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Physician tackles bitter truth about sugar with 'Fat Chance' diet and recipes

Beware of sugar.
Beware of sugar.
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Dr. Robert Lustig became famous for his lecture called “Sugar: The Bitter Truth.” He followed it with a best-selling book "Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease" (click for details). Now Dr. Lustig is spreading the word about how you can make sugar-free foods without "Frankenfood" ingredients in his new cookbook, which he discussed in a March 25 interview with the Houston Chronicle.

His mission: Help consumers understand the life-threatening risks inherent in the Standard American Diet (SAD), with its overload of sugar, refined starch and chemicals.

Dr. Lustig contends that the American processed-food industry is reaping profit without concern for the health impact of their products.

There is tremendous profit to them when you look at the food cost. It's 10 cents on the dollar for food, 15 cents for the packaging. It's 20 cents on the dollar for marketing and 55 cents for their profit. So they have every reason to keep doing what they're doing because this is their juggernaut. The problem is that it's killing us.

A pediatric endocrinologist who runs a weight management clinic for children and families at the University of California, San Francisco, designed the cookbook to appeal to all members of the family. It's entitled "The Fat Chance Cookbook: More Than 100 Recipes Ready in Under 30 Minutes to Help You Lose the Sugar and the Weight" (click for more information).

He focuses on teaching consumers to enjoy foods that don't promote or contribute to disease, which means avoiding "refined carbohydrates and sugars."

Although he's known for his stance against sugar, Dr. Lustig views the “anti-processed food guy” as a more appropriate nickname, he noted in a recent interview with the New York Times. Bottom line: All calories are not created equal. Which means that if you go on a calorie-cutting diet that includes sugar, "it can’t work."

Dr. Lustig's books answer the question: "Once you realize that all calories are not the same, what do you do?"

And the answer: Overcome your addiction to and use of sugar and processed foods. Only by achieving that goal can you attain true health and permanent weight loss, says Dr. Lustig.

And as Dr. Lustig proves in his cookbook, you can make meals that the entire family will enjoy that have no sugar. As for his own favorite recipe?

"Polenta patties with sautéed greens, poached eggs, Roma tomatoes and basil salsa. Hands down winner. It’s vegetables for breakfast. Even though it has carbohydrate, it’s unrefined. It’s high in fiber and micronutrients. It’s the highest quality protein: eggs. And it’s just downright amazing," he says proudly.

Try that amazing recipe for yourself below, and get more recipes by clicking here for "The Fat Chance Cookbook: More Than 100 Recipes Ready in Under 30 Minutes to Help You Lose the Sugar and the Weight."

Polenta Patties With Sauteed Greens, Poached Eggs, Roma Tomatoes and Basil Salsa

Polenta is corn, but coarse and unrefined. Team it with some vegetables and you can get children to eat veggies for breakfast.

1 batch polenta (see below)
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups greens: spinach, chard or kale, rinsed
6 eggs
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup Roma Tomato Basil Salsa (see below)

1 cup corn grits or cornmeal
4 cups water
Salt to taste

Bring water and salt to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Once the liquid is boiling, slowly add the grits or cornmeal, stirring constantly with a whisk to keep lumps from forming. When the grain is mixed smoothly into the liquid, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 30 minutes until very thick. Stir occasionally to keep the polenta from sticking. Allow to cool in an oiled 8-inch square pan or loaf pan.

1 pound Roma tomatoes, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
1 tablespoon garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Mix the tomatoes, garlic, basil, oil, balsamic vinegar, pepper and salt together in a bowl. The salsa is best when used immediately. Yield: 2 cups.


1. Remove the polenta from the pan and divide into six servings.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the polenta slices and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the polenta slices to a plate and keep warm.

3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and sauté the greens until wilted and tender.

4. Heat 2 inches of water just to a boil in a separate medium-size frying pan, add the white vinegar, then reduce the heat to low. Crack the eggs into the water and poach them until desired doneness, 2 to 3 minutes for soft yolks. Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs from the water, being careful not to break the yolks. Transfer the eggs to a plate.

5. Place a polenta patty on each of six plates. Top each patty with greens and a poached egg. Pour salsa over all. Or, place all the polenta slices on a platter, top with greens, poached eggs and salsa.

Yield: 6 servings

Nutritional information per serving: 450 calories; 18 grams fat; 3.5 grams saturated fat; 165 milligrams cholesterol; 61 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 330 milligrams sodium

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