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Sugar Nation: The Hidden Truth Behind America's Deadliest Habit and the Simple Way to Beat It Hardcover – July 19, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion (July 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401323448
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401323448
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jeff O'Connell is editorial director and publisher at, part of Liberty Media Corporation. He was formerly editor-in-chief at Muscle & Fitness and executive writer at Men's Health, where he remains a contributing editor. His feature writing has been cited in both the Best American Sports Writing and Best American Science and Nature Writing anthologies. He has coauthored four books, including Mario Lopez's Knockout Fitness and LL Cool J's Platinum Workout, which became a New York Times bestseller.

More About the Author

Jeff O'Connell is editor-in-chief at, the Internet's largest fitness site. He was formerly editor-in-chief at Muscle & Fitness and executive writer at Men's Health. His areas of interest include health, fitness, nutrition, personal finance, and profiles, many of which have been cover stories. Much of his profile writing focuses on either celebrities or subculture figures coexisting uneasily with the modern world.

Along the way, his service journalism has been nominated for a Maggie Award, and his feature writing has earned honorable mention in both The Best American Sports Writing and The Best American Science & Nature Writing anthologies.

O'Connell has also co-authored four books, most recently KNOCKOUT BODY, with Mario Lopez; and the New York Times Bestseller LL COOL J's PLATINUM WORKOUT, with LL Cool J. His new book, SUGAR NATION, releases in July 2011 with Hyperion books.

O'Connell received his bachelor's and master's degrees from UCLA. He lives in Boise, Idaho.

Learn more about Jeff O'Connell at his website,

Customer Reviews

Great book, filled with tons of information.
Karena Higgins
I owe some of my success to O'Connell's book, but realize that I still have a way to go, and like many other "conditions" can really never go back.
L. J. Oja
My daughter exercises everyday, is thin and eats what she thought was healthy, but has blood sugars like a Type 2 diabetic we discovered!
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Jeff O'Connell exposes what has got to be one of the largest health "crimes" ever committed in the history of health, medicine, and nutrition: The blundering, profiteering, and counterproductive information that passes for advice from agencies like the American Diabetes Association and practicing physicians.

Incredibly, much of the advice offered people with pre-diabetes or diabetes makes the situation WORSE, from the bad advice on diet, medications that add to the problem, and neglect of simple lifestyle practices. O'Connell makes the case that diabetes is controllable, even curable, in a great many of the people who thought they were resigned to a lifestyle of drugs, complications, and early deaths.

I, too, have lived the story that the author describes, having clawed my way back from being a diabetic 20 years ago, now completely diabetes-free---no drugs in sight. As a practicing cardiologist, I've actually gotten angry calls from colleagues who were upset that I had instructed patients to stop their medications and insulin and REVERSED their diabetes--patients CURED with normal HbA1c and blood sugar, yet my colleagues could not grasp the concept of cure.

The author brings a compelling, thoughtful, and impassioned discussion that needs to be broadcasted wider and louder. It's an excellent read with the message told at street level language with real people and real situations.
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Dr. James A. Wortman on July 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Jeff has done a masterful job of documenting his personal quest to understand and manage his pre-diabetes. Along the way he deftly eviscerates much of the current medical "wisdom" on this and related conditions. The inherent foolishness of managing a food intolerance by prescribing the very foods that are not tolerated only to be then managed by a plethora of medications is exposed for all to see. The pillars of the medical establishment in diabetes and nutrition come off looking quite badly in Jeff's common-sense approach to discovering both the underlying cause of his condition and the effective, non-pharmocological therapies that are not officially sanctioned. He spends time with some of the leading thinkers and practitioners of low-carbohydrate diets in the therapeutic setting and does a good job of explaining that approach and why it is so effective and sensible. (Full disclosure - he spent a few days with me to better understand the problem in the context of the indigenous populations with whom I work.)

I like this book even though Jeff's emphasis on exercise is somewhat of a departure from my approach which focusses mainly on carbohydrate reduction. Having said that, I find his accounts of the benefits of exercise and, especially high intensity interval training (HIIT), compelling enough that I have added that to my usual exercise routine.

Like Gary Taubes', "Good Calories Bad Calories" and "Why We Get Fat", the new Atkins book by Westman, Phinney and Volek, and the just-published, "The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living" by Volek and Phinney, Jeff's book is now on the must read list for scientists, physicians and affected individuals.

For anyone who is interested in understanding the biggest health challenge the world is currently facing, this global epidemic of diet-related chronic disease, and who is seeking a sensible, effective way out of this self-inflicted disaster, I highly recommend this book.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Evita on January 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is such a hard book to rate properly as there are some parts in it that are so great and worthy of bringing to everyone's attention, and some parts that are so skewed and can do more harm than good as they do not tell the whole story on a nutritional front.

Yes, like other reviewers, I had found the title to be a bit misleading. It should have perhaps been called "Carb Wars", as instead of educating and pointing out the differences between the quality of different carbs like spinach vs white rice, it basically throws them all in one bucket and labels carbs as "bad" to be avoided foods. I thought it would have been nice to emphasize the dangers of refined or processed carbs and sugars, rather than making brown rice and fruits seem like horrible ideas that need to be avoided and in turn substituted for butter or bacon.

The best parts of this book are Jeff's style of writing and research on what is happening on the system front. He did a lot of hard work no doubt and his exposing the medical and health systems and agencies is brilliant, which will hopefully inspire each person to take more accountability for their own health.

Overall, I think that the book exemplifies what happens when someone eats a junk-food based diet, to be awoken by some disease, and then swings all the way to the other extreme of counting and watching every calorie and nutrient number of their food....which to me is not a natural way to live. There are more sustainable options for diabetics like the work of Dr. Gabriel Cousens.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By George D. Smith on September 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I am 72 years old. I don't know how old this author is. Despite our age difference, he and I share some features of our pre-diabetes. We both found out that regular doctors knew very little about the disease. My docs (I have changed my docs at my huge HMO many times) overlooked dangerously high fasting blood glucose levels as they hovered around the upper 90s for many years. Finally I went above 100 and my current doctor ordered an A1C test. That result, 6.2, prompted this good doctor to send me to an ADA-certified nutrition counselor for dietary advice. What I got from her was the standard ADA dietary dogma: complex carbs, lean meats (red meat only once a week), veggies: After 3 months on that diet, I was retested with no change whatsoever in the A1C. So much for ADA. I then read a book by Rob Thompson, MD, that woke me up to some of the symptoms of diabetes that I have experienced. That book also introduced me to low-carb dieting. The disappointing fact is that despite increasing my exercise and going very low carb for 6 months, my fasting sugars continue to climb, now averaging about 125, the borderline for graduation into true diabetes. My doctor then sent me to an endocrinologist who put me on Metformin. So far, at 1 month, no change, but it is early. At age 72, I am briskly walking 2-4 miles every other day. High intensity sprints are probably not going to be on the menu for me. But low carb eating is still on that menu. My main point here is that avoiding drugs can be dangerous. Anytime your sugars are above 90, there is damage. You do not want to wait years and years trying lifestyle changes before considering drugs. Like Jeff, I have seen Diabetes in a close family member.Read more ›
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