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Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease Hardcover – Dec 27 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Hudson Street Press; 1 edition (Dec 27 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159463100X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594631009
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 16.3 x 2.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #29,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“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.

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By DoctorJohn on 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 By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER on March 19 2013
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amrik Singh on 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 16 2013
Format: Hardcover
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“If the food comes in a wrapper, the wrapper has more health benefits than the food.”

Added sugar is everywhere. Something like 80% of all food items sold in the U.S. contain it, and Americans yearly eat about 130 pounds each. It’s a drastic change from history, when sugar was at best available only seasonally, when fruit ripened.

Lustig thinks that sugar is toxic, evil, causing the obesity epidemic, and a poison, and that’s before he really gets warmed up. Not only have food companies started adding sugar to almost everything to encourage consumption, he says, but they also remove the fiber to improve shelf life. Yet it is fiber, Lustig points out, that helps us process sugar. This is why eating a fruit is fine, but fruit juice is not (calorie for calorie, fruit juice is worse than pop): the fiber is destroyed by the juicing process.

The answer to obesity, says Lustig, is threefold. First, we must control the environment in which we live, reducing our intake of substances like sugar that destabilize our bodily hormones and lead to overeating. Second, we need to increase our consumption of fiber. Third, we need to exercise. An overweight person who exercises may well outlive a thin person who does not, and 15 minutes of exercise a day appears to add about 3 years to a lifespan.

I can’t say I found Lustig’s analysis of public policy compelling: it’s not his area. On nutrition, on the other hand, he’s an expert. That said, I must admit this may be one of those (very) rare instances it may be easier to just read the news article or watch the video interview.
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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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