Fat Chance: Sugar-Busting Bestseller?

Here’s an advance look at this winter’s upcoming bestseller, Robert Lustig’s “Fat Chance”. He showed the cover during his presentation at AHS yesterday and I took a quick iPhone pic (above), sorry about the quality.

I think this book will make a big difference. It will put the media spotlight on sugar and processed high-carb junk food as the main cause of obesity and western disease (not simply “calories”, as the junk food industry wants you to believe).

While Gary Taubes is arguably at least as smart as Lustig, it’s Lustig who’s the master communicator and media rockstar. It’s hard to argue with 2,7 million views on YouTube for a 90 min lecture and high-profile media appearances all over the place. Furthermore, I had lunch with Lustig yesterday and I can tell you that this guy is just getting started.

 Pre-order Fat Chance on Amazon.com

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26 Comments

Top Comments

  1. Maree
    I have got to say that I am a huge fan of Gary Taubes, he changed my life. I love the way he speaks to the people and how amazing he was when he went up against Dr Oz and those other stupid quacks on TV. He had three people against him at once and still he held his own, not to mention putting up with Jillian Michaels who knows nothing about science but only doing bench presses. The man has something special Go Gary, Yay!
    Read more →
  2. Richard
    I think there are at least three reasons why Lustig has garnered all this mainstream media attention (as opposed to Taubes):

    1. The letters "M.D." after his name - he can talk about his own patients, which always resonates.

    2. His simple (and rather simplistic) message - sugar is toxic.

    3. The insistence that government intervention is required - a hot topic since the creation of the "Tea Party".

    Taubes on the other hand is much more nuanced and balanced in his approach, which is not so appealing to the sound bite hungry media of today. Personally I think Lustig's message will be sunk by his shrill advocacy for government controls - especially since it was government that got us into this mess through inappropriate farm subsidies and the wrong health advice.

    The other great weakness in Lustig's presentation is that he doesn't make a very good poster child for the beneficial effects of carb moderation - if he can't practice what he preaches why should anyone else listen to him.

    Read more →

All Comments

  1. Maree
    I have got to say that I am a huge fan of Gary Taubes, he changed my life. I love the way he speaks to the people and how amazing he was when he went up against Dr Oz and those other stupid quacks on TV. He had three people against him at once and still he held his own, not to mention putting up with Jillian Michaels who knows nothing about science but only doing bench presses. The man has something special Go Gary, Yay!
  2. MarkR
    Maree,
    I agree with you about Gary. His Good Calories, Bad Calories and later Why We Get Fat, helped me immensely. Also Dr Davis' Wheat Belly convinced me to finally give up grains. Two online videos also played a huge role in changing my way of eating. One was Dr Eenfeldt's AHS 2011 lecture , The Food Revolution, and the other was Dr. Lustig's Sugar: The Bitter Truth. I thank all of these people and many others for the work they do. The revolution has started. It is small now, but I expect it to grow rapidly in the next few years. We have already noticed that when we go to restaurants and request changes to the dishes we order to make them more LCHF, virtually all the servers have heard about it from other customers. Happily, they are nearly always willing to accommodate our wishes. I think we will see the opening of LCHF restaurants soon. That will be a milestone!
  3. Richard
    I think there are at least three reasons why Lustig has garnered all this mainstream media attention (as opposed to Taubes):

    1. The letters "M.D." after his name - he can talk about his own patients, which always resonates.

    2. His simple (and rather simplistic) message - sugar is toxic.

    3. The insistence that government intervention is required - a hot topic since the creation of the "Tea Party".

    Taubes on the other hand is much more nuanced and balanced in his approach, which is not so appealing to the sound bite hungry media of today. Personally I think Lustig's message will be sunk by his shrill advocacy for government controls - especially since it was government that got us into this mess through inappropriate farm subsidies and the wrong health advice.

    The other great weakness in Lustig's presentation is that he doesn't make a very good poster child for the beneficial effects of carb moderation - if he can't practice what he preaches why should anyone else listen to him.

  4. Stacy in USA
    I agree with Lustig substantively, but he concerns me as well. I get the impression he'd like to replace the current failed regulations with a newer version of his own instead of reforming the failed structure. We need to look at how our regulatory agencies and the NIH function. It's a bit like holding a coup to get rid of a dictator only to replace him with another dictator.

    While it's important to me to get the word out about accurate nutrition, it's just as important to understand how and why our government has promoted and endorsed bad guidelines and poor science. Lustig seems (I could be wrong) to completely gloss over that aspect and focus on creating bad guys in the industries. He seems to want to use the same power levers to force his (and probably accurate) view on sugar and nutrition ala Mike Bloomberg. This makes me highly suspicious.

    In the US, this government focused solution will cause a huge peel away making his position less effective.

    There's a tiny bit of a messiah ego thing going on with Lustig that makes me uncomfortable

  5. hope it is not that hard to read in english! taubes books for instance are interesting but hard to read..
  6. Stacy in USA
    Richard,

    "Personally I think Lustig's message will be sunk by his shrill advocacy for government controls - especially since it was government that got us into this mess through inappropriate farm subsidies and the wrong health advice."

    You've nailed it here.

    My fear is his approach appeals to the puritan-like left while turning off the libertarians and the right. And, that's really too bad because it could be an issue where we find common ground if approached from another angle. The left will try to push regulations like Bloomberg; the right will resist on personal choice grounds, and the larger message will get lost. Too bad.

  7. Both Taubes and Lustig are very smart and we need them both to spread the word about the benefits of NOT eating sugary/starchy/highly processed foods. I think that they appeal to different audiences and, jointly, they’ll cover more territory and the overall impact will be greater.
    I look forward to reading Lustig’s book. Thank you for sharing the news.
  8. Rachel
    I was really discouraged about losing weight this past January. Then I came across Dr. Eenfeldt's video interviewing Dr. Lustig. His description about insulin and how it affects weight was so clear I was in shock. And I had already read so many low carb books - I felt that I already understood all there was to know. I then watched his 90 minute lecture on "Sugar, the Bitter Truth" and it opened a whole new world for me. I feel I owe my sanity and, quite likely, my life to both Dr. Eenfeldt and Dr. Lustig. Thank you both for continuing to spread the word about what we really should be eating!!
  9. Jose Marti
    The ideas of Lustig on more Governement Control may sound danerous or unrealistic to many people but they are nevertheles essential to implement any substantial changes in the sorry level of our diets.It is the Government's opinion and recooemdations that de termine the offical guidelines as to waht is the right diet,aand based on thsi a huge level of funding is made available to Instirutions,Univesities and Research cntres.The Government can effectively rein on many of the depredations and abuses that the food indsutry perpetarte on us.Short of that the only way by whcih the food indsutry would change would be through amssive consumer's revolt to their porducts.A process that would take decades to achieve. We need to leva esiede in thdu Country thsi unrealistic notion of "the Libertarian" because there is no such athing.Even the msot so called libertarian of men use ,and enjoy,all the services and benfits that Government's Institutions provide,beginning by
  10. Joyce
    I lost respect for Lustig when I listened to his interview with Alec Baldwin. He doesn't follow his own rules and admitted to eating processed grains and other foods when he is at work at the hospital. He even admitted that his wife gets on his case for it!
  11. Janknitz
  12. Murray Braithwaite
    Any time a government gets involved in nutrition it turns out badly. People are eating more sugar because the government told them to eat low fat. Some states are even now considering regulating or taxing saturated fat. All that is necessary is for the science to become known, which is resisted by vested interests and inertia.
  13. FrankG
    While I agree in principle that government has limited (if any) role in food policing -- other than perhaps ensuring its safety... at the same time they are already heavily involved (encouraged by rich and powerful, self-interested lobby groups) and driving policies (such as corn subsidies and food guides) which have led us down the garden path to where we are today.

    I don't think we can simply ask them to back off and leave us to sort it out. I think that a time of redress and rebalance will be needed first. We can vote by the choices we make at the supermarket checkout but that does not affect how our taxes are spent.

    Remember that "the government" are supposed to be our representatives... not some headless entity that works independently of us.

  14. Preordered! This book will shed better light on the obesity epidemic in children. can't wait to read it.
  15. I also lost respect for the man when he admits he doesn't follow a healthy diet. He's the type of do as I say not as I do. Take one look at the man, not in very good shape. Typical M.D. who tells you what to eat and what not to eat, but the man himself is out of shape and overweight. Like Gary T. always said, it's not just the sugar, it's all carbs, and Dr. Lustig still eats sugars when he's eating his grains.

    Not impressed with the man!

  16. Ray
    Unfortunately, cutting sugar is necessary, but not sufficient for success. In my case I was very low sugar, but had plenty of healthy whole grains for decades. The result was increasing weight and deteriorating health. The danger is that Dr Lustig will be successful in his lobbying effort thus adding a layer of taxation and government control, yet the problem of obesity and bad health will remain.
  17. Joyce
    I had high triglycerides for many years. The doctors kept telling me it was too much sugar. I couldn't understand that since I didn't eat sweets, then I noticed how many things had sugar added and I cut them out. I had a blood test and the trigs were 693! I then eliminated all grains, starchy high carb fruits and veggies and in 3 months my trigs are down to 149! Not perfect, but not just caused by the sugar.
  18. Michael
    I hope he'll be bashing wheat and grains too, not just liquid sugar. Otherwise this book will be missing the target.
  19. BA
    Are there any AHS 2012 videos up on the internet anywhere yet?
  20. Paul in MA
    "Libertarians, eat my dust!"

    So said Dr. Lustig in his AHS speech, which I attended.

    An unfortunate attitude. Lustig admits bad policy created a mess, but he wants to fight government with government.

  21. FrankG
    Whatever happened to "government of the people, by the people, for the people" did you all just give up on that idea and accept things as they are?

    Do you really feel so powerless to affect your own government?

    Do you know who your representatives are? What about their opposition? Do you know how to contact them and let your views be known, or are you content to have them only listen to the lobby groups? If nothing else they care about your vote so if enough voters speak out against policy they will listen... beyond that: some folks do still go into politics with the best of intentions!

  22. Joyce
    Yes, I do not trust the government when it comes to food. They are the ones that started the hfcs push through the USDA to boost agriculture. The almighty dollar rules. And then there was the McGovern Committee who refused to listen to the facts about fat consumption and heart disease. Then we got all of the low fat products with sugar added to replace the flavor they lost, all despite the consequences to health. Then even our doctors were fed a pack of lies about fat and the problems with refined grains and most of them still do not believe me that I drastically improved my blood profiles due to my change in diet. And they cannot get grants to study it. Follow the money.
    I feel a grassroots effort will be the way we change the eating habits in this country.
  23. Evinx
    Here is a piece of the transcript of the interview by Alec Baldwin. Lustig may have some valid points about sugar & fructose but there is certainly a disconnect between hat he preaches & does with respect to processed foods.

    [Music]

    Alec Baldwin: Dr. Robert Lustig is writing a book about the dangers of sugar called "Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity and Disease." It will be out in December. Knowing what you know, what are things you don’t eat? What’s your diet become since you’ve been doing this work?

    Robert Lustig: I carry a few extra pounds and I’m not happy about it. I don’t eat sugar.

    Alec Baldwin: You don’t.

    Robert Lustig: No. I have dessert twice a year. When I’m in New York I have a piece of Junior’s cheesecake and when I’m in New Orleans I have bread pudding -

    Alec Baldwin: Right.

    Robert Lustig: - with whiskey sauce.

    Alec Baldwin: Yeah.

    Robert Lustig: Those are my two foibles.

    Alec Baldwin: Well no one can begrudge you that. Dessert twice a year, wow -

    Robert Lustig: Twice a year.

    Alec Baldwin: - you’re doing well.

    Robert Lustig: Other than that no, I really don’t. To be honest with you it’s not because I did this work, it’s because it usually just doesn’t appeal to me.

    Alec Baldwin: And what are you eating that you think you shouldn’t be eating?

    Robert Lustig: Well, I have a half a bagel in the morning with cheese, that’s sort of my standard breakfast and my wife get son me for that.

    Alec Baldwin: Right.

    Robert Lustig: For lunch unfortunately because I’m running between you know patients, it often ends up something being very processed and it’s a real problem.

    Alec Baldwin: Right.

    Robert Lustig: For dinner though it’s a very standard dinner and I don’t snack between meals and I still can’t lose it. So I understand. I’m there. I’m part of it.

    Alec Baldwin: You can’t see your Leptin?

    Robert Lustig: Probably not.

    Alec Baldwin: Right.

    [Music]

    Alec Baldwin: This is Alec Baldwin. Here’s the Thing is produced by WNYC Radio.

    So, how many of you go to a dentist whose teeth are yellow & green & falling out? Or an obese personal trainer? Or, an MD who lectures you about the evils of smoking while he puffs away right in your face?

  24. Joyce
    @Evinx. Exactly. I think he really has something about the high fructose corn syrup being so pervasive, but it's just a small piece of the puzzle. Maybe he thinks he can handle the refined carbs and that's why he doesn't make an effort to cut them out. Maybe he doesn't think they're that big of a deal. I wonder.
  25. Evinx
    funny how "processed foods" are part of his sub-title. Is he doing the very same thing he accuses Big Pharma + Big Agriculture of doing? Pursuing the $$$$ - If he practiced what he preached, I would certainly have more respect for him.
  26. Julian Skinner
    I don't care if he looks like a whale. what counts is the evidence. the evidence against more than a few teaspoons of fructose is damning.
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