Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease by Robert H. Lustig
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is not a diet book. It’s a book about nutrition, biology and public health and its science is spot-on.
I’ve done a ridiculous amount of reading on nutrition and diet books (both personally and as an editor) and this book is an excellent summation of everything out there today on what we currently know about the state of our food.
The bottom line is that our government is subsidizing foods that make us sick and have been for a long time, and it’s a primary reason we have seen an explosion in diabetes and obesity.
This book gives a thorough rundown (I didn’t think it was that technical but I’ve read quite a few of these things) on how sugared processed foods are basically toxic to human beings. Sugar and corn sugar (and fructose in particular) are the real culprits, according to Lustig and he builds a very powerful case against them in this book.
If you’re looking for how to apply this information to your own lives it comes down to cutting out sugar, eating processed food only when its coupled with higher fiber (3g per serving, min.), and exercising (not for weight loss benefits because exercise has very little impact on a person’s weight but because it’s essential to human health).
Lustig argues we need a public health policy that addresses the problems the low-fat diet has caused because low fat has translated to highly processed carbs via subsidies for corn. To put it simply: sugar, often in the form of processed carbs, destroys your body’s ability to properly regulate hormones, including the signals that tell you when you’re full.
Anyway, I’ve read lots of middling reviews for this book–people complaining that Lustig has a strong take on public policy (he’d like to regulate sugar the way we regulate tobacco or alcohol) and not a strong enough “diet” he’s selling. But I think that’s the strongest selling point for this book. Lustig isn’t looking to sell you anything but his ideas (yet–I’m sure the Fat Chance Diet is coming if this book sells well). And his ideas are based in solid evidence.
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