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Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease [Hardcover]

Robert H. Lustig
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 1 2013
New York Times Bestseller

Robert Lustig’s 90-minute YouTube video “Sugar: The Bitter Truth”, has been viewed more than three million times. Now, in this much anticipated book, he documents the science and the politics that has led to the pandemic of chronic disease over the last 30 years.

In the late 1970s when the government mandated we get the fat out of our food, the food industry responded by pouring more sugar in. The result has been a perfect storm, disastrously altering our biochemistry and driving our eating habits out of our control.

To help us lose weight and recover our health, Lustig presents personal strategies to readjust the key hormones that regulate hunger, reward, and stress; and societal strategies to improve the health of the next generation. Compelling, controversial, and completely based in science, Fat Chance debunks the widely held notion to prove “a calorie is NOT a calorie”, and takes that science to its logical conclusion to improve health worldwide.

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Review

“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.”
Alec Baldwin
 
“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 has spent the past sixteen years treating childhood obesity and studying the effects of sugar on the central nervous system and metabolism. He is the Director of the UCSF Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health Program and also a member of the Obesity Task Force of the Endocrine Society.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent review on the aetiology of obesity Feb. 13 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Dr. Lustig has done an exemplary job reviewing the set point mechanisms in the brain which contribute to obesity. As a trained pediatric neuroendocrinologist Robert Lustig reviewed many of the central nervous system/hormonal interactions and presents the data in a fascinating way.
Dr. Lustig then goes on to compare how sugar and alcohol should be treated in a similar fashion with respect to public policy and he makes an excellent argument to support his views.
This is not the first book I would recommend to someone interested in improving their health and learning about obesity as the science is a bit heavy for those without a background in anatomy, physiology, or biochemistry. That said I really enjoyed the majority of his work. DoctorJohn Northern Ontario School of Medicine
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts... March 19 2013
By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
In "Fat Chance," paediatrician Robert Lustig blatantly blames sugar for the obesity pandemic. In fact, he describes sugar literally as a poison, one which wrecks havoc on hormone balance and insulin regulation thereby causing diabetes, polycystic ovaries, gout and a host of other illnesses.

Digging deeper, he explains that heredity may cause insulin resistance yet there are also evolutionary reasons why humans have a propensity to develop such resistance. For instance, in pregnancy or puberty, weight gain proves beneficial so a mechanism that keeps us feeling hungry can be useful. But, this mechanism malfunctions in modern, sugar-rich societies as high insulin levels increase fat storage while short-circuiting the brain into craving more food.

Does this make sugar a poison? Certainly, sugar-rich diets increase the amount of fat stored around the liver thereby damaging organs, interfering with brain signals, and promoting damaging, addictive behaviour. While Lustig's arguments often seem to go overboard, blindly lambasting a single molecule (fructose) for the world's gamut of health problems, he does offer ways to improve our health. He advises a high-fibre diet to move "stuff" through our systems without overloading our liver and more exercise as an effective way to control hormone levels.

Lustig now has a new regulatory climate as his chief aim and has taken a sabbatical to study public health law. Based on his smart, well-researched and lucid book, not to mention his YouTube lecture that has three million hits, he is likely to be a formidable advocate.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A page turner indeed July 24 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was an eye opener for me on multiple levels. Once I was deeply convinced of the damage sugar can do to my body, it was much easier for me to remove it from my diet. Not only this book helped me get rid of sugar but also explained the science behind other diets and why they do or do not work. My goal reading this book was to understand effects of sugar on our body, but I ended up understanding a lot more about carbs, fats, fiber etc. And I can't help but mention a complete turn around regarding my ideas about juices (even fresh squeezed), smoothies etc. The sections about govt. policies are important but I mostly flipped through them. Author himself seems not much hopeful regarding any policy changes, so we are mostly on our own to save ourselves and our families from the harmful effects of sugar. This book can be an excellent guide on how to achieve that.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Practical and Persuasive July 19 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'd been on a compulsive carb-snacking and recurring fatigue roller coaster, and my medical-exam results gave me reason to be concerned. I was considering joining Weight Watchers when I heard a persuasive interview with Dr. Ludwig on PBS's "The People's Pharmacy." I decided to eliminate all sugar and refined source of carbohydrates and potatoes, and within two days my snacking urges went away. Before long, I realized that I was eating smaller portions. On reading the book, I added back into my more soluble and insoluble fiber. Though I am not dieting, my weight is dropping at the rate of about one pound every ten days, and I have more energy than I have had in years. These empirical results led me to buy this book as a gift for friends with metabolic disorder. Equally important, I have learned from it, in layman's terms, the metabolic pathways that make our high consumption of refined starches and sugars so toxic. I think this is a very important book, and I highly recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Case Against Sugar July 7 2014
By Susan
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Robert Lustig's book has convinced me to drastically reduce sugar consumption in my diet. He makes the case against sugar and its effects on our bodies. He also presents a convincing case for governments to enact legislation to protect consumers from sugar- a toxic substance.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Factual. An eye-opener. March 1 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Should be required reading for everyone who does the grocery shopping.
Well organized and also a good read.
A serious look at the food industry and the unawareness of consumers.
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Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book was written written recently about the dietetic catastrophe of developed countries today. I didn't realize that the same persons for sowing doubt about the dangers of smoking are now doing the same thing about the dangers of processed food. If you have any of the symptoms I have listed you should read this book, and then watch videos of Dr. Lustig, available on the internet, explaining the modern understanding of the chemistry that fructose is detoxified by the same pathhway in the liver that is used to detoxify alcohol, and that each can of soft drink does as much damage to the liver as a can of beer. Although it is very difficult to find any processed food without a lot of sugar, I have lost 13 pounds in 2 weeks by cutting out candy and cookies. I never did drink sugar drinks. I feel that my ideal weight is between 145 and 155 lbs. I had risen to 163 lbs over Christmas by eating candies, cakes and desserts on a daily basis. I never feel too hungry.
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