I bought a copy of "Fat Chance" for myself. Unfortunately it's not quite as interesting as the YouTube video. It feels long-winded, and it's light on the science, e.g. the 15 minutes in the video where he goes over the metabolic pathway of fructose and compares it to that of glucose and ethanol.
I also found this on page xiv:
In fact, I'll make a promise to you right now: there is not one statement made in this entire book that can't be backed up by hard science.
Then, on page 192:
Naturally occurring fructose comes from sugarcane, fruits, some vegetables, and honey. The first three have way more fiber than fructose, and the last is protected by bees.
Well, that's easily shown to be incorrect. I have a copy of "USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 21" which provides the following data.
Apples, raw, without skin, 100 grams: Sucrose: 0.82 g Glucose: 3.25 g Fructose: 6.03 g Sugars: 10.1 g Fiber: 1.3 g (apples with skin have about double the fiber)
Oranges, raw, navels, 100 grams: Sucrose: 4.28 g Glucose: 1.97 g Fructose: 2.25 g Sugars: 8.5 g Fiber: 2.2 g
Pears, raw, 100 grams: Sucrose: 0.78 g Glucose: 2.76 g Fructose: 6.23 g Sugars: 9.8 g Fiber: 3.1 g
Pineapple, raw, all varieties, 100 grams: Sucrose: 5.99 g Glucose: 1.73 g Fructose: 2.12 g Sugars: 9.85 g Fiber: 1.4 g
Strawberries, raw, 100 grams: Sucrose: 0.47 g Glucose: 1.99 g Fructose: 2.44 g Sugars: 4.89 g Starch: 0.04 g Fiber: 2 g
Bananas, raw, 100 grams: Sucrose: 2.39 g Glucose: 4.98 g Fructose: 4.85 g Sugars: 12.23 g Starch: 5.38 g Fiber: 2.6 g
Tomatoes, red, ripe, raw, year round average, 100 grams: Glucose: 1.25 g Fructose: 1.37 g Sugars: 2.63 g Fiber: 1.2 g
...and tomatoes aren't even considered to be a fruit by a lot of people.
Also, remember that half of sucrose is fructose, and so to get the full amount of fructose you have to add half the sucrose. However, even forgetting that, it seems that all fruit contains more fructose than fiber.
Indeed, the statement is barely true even for vegetables:
Lettuce, iceberg (includes crisphead types), raw, 100 grams: Sucrose: 0.05 g Glucose: 0.91 g Fructose: 1 g Sugars: 1.97 g Fiber: 1.2 g
Carrots, raw, 100 grams: Sucrose: 3.59 g Glucose: 0.59 g Fructose: 0.55 g Sugars: 4.74 g Starch: 1.43 g Fiber: 2.8 g
Corn, sweet, yellow, raw, 100 grams: Sucrose: 2.06 g Glucose: 0.5 g Fructose: 0.48 g Sugars: 3.22 g Fiber: 2.7 g
It's interesting that "sweet" corn would have the best fiber to fructose ratio. I would have expected lettuce to be best since it's relatively calorie-free.
The whole fiber thing really does seem to be the weakest part of Lustig's argument. In particular, if all it is good for is, as he describes in his book, simply blocking the food from reaching the walls of the intestines so that it is digested more slowly, wouldn't it suffice to simply divide your daily intake of food into a greater number of meals? I also have a really hard time imagining a mush of fiber impeding the flow of fructose all that much, given that the fructose is dissolved, and so it is quite mobile.
It also seems to have turned him into a sort of "natural foods" nut, as if nature would never create anything that's bad for us. Originally I thought that maybe he was giving fruit a pass since people don't eat much of it anyway and so it's not worth alienating people by telling them that foods which are seen by many to be the icon of healthy eating are actually bad for them. However, the more I hear from him, the more it seems he honestly believes it. He says frequently that the problem with fruit juice is that the fiber is removed. I would say that the fructose is bad, fiber or not, and that the problem with juice is that it enables people to easily consume a dozen oranges. Consuming 60 grams of fructose is bad, with or without the 30 grams of fiber. ...and, honestly, most of that fiber goes in the trash can anyway as oranges are mostly inedible.
I've also been thinking lately that at least half the problem is the addictive nature of sweets. Years ago I thought anyone who claimed food was addictive was simply abusing the word, but sweet foods certainly seem to meet a lot of the criteria. In particular, I've been convinced for years that fructose is poison, yet still consume it from time to time. ...and when I do consume it, I always end up consuming more than I had intended to, which is another symptom of addiction. I also notice that it isn't just fructose, although fructose is the worst since it tastes the most sweet. I also tend to over-eat the "Red Vines" candy, which is made with corn syrup which, unlike high fructose corn syrup, contains no fructose, but is instead only glucose. The red vines are a lot easier to avoid over-eating, but still not as easy as other non-sweet foods.
However, I do think Lustig is absolutely correct with the toxic nature of fructose. While avoiding it doesn't seem to automatically lead to weight loss, since I started paying attention years ago when I first saw the video on YouTube, I've noticed that consuming fructose absolutely leads to weight gain. In contrast, even when I massively overeat other foods, like tacos or Red Vines, I either don't gain weight or I gain it very slowly (like a pound per week). With fructose, I can easily gain ten pounds a week. Every major jump in my weight over the last two years is associated with eating a lot of sugar.