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svenskamae 01-21-2013 06:59 PM

Robert Lustig's "Fat Chance" Book
 
Others here may be interested in reading Dr. Robert Lustig's new book, Fat Chance: Beating the Odds against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease (published December 27, 2012). Lustig's lecture condemning sugar went viral on youtube; he's a specialist in treating pediatric obesity at University of California San Francisco.

Some of the good points: He argues:
1) All calories are not the same
2) Obesity isn't just caused by gluttony and sloth and isn't solved by saying "Eat less, move more"
3) Eat real food. Sugar and processed junk are central to global increases in obesity in recent decades, and sugar is in almost all processed food
4) He acknowledges Atkins as an okay approach, though he says some people who "dabble in" Atkins don't eat enough veggies and they may lack some essential nutrients because they don't drink milk (hello? HWC? cheese?)
5) He acknowledge paleo as an okay approach but says only rich people can afford to eat that way. (Hmmm, it's pretty much what he recommends, but without the whole grains, dairy, and legumes.)
6) He says sugar and fast food are addictive.
7) He admits that not all obese people will become non-obese by following his directives, in terms of what to eat and not eat.
8) He doesn't see any problem with eating saturated fat (it's "neutral"), but he does seem to believe that polyunsaturated processed vegetable oils (e.g., canola) are good for people, unfortunately.

I'd be interested to hear what others think of the book. It seemed more in line with a lowcarb approach than most books about nutrition, and Gary Taubes has a favorable blurb on the cover.

nolcjunk 01-21-2013 07:08 PM

Seems like he is off on so many things- advocating canola, thinking paleo is only for rich people, not knowing that you can get the nutrients that are in milk from better sources.

I do agree with the other things, especially that Atkiners tend to skimp on vegetables (or stick to small amounts of a few veg only like iceberg) and use their carbs on other things.

What kind of bread does he want people to eat? Seems like that goes against his processed food point.

I'm kind of over diet books at the moment. I pretty much have my diet set, have done a ton of reading, and I'm healthy so I figure what else can I learn? Maybe in a few years.

GME 01-21-2013 07:09 PM

Sounds like a good read.

About #5, there are some pretty hard-core paleo/primal people that only eat grass-fed, organic, pastured, local, etc and it would be awfully expensive to feed a family that way. Where I live it isn't so bad (farming year-round, lots of organic options), but there are towns and areas where the only organics are some shriveled up beets for $4/lb. Grass fed butter? Not likely.

sunday 01-21-2013 07:16 PM

I enjoyed his HFCS research, but don't get the reasoning behind some of these ideas. He is spot on w/ 1, 2, 3, 6 & 7. :)

I will read.

sunday 01-21-2013 07:19 PM

Yes, I agree with GME, the reasoning behind #5 would be the cost and difficulty obtaining organic/grassfed & hormone free beef, food items. I even get weary and I no longer feed a full family of 4.

nolcjunk 01-21-2013 07:25 PM

I don't think you need to be rich. You just need to prioritize your food budget over other spending like going out, starbucks, take out, impulse buys, new phones and technology all the time. Obviously if you are a single parent on food stamps then that's a different story but I'm a student and I manage just fine by shopping wisely, buying just enough so no food goes to waste, and making most of my meals, and budgeting for everything else that's discretionary around my food costs. Plus, I don't buy any lc products or special ingredients or snacks so that saves a lot as well.

DiamondDeb 01-21-2013 07:25 PM

I'm not rich & I eat pretty close to #5. I've found eating differently causes health problems & makes it difficult to function. But I admit I am one person & not a family of four.

sunday 01-21-2013 07:35 PM

Well, I am weary and have the money, so I can only imagine what someone who is watching money like college age and newlyweds with several mouths to feed may feel.

I admit, it is important to me, so I pay the price, but if I was trying to feed a large family, I would definitely feel the pain that he is speaking of.

svenskamae 01-21-2013 09:18 PM

It's really more of a public policy book than a diet book, though he does include a table about what to eat regularly/occasionally/very occasionally or never. I'd say it's the same sort of book, in terms of genre, as Gary Taubes' books, but with more of an emphasis on sugar and public policy, and from the perspective of a medical practitioner.

It's a bit odd to hear him dismiss paleo as only for rich people when what he advises people to eat freely coincides with it so much (e.g., grassfed beef). In terms of what bread to eat--he criticizes 31 of the 32 kinds of bread sold at his supermarket as having added sugar and not being really whole grain, so he's pretty picky about what gets labelled healthy (most of the fiber must be left in, and sugar must be left out). The discussion of Atkins and paleo occupies only about 2 pages of a 300 page book (and isn't all negative), and I thought there was a lot that was valuable. I hope the book gets a lot of press/media coverage.

marieze 01-21-2013 09:57 PM

I just wanted to say thanks for the brief synopsis of the book!!:goodpost:

Arctic_Mama 01-21-2013 10:40 PM

The Atkins quote is my biggest pet peeve. If it is being done correctly, the bulk volume of the diet is PRODUCE. I do pure, by the book DANDR, and am eating 4 cups of veggies every day as a bare minimum. Many days more than than. Grrr....

svenskamae 01-22-2013 12:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Arctic_Mama (Post 16211341)
The Atkins quote is my biggest pet peeve. If it is being done correctly, the bulk volume of the diet is PRODUCE. I do pure, by the book DANDR, and am eating 4 cups of veggies every day as a bare minimum. Many days more than than. Grrr....

Yes, I agree. Not everyone follows the Atkins books' directive to eat at least a minimum amount of vegetables on Atkins, but people who avoid veggies on Atkins would probably avoid eating vegetables on any other way of eating, including the standard American diet and a lowfat/highcarb diet--and those approaches aren't blamed fostering for veggie avoidance.

nolcjunk 01-22-2013 03:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Arctic_Mama (Post 16211341)
The Atkins quote is my biggest pet peeve. If it is being done correctly, the bulk volume of the diet is PRODUCE. I do pure, by the book DANDR, and am eating 4 cups of veggies every day as a bare minimum. Many days more than than. Grrr....

I think this is why he refers to them as Atkins dabblers- the people not really following the real plan and doing what they think they know about it and what is said about the plan in the media.

sfmom 01-22-2013 09:36 AM

I pre-ordered his book really looking forward to reading it and was disappointed with the Atkins statement and also the statements that people who are obese won't get or keep all of their weight off. Why would you flat out tell people that neither of those 2 things are possible, when they are?

Arctic_Mama 01-22-2013 09:55 AM

I don't actually disagree that failure to adhere to the plan is what gives Atkins a bad name - being judged by the failures of those who didn't ever really even DO his plan, let alone for maintenance. And unfortunately Lustig isn't wrong that some folks will never overcome obesity except in lessening the degree, both by metabolism and choice.

I kind of wish he was wrong on those points, and they are bothersome, but not untrue. As with all doctors and scientists dealing with the field of obesity research and endocrinology, the good and bad must be sorted to find the truth. I don't think a single one of them is completely correct, they all have their biases and hypotheses to work out and no perfect model yet exists, including the one from Lustig.

PianoAl 01-22-2013 05:15 PM

I'm a fan of his, but I don't agree with his idea that the fructose in an apple is OK because there's some fiber there too. In his famous youtube speech he says something like "When God makes a poison, he includes the antidote." That's a ridiculous argument.

svenskamae 01-22-2013 05:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PianoAl (Post 16213116)
I'm a fan of his, but I don't agree with his idea that the fructose in an apple is OK because there's some fiber there too. In his famous youtube speech he says something like "When God makes a poison, he includes the antidote." That's a ridiculous argument.

I suppose for some people who aren't really insulin resistent or diabetic, eating the apple (with the fiber) may be manageable, but it seems like an overstatement for many of us, who have observed first hand our blood glucose shooting up, our cravings or binges or out-of-control hunger set off, etc. And adding a caveat about eating fat with the fruit (say, spreading the apple slices with almond butter or eating a piece of sharp cheddar with the apple) to tamp down the blood sugar spikes would have been helpful, too. Still, I do appreciate his emphasis on fruit juice is like drinking sugar and his criticism of sugar/HFCS added to practically every processed food.

amundson 01-22-2013 07:19 PM

Great post svenskamae! It sounds like the book is very useful and your summary of key points is useful. I do believe that people have individual differences in their metabolisms and each person needs to experiment to find out what works for him or her.

Josh1234 08-29-2013 03:30 PM

When evaluating any diet and food information, from this book or any other place, it helps to remember that not every body is the same. Many of us have damaged systems due to consuming the wrong kinds of food over a long period of time. Others, especially the younger ones, are still OK and can turn things around. So, that sugar and fiber filled apple or pear may be find for those who are still OK, but problematical for those with damaged systems.

We all have to do what works best for us. N=1.
If that means little if any fruit, so be it. :console:
If it means being a vegan, so be it. :eek:
If that means fruit and some whole grains work fine, so be it. :sing:

Thankfully, my body seems to not be seriously damaged so I can down an apple a day, and even have a sugary/carby treat two or three times a week. But, I better be careful the rest of the time. :steak: :jumpjoy:

Key Tones 08-29-2013 05:24 PM

If one accepts safe starches, paleo becomes more affordable.

I'm able to lose weight eating potatoes but I eat them plain to achieve this. I can't lose weight with rice.

Lustig begins his toxic sugar lecture with the question what do the Atkins diet and the Japanese diet have in common? They both eliminate the fructose.

I think if my metabolism had not been disrupted by wheat, margarine, mayo And other processed food i might have been OK. I wasn't allowed sugar most of the time but I can't know what I had as a toddler so I can't be certain if fructose was a culprit.

Emily-D 08-29-2013 05:53 PM

Thanks for the great summary. I'd like to read the book, although I won't agree with every word.

teri f 08-29-2013 07:13 PM

Josh has a good point--we are all so different. I've read SO many books about nutrition, diabetes, heart disease, Thyroid disease, and obesity and have come to the conclusion that so many others have...there is no simple answer or solution to obesity. It is not just a matter of cutting calories and exercising more as so many still insist. Some of us are such a metabolic mess it can feel pretty hopeless. I had to keep trying different things until I found what worked for me. And I have ALL the issues I listed. Except the obesity. I no longer have that. It takes perserverance and a willingness to keep an open mind and never quit trying. I am really interested in reading his book and I'm sure I won't agree with a lot of it but I'm also sure there are lots I can learn from it as well. Thanks to the OP for the synopsis!

girondet 08-30-2013 05:35 AM

:goodpost:Yes! Especially the part about keeping an open mind and never quitting.

Josh1234 08-30-2013 01:03 PM

[QUOTE=Key Tones;16580868]If one accepts safe starches, paleo becomes more affordable.

An excellent point.

Josh1234 08-30-2013 01:14 PM

[QUOTE=nolcjunk;16211135]
What kind of bread does he want people to eat? Seems like that goes against his processed food point.
[Quote/]
The food list in the back of the book gives an OK to German Fitness bread. I have tried the stuff. Toasted with butter or cream cheese on it I find it quite good. The key to it's being acceptable is that it is made up mostly of chunks of grain, not pulverized flour. These chunks digest more slowly and don't give the insulin spike that he warns about. Pulverized flour, even whole wheat, is what he warns against. It is digested so rapidly, the body has to spike insulin in order to process it. Not so good.

Josh1234 08-30-2013 01:23 PM

Dr. Lustig goes where the science leads. In that respect he is a breath of fresh air. But, as a result, he does not consider himself a low-carb advocate since he does not believe the necessary work has been done to totally advocate such a diet. In particular, I believe that he thinks eliminating added sugars is such a huge reason for the success of Low-Carb (and even the low-fat diets) that there is no reason to weigh down the entire population with a more restrictive diet. And, let's face it, the less restrictive a diet or WOE is the greater chance people will do it right and keep on doing it. So, if getting the added sugar out of our diets give us 70-80% of the Low-Carb benefits, that would be a great leap forward for most of the population. The benefits from reducing other carbs such as pulverized flour would be icing on the cake (OK, poor choice for an example.) :eek:

I hope I have explained this properly.


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