Fat Chance by Robert H. Lustig [mobi | 1,24 Mb] ISBN: 0142180432

  • Full Title: Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease
  • Autor: Robert H. Lustig
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Avery; Reprint edition
  • Publication Date: December 31, 2013
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142180432
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142180433
  • Download File Format | Size: mobi | 1,24 Mb
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The landmark New York Times best seller that reveals how the explosion of sugar in our diets has created an obesity epidemic, and what we can do to save ourselves.

Robert Lustig is at the forefront of war against sugar — showing us that it’s toxic, it’s addictive, and it’s everywhere because the food companies want it to be. His 90-minute YouTube video “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” has been viewed more than 7 million times. Now, in this landmark book, he documents the science and the politics that have led to personal misery and public crisis — the pandemic of obesity and chronic disease–over the last thirty years.
In the late 1970s, when the U.S. government declared that we needed to get the fat out of our diets, the food industry responded by pumping in more sugar to make food more palatable (and more salable), and by removing the fiber to make food last longer on the shelf. The result has been a perfect storm for our health, disastrously altering our biochemistry to make us think we’re starving, drive our eating habits out of our control, and turn us into couch potatoes. If we cannot control how we eat, it’s because of the catastrophic excess of sugar in our diet–the resulting hormonal imbalances have rewired our brains!
To help us lose weight and recover our health, Lustig presents strategies we can each use to readjust the key hormones that regulate hunger, reward, and stress, as well as societal strategies to improve the health of the next generation. With scientific rigor and even a little humor, Fat Chance categorically proves that “a calorie is not a calorie,” and takes that knowledge to its logical conclusion–an overhaul of the global food system.


Editorial Reviews


“No scientist has done more in the last fifty years to alert Americans to the potential dangers of sugar in the diet than Dr. Robert Lustig.” 
Gary Taubes, author of Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat
“Our eating habits are killing us. In this timely and important book, Dr. Robert Lustig presents the scientific evidence for the toxicity of sugar and the disastrous effects of modern industrial food on the hormones that control hunger, satiety, and weight. He gives recommendations for a personal solution to the problem we face and also suggests a public policy solution. Fat Chance is the best book I’ve read on the relationship between diet and health and the clearest explanation of epidemic obesity in our society.”
Andrew Weil, M.D., author of Spontaneous Happiness and You Can’t Afford to Get Sick
Fat Chance is THE manifesto for our time. It reveals the real reasons we why we are a fat nation and how to cure the obesity epidemic.  It gets right to the root of the problem, which is not gluttony and sloth, as the food industry, government and your neighbor would have you believe.  It is because we are drowning in a sea of sugar which poisons our metabolism, shrinks our brains, and threatens our national security and global competitiveness.  Every American, politician, teacher, and business leader must read this book.  Our nation’s future depends on it.” 
 –Mark Hyman, M.D., author of The Blood Sugar Solution
“Fat Chance is an extraordinary achievement. Obesity’s causes, mechanisms, health consequences, and preventive approaches are all devilishly complicated, but Dr. Lustig’s outstanding contribution clarifies the complexity via a writing style that’s accessible, insightful, and often gently humorous. Robert Lustig is a clinician, a scientist, and an advocate — a combination that that makes him uniquely qualified to bring the condition’s many facets into sharp focus. Obesity has become the world’s number one health problem. Fat Chance is the book for all of us who must confront this epidemic.”
S. Boyd Eaton, M.D., Departments of Radiology and Anthropology, Emory University, and father of the Paleo Diet movement
“Robert Lustig is neither ringing an alarm bell nor giving us a gentle, paternalistic nudge. His message is more authentic. He is a medical doctor issuing a prescription. In order to address a current cocktail of health threats, Americans must alter their diets and do so radically. Those alterations must begin with a dramatic reduction in the consumption of sugars.”
Alec Baldwin
“The obesity pandemic is well documented. But what can be done about it? More importantly, when does a personal health issue rise to become a public health crisis? In Fat Chance, Dr. Robert Lustig examines the science of obesity to determine the role that our current diet (especially too much sugar and too little fiber) plays in weight gain and disease. Using that knowledge, he proposes changes in our personal, public, and governmental attitudes to combat this scourge. Fat Chance is a ‘savory’ read with a ‘sweet’ finish.”
Sanjay Gupta, M.D., neurosurgeon and CNN medical correspondent

About the Author

Robert H. Lustig, M.D., MSL, is professor of pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology and a member of the Institute for Health Policy Studies at University of California, San Francisco. He has authored 120 peer-reviewed articles and 70 reviews, as well as The Fat Chance Cookbook and the upcoming The Hacking of the American Mind. He has mentored 30 pediatric endocrine fellows and trained numerous other allied health professionals. He is the former chairman of the Obesity Task Force of the Pediatric Endocrine Society, a member of the Obesity Task Force of the Endocrine Society, and a member of the Pediatric Obesity Devices Committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He is also the president of the nonprofit Institute for Responsible Nutrition, dedicated to reversing childhood obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. He consults for several childhood obesity advocacy groups and government agencies.


























OCTOBER 28, 1978

It was the day of Alyce Birchenough and Doug Wolbert’s wedding. The home-brewed root beer was chilling, some friends were setting up their bluegrass instruments on the porch, and others were hauling kegs of beer when a local farmer pulled into the rutted driveway. Hitched to his truck was a trailer holding a single cow. She was to be Doug’s present to Alyce, the animal that would help them to revitalize the thirty-three acres of depleted soil they’d settled on in western Michigan. Doug hadn’t nailed down the delivery date and, attuned to the casual ways of Fennville, he reasoned this just happened to be a lull when the farmer had time. Still, he was more than a little surprised to learn the cow hadn’t been milked. Was that customary? There she was, in the trailer, her udder tight, obviously in pain. Alyce and Doug exchanged a glance. Alyce immediately understood that this was Doug’s gift. But today? Had he forgotten to tell the farmer that this was precisely the date not to bring the cow? Then again, maybe he had and this was a rural statement: you wanted country living, well, here you go.

Their relationship with the locals had been much on Alyce’s mind in the few months since she had moved to Fennville. They lived in the town, a small farming community near the eastern shore of Lake Michigan with an active 4-H youth agriculture club, sport leagues, and churches, but they were not of it. Instead of buying their staples from the local grocery stores, they got them in bulk from a Chicago co-op whose truck intermittently undertook the four-hour drive to service a ragtag group of communes. Alyce winced at how this could be interpreted as rejecting the community, but she had come to the land to be, in a word, de-Twinkiefied, and she was actively pursuing that when she stood by the vehicle’s rusty tailgate using her own scales to measure out whole wheat flour, brown rice, and chickpeas.

Less than a mile from their homestead, Fenn Valley Vineyards had opened a few years previously and was selling natural fruit wines, but the townspeople mainly thought of it as a curiosity. Alyce and her friends were an even greater one. Dungarees, beards, homespun vests, loose handmade dresses cut from patterns, dinged-up hats; they looked like farmers all right—from another century. Still, there was no animosity; perhaps there was even a hint of admiration at their sense of thrift. The newcomers’ vehicles—a fleet of sputtering, backfiring decal-covered vans—weren’t going to show up anyone’s pickup. The home-canned tomatoes that might bring sunshine to a winter table were not that far from what was going on in surrounding kitchens. When a farmer whose peaceable Guernsey was being picked on by the Holsteins in the herd decided to sell her, he put a notice in the local paper and Doug responded. Whatever differences existed had not prevented a sale.

Alyce had gotten into the habit of extrapolating great significance from little evidence. Those times when, driving over the rutted dirt byway that linked their farm to asphalted roads, she received a country greeting—finger lifted off steering wheel from an oncoming car—she could be happy for days. They were being accepted. Now, standing before her, was a farmer pointing out that the cow he had with him hadn’t been milked and she understood that instead of a taunt, this was rural showmanship, a way of displaying for them just how much milk the cow could produce.

She could contemplate those subtleties later. There wasn’t time for rumination. She saw the cow pawing in its trailer in obvious discomfort. Alyce and Doug had readied a shed across from the house and she led the cow toward it while Doug finished up with the farmer. Rushing back across the driveway and into the kitchen, she found an enamel pail and, remembering quickly the steps of milking she’d studied in anticipation of this moment in Carla Emery’s The Encyclopedia of Country Living, she raced back out to the animal. Grab high on teat near udder, the first of Emery’s three drawings instructed. Applying the gentle pressure that Emery described, while all the time squeezing to force the milk downward, Alyce started the repetitive up-and-down movements. Who was this person she was becoming? She wasn’t some kind of pioneer woman who would have been practiced in these farmstead skills. She was someone who less than a decade earlier had been a science major celebrating the first Earth Day with much strumming of guitars on
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are in need of a little cheering up at our house. Cozy foods are extra-delicious on cold nights, eaten by a crackling fire or curled up under your favorite blankie. Feel better. Make dinner tonight.

caesar spaghetti

caesar spaghetti



1 pound spaghetti or whole-wheat or whole-grain spaghetti

¼ cup EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil), plus some for drizzling

6 to 8 anchovy fillets, drained

4 large garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (eyeball it)

2 medium heads of escarole, washed and dried

Lots of coarse black pepper

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste

1 lemon

2 large egg yolks

1½ cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. When the water boils, add salt and cook the pasta to just shy of al dente. Heads up: You need to reserve about 1 cup of starchy cooking water just before draining.

While the pasta is cooking, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with the EVOO. Add the anchovies to the pan and cook until they’ve melted into the oil, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the garlic. Stir for 1 minute, then add the Worcestershire sauce. Tear the escarole and add several handfuls at a time, then stir the wilting greens to coat with the garlic oil. Season the greens with lots of pepper and a little nutmeg, then squeeze the juice of the lemon over the greens.

In a heat-proof bowl, add the reserved pasta cooking water to the egg yolks and beat together to temper them. Turn off the heat under the skillet and toss the drained pasta with the greens and eggs and half of the cheese to coat evenly; toss vigorously for 1 minute. Dress the mixture with an extra drizzle of EVOO and serve. Pass the remaining cheese at the table.

turkey chili shepherd’s pie with a sweet potato topper

turkey chili shepherd’s pie with a sweet potato topper

SERVES 4 to 6

2½ pounds sweet potatoes (4 or 5 potatoes), peeled and cubed


4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter, cut into pieces

2 teaspoons grated orange zest

1 cup crème fraîche or sour cream

Black pepper

Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste (about ¼ teaspoon)

2 tablespoons EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)

2 pounds ground turkey

1 large onion, chopped

2 small chile peppers, such as Red Fresno, jalapeño, or serrano

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 to 3 large garlic cloves

3 tablespoons chili powder, preferably Gerhardt’s brand

1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika

1 tablespoon ground cumin, a palmful

1 tablespoon ground coriander, a palmful

½ cup tomato paste

2 to 3 cups turkey or chicken stock

2 cups shredded sharp yellow cheddar cheese

For a super starter to this menu try the Spinach Salad on Garlic Croutons.

Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Salt the water and cook until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and return the potatoes to the hot pot, then mash with the butter, orange zest, and crème fraîche or sour cream. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.

While the potatoes are coming to a boil, heat a chili pot with the EVOO over medium-high to high heat. Add the turkey and brown, breaking up the meat, then add the onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes while you chop the chile peppers, bell pepper, and garlic. Add the peppers and garlic to the pot, season with the spices, salt, and black pepper, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes more. Stir in the tomato paste for 1 minute, then add the stock and simmer for a few minutes longer to thicken and combine the flavors.

Preheat the broiler.

Place the chili in a casserole dish, spread the mashed sweet potatoes on top, and cover with the cheddar cheese. Brown under the broiler until golden.

lemon risotto

lemon risotto


1 quart chicken stock

1 tablespoon EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)

1 small to medium onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated

1 cup arborio rice

Zest and juice of 1 large lemon or 2 small Meyer lemons

½ cup dry white wine

Salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

½ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, a couple handfuls

2 tablespoons slivered fresh mint leaves

A handful of basil leaves, shredded or torn

In a medium saucepan, heat the stock and 2 cups of water over medium-low heat.

In a risotto pot or large skillet with a rounded bottom, heat the EVOO over medium to medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic to the risotto pot and sauté to soften for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the rice and add the zest of the lemon, then heat the rice for 1 to 2 minutes before adding the wine and cooking to evaporate. A few ladles at a time, add the warm stock and stir for a minute each time to develop the starch (this will make the risotto creamy). Keep adding stock each time
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re of itself. Once we’re back in possession of a functional appetite-control system, we can and do tightly regulate our fat consumption automatically. But under the surface of the studies I read was a worrying line of evidence that suggested it matters very much what type of fat we consume, because although our body can’t detect whether fats are saturated or unsaturated, these fats can still make a dramatic difference to how our body functions.

Strange as it sounds, to most cells in our body, oxygen is a dangerous substance. Oxygen is highly reactive. When it reacts with iron we get rust. When it reacts with wood, we get fire (if the temperature is right). And when it reacts with fat, it breaks that fat down into a range of dangerous chemicals and destroys the integrity of any cell made from fat – which is every cell in our body. We have two defences against this process of oxidation. First, most of the fat we make (and until a hundred years ago, most of the fat we ate) does not oxidise much – saturated fat is the stainless steel of the cellular world. Secondly, for any fat that is oxidised, we have our own little fire brigade – a bunch of homemade chemicals called anti-oxidants.

Polyunsaturated fats are exactly the opposite: they react quickly with oxygen. This is a very, very bad thing in a body that needs to be as oxygen-resistant as possible. Oxidated fats can lead to the random destruction and out-of-control cellular growth otherwise known as cancer. And they can create the lesions that lead to heart disease. Both processes are helped enormously by the huge quantities of sugar in a normal Western diet. In the last hundred years we’ve gradually and systematically replaced all the saturated fats in our diet with destructive polyunsaturated fats. And just for good measure, we’ve added huge quantities of sugar to make the destruction happen quickly.

Sugar has given us diabetes, dementia and obesity. And polyunsaturated fats have given us cancer. Together they’ve combined to give us heart disease. Both were added to our diets in bulk long before ingredients were tested for their health impacts or safety. And both have combined to create seemingly untreatable epidemics in just three generations.

What’s a seed oil?

We’ve been told that the secret to curing heart disease is to consume unsaturated vegetable oils rather than saturated animal fats. So now all the fats in our processed foods are labelled ‘vegetable oil’ and the labels are rarely more specific than that.

The irony is that there is no such thing as oil from a vegetable. The products being pushed to us as vegetable oils are fruit oils (coconut, palm, olive or avocado), nut oils (macadamia, peanut, pecan, and so on) or seed oils (canola, sunflower, soy or rice bran).

There’s nothing much wrong with the fruit oils (I’ll go into why later) and some of the nut oils are okay, too. But the seed oils are extraordinarily dangerous. And unfortunately they make up almost all of the ‘vegetable oils’ in our food.

The diet, exercise and supplements industries

Cashing in on the confusion and misinformation about the causes of obesity, heart disease and cancer, a group of huge industries has come of age. The diet, exercise and supplements industries did not exist before World War II, but in 60 short years they’ve built an empire that rivals those of sugar and seed oils themselves. At first the sugar and seed-oil sellers were happy to encourage these growing healthy-living sectors – after all, they made sure everybody was looking in exactly the wrong direction – but now the sugar and seed-oil mega-corporations are scooping up those sectors, too.

There’s never been any evidence that counting calories (or fat or carbs) will make us thin. The evidence has never suggested that exercise will have any effect on our weight other than to increase our appetite. Nor has it given credence to the theory that we’re functionally deficient in any of the substances in a multivitamin tablet or any other supplement. But this complete lack of evidence has not slowed the exponential growth of the diet, exercise and supplements industries. And just like desperate gamblers, we keep coming back to them, despite abundant proof that it will fail just as it did last time.

About this book

This book lays out the evidence against sugar and seed oils, and provides practical and effective advice on how to avoid eating them. The first part of this book gives the facts about the things we’re urged to do every minute of our waking lives. It tells us why diets will not make us thin, why exercise makes us hungrier rather than lighter and why supplements are just a very effective way to flush your hard-earned dosh away. The second part of the book presents the evidence against the real culprits of chronic disease: sugar and seed oils. And the third part translates that evidence into practical advice on
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e, halved

2 tablespoons pickling spice

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

1 pound pearl onions, ends trimmed, peeled

1. Combine the vinegar, 1 cup water, the sugar, dill, garlic, jalapeño, pickling spice, and salt in a medium nonreactive pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the onions and cook until a knife inserted into the center meets a little resistance, 4 to 5 minutes.

2. Transfer the mixture to a nonreactive bowl and cover with plastic wrap, or to a large glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving. The onions will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator.


Pimm’s No. 1 is a gin-based beverage made from dry gin, liqueur, fruit juices, and spices. When combined with club soda or ginger ale and a cucumber spear, it becomes a Pimm’s Cup. Pimm’s No. 1 was created in the mid–eighteenth century by English oyster bar owner James Pimm. The recipe is still a secret; supposedly, only six people know exactly how it is made. It has a dark golden brown color, a medium body, and a taste of quinine, citrus fruits, and spice. Its low alcohol content—only 20 percent—makes it a perfect lunchtime cocktail. The cocktail found its home in the States in New Orleans in the early twentieth century when an anglophile bartender at Napoleon’s put it on their menu. The addition of lemonade distinguishes the American version from the classically British Pimm’s cup.

Serves 1

3 ounces good-quality lemonade, chilled

2 ounces club soda, chilled

1½ ounces Pimm’s No. 1

Cucumber spear, for garnish

Granny Smith apple slice, for garnish

Combine the lemonade, club soda, and Pimm’s in a highball glass and garnish with the cucumber and apple.


The cocktail takes its name from the single-barrel ninety-proof bourbon whiskey Eagle Rare, but any high-quality bourbon can be substituted. The small amount of fresh lime juice is needed to add brightness to the drink, not flavor.

Serves 1

Ice cubes

1½ ounces Eagle Rare or other good-quality bourbon

1 ounce Cinnamon Syrup

2 big dashes of Angostura bitters

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

1 cinnamon stick

Fill a rocks glass with ice. Add the bourbon, cinnamon syrup, bitters, and lime juice. Garnish with the cinnamon stick.


Simple syrup, or sugar syrup, is very easy to make and is used to sweeten many cocktails as well as iced tea, iced coffee, and even sorbets. The standard ratio is equal parts sugar and water. These recipes can be halved, doubled, or tripled and stored in the refrigerator in a well-sealed container for up to 1 month.

Makes 1 cup (8 ounces)

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat and cook until the sugar is completely melted, a minute or so. Remove from the heat. Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.



Bring the sugar, water, and 4 cinnamon sticks to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat and cook until the sugar is completely melted, a minute or so. Remove from the heat. Strain, transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid, and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.


Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat and cook until the sugar is completely melted, a minute or so. Remove from the heat. Add 20 fresh mint leaves and let steep for at least 30 minutes. Strain, transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid, and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.

Barbecue Cocktail


Given my love of grilling and barbecue, this drink was inevitable. Smoky paprika, savory tomato juice, and vodka with a spicy kick meet dry vermouth and tangy lime juice in this cocktail that’s perfect with burgers, steaks, fish tacos, and, well, almost anything barbecued.

Serves 1

Ice cubes

2 ounces jalapeño vodka

¼ ounce dry vermouth

1 ounce tomato juice

½ ounce fresh lime juice, plus ¼ teaspoon for rimming the glass

Pinch of kosher salt, plus ¼ teaspoon for rimming the glass

Pinch of smoked sweet Spanish paprika, plus ¼ teaspoon for rimming the glass

¼ teaspoon sugar, for rimming the glass

Lime twist, for garnish

1. Fill a mixing glass with ice and add the vodka, vermouth, tomato juice, lime juice, salt, and paprika. Stir vigorously until the outside of the glass is beaded with sweat and frosty.

2. Combine the ¼ teaspoon salt, the ¼ teaspoon paprika, and the sugar on a small plate. Wet the rim of a chilled martini glass with the ¼ teaspoon lime juice and dip the rim in the salt mixture. Tap off any excess.

3. Strain the drink into the chilled martini glass and garnish with the lime twist.


When I am in Kent
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If you had a friend who talked to you the way that you talked to yourself, you would have ditched that friend a long time ago.” How true is that? We are our own harshest critics. So I challenge you to now become your own best friend. Instead of looking in the mirror and judging yourself for everything you believe to be wrong with your body, why not praise yourself for taking this huge step toward better health?

Your body is listening to everything you say. Indulging in self-deprecation leads to stress; stress wreaks havoc on your health. And if you find yourself making a bad decision or going off course during this journey, leave the guilt behind, too. It’s just as toxic, and it doesn’t help you at all. Be like your car’s GPS: when you veer off course, gently remind yourself to make a U-turn. The diet and exercise industry is filled with borderline harmful messages like “no pain, no gain,” and we have been taught that looking good has to feel bad. Killing ourselves at the gym, forcing ourselves to eat foods we find unenjoyable, or, even worse, starving and denying ourselves is a recipe for disaster.

I encourage you, instead, to find joy in this process. Joy makes food taste better. Every single recipe in this book has been created and taste tested for maximum pleasure and flavor. I am not an advocate of suffering to become the best version of yourself. The best version of yourself is healthy and happy. The best version of yourself loves to be active, play in the sunshine, and create beautiful, wholesome meals. This collection of recipes is designed to nourish that best version of you, with recipes that make your mouth water and make you feel good.

Everyone’s path is different, but we are all in this together. If you are reading this book, you are interested in bettering yourself, and that’s incredibly exciting. Know that the road to your own personal vibrant health can absolutely be enjoyable.

Now that we’ve prepared our minds, it is time to prepare our kitchens!

Be sure to talk with your health care provider before embarking on this journey, especially if you’re on any medications or dealing with chronic illness.


Getting Started: The Eat Fat, Get Thin Plan

In the recent documentary series Cooked , my friend Michael Pollan discussed the correlation between time spent in the kitchen and obesity rates. No surprise here: As the average amount of time that we spend in the kitchen has gone down, obesity rates have gone up. I understand where the desire to outsource cooking comes from; my schedule is pretty jam-packed, and some days even the thought of walking into the kitchen can be daunting. But what is the cost of choosing convenience over real nourishment? A sick nation. A world in which families are disconnected and spending more time in front of their TVs or hunched over a screen, mindlessly eating processed takeout, and less time with one another eating real food. And the truth is that simple cooking doesn’t take a long time, and it is not inconvenient or expensive. It is a bunch of propaganda the food industry has convinced us is true. Anyway, how convenient or cheap is it to be sick and fat and tired and have chronic diseases and take medication your entire life? Not so much!

The only way to ensure that you and your family are eating safe, nutritious food is to get back into the kitchen and make the time to connect with what you’re eating. You should be able to identify every single ingredient in your meals and snacks. Think about how long it took for that ingredient to get from the farm to your fork. If it made a pit stop at a factory, or if it was made in a factory, and sometimes even if it sat on a truck for days traveling across the country to get to you, it may not be good enough for your body. Remember, you deserve real food. It’s a birthright of being human.

The first step to reconnecting with your kitchen is to make it a safe zone by filling it with foods that nourish and removing foods that harm. This will ensure that you automatically make the right choices, especially if you’re pressed for time and looking for something quick. The same goes for your backpack, purse, car, school locker, and so on; anywhere you look for food, you should have only the good stuff available. Think of all the willpower it takes to have to battle cravings for junk food that’s right under your nose, and all the other places that energy could go instead! Set yourself up for success by making your home and environment a safe zone free of foods that harm you and make you feel bad, and full of foods that heal and make you feel good.

The first part of the Eat Fat, Get Thin Plan is the preparation stage, which I recommend starting two days before your program. This involves giving your kitchen a makeover so that you can prepare these flavorful meals quickly and easily and complete your twenty-one-day Eat Fat, Get Thin Plan with success. Even
ates that plants use to store energy, and that we can digest, absorb, and use for energy.

Fiber is the common name for the other carbohydrates that plants use to build the walls of their cells, and that we can’t digest and absorb well. They include pectins, gums, and cellulose.

Carbohydrates are not as sensitive and easily changed as proteins.

When heated, most of them simply absorb water and dissolve. This is why ordinary cooking softens plant foods, and why precise temperature control is not important in cooking most of them.

Carbohydrates are also extracted from plants and used as purified ingredients.

Sugars contribute sweetness to foods. In large amounts they also create a thick body—as in syrups—or a creamy or brittle solidity, as in candies.

Starch is a bland carbohydrate, the main chemical in grain flours and also sold in pure form. Starch molecules are long threads, and plants pack them into dense granules, the familiar powdery particles of cornstarch and other pure starches. When cooked in liquid, the granules absorb water and release the long threads, creating thick body in sauces and solid structure in baked goods. Starches from different sources—


wheat, corn, potato, arrowroot, tapioca—have special qualities that suit them to different cooking uses.

Pectin is a bland carbohydrate whose long molecules thicken jams and jellies.

Agar, xanthan gum, guar gum, and locust bean gum are bland carbohydrates from seaweed, microbes, and seeds whose long molecules are also used to thicken and stabilize sauces, ice creams, and gluten-free baked goods.


Fats and oils are chemicals in which animals and plants store energy.

They’re commonly extracted and used as purified ingredients. Unlike proteins and carbohydrates, they are fluids, and provide a delicious moistness to foods. Unlike water, they can be easily heated to temperatures far above water’s boiling point, and help create the characteristic flavors of roasting and frying. They also carry aromas better than water, and help flavors linger in the mouth during eating.

Fat and oil name different versions of the same chemical.

Fats are solid at room temperature and melt into a liquid beginning around body temperature. They come mainly from meats, and include butterfat and lard.

Oils are already liquid at room temperature, and solidify only when chilled. They’re mainly extracted from seeds—canola, soy, corn, peanut—

and from the olive fruit.

Food fats and oils are mixtures of different chemical fats.

Saturated fats are fats that tend to be solid at room temperature and resistant to staling, thanks to the rigid structure of their molecules.


Unsaturated fats are fats that tend to be liquid at room temperature and prone to staling and off flavors, thanks to the flexible structure of their molecules.

Hydrogenated fats are unsaturated fats that have been chemically modified to make them saturated, more solid and resistant to staling.

Trans fats are unusual unsaturated fats that behave like saturated fats.

Small amounts occur naturally in butter, beef, and lamb; large amounts occur in hydrogenated oils and shortenings. They’re unhealthful and are being eliminated from manufactured foods.

Omega-3 fats are highly unsaturated fats found mainly in seafood and in walnuts and canola oil. They appear to be especially healthful and are being added to many foods.

Meat fats are solid at room temperature because they have a high proportion of saturated fats. Poultry fats and pork fat (lard) are softer than beef and lamb fat because they contain more unsaturated fats.

Vegetable and fish oils are liquid at room temperature because they contain a high proportion of unsaturated fats.

Oils and melted fats don’t mix with water unless they’re helped by other ingredients. When combined, they form temporarily separate droplets. Fats and oils are less dense than water, so their droplets rise to form a layer above the water.

Emulsions are creamy mixtures of oil and water with droplets of one suspended in the other. Added egg yolk and other ingredients can coat the droplets and make a stable mixture that feels thicker than water or oil alone.



Food texture or consistency is what a food feels like in the mouth: how hard or soft it is, and how it feels as we chew it, move it around, and swallow it. Texture is created by the main food building blocks, and by how the cook handles them.

Most cooking problems involve texture, not flavor.

Liquid foods may be thin and watery or thick and velvety, smooth or rough or lumpy, oily or creamy.

Solid foods may be hard or soft, moist or dry, chewy or tender, leathery or crisp.

Most pleasant textures result when the building blocks are evenly integrated with each other, and in the right proportions. Unpleasant textures


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