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Big Fat Lies: The Truth About Your Weight and Your Health [Paperback]

Glenn A. Gaesser , Steven N. Blair
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 1 2002
Fat can be fitl This is the first paperback edition of BIG FAT LIES which was published in hardcover by Fawcett Columbine in 1996 and has been unavailable for several years. Here's proof that people can be overweight and still be fit and healthy. Gaesser, an exercise physiologist, presents scientific evidence that there are benefits to body fat. Optimal health and fitness are the results of light daily exercise and a complex - carbohydrate eating plan that aims for an average of 20 percent fat. Authoritative, clearly-written, and crucial reading for anyone who wants to take concrete steps towards improving their health, no matter what their size. "A thorough and compelling synthesis of the medical literature that challenges the common beliefs that "thin is best" and "weight loss improves health".

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From Amazon

If you've ever looked at height-weight tables in your doctor's office or calculated your body-mass index from a formula in a fitness magazine, and realized that you're technically overweight, this book is for you. Not only does it expose the highly flawed methodology used to calculate those ideals, it also argues that you can be fit at any weight. In fact, the author asserts, being heavier is actually better for you in some ways: statistically, you have a better chance of living a longer life if you're both active and on the heavy side. But there's the rub: being heavy in itself is no virtue. Exercise and healthful eating are still the keys to vitality and longevity. It's just that weight control has been unrealistically foisted upon us by the insurance and fashion industries, making us miserably concerned with girth when there's often no need for worry. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

It seems that anything society decides is conventional wisdom sooner or later gets debunked. Happily, such is the case with many of our ideas about body fat; hence, this book exposing the ostensible facts about fat. Gaesser presents a wide range of evidence to make his overall point that much of what Americans think is true about fat and its threat to health is not. Bowing to conventional wisdom, not only do people undertake diets and other therapies to achieve unachievable results, some make themselves less healthy by losing too much weight or become obsessed with what is actually "good fat" --the provocative term Gaesser uses for the subcutaneous fat usually found on the hips and thighs, which is "biochemically better suited to taking fat out of the bloodstream" --where fat is most dangerous--than is the other, "bad" fat. Unfortunately, excess good fat is also harder to get rid of, and, alas, the cosmetic offenses of good fat are harder to overcome. For those wishing an informed, even enlightened approach to controlling body fat, this is essential reading. Mike Tribby --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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4.0 out of 5 stars Good health is the focus here Aug. 30 2011
Big Fat Lies does a great job of explaining that being "overweight" doesn't necesarily mean that you are unhealthy. This book points out that the stresses of on-and-off dieting and yo-yo weight management can be more detrimental than just accepting what might be a more comfortable weight for your body (even if it is not the purported "ideal weight"). A reasonable plan is given for how to give yourself a healthier lifestyle without putting the pressure on yourself to meet some pre-determined notion of what body weight you need to reach in order to be a "normal" weight. In all, this book takes a unique prespective that could serve very useful for those that want to stop focusing on weight loss, and start focusing on being more healthy. Not to say that the ideas discussed in this book couldn't help you to lose some weight, but that it is not the main focus of this book. This is probably not the best book or plan for a person who is determined to reach and maintain a lean weight (which is ideal if you can prevent the yo-yo effect with the right lifestyle changes and plan), but is geared more for those who are tired of trying and failing, and would rather just reach the best health that they can at a weight that they can manage and maintain easier.
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By shandie
This book is a bit dry to read, but it is very intriguing. It re-hashes, with as much detail as could reasonably be expected in a book, the scientific research that has been done on obesity in the last several decades. It frequently points out disparity between what popular culture would have us believe about fat vs thin, healthy vs unhealthy and what scientific literature is finding. This book points out some possible flaws in what the media feeds us in regards to health and weight, and really makes you think. I would recommend it to anyone who is curious about the science behind what the media tells us about weight. You can always interpret data in several ways, and the interesting thing about this book is that it shows you more than one conclusion that could be drawn from the studies via actually discussing the methodology and study designs used (rather than just spewing facts and figures without discussing where they came from).

I would recommend this book to any inquiring mind - it would help if you have some background in reading scientific journal articles though!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Truth About Weight Tables Oct. 30 2002
I learned the truth about both Weight Tables and Diets, as well as the importance of Nutrition and Exercise. In this book, Dr Glaesser explains the historical context of the American Weight Tables and their formation by Met Life Insurance Company. His extensive research has shown that people with higher weights can be fit and sometimes even fitter than the ones that actually fit into the prescribed weight tables. For me this is a startling finding. I am relieved to learn that Glaesser recommends allowing our bodies to equilibrate around our natural set point rather than yo-yo dieting to try to attain a weight that we have been taught is optimal. In depth discussions of good vs bad types of body fat are also informative and further make Big Fat Lies a good and instructive read.
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