Editor's note: Laura Schmidt and her colleagues, Robert Lustig and Claire Brindis, are the authors of "The toxic truth about sugar." To read the full commentary, visit the science journal Nature.
I am a medical sociologist, which means I study the health of whole societies. I've spent more than 20 years studying the best possible ways to address alcohol problems in societies - what works and what doesn't to protect people from harm.
I work as a professor in the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine and at the UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute. This allows me to connect with other scientists who come from very different backgrounds but who want to work together on big problems - think of a Manhattan Project, only one focused on protecting health through the collaboration of scientists who study everything from tiny cells to entire societies.
So three years ago, a pediatric endocrinologist named Rob Lustig walks into my office and asks for my help. Rob tells me that he's finding many connections between the metabolism of fructose (sugar) and ethanol (alcohol) in his work on metabolic functioning, liver damage and the obesity epidemic.
Read the full story - Opinion: Why we should regulate sugar like alcohol
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Generally speaking, the Super Bowl is about three things: food, drink and excessive partaking of each (for a Sunday). This year is a little different for me as my youngest brother Daniel is the starting center for the Patriots (he’s the guy who hikes the ball to Gisele Bundchen’s husband).
Normally, I’d be spending the day in the kitchen then plopping myself on the couch with a sandwich the size of a coffee table just in time for a butchered rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" by an American Idol. This year, however, I’ll be spending the day with my family on the heated streets of Indianapolis and plopping myself on a cool plastic seat in Lucas Oil Stadium.
So, as I lose my voice during yet another big championship game I’ve road-tripped to, I hope you will enjoy two or 20 cold beers, something nice between pieces of bread and a big ol’ plate of nachos. Perhaps Doritos and shredded cheddar in the microwave is your style? Or maybe you’re a nacho overachiever and pull off a nine-layer dip? But if you’re looking for something a little outside the box, may I suggest one of the following:
Five Nacho Variations
There are no rules when it comes to food for Moto sous chef and "Top Chef: Texas" contestant Richie Farina.
If there's dip on the table, you know you're at a party. If there are at least three varieties present, that party is probably for bowl game - and lucky you.
People don't go making dips all willy-nilly for a weeknight meal or a prim Sunday brunch. They're reserved for gloppy, sloppy abandon in the company of other revelers and these dips should not hold back. We repeat - they should not hold back.
Food editors like us are bombarded with recipe suggestions from celebrity chefs and product representatives touting non-fat, mayo-free, cheese-free, joy-free options for game day. We maintain that if you're eating sensibly the other 365 days of 2012 (okay - 362, because what fun is life if you can't go a little nuts on Thanksgiving, your birthday or New Year's Eve?), a little sour cream on a Frito isn't going to spell your demise. (Though apparently insufficient safety procedures might.)
So go ahead and get dippy with it, and scoop up a few of our favorite recipes from dip devotees Richard Blais, Eva Longoria, John Currence, Marcela Valladolid and our very own recipe boxes.