A literary review recently asked me to review a book by an eminent paediatric endocrinologist, Dr Robert Lustig, entitled Fat Chance. It is by no means well-written; but then, as the publisher explained to me, Dr Lustig is a doctor, not a writer. At least he always makes his meaning plain.
His main scientific thesis is that it is dietary sugar, particularly fructose, that has caused the world-wide epidemic of obesity, which is now particularly severe in the United States and Britain. Dr Lustig is a follower of Dr John Yudkin, a British doctor and nutritionist, who first drew the world’s attention to the connection between sugar consumption and obesity, hypertension, hyperlipidaemia and diabetes over 40 years ago in his book Pure, White and Deadly. Yudkin, however, was disregarded or pushed aside by forceful proponents of the alternative animal fat hypothesis of coronary artery and cerebrovascular disease, as well as by the sugar industry which led a propaganda war against his views.