Views & Reviews Medical Classics

Pure, White and Deadly

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e8612 (Published 15 January 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:e8612
  1. J T Winkler, retired professor, Nutrition Policy Unit, London Metropolitan University, London, UK
  1. jtw{at}blueyonder.co.uk

Becoming a prophet in your own country can be difficult. So can becoming a medical classic in the BMJ. The travails of both are illuminated by John Yudkin and Pure, White and Deadly, his most famous and recently reissued book.

Despite its startling title, the work is a sober analysis of the health problems, especially heart disease, associated with sugar. Published in 1972, it seemed perfectly timed for rapid conversion from nutrition science into nutrition policy. Yudkin was then serving on the advisory panel on heart disease of the UK Department of Health’s Committee on the Medical …

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