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Book Review: “Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease” by Robert Lustig, MD

Robert Lustig, MD’s book Fat Chance is a quick, well referenced follow-up to his wildly popular YouTube video “Sugar: The Bitter Truth”. In this book he lays out the clear physiological pathway in which excess sugar (specifically fructose) is the key toxin causing so much obesity and metabolic disease. The twin cofactors of our lack of fiber (to blunt the rate of sugar absorption) and our lack of exercise (to increase our per minute use of glucose) play a role as well.

In this paradigm change is necessary for all of us we hope to avoid certain metabolic catastrophe. He lays our several key elements necessary for our health. Including reducing sugar consumption, increase real/whole food consumption, and in reducing the overly processed packaged food dependency we have as a nation. He outlines why this is both behavioral (we choose the wrong foods) and physiologic (our bodies push us to choose the wrong foods) and how to address both. In the end he even outlines his argument for governmental policy to help us change.

I was very pleased to read this book. I was very glad to realize that 90% of the points he makes in this book we already teach through the practice’s nutritional counseling program. I was even pleased to read him talk about ‘real food spoils.’ It does by the way.

I would highly encourage everyone interested in true health and the physiology that regulates it to read this book. I borrowed mine from the county library but like it so much I’ll order a copy to own.

In that vein we will be using a simple recommendation scale for our book reviews. We will recommend one of the following actions for each book:

  • Skip It for those books you needn’t bother exploring. You only have so many books you’ll read in your lifetime and we don’t want you to waste it on one like this.
  • Skim It for those books that deserve some consideration. Maybe use a highlighted copy and read the yellow parts or even run by the bookstore and just browse the chapter headings. There are a few useful tidbits in these books but not a many.
  • Borrow It is for books that you really ought to read fully. Once you’ve read them, send them packing so they don’t clutter up your life.  You may not need them again, ever.
  • Buy It are books you need to own. These books need a place on your shelves either in hardcopy or electronic. They are books you’ll think about and lend out. Books you’ll look back on and be glad you own.
  • Study It are books that need a physical presence in your life and something close at hand. They are books you’ll review over and again. You’ll be reading your own highlighting and think “That’s a great point!” all over again.  Few books deserve this level of consideration and fewer still will hold this level of recommendation over the course of your lifetime.

For Robert Lustig, MD’s book Fat Chance I give it a Buy It rating.

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