Working in research for the past 13 years, I think I approach this book with a bit more scrutiny than others might. I am having a hard time pinpointing exactly what I have to say about this book. On the one hand, I do agree with his argument. Sugar is bad. Probably worse than we’ve been led to believe. There are compelling arguments for sugar being involved in every metabolic syndrome disease. As sugar became more prevalent in cultures, those cultures developed various syndromes that were rare prior to the abundance of sugars. There is also compelling evidence that the sugar lobby has sought to prevent proper research from taking place to study the effects of sugar in the diet. Money always corrupts and there is a lot of money in a vice like sugar.
On the other hand, he overplays some of the evidence and draws conclusions where it is not a clear line. He provides some good evidence against the low fat diet, noting the cultures who consumed very high fat diets and had little to no diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and obesity; but then were introduced to sugar and suddenly the rates of these diseases are growing in the community. These are compelling case studies. But then he cites poorly controlled research to further prove the point. One study launched in the early 90s stands out in particular. From the book: “The roughly twenty thousand women in the trial who had been counseled to consume low-fat diets (and to eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and less red meat) saw no health benefits compared with the women who had been given no dietary instructions whatsoever.” (emphasis mine). There is no mention of any attempts to then survey the women about what kind of diet they actually followed over the course of the study. Particularly the women who were given no instruction, because during that time period, following a low fat diet was the norm. It was the accepted dietary advice of the time for good health and to lose weight or stay slim. So odds are that many of the women in the control group were following the same advice as the women in the experimental group.
Even with some of the evidence falling flat for me, I still believe that limiting sugar is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. I only wish this book had been a little more compelling and motivating for me to actually follow that advice.