Book Review – How Not to Diet


As someone who most of her life always wanted to shake “those last 10 pounds’.” I’m pretty familiar with diet books. The promises! The glitzy “NEW” approaches! Those amazing anecdotes!” You know the pitches…

So now that I’m smarter, more skeptical, and have lost those pounds after learning the value of whole food plant-based (WFPB) nutrition, why am I excited about a new weight management book that’s become a best seller? Because Dr. Michael Greger’s new book How Not To Diet is everything other diet books are not—no anecdotes, solid science instead of slick but false approaches, and a focus on lifelong healthy nutrition instead of temporary diets.

Now I’ll be upfront. I’m a longtime volunteer with Dr. Greger’s NutritionFacts.org website, so I’ll admit I anticipated an evidence-based book with just enough entertainment to make the biology interesting. In fact I got much more, which is why I thought I’d share this informal book review with you.

Picking up this book is a challenge—literally! It’s 570 pages packed with the latest research and the links to original research studies. Dr. Greger convincingly lays out the strong research that explains why eating whole food plant-based not only improves overall health but also leads to better weight management. While this may be news to many, I suspect folks reading this newsletter already know that. What you may not know is some of the emerging research and encouraging surprises this book presents. For example, so many of the things I used to say when I taught health promotion years ago are no longer true. This book makes it clear why statements like “A calorie is a calorie” and “Weight loss revolves around eating less and exercising more” or ”You need to count calories to lose weight” are no longer considered true.

Concepts like calorie density, fiber, and the influence of your gut microbiome are thoroughly reviewed in Dr. Greger’s latest work along with how sleep, food processing, and timing of our meals can all affect how to lose weight—and keep it off. After identifying 17 key ingredients to the ideal weight-loss diet, Dr. Greger then shares additional tools (21 diet “tweaks”) that help reduce stubborn fat—from incorporating certain spices and vinegar to “front-loading” your calories or following the 20-min rule.

Intrigued? You can listen to the book’s trailer for more details at https://nutritionfacts.org/video/trailer-for-how-not-to-diet-dr-gregers-guide-to-weight-loss/  If you want to learn more but have no time to sit down with a book, there is an audio version. You can also listen to one or more of the complete series of weight loss videos that reflect the research found in this book, available on Dr. Greger’s popular NutritionFacts.org. You may also find this book in your local library—and if your library doesn’t yet carry it, you can suggest adding this groundbreaking new work to its collection.

I know many of you have already discovered that eating a WFPB diet helps achieve and maintain  ideal weight. This book will give you science-based evidence to reassure yourself and encourage others that WFPB is not only the healthiest way to fuel your body but also the wisest way to keep your weight just where it should be. Could be a great gift to share with others struggling with weight issues.

Speaking of gifts, with the holidays coming, in next month’s newsletter I’ll share some ideas for health-promoting gift-giving!  Stay tuned!

For good eating and good reading (two of my favorite activities!)…

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