Pure, White and Deadly - Read by Chris MacDonnell
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Pure White and Deadly

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It isn’t often that the experience of narrating an audio-book can bring about fundamental changes in your everyday life.  Narrating “Pure White and Deadly” had this effect on me.

When I was asked to do it my “narrators head” was concerned more with having to find pronunciations for scientific words and phrases than the overall content, so in my initial reading I didn’t catch the full import of the book’s content.  I knew it was about the negative effects of sugar in the diet which for me meant weight-increase caused through snacking when we feel we need an energy boost. You know, those times when we think we need a “sugar rush” to get us to end of a long hike or we need a snack between meals just to keep going until the next one or just eating too much candy and putting on the pounds.

I was completely wrong. Pure White and Deadly was originally published in 1972 and re-published in 2009, but the research behind it goes back to the mid 50’s.  John Yudkin specifically writes that sugar consumption is a major factor in the development of conditions such as: dental caries, diabetes and heart disease.  His research presents compelling evidence of this, as well as probable links to other conditions (liver disease, gout, dyspepsia, IBS and Crones disease and some forms of cancer).  Note, I say a “factor” as he points to several other things which could be contributing to these diseases.

John Yudkin was also the victim of smear campaigns and misinformation put out by the Sugar industry to stop him presenting this evidence or voicing his opinion. His writing on this aspect is particularly enlightening.

Anyone who reads or listens to this book will find some advice or another to improve their health or the health of a loved one. He has some particularly good advice for parents too.

So, imagine, for an overweight, late middle-aged man who isn’t really getting enough exercise or thinking too much about my sugar intake (carbs and fat maybe a little) this was a real wake-up call.  As I narrated I couldn’t help but be convinced that I had to take a serious look at my sugar intake and that of other processed foods and do something about it.  So, I have done, (to an extent) and I will be doing more.

Yudkin recommends a Neotholithic diet, that is, a diet of foods which were available before agriculture and food processing were developed.  No processed grains (flour) or sugar enriched foods. He recommends fruit, vegetables (particularly leafy vegetables) meat and fish for the most part. We haven’t gone that far yet (my wife and I) but we’ve made a start.  Sugars are down and processed carbs reduced.  Wine is still on the menu though and we’re saving the pasta we have left for special occasions. (Yudkin says this is okay, now and again).  All in all, we’re feeling better for it and noticing a reduction in weight.

Who knows, this narration assignment could have been a lifesaver for me!

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