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Pure, White and Deadly: The new facts about the sugar you eat as a cause of heart disease, diabetes and other killers

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  420 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
Sugar. It's killing us.
Why do we eat so much of it?
What are its hidden dangers?

In 1972, when British scientist John Yudkin first proved that sugar was bad for our health, he was ignored by the majority of the medical profession and rubbished by the food industry.

We should have heeded his warning. Today, 1 in 4 adults in the UK are overweight. There is an epidemic of obese
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published October 30th 1986 by Viking (first published 1972)
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Aug 27, 2013 Liz rated it it was amazing
I read this book in 1972 when it first came out. I wish that I had remembered it and stayed away from sugar. Now i have read it again and i recommend it to anyone who values their health. Yudkin believed, based on research and observation, that it is sugar not fat which causes coronary artery disease. His research was ignored in favour of the big anti fat message propagated first by Ancel Keys and then by the US health organisations. Yudkin shows how Keys research was faulty. Penguin has reissue ...more
Dec 13, 2012 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Stars to be precise. Although aspects of Yudkin's work are outdated and the science has come a long way, the central core to his thesis - refined sugar (sucrose) is a poison and we should be working towards limiting it, and not increasing it, in our diets - was visionary. Sadly, it was a cry that went unheeded, especially in the United States, where not long after this 1972 publication, we began to add exponential amounts of sugar to our diets in the form of High Fructose Corn Syrup. (Thank ...more
Meaghan Halkett
Sep 26, 2012 Meaghan Halkett rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best, most interesting, educational books I have read in a long time. It was out of my comfort zone. Besides teaching me a bit about sugar and nutrition, it also taught me a bit about the influences of politics. An area I have struggled to understand, and show an interest. I have definatly reduced my sugar consumption after reading this book. Not just white sugar, but glucose fructose. I do not believe that there is 1 cause for obesity, and health issues, but too much of anyth ...more
Justin Griffiths-Bell
"Yeah, the old white train costs a lot to ride
Your heart, your soul and even your pride
Damn sure forever,it'll freeze your brain
So take a little advice, stay away from the old white train
Take a little advice, stay away from the old white train."
- Mark E. Smith

We watch Mad Men, and see Betty dropping cigarette ash over her children, and Don lighting up the moment he swings his legs out of bed, and it all seems kind of quaint. I wonder if in the Mad Men of the future, they'll laugh and be shocke
Apr 26, 2010 Krissy marked it as to-read
first written in the 1970s. mentioned in a speech bu Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, called Sugar: The Bitter Truth (
Feb 26, 2011 David rated it it was amazing
This book is incredible! John Yudkin presents an amazing case against the consumption of sugar and demonstrates quite convincingly that sugar, not fat and cholesterol, is at the root of the heart disease, obesity, and type II diabetes epidemic we are currently facing.

Good luck getting a hold of this book. It was very difficult to find.
Apr 05, 2013 Wonderperson89 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: emancipatory, health
A Total Five Star Review for a late Scientist who the Sugar Industry slaughtered because they didn't like what he said.
Marion Husband
Dec 28, 2012 Marion Husband rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Step away from the sugar bowl now....very interesting and a bit sobering, glad I've not much of a sweet tooth....
Toni Daugherty
Jan 25, 2014 Toni Daugherty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is sugar worse than fat? Is Sugar just as bad as High Fructose Corn Syrup? Should we have this in our food supply? Should we all go back to eating what our grandmother's cooked? Do the kids of today know that package food is a fairly new invention? My own kids had never seen a Brussels sprout stock or the green tops of carrots. We have moved so far away from our natural food sources that many kids are actually surprised to find a friend at school who has veggies in their lunchbox. One child even ...more
Apr 02, 2013 Quentin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's not an easy read, but this is a thoroughly remarkable book and one that should be at the top of the reading list for anyone with an interest in what they eat or how the food industry operates.
Pure, White and Deadly aroused a furious reaction when it was first published and the sugar industry tried, with some success, to discredit Yudkin and his work, preferring to cast fat as the part of our diets that causes ill-health, obesity, heart disease, etc. This new edition also lists some of the l
Nov 30, 2014 Marjan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science, shamanism
This could be the most important book on nutrition I have ever read and if you plan to read only one on this subject, than look no further. Despite having a bombastic and somewhat populistic title the contents present a well written view by a researcher who spent his life exploring the effects of sucrose on our bodies. His findings are nothing less than a cause for a serious alarm on our diets (on some aspects I would still call them conservative), yet nothing much seems to happen. Sugar produce ...more
Nov 26, 2008 Pcallist rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anybody who eats
Recommended to Pcallist by: Gary Taubes in Good Cals, Bad Cals
This book is out of print and I had to get it via inter-library loan. It is referenced in 'Good Calories, Bad Calories'. It is a compelling read and adds much to my understanding about the perils of consuming table sugar and HFCS (which wasn't available when Yudkin researched and wrote). The information at the end of the book, of Yudkin's clashes with British "Big Sugar" are illuminating. "Big Tobacco" has nothing on "Big Sugar!"
Pat Rae
Feb 02, 2013 Pat Rae rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's amazing to think that this book was first written in 1972. As I read it I couldn't help but feel sorry for the author, as he battled all in sundry to get his message heard, only to be labelled a fruit loop. My how history has served to correct the mistakes of the past. While quite a difficult read, his message is clear and to the point. Absolutely loved it.
Alex Leaf
Mar 07, 2012 Alex Leaf is currently reading it
50% of the way through this. Lot's of astounding discoveries so far. None too pleasant.
Eddie Clarke
I read this as a companion piece to Robert Lustig's Fat Chance. Lustig pays huge respect to his predecessor Yudkin, who back in the 50s, 60s & 70s was researching the negative consequences of a high sugar diet. Pure White and Deadly was originally published in the early 70s.

Both books demonstrate what a clear and present danger sugar is. Lustig's is more up-to-date in that he incorporates new knowledge about our hormonal systems but both men come to a similar conclusion - we should avoid sug
Sep 26, 2012 Josh rated it really liked it
Shelves: nutrition
I first heard about this from Dr. Robert Lustig's proclamation of being an apostle of Yudkin. This was during his "Sugar, The Bitter Truth" viral YouTube sensation. I believe Yudkin was really going against the grain when he published this work, and his forward details this. Whenever you speak about something that has the potential to make large, powerful groups lose money, you will see a backlash. Unfortunately, much of what the author proclaims in the book has readily been ignored. In fact, th ...more
Feb 22, 2013 Espartaco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
This book may be is a little bit dated, but still has a great line: the true behind factual data about sugar.

I came to this book by the recommendation Robert Lusting does in his youtube famous conference: "Sugar: The Bitter Truth." You can't image how bad is the sugar for us, the humans. Yudkin relates what has he found based on experiments on a number of animals (rats, rabbits, etc), he also found not only a casual correlation on how the production of Sugar has on the human diseases, but also t
Al Fernandez
Jul 25, 2014 Al Fernandez rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health
Dr. John Yudkin was a British physiologist who believed that sugar consumption was closely associated with heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Around the same time, Ancel Keys an American scientist argued that dietary fat was the primary cause of heart disease. Dr. Keys' view became accepted in the US and paved the way to continued heart disease and a growing obesity problem. I believe that Dr. Yudkin was correct in seeing the negative impact sugar was having not only on cavities, weight gain and ...more
Jan 08, 2014 Dawna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sugar is poison ultimately and needs to be controlled in the food we eat..Processed foods are the worst culprits with many disguises for sugar..all produced into weight gain..however fat per say is not detrimental to health and should be consumed. As it has been for centuries obviously within a balanced diet it actually helps the body in many ways...oiling joints and the gut, skin hair nails..
Lucia Cerchlanova
May 28, 2015 Lucia Cerchlanova rated it really liked it
Another scientific proof how bad is sugar for our bodies. The book was little bit boring on the end, because of huge amounts of scientific explanation (I am amateur in science of nutrition), however, the message is very powerful and we should spread it among our fellows.
Sami Moore
Feb 20, 2014 Sami Moore rated it it was amazing
Amazing book on the detrimental effects of sugar.
May 01, 2016 Anne rated it really liked it
We know now that in 1972, some scientists knew that smoking was strongly correlated with a long list of diseases and that in spite of that knowledge there was a deliberate campaign to get the public to think about other things when it came to tobacco use. Also in 1972 science knew lead was a powerful neurotoxin which could damage the IQ of children exposed to it. But a deliberate campaign of mis-information resulted in it being added to common gasoline for another decade.

Reading "Pure, White, a
Dec 21, 2014 Ashley rated it liked it
Last week I purchased four books on sugar. Motivated by all the holiday sweets around, I remembered the last book I read last year – Good Calories, Bad Calories – and thought maybe I needed a bit of a refresher on nutrition. I searched for a few books, and I decided to start here.

The book is heavily academic, and focuses mostly on the author’s own research. Although much of it describes scientific study, it isn’t hard to read. Dr. Yudkin is interested in the effects of sugar not just as a cause
Mar 02, 2015 dini rated it really liked it
I actually read this book while devouring an entire box of Ferrero Rocher(s) my neighbours gave me for Chinese New Year. By the time I got to the end I felt so thoroughly guilty that I threw the whole box out and went to the gym immediately.

This is quite an easy read, even though there is lots of science involved. (Certain chapters were like a quick review of my introductory metabolism course.) The information contained in this book should be common knowledge for most people who are even slight
Apr 04, 2013 Eleanor rated it liked it
not an easy read. Yudkin foresaw the obesity epidemic even before the advent of HFCS and was vilified by the scientific community. Unfortunately, I think he is preaching to the converted.

The only copy I could get had small print which made it even more difficult for me to read.
Jay Francois-Campbell
Feb 02, 2015 Jay Francois-Campbell rated it it was amazing
I found this book on Amazon and was intrigued.
I never want to see another bar of chocolate in my life again. I did some background reading on this professor and found he was ridiculed for most of his life because of his belief - which turned out to be devastatingly accurate - that sugar is the cause of many problems with health. Forty years later, sugar has been proven to be the major factor in diabetes and tooth decay, which everyone knew about, but heart disease, eye problems, blood pressure e
Meredith Stranges
Everyone should read this book, which is a well-written treatise by a respected scientist who was skewered by the sugar industry for his views. It is very perceptive and occasionally quite funny. I would have rated it higher if the content were not so dated.
Oct 05, 2013 Amanda rated it it was amazing
I loved it. I guess I have a thing against tasty white crystals in the diet. I have spent years studying the ill effects of salt and sodium, now for years studying the ill effects of sugar and fructose.

Yay me!
Nancy Craft
Dec 16, 2014 Nancy Craft rated it it was amazing
I was impressed that so many decades ago research was being done on the harmful effects of fructose, yet politics and money has kept this from the public.
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“But science should be based in fact, not fashion. And policy should be based on science. Facts shouldn’t change. And indeed, they don’t. But their interpretation does. Consider the idea that inflammation causes heart disease. First espoused in the late 1800s after the invention of aspirin by Bayer, this idea was relegated to the dustbin of medical science in favor of the cholesterol hypothesis, which reigned for the second half of the twentieth century. But over the last decade, the “inflammation hypothesis” has made a decided comeback, and is now thought to be the primary factor in the genesis of atherosclerotic plaques and thrombosis.” 0 likes
“First of all, true prophecies don’t go out of style. That’s like saying Darwin’s The Origin of Species is irrelevant because Darwin didn’t know what genes were. Secondly, it is a signpost on a journey of pilgrimage. It provides you with perspective on where you’ve come from, and where you’re going. And lastly, Yudkin correctly fingered the sugar and food industries for what they were, and still are. Those” 0 likes
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