250 of 251 people found the following review helpful
on 21 February 2013
This book is one of the most important I've ever read, and I've been a GP for 34 years. I wish I'd known the stuff in here years ago, as all thru my career the official mantra has been "eat less fat, do more exercise" and, sadly I've repeated this message to many many patients. And yet the population is fatter, diabetes & metabolic syndrome have become epidemic and orthodox advice has clearly failed. This book tells you why - not all calories are equal, fructose (the villain) is a type of carbohydrate but is not metabolised as glucose and so causes damage, processed food is a disaster (sugar added to almost everything, the good stuff, eg. fibre, taken out). Yes, there's an American slant in the stories and background, but the issues raised are worldwide - wherever sugar intake has increased, obesity, diabetes, etc have rapidly followed, whatever the previous traditional diet was (high fat, low fat or whatever). I can't recommend the book highly enough and only hope the politicians, supermarkets, and food producers listen and act on its message. Assuming they won't, change your own life and those you influence by following its advice!
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on 12 May 2013
As an ex-NHS professional I recommend this book to anyone. Not just anyone with an interest in health, nutrition, obesity but anyone and everyone should read this book, it is a life changer.
I have gone through life thinking "a calorie is a calorie" and that energy intake can be burned off by excercising. Why not? Isn't it logical? So why doesn't it work? And now when it is explained in such a concise manner by Dr Lustig with all the evidence laid out to back it up I could feel the pieces finally falling into place as I was reading.
I did find it a bit hard going in places and I also found some of the Americanisms a bit confusing but it is quite readable. I suggest watching the YouTube video lecture of Robert Lustig too where he explains this topic but read the book too, the video isn't enough.
And it isn't all about sugar being the bad guy, and above all it isn't a diet book.
But it might save your life.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2013
A fascinating and worrying insight into the addictive and dangerous sweet stuff. Made me look at the family diet in a different way.
180 of 197 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2013
I've just sat in a cafe and pretty much binged on Robert Lustig's wonderful book "Fat Chance" about what's gone wrong with our diet, why we overeat, why we don't stop no matter how many government initiatives tell us to. It answers so many questions - why do diets make people with at least three months' energy storage around their gut (me!) feel sick and faint and depressed and as if they're starving to death? Why doesn't exercise always work the way it's supposed to? Why does eating one chocolate lead inevitably to finishing the box? (me again!) I've read an awful lot of books on diet and nutrition (guess why?) This is by far the best of the lot - clear and scientifically rigorous and even funny in places.
The answer to the questions? Basically the villain of the piece, the Voldemort of nutrition, the heroin of foodstuffs is... Sugar. Not fat as everyone has wrongly said for the last fifty years, but sugar, in particular fructose which acts like both sugar and fat in the liver and stuffs it up something dreadful. Hence metabolic syndrome, of which obesity is just one symptom, along with high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, possibly dementia - oh, and death.
As it's blatantly obvious what I should do, I have come off the sugar again. Wish me luck, chaps.
62 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on 26 July 2013
Unlike 'Pure, White & Deadly' by John Yudkin, which spoke out but few at the time were listening, 'Fat Chance' has come at a time when many believe that existing diets are solely for the enrichment of a niche industry that wants to sell products for profit only and cares little about the individual. Therefore, a wider audience awaits this book and I believe it will have a long, successful publishing life.
Lustig's book will go down in history as a seminal book that opened people's eyes to the obvious, even though the obvious is often painful to believe, especially when one is a food manufacturer, which I am. Although at times Robert Lustig can get one bogged down in minute detail, the message is clear and proof is always at hand - critically important for the sceptics who will look to trash his theories.
This book has come at an opportune time and it must have felt something similar to this when it was discovered that the world was round and not flat. Disbelievers await in the wings to repudiate the arguments so clearly and lucidly explained from page one onwards but I was convinced long before I had reached page 100 and I think most readers will agree with me. This is a book that you have to read and it should become a number one best seller, just for its educational benefits.
The book has fascinated me so much that not only have I tried out a reduction in sugar intake personally and seen a subsequent loss in weight but I have manufactured a natural, sugar free ice cream to launch onto the market to test the theories of this book. Since my business is a large user of sucrose, glucose and fructose, I feel that education is the only way to combat obesity and telling everyone to take more exercise just doesn't work. Most importantly, the use of aspartame, sorbitol and other chemical replacements are well documented in the book and it is clear that they don't work either.
The Holy Grail of weight loss and better health is here in this book and the bitter truth is that the enemy is only sugar. Lustig's explanations of the various diets on the market is illuminating and the common theme to all of them is a reduction of sugar, guaranteeing them all a chance of success without offering a panacea of continuing it after the diet has finished. Why? Because all of us go back to consuming sugar again without understanding that it is the one item we need to avoid.
In my mind this book will change the way many food manufacturers look at their products and I expect others will follow my example of allowing greater consumer choice with new products containing little or no sugar, not just for the diabetics but for everyone else who wishes to control their sugar intake and yet enjoy wholesome food. The sugar industry will hate it but then the tobacco industry fought a rearguard action for decades and look at it now. Just buy this book and decide for yourself.
Alastair Jessel, Taywell Ice Creams
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This review is intended to warn against the poor "antidote" advice on pages 130-150. Fibre and exercise are NOT the answer - this advice is outdated!
Otherwise, others have already praised the excellent information in this book, which I agree with. Here's the problem with the diet and exercise mantra:
Exercise: according to the latest research, explained in " The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science" by Gretchen Reynolds:
- Exercise (at least moderate exercise) does not rev up your metabolism - you do NOT burn more calories afterwards.
- Exercise by itself is pretty useless for weight loss but apparently essential for weight maintenance and, on a diet, helpful for weight loss.
- One group put on a lousy, fattening diet did not gain weight - but only if they exercised first thing in the morning, before eating anything at all.
- In a 13-year study, the women who diligently did moderate exercise almost every day (brisk walking, swimming, biking or dance classes) for an hour or so gained hardly any weight at all over that time ((but this isn't easy to keep up).
- All of one group who lost over 20 pounds regained weight but those who stuck with an exercise programme for the entire year regained barely half as much.
- People with the fat-gene (FTO) have an enormously increased risk of becoming obese over their lifetimes but those who were physically active for at least an hour a day on most days of the week had a significantly lower body mass index. If you are fitter, you live longer even if you are fat.
Fibre: "Trick and Treat" by Barry Groves and "The Diet Delusion" by Gary Taubes, although that is a difficult and tedious read - an easier read is "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance by Phinney and Volek" - all prove that the high fibre, low fat, low calorie diet touted for decades not only doesn't work long-term but is dangerous to health and all these books and many more explain what is really needed, all backed up with research.
Unfortunately, too many of us cannot lose weight and/or get healthy even with the right information. The reason is low thyroid: hypothyroidism is being called a silent epidemic (silent because not officially acknowledged) that affects between 40% and 60% of the population.
Anyone sincere about learning how to avoid health problems - or how to recover - would benefit not only from cutting out sugar but also from reading:
- "Hypothyroidism Type 2" ("Type 2" meaning thyroid problems for which there are no lab tests) which shows how much of poor health and all chronic pain is linked to low thyroid, including those involved with diabetes, heart problems, both bleeding (like gums, periods) & blood clots (including strokes) and some cancers (current lab tests cannot identify more than half the causes of low thyroid); and
- Stop The Thyroid Madness - I think this is the MOST important book and there is also a very helpful website with the same name; both are patient-empowering, detailed and practical - for low thyroid and also adrenal insufficiency. (Those with low thyroid and low adrenals actually get worse with exercise and dieting - because both are stressful and stress makes us worse.)
There are no lab tests for most causes of low thyroid but your doctor only treats lab tests, not you. Both STTM website and book explain a quick and easy self/home test for identifying low thyroid in yourself, the FREE basal/morning temperature test, which is the gold standard for identifying thyroid problems (although most conventional doctors, including endos, don't agree, but then they're not trained to understand thyroid problems).
thyroiduk[dot]org[dot]uk offers a list of the very few thyroid sympathetic doctors in this country
38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on 30 December 2012
In this book Dr. Lustig shares crucial, science-backed knowledge about our bodies, our food environment, and threats to our health from processed foods and added sugar. Everyone, especially our policymakers, should read this book. It takes a big picture look at various factors affecting the human body in our modern industrialized world, from governmental regulation to the biochemistry of metabolism.
Thank you, Dr. Lustig, for giving the world this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 July 2013
Dr Lustig's writes in straightforward terms what sugar does to our bodies - his book is therefore a bit technical but hey, he's talking about processes which take place inside of us, so for me it was well worth the effort to try and understand them as well as I could.
I must say that what I learned from this book was a revelation - in this calorie-obsessed world, I was led to believe that calorie in/calorie out is the only nutritional value that matters in weight maintenance. Dr Lustig, on the other hand, tells us that what really is important is the damage that certain types of foods inflict on our system, and I am very grateful he decided to write that book.
Having read "Fat Chance" I slashed my sugar/ refined carbohydrate intake - and the most noticeable result is that I no longer have those nagging food cravings and my energy level remains constant. For the first time in my life I don't feel compelled to go on yet another slimming diet and started developing a healthy and non-obsessive relationship with food, effort- and guilt-free.
A picture is worth a thousand words - I strongly recommend Dr Lustig's youtube lecture. Some other authors I can recommend are Gary Taubes (he's excellent!), Barry Groves and John S. Yudkin.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 11 June 2013
When I first read this book (hardback version purchased in January), I was obese with a whole host of associated health problems. I followed the "personal solutions" in part V, and now, just 6 months later, I am no longer obese. Although I am of course, delighted with my weight loss (which has stayed off), I am even more happy of the other positive health benefits - i am not lying when i say ALL of my obesity health related problems have gone. I could write a very lengthy review about how Dr Lustig's book has changed my life (and that of my 3 young children and husband) for the better, but I do not wish to bore people. Suffice to say, that I recommend this book to all readers, especially to those who have struggled with their weight problems and to those who are worried about their children's health and well being.
There's little chance that i will ever have to pleasure to meet Dr Lustig and his colleagues in person, so if they are reading this review, I would like to give them my heartfelt thanks for writing this book. Thank you! From Laura and family.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 May 2014
A bit technical in parts...explaining how our brain and body works, but the detail does come to a point. This is not a doctor trying to baffle you with science or being clever: There is more to this than the message 'Sugar is Bad!' Its how you eat sugar, in what, when, how often. How our body will make sugar if it does not get it, and how to get around it. Most of all, this is not a diet book. There is no pages and pages of what you can and cant eat. Just a sensible list for what to eat every day, what to have not so often and what to save for your special occasions.For British readers the final chapter of how corporate sugar and the American government have acted can be skipped, unless you want to really not like American politics very much and corporations not at all (and be on the same page as a lot of Americans on that!) But all in all, this is a hearty book, its an All-You-Can-Eat treatise on Sugar. Lets put it this way, I want orange juice? I drink water and eat an orange since reading it!