pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at UCSF has become somewhat of a hero in the low-carb and health community for exposing the truths about the dangers of fructose, the negative impact it is playing on health, and what we can do about it. I’ve had more people e-mail me a link to or tell me about this video than anything else in the 6+ year history of my web site and it is most certainly well worth your time and effort to sit down, watch, listen, re-listen, and absorb everything this man has to share because the concepts are vitally connected to everything I’ve shared over the years. This is the kind of truth that absolutely penetrates because it cannot be refuted by anyone. I personally invite you to take the time to watch it from start to finish–you’ll be glad you did!
If you don’t quite have 90 minutes to sit down and watch Dr. Lustig’s talk right now (MAKE TIME LATER IF YOU DON’T!), then at least spend 10 minutes watching my fellow health blogger, podcaster, and YouTube buddy Sean Croxton from Underground Wellness provide an excellent Cliff’s Notes version of the lecture for you.
This is precisely the kind of evidence-based science that needs to be spread as much as possible which is why I’ve been so thrilled to see Dr. Lustig’s lecture receiving worldwide acclaim as it is disseminated all across the Internet on blogs, Facebook pages, and more! Needless to say, Dr. Lustig is the kind of speaker I like to invite to be a guest on my “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show” podcast because his philosophy seems to fit perfectly with the low-carb message. Or so I thought.
In January 2010 as the “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” video was becoming increasingly popular, I contacted Dr. Lustig directly to request an interview with him about his great work. I explained what my show was, that his message falls in line with the thinking of myself and my listeners, and that it would be an honor to have him appear for an interview. Within a day I heard back from him directly with a 5-word response: “I don’t believe in low-carb.”
REALLY?! I guess Dr. Lustig is in the same camp as Dr. Richard Johnson who contends fructose alone is responsible for obesity and disease. But Dr. Johnson has been a guest on my podcast show despite our differences regarding low-carb. Plus, I’ve had several others who don’t subscribe to low-carb living on the podcast as well, including most notably my 4-part interview with Dr. Dean Ornish. Just because the show has “low-carb” in the title doesn’t mean I don’t bring up other topics in the realm of diet, nutrition, fitness and health. Although I attempted to explain this to Dr. Lustig, I never heard back from him again in the months that followed. Maybe he just doesn’t give interviews or something. That’s what I chalked it up to.
Then on May 13, 2010, Sean Croxton announced on his Facebook page for his “Underground Wellness Radio” program that he was taking questions from his readers for an interview he would be conducting with Dr. Robert Lustig (listen to Sean’s 90-minute interview on BlogTalkRadio). What?! So much for the thought he’s not doing interviews. Sean invited me to submit a question for Dr. Lustig and here’s what I wrote: “Why is he such a vigilant opponent of fructose/sugar, but not all starchy and culprit carbohydrates?” I was hoping Sean would ask Dr. Lustig my question and Sean didn’t disappoint when he started asking questions from his listeners towards the end. Here’s the answer Dr. Lustig gave to the question which gets to the very root of why he says he doesn’t believe in the healthy low-carb lifestyle and thus the reason for initially turning me down for an interview.
After explaining to Sean Croxton his reasons for not coming on my show, I decided to write Dr. Lustig another e-mail requesting an interview on my podcast. Here’s what I wrote:
Dr. Lustig, I understand you think my show is solely about low-carb diets, but it really is so much more than that. I’ve featured all sorts of people in the world of nutrition and health on my podcast, including people who disagree with low-carb diets such as Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Richard Johnson, and an upcoming interview with Dr. Neal Barnard for example. Your work deserves a greater platform and I’d be honored to add you to my distinguished list of guests. THANK YOU again for your consideration!
I wouldn’t normally pursue an interview guest again once they’ve turned me down because there are plenty of people out there for me to interview. But so many of my readers and listeners have been positively impacted by this video that I felt Dr. Lustig was worth the extra effort. I’m glad I didn’t give up because here was his response back to me within 12 hours:
I will do your show with the understanding that I don’t necessarily subscribe to “low-carb”. I do subscribe to “safe-carb”.
AWESOME! We’ve set the afternoon of June 15, 2010 to record the interview and it will air on “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show” on Monday, July 5, 2010. I can’t wait to speak with him and ask him to define what he means by “safe-carb.” It should make for an intriguing conversation. Feel free to send me questions for Dr. Lustig anytime to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m glad he changed his mind about coming on my show and hopefully he will see that my podcast is about so much more than low-carb.