Monday, June 9, 2014

Diet Cults: The Surprising Fallacy at the Core of Nutrition Fads and a Guide to Healthy Eating for the Rest of Us by Matt Fitzgerald | Book Review

(I just love this cover!  The whole time I was reading this book I kept showing the cover to people.)

There were many things that I liked about Diet Cults:  the cover (and I can't even articulate why), the layout, the tone, the reassurance, and the Agnostic Eating Plan.

I loved the layout of Diet Cults.  Each chapter addressed a different type of "diet cult" until the very last chapter, which discussed the author's Agnostic Eating Plan.  Personally, I find comfort in reading a book with good, predictable cadence.  There's a time and a place for thrillers and suspense, but a nonfiction book about diet isn't it.  I liked that each chapter was laid out in roughly the same pattern:  the "diet cult" is touched upon briefly, then an anecdote about someone currently on/advocating that diet, then the author's rebuttal, then a summary.  I LOVED that the author isn't overly pushy in his arguments!  He totally lets the science speak for itself.  This allowed me to feel smart, like I was connecting the dots myself.  (I wasn't.  It's just that the author laid out the facts in such an awesomely easy-to-understand way for me.)  

I also loved loved loved that pretty much every major diet fad out there was proven to have at least a little fallacy in it.  You see, I was reading this book for the wrong reasons.  I was reading it hoping that the author would be wrong; that there would be an answer for what to eat for optimal health.  I was wrong.  According to Diet Cults (and I totally agree with this, at least for now), there is no "correct" diet.  There's only food, and it's good for you.  Yes, you should have common sense and know that, like, Krispy Kremes aren't good for you (really nothing that's fried is good for you) but you should also have the common sense to know that it's not bread that's the problem; it's the fried cooking that's the problem.  Whole grain bread is totally ok for you (in moderation).  This book basically reassured me that I'm doing ok in feeding myself and the hubby.  We're not Paleo or Atkins or low-carb or anything; we're just normal.  I try to avoid stuff like canned condensed cream of anything soup and I buy low-fat cheese and I try to avoid preservatives and food dyes, but I don't obsess.  And I now truly and honestly believe that we're going to be ok.

The very last chapter of the book explains the author's Agnostic Eating Plan, which is sort of an un-diet.  Basically, you're aiming to have a good mixture of foods in your diet.  Lots of veggies and fruits, some protein, a little whole grains, and very scant sweets & oils.  The author gives you a chart in case you want to obsess and keep count, but you could easily do the un-diet in your head.  It's that simple.  

What did I take away from this "diet book"?  I upped the amount of veggies present at every meal (for both me and the hubby) and cut back on sugar and am relishing the peace of mind.  This was a very approachable read and I really enjoyed it and I recommend it.

I got Diet Cults from my library.

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