Dr Robert Lustig’s Sugar Secrets: Unmasking the Sweets!

Calling all junior scientists, parents and health detectives! It’s time to embark on a fun-filled sugar investigation with your favorite snacks and drinks. Remember, hidden sugar sneaks into many places, even seemingly healthy options.

Did you know, as Dr. Robert Lustig, a renowned pediatric endocrinologist, says, “Sugar is the new tobacco. It’s addictive, metabolically harmful, and contributes to a cascade of chronic diseases.”

Let’s crack the code on hidden sugars and empower ourselves with knowledge!

The Sugar Sleuthing Mission:

  1. Assemble your treats: Gather your favorite drinks and snacks. Remember, Dr. Lustig warns, “Processed foods are not food. They’re carefully engineered to be hyper-palatable, addictive, and profitable, not nutritious.”
  2. Become a label detective: Scrutinize the nutrition labels like a pro. Find the “total sugars” amount, usually in grams. Remember, 1 teaspoon equals 4.2 grams of sugar.
  3. Unleash your math magic: Use the secret formula: Total grams of sugar ÷ 4.2 = teaspoons of sugar.
  4. Gasp! Record the number of teaspoons you uncover. You might be surprised by how much sugar hides in seemingly innocent treats. Dr. Lustig emphasizes, “Sugar tricks your brain into wanting more, making it hard to control portions.”
  5. Visualize the sweetness: For an extra challenge, measure out that amount of sugar. See how much sweetness packs into a tiny space? Now imagine that inside your body!

Remember, Detectives:

  • This activity empowers you to make informed choices about what you consume. Dr. Lustig encourages us to “become label-reading ninjas,” understanding what we’re putting into our bodies.
  • Beware of sneaky sugars: Even if something says “no sugar,” hidden sugars and acids can still harm your teeth. As Dr. Lustig highlights, “The food industry is masterful at manipulating language. ‘Diet’ and ‘low-fat’ often don’t mean what you think they do.”
  • Sugar-smart choices = happy body & smile: By making mindful decisions, you’re taking charge of your health and well-being. Dr. Lustig reminds us, “You have the power to choose what you eat and drink. Choose wisely!”

Bonus Mission: Share your detective work with friends and family! Inspire them to join the sugar sleuthing team!

Remember: These are just a few examples. Always be a label detective yourself!


  • Pepsi 12 oz.: 10 teaspoons of sugar (That’s like 2.5 packets of sugar!)
  • M&M’s: 7 teaspoons of sugar (More sugar than carrots in a serving!)
  • Skittles: 11 teaspoons of sugar (Enough to fill a tablespoon!)
  • Fruit snacks: 3 teaspoons of sugar (Still has added sugar, read labels carefully!)
  • Gatorade 20 oz.: 8 teaspoons of sugar (Almost as much sugar as orange juice!)

Have fun unraveling the sugar mystery and stay healthy!