This is the webpage of Dr Simon Thornley. I am a Public Health Physician who works as a Research Fellow and Professional Teaching Fellow in the University of Auckland's School of Population Health.

Over the last few years, I've become increasingly convinced that sugar (sucrose or table sugar) is causing us all to become fat and sick. I think that this substance is addictive in that once you used to eating a certain quantity of sugar, it is hard to cut down. That is because people who try experience withdrawal symptoms, such as craving sugar, feeling irritable, difficulty concentrating, and even experiencing body aches and pains. Eating sugar relieves these symptoms temporarily, but they tend to come back.

I've teamed up with some colleagues (including Dr Gerhard McDonald-Sundborn and Professor Rod Jackson) at The University of Auckland's School of Population Health to create an advocacy group called “FIZZ” which aims to eventually remove sugary drinks from New Zealand. We believe that sugary drinks can be eventually eliminated with a combination of public awareness raising and government action. Policies to reduce sugar at a national level include taxation, sales and marketing restrictions.

What is the problem with eating or drinking too much sugar?

·         It rots teeth.

·         It makes you fat.

·         It causes diabetes.

·         It leads to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high serum urate levels (leads to gout), and cardiovascular disease.

·         It probably plays a role in causing cancer.

·         It is likely to play a role in ADHD and psychiatric illness (depression and schizophrenia).

·         It is hard to cut down.

What do you recommend?

·         Little or no added sugar.

·         Cut out sugary drinks such as soft drink, fruit juice, cordials or energy drinks.

·         No more sugary sweets, lollies, cakes, biscuits and desserts.

·         No sugar in tea and coffee.

·         Breakfast cereals contain a lot of added sugar. Check the nutrition panel and ingredients list or swap to eating eggs or toast for breakfast.

·         Limit your intake of fruit to 1 serving (average sized piece of fruit) per day.

·         To gain an appreciation of how much sugar is contained in food, I recommend the website

It is hard to give up sugar. Your best bet is to eliminate it from your house, so that you don't give in to temptation. The decisions you make at the supermarket are important.


Some of my scientific publications, including an electronic version of my book, co-written with Dr Hayden McRobbie is contained here.

If you would like to buy a paper copy of the book, Sickly Sweet, I recommend this website.

Other websites


Clark Mills for coming up with the title “Sickly Sweet” and for conceiving and hosting this website.