This book has so many important things to say. Not just about weight loss, but also about health and about our health system.
This book explains that while it is our responsibility to make healthy choices, to make a choice first we have to understand that there is a choice. We need accurate information. Unforunately the current food guidelines are based on myths and wishful thinking rather than science.
The author goes on to say:
* The health industry is one of the most lucrative in the world and so the focus has become wealth rather than health.
* Many published drug studies are no more than infomercials. Journals, doctors and academia have been bought by the drug companies and many patient ground that claim to be grass-roots groups are in fact 'astroturf' groups; faux advocacy groups.
* The NICE Guidelines in the UK are heavily lobbied by drug companies and not at all based on good science. Guidelines by committee are disastrous, especially when vested interest groups are involved.
* Mild symptoms of illness such as tiredness and aches and pains have been normalised in our society but they are not normal and are related to our current poor dietary advice and diets.
* The pharmaceutical industry is not focused on cures but on treatments which can be sold to the patient over and over again. Not only is this industry not the one to look to for real cures (as so many still do), but they help the cures we do have often remain unused and ignored. For example, type 2 diabetes has been curable since the 1970s, yet many patients are still just given drugs to take for life to minimise some of the symptoms of the condition.
* Early detection of disease is being twisted and presented as it it is the same thing as preventing a disease, which of course it is not. The early detection push is primarily about increasing the market for various drugs. Don't donate to the big cancer and MS charities etc. if they don't support prevention measures and instead focus on mere early detection.
The author writes about diet, that:
* The advice to cut down on sugar but to eat lots of grains makes no sense.
* Low fat, high-carb and low calorie diets are not healthy and not the best diet for weight loss.
* High levels of glucose (as with a high-grain and high-carb diet) compromise the immune system.
* Grains are not as high in nutrients as we have been led to believe and in fact these foods can leach nutrients from the body if not properly prepared. The same is true of legumes.
* Excess fibre can cause problems for some people and fibre from grains is not necessary. Bran flakes are not a health food, but a faddish waste of money.
* The bioavailablity of nutrients is much lower in raw produce compared to cooked.
* Low salt diets have not been tested for safety and the scaremongering about salt is not scientific.
* Healthy low carb diets must be high in fat and NOT protein.
* The Paleo diet is very relevant today. Good macronutrient ranges by calories are 10 - 15% carbs, 15 - 25% protein and 60 - 70% fat.
* Saturated fat is a healthy traditional fat.
* The ideal figure for carbs has been found to be around 50 - 75 grams a day, and this is the maximum a person with diabetes should eat. This amount is a good one to start with and some people will feel best making it slightly lower or higher.
* People that are very ill (eg. MS patients) may do better starting with around 110 carbs a day before gradually going down to 70 grams a day. Going too low or too low too fast may make such patients more ill.
* It is a good idea to lower your carbohydrate intake gradually, so as to make the transition less stressful for the body. Going from a high-carb diet to just 20 grams of carbs a day is too much of a shock, and not necessary.
* It is not healthy to get glucose from protein long-term. It is wasteful and puts a strain on the liver and kidneys.
* A BMI of 25 - 30 is still a healthy weight and may even be the healthiest weight range.
* The idea that traditional foods are causing all our modern diseases is ludicrous.
Important authors such as Abram Hoffer, Adele Davis, Weston A. Price and Shanahan are quoted. Good information is also given about the dangers of some vaccinations and soy products and of fluoride, why humans are not designed to run, why excessive exercise can be harmful and pain and injuries should not be ignored.
The author has been following a low carb diet since 1962 so he really knows his stuff.
The authors advice and views tally very well with my own. I have a severe neurological disease with some similarities to MS and I have found that a very low carb diet of 20 grams or so of carbs a day, makes me feel unwell after a few months. It seems like maybe my liver and kidneys cannot handle the extra strain. I have felt so much better staying around the 50 - 75 gram mark. It is also a far more pleasant diet to eat by far. This lower-carb diet also greatly helps my hypoglycaemia symptoms, makes me feel more satisfied after meals (and not starving hungry right after each meal due to blood sugar surges) and has treated my PCOS as well. I also do far better avoiding grains, legumes and dairy products too. I am using this style of diet, along with other supplemental nutrients and detoxification methods, to slowly improve my severe neurological disease - which had been slowly worsening for more than a decade.
My only issue with this book is the authors assertion that we need to eat only 2 serves of fruit or vegetables daily and that claims we need 5 or more are unsupportable and quite silly. The sugar content of fruit is discussed, and the author claims that fruits and vegetables deliver few antioxidants. But the issues of taste, enjoyment, vitamins and phytonutrients are not discussed at all. What about the important detoxification aids and cancer-fighting nutrients present in brassica vegetables? What about all the folate and other nutrients in leafy greens? What about all the bioflavanoids present in foods like capsicums? None of this is even mentioned. It is a very strange part of the book, not remotely up to the standard of the rest of the book. This section is so poorly done it risks detracting people from the rest of the book, which is of a high standard and well reasoned, argued and researched. Best to just skip the anti-vegetable chapter I think.
This one quibble aside (plus the lack of good basic supplementation information), this is a wonderful book on diet and a great achievement by the author. This book is just as well written and researched as his book on the dangers of fluoride in our water supply, the first book I read by this author. That book is well worth a read as well.
To read more about why we need to eat the traditional foods we evolved to eat and why proper nutrition is so important to health and treating disease books such as Deep Nutrition and Primal Body Primal Mind are excellent extra reading. These are two of the most important books there are for anyone dealing with serious disease; along with Detoxify or Die and any of the high quality vitamin C books by Dr Thomas Levy and others.
A great quote from this book:
"There is no nonsense so arrant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action." Bertrand Russell.
Jodi Bassett, The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E. (HFME)