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Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease Paperback – December 31, 2013
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“No scientist has done more in the last fifty years to alert Americans to the potential dangers of sugar in the diet than Dr. Robert Lustig.”
--Gary Taubes, author of Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat
“Our eating habits are killing us. In this timely and important book, Dr. Robert Lustig presents the scientific evidence for the toxicity of sugar and the disastrous effects of modern industrial food on the hormones that control hunger, satiety, and weight. He gives recommendations for a personal solution to the problem we face and also suggests a public policy solution. Fat Chance is the best book I've read on the relationship between diet and health and the clearest explanation of epidemic obesity in our society.”
--Andrew Weil, M.D., author of Spontaneous Happiness and You Can’t Afford to Get Sick
“Fat Chance is THE manifesto for our time. It reveals the real reasons we why we are a fat nation and how to cure the obesity epidemic. It gets right to the root of the problem, which is not gluttony and sloth, as the food industry, government and your neighbor would have you believe. It is because we are drowning in a sea of sugar which poisons our metabolism, shrinks our brains, and threatens our national security and global competitiveness. Every American, politician, teacher, and business leader must read this book. Our nation's future depends on it.”
--Mark Hyman, M.D., author of The Blood Sugar Solution
“Fat Chance is an extraordinary achievement. Obesity's causes, mechanisms, health consequences, and preventive approaches are all devilishly complicated, but Dr. Lustig's outstanding contribution clarifies the complexity via a writing style that's accessible, insightful, and often gently humorous. Robert Lustig is a clinician, a scientist, and an advocate — a combination that that makes him uniquely qualified to bring the condition's many facets into sharp focus. Obesity has become the world's number one health problem. Fat Chance is the book for all of us who must confront this epidemic.”
--S. Boyd Eaton, M.D., Departments of Radiology and Anthropology, Emory University, and father of the Paleo Diet movement
“Robert Lustig is neither ringing an alarm bell nor giving us a gentle, paternalistic nudge. His message is more authentic. He is a medical doctor issuing a prescription. In order to address a current cocktail of health threats, Americans must alter their diets and do so radically. Those alterations must begin with a dramatic reduction in the consumption of sugars.”
“The obesity pandemic is well documented. But what can be done about it? More importantly, when does a personal health issue rise to become a public health crisis? In Fat Chance, Dr. Robert Lustig examines the science of obesity to determine the role that our current diet (especially too much sugar and too little fiber) plays in weight gain and disease. Using that knowledge, he proposes changes in our personal, public, and governmental attitudes to combat this scourge. Fat Chance is a 'savory' read with a 'sweet' finish.”
--Sanjay Gupta, M.D., neurosurgeon and CNN medical correspondent
About the Author
Robert H. Lustig, M.D., MSL, is professor of pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology and a member of the Institute for Health Policy Studies at University of California, San Francisco. He has authored 120 peer-reviewed articles and 70 reviews, as well as The Fat Chance Cookbook and the upcoming The Hacking of the American Mind. He has mentored 30 pediatric endocrine fellows and trained numerous other allied health professionals. He is the former chairman of the Obesity Task Force of the Pediatric Endocrine Society, a member of the Obesity Task Force of the Endocrine Society, and a member of the Pediatric Obesity Devices Committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He is also the president of the nonprofit Institute for Responsible Nutrition, dedicated to reversing childhood obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. He consults for several childhood obesity advocacy groups and government agencies.
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Some other good books to read to round out your nutritional education would be:
... The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living
... Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food
... Good Calories, Bad Calories (and/or) Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It
... The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet
... New Atkins for a New You (publication date: 2010)
... The Protein Power Lifeplan
In the end this is basically a treaties for changing how the government "controls" our food. And I agree with him 100% that our food is being controlled by big agra with the complacency of our government, in a way that is nearly unprecedented in history. I feel outraged when I read about family farms that are being raided by the USDA and I am incensed that Monsanto is being allowed to poison our food and "we the people" are not even given a say. There are no words to describe the anger I feel when I read a judge ruling against "Food Freedom" vs the FDA saying "There is No Generalized Right to Bodily and Physical Health". In other words we don't have the RIGHT to choose to eat healthy food just because it will make us healthy. WTF!?
The author tells us upfront, "I'll make a promise to you right now: there is not one statement made in this entire book that can't be backed up by hard science."
And so, it was with great pleasure that I read this book by a doctor who understands the problem of sugar in the diet on all levels. My only real disappointment was that he is a pediatrician and an awful lot of what he writes is about children and their problems. While this is of great importance, I prefer to read about mature people and their problems. Having said that, sugar is a problem for us all.
The parts in the book about the government and its relationship with the food industry is all well-known and you can just pass over this part if you already know it. And, a lot of it is available in his YouTube video. But, if you're unfamiliar with the topic, you may find it fascinating.
But you will find how to read a food label. I find this really an eye-opener. I sort of knew what to look for but not totally. This book filled the gap for me.
The author believes that all sweeteners are bad. But, he lays it out in a way that is most persuasive. He says, "All caloric sweeteners contain fructose: white sugar, cane sugar, beet sugar, fruit sugar, table sugar, brown sugar, and its cheaper cousin HFCS. Add to this maple syrup, honey, and agave nectar. It's all the same. The vehicle is irrelevant; it's the payload that matters."
The book starts out with a lot of high-toned medical jargon that really should have been eliminated for the layperson. It's quite boring unless you're a medical professional. But, I guess if you read it several times it might make sense on some level.
The author provides a fairly extensive shopping list of foods you can have in any amount, those you can have about five times a week or so and those either not at all or once a week. I found the list helpful. But, I was surprised after he had claimed agave, honey, etc to be safe alternatives to table sugar, that he put them in the "red" or once a week part of the list.
I was a bit concerned when the doctor writes that he gained 45 pounds during his residency and has not taken them off yet. I appreciate his candor. But question why he has failed to take his own extra weight off. He may feel his weight is ok and it may be. I just found it curious.
He did say that, "Indeed, overweight people with BMIs between 25 and 30 live longer than thin people with BMIs of less than 19." So, he may be somewhere between those two figures. Whatever the case, I found the book a delightful and important read and highly recommend it to you.
-- Susanna K. Hutcheson