Pure, White, and Deadly: How Sugar Is Killing Us and What We Can Do to Stop It


Pure, White and Deadly is a 1972 book by John Yudkin, a British nutritionist and former Chair of Nutrition at Queen Elizabeth College, London. Published in New York, it was the first publication by a scientist to anticipate the adverse health effects, especially in relation to obesity and heart disease, of the public's increased sugar consumption. At the time of publication, Yudkin sat on the advisory panel of the British Department of Health's Committee on the Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy (COMA). He stated his intention in writing the book in the last paragraph of the first chapter: "I hope that when you have read this book I shall have convinced you that sugar is really dangerous."The book and author suffered a barrage of criticism at the time, particularly from the sugar industry, processed-food manufacturers, and Ancel Keys, an American physiologist who argued in favour of restricting dietary fat, not sugar, and who sought to ridicule Yudkin's work. In later years, Yudkin's observations came to be accepted. A 2002 cover story about sugar by Gary Taubes in The New York Times Magazine, "What if It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?", attracted attention, and the following year a World Health Organization report recommended that added sugars provide no more than 6–10% of total dietary intake. In 2009 a lecture on the health effects of sugar by Robert Lustig, an American pediatric endocrinologist, went viral. The subsequent interest led to the rediscovery of Yudkin's book and the rehabilitation of his reputation.Two further editions of the book were published, the second after Yudkin's death in 1995. An expanded version appeared in 1986, revised by Yudkin himself, to include much additional research evidence. In 2012 the book was re-published by Penguin Books with a new introduction by Robert Lustig to reflect the changed nutritional context that the book had helped to create.
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date of publication: 1972

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