Pure, White and Deadly – John Yudkin

May 27, 2013


Pure, White and Deadly

This book and I have an interesting history.  I first heard about it while I was in Otago Medical School.  One of the lecturers presented it in a lecture and I vividly remember his graphics of circles with all sorts of rays coming off them, representing all the different nutrients and their amounts, that were present in a particular food.  But sugar, had nothing extending from the circumference of it’s circle, which gave a great visual representation of the words ’empty’ calories.


That was around 1973 and the idea that carbohydrate, particularly sugar in all it’s forms was the cause of many of our ills was dramatically highlighted by John Yudkin.  But alas, at the time, it was doomed for the dustbin of useless theories.  By the time I completed medical school, in 1978, fat was THE major demon.  All the research that was coming out and being presented to us drove me to go for a low fat vegetarian diet.

I thought I was doing the right thing until I got both testicular cancer and my blood lipids started to climb in my 50’s.  Being presented, at that point, with a sheet of paper that said I should be eating less red meat, when I was eating none, and that I should eat more whole grains and whole foods, when that was all I ate, didn’t make a lot of sense.

It was time for me to eat humble pie and realize maybe I had it all wrong.  I went back to the proverbial drawing board and I chronicle my findings here: http://daragrennie.com/evolving-food-pyramids

By applying a different strategy I got my blood fats down to normal by the very next blood test.

When I look back I have to wonder if I would have made the same choices and how life would have been for me in those 30 years if John Yudkin had been listened to?

The drama behind how John Yudkin was ejected into the scrap heap and Ancel Keys and the lipid hypothesis gained the limelight is testament to how sadly unscientific scientists can be.

Pure, White and Deadly is in a major reprint as Yudkin is being exonerated.  If you missed it 30 years ago, don’t miss it now:)!  I encourage you to get a copy from your library or local bookstore, or Amazon or Kindle, pay close attention, unlike the medics of ‘old’, and apply what you learn there.


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