Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease - Robert H. Lustig So, hmmmm... where to start? For the most part, I thought this book was pretty good. Chock full of great information about biology and genetics and how the body regulates weight, etc. There was lots of really in-depth, detailed discussions about hormones and environment and all the non-diet-and-exercise factors that come into play when discussing weight. I found sad the stories about kids (whom the author primarily treats) who start out life with so much stacked against them in terms of their weight. It's mind boggling that two kids from the same parents, given the same meals, the same general activity level, can be built so very differently where one is thin and the other struggles with obesity. And then the kids who beat cancer only to face obesity due to portions of the brain that were removed to beat the cancer... heartbreaking.

At first, I was a bit taken aback by the author's message. He basically says flat out that diet and exercise mean nothing. That some people are just predisposed to being heavy, and since most companies have given up trying to find the "magic pill" to fix obesity, it seems like it's just a lost cause. And the reason companies have given up trying to find the magic pill is because there are so many varied reasons for people to be obese. Overeating and inactivity are not the whole story, or even part of the story in many cases. Which made me wonder why the heck anyone would even try, given that information?

And then he goes on to say that if you lose weight, that's great. He has NO faith you'll be able to keep it off. Isn't that great? He has reason for believing this -- the body gets comfortable and works against you constantly to try to get back to where it's comfortable even if it's not a healthy weight. And for those people with the biological and/or genetic issues, the deck is stacked even further against them. And then he further discusses that diet alone isn't good enough and exercise alone isn't good enough.

There was a lengthy discussion about the TYPES of food being consumed. A calorie is not a calorie. A whole grain carb is better than the stripped down white bread carb. Grapes are not the same as grape juice. Our biology evolved based on the foods we were eating, and we've modified our food so much that the good parts of it are either unrecognizable to our bodies (and therefore not used properly) or not even there anymore. It surprised me to learn that a smoothie made with whole fruit breaks down the good fiber so much that it sort of defeats the purpose of eating the fruit. That fiber in its natural form has an important biological function in our bodies, and a smoothie just doesn't do the same thing for us. And you can't just put the fiber back in. It apparently doesn't work that way.

I did start tuning out right at the end when the author started suggesting suing government agencies to effect change. While I understand that change needs to take place and, unfortunately, our government seems to only respond to money, suing just seems a bit extreme. Yes, hitting them in their pocket book might force them to change their stance on certain things like the Farm Bill or food additives. I can't say I have a better idea, but I know I wouldn't represent the cause well... I don't know all the facts sufficiently to be able to spout them at the drop of a hat, as the author could. People like him, who really know their stuff, would be better representatives to make the case.

The other thing the author advocates is regulating sugar. As in: you can't buy a full sugar soda if you're under 18. His viewpoint is that sugar is toxic, and it's the only part of our diet that isn't necessary to our survival. And he has a point, but I honestly don't see sugar being regulated the same way liquor or cigarettes are.