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212 of 213 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this Book!
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...
Published 21 months ago by Tynedoc

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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good data, opinionated narrative
Loved the science and the compelling science based arguments for the causal connection between sugar and metabolic syndrome and obesity in this book. Lustig lays out the facts clearly and in an understandable way for the non-scientist. He also has great ideas on food labeling and the need for legislative change. I was far less keen on the author's mostly cynical and...
Published 20 months ago by Realisation


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212 of 213 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this Book!, 21 Feb 2013
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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!
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally an explanation to fat., 12 May 2013
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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.
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159 of 171 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why your body doesn't know where your fat is!, 3 Jan 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.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read - Compelling Blend of Science & Narrative, 30 May 2013
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This review is from: Fat Chance: The bitter truth about sugar (Kindle Edition)
If you've read Gary Taubes, Michael Pollan or similar, you'll be already familiar with some of the key points in Lustig's book. If not, this book is a great way to get up-to-speed on the science, politics and economics behind the obesity epidemic. I am personally biased towards a more paleo-informed way of living so Lustig's work was preaching to the converted in my case. What Lustig's book does best is calmly and coherently dig deeply into the factors that led to the emergence of obesity/diabetes/metabolic syndrome as a pandemic but does so in a highly-readable yet informative manner.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 8 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Fat Chance: The bitter truth about sugar (Kindle Edition)
A fascinating and worrying insight into the addictive and dangerous sweet stuff. Made me look at the family diet in a different way.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A seminal book that will change the course of dieting, 26 July 2013
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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
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars diet and exercise advice proved wrong, otherwise a good book, 10 Mar 2013
By 
D&D - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone needs to read this book, 30 Dec 2012
By 
J. Buss (San Francisco USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes difficult, but well worth it, 9 April 2013
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I have read a lot of books about nutrition over the years, and I must admit I kind of expected this to be an updated version of Gary Taube's "Diet Dilemma". But I decided to give it a go, firstly because I heard Dr Lustig interviewed on the radio, and liked his passion and commitment, which he managed to display despite being hurried along by an interviewer who was keen to get onto the next news item. I also admired his credentials - not just a "food journalist" or an alternative health practitioner with an axe to grind (don't get me wrong, some of my best friends are alternative health practitioners!), but a bona fide professor with a solid scientific background and a specialism in paediatric obesity.

The real strength of this book is that it doesn't shy away from the complexity of the obesity problem - it's so easy for a book to sell itself by posing simplistic solutions, but although fructose is clearly the villain of the piece, Dr Lustig also gives air-time to processed food, exercise, environmental chemicals linked to weight gain, effects on the developing foetus, government nutrition guidelines......and much else that I'm having trouble remembering. But the key messages for me are (1) the obese are not gluttonous, weak, despicable people, but victims of the their genes and their environment, constantly driven to eat despite their weight, and (2) a calorie is NOT a calorie, and the calories found in sugar are much more dangerous and harmful than any others (oh, and you can't eat whatever you want as long as you exercise regularly, unless you are an elite, world-class athlete).

I really liked Dr Lustig's writing style, and can forgive him the American focus - although one day it would be nice to have a version of this book which is adapted for the UK market. Why only 4 stars? Although he tried hard, sometimes the science is a bit mind-boggling. As I said, I've read lots of nutrition books and the subject really interested me, but sometimes I just had to put the book down for a while, because the technical descriptions of bio-chemical reactions in the body were complex and overlapping. Which pretty much explains why there is never going to be a single "cure" for obesity - the range of bodily processes and checks and balances, hormones, nutrients etc. which make up our wonderful body-machine are so amazing, diverse, and interactive with our environment, that there is no simple solution. But if this book can contribute to the wider understanding of what is going on with our health, then it's certainly worth taking the extra time to read, and understand.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just desserts for the food industry?, 1 April 2013
Ingredients:

100% evidence base
A dozen raw 'home truths'
A kernal of humour
0 stuffing

pour onto an icy food industry and leave to defrost before beating well.

Review:

A great review of the debilitating effects of sugar and the industries that buttress its production. This book does not over-egg the evidence (or falsify it) and the book is not larded with pointless recipes ("3000 recipes for you not to try at home!")or other types of filler material that you are likely to flick past to get to the main sections.

Lustig is a paediatric endocrinologist so there is a bit of a paediatric slant - but what applies here for kids does for adults too. The sections on public health are as others have pointed out a bit Americanised, but then a British audience is probably looking at a description of the 'shape of things to come.'
At times a little technical (leptins, and insulin), but really, you can't get to the meat of the topic without doing this, and the evidence for the 'final common pathway' which explains why different types of 'diets' work well despite being so different is handled well.
The book works well as a primer to the topic, and while there are lots of hints and tips, if you are looking to effect a personal change (beyond cutting out soft drinks) then you will probably want to read a bit more widely but this would be a great, great start.
Oh, and I loved the ( "wtf?") style of writing.
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