Pure White & Deadly – How sugar is killing us and what we can do to stop it

Written By Katherine O

Pure White & Deadly – How sugar is killing us and what we can do to stop it 

Author(s): John Yudkin

Publish Date: 1972


Difficulty Level: Medium Read

This classic was way ahead of its time and is more relevant today than it was written almost 50 years ago. The trends in chronic illness, obesity, and Type II diabetes sadly show how right Yudkin was about the detrimental effects of sugar.


Our thoughts:

  • This book is a sobering wake-up-call to the dangers of sugar and how it is not just a harmless pleasure that brings children and adults joy alike. 
  • The case John Yudkin lays out is compelling and his hypothesis is laid out quite plainly in the subtitle: sugar is killing us. And, spoiler, the “what we can do to stop it” is what you would likely guess — stop eating the stuff. 
  • Arguably this book is more relevant today than when he wrote it back in 1972 given the skyrocketing levels of Type II diabetes and Obesity. If only public health officials had headed his warnings back then we might be in a very different place today. 
  • A clip if you’re interested in listening: Pure, White, and Deadly by John Yudkin Audiobook Excerpt 



  • A few choice quotes:
    • “There is no physiological requirement for sugar, all human nutritional needs can be met in full without having to take a spoon of white or brown or raw sugar..”
    • “If only a small fraction of what is already known about the effects of sugar were to be revealed in relation to any other material used as a food additive that material would be promptly banned.” 
    • “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.”
  • Other resources you might  enjoy:

Publisher summary:


More than 40 years before Gary Taubes published The Case Against Sugar, John Yudkin published his now-classic exposé on the dangers of sugar—reissued here with a new introduction by Robert H. Lustig, the bestselling author of Fat Chance.

Scientist John Yudkin was the first to sound the alarm about the excess of sugar in the diet of modern Americans. His classic exposé, Pure, White, and Deadly, clearly and engagingly describes how sugar is damaging our bodies, why we eat so much of it, and what we can do to stop. He explores the ins and out of sugar, from the different types—is brown sugar really better than white?—to how it is hidden inside our everyday foods, and how it is harming our health.

In 1972, Yudkin was mostly ignored by the health industry and media, but the events of the last forty years have proven him spectacularly right. Yudkin’s insights are even more important and relevant now, with today’s record levels of obesity, than when they were first published. Brought up-to-date by childhood obesity expert Dr. Robert H. Lustig, this emphatic treatise on the hidden dangers of sugar is essential reading for anyone concerned about their health, the health of their children, and the wellbeing of modern society.

Link to book:https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/pure-white-and-deadly-the-new-facts-about-the-sugar-you-eat-as-a-cause-of-heart-disease-diabetes-and-other-killers_john-yudkin/619899/item/4367301/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwpreJBhDvARIsAF1_BU3Rz6wqrdmh68o0WfuqyjYcIEWlINPOopVonccdXm4pOW2O7d0Epc0aAj9eEALw_wcB#idiq=4367301&edition=7453488

Find it on Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Pure-White-Deadly-sugar-killing/dp/024125745X/ref=asc_df_024125745X/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312039018893&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=16164356974662957516&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9011409&hvtargid=pla-435784711351&psc=1

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