Aimed at nothing less than totally restructuring the diets of Americans, Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy may well accomplish its goal. Dr. Walter C. Willett gets off to a roaring start by totally dismantling one of the largest icons in health today: the USDA Food Pyramid that we all learn in elementary school. He blames many of the pyramid’s recommendations–6 to 11 servings of carbohydrates, all fats used sparingly–for much of the current wave of obesity. At first this may read differently than any diet book, but Willett also makes a crucial, rarely mentioned point about this icon: “The thing to keep in mind about the USDA Pyramid is that it comes from the Department of Agriculture, the agency responsible for promoting American agriculture, not from the agencies established to monitor and protect our health.” It’s no wonder that dairy products and American-grown grains such as wheat and corn figure so prominently in the USDA’s recommendations.
Willett’s own simple pyramid has several benefits over the traditional format. His information is up-to-date, and you won’t find recommendations that come from special-interest groups. His ideas are nothing radical–if we eat more vegetables and complex carbohydrates (no, potatoes are not complex), emphasize healthy fats, and enjoy small amounts of a tremendous variety of food, we will be healthier. You’ll find some surprises as well, such as doubts about the overall benefits of soy (unless you’re willing to eat a pound and a half of tofu a day), and that nuts, with their “good” fat content, are a terrific snack. Relying on research rather than anecdotes, this is a solidly written nutritional guide that will show you the real story behind how food is digested, from the glycemic index for carbs to the wisdom of adding a multivitamin to your diet. Willett combines research with matter-of-fact language and a no-nonsense tone that turns academic studies into easily understandable suggestions for living. –Jill Lightner
User Ratings and Reviews
5 Stars The only diet that has ever worked for me.
This book was recommended to me by my doctor when I asked for an alternative to taking Lipitor to decrease my cholesterol. He recommended three things, two of which you’ve probably heard before: Eat lots of fiber (over 25g / day), eat very little sat fat (less than 25g / day) and no trans fat, and read this book and follow its advice.
I very much did not want to start taking medication so I made the effort to take his advice and follow this book’s recommendations as much as possible. I focused mainly on adding fiber and limiting saturated fats as daily goals, and I used the knowledge in this book to help me decide what to eat. This book focuses on the positive. It explains which foods are best for long term health based on the results of large, diverse, long-term studies. It points out what foods are bad for you and why, but mainly focuses on which foods to choose rather than which to avoid.
As a pleasant side-effect, I lost 20 lbs in a matter of 6 months, getting to a healthy BMI number. I can honestly say most days I ate as much as I wanted to and I never starved myself. I don’t have the will-power for that. I also decreased my cholesterol and triglyceride levels to well below the healthy limits
I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to lower their cholesterol, lose weight, and/or simply learn how to eat better. The USDA food pyramid we’ve been taught for years is flawed, and this book sets the record straight.
5 Stars Grandma was right
It’s not a weight loss diet, it’s a way of eating that reduces your risk of nasty diseases. There is real science behind the findings and an admission that as science evolves, a new book will have to be written. Eat your veggies!
5 Stars completely worth it
Absolutely the best nutrition guide I have found outside the classroom (even a great supplement inside the classroom). Has current data unlike some that are out-dated, talks about the results and doesn’t just list them, and is really in-depth and thorough. Also has some really amazing recipes in the back that I use all the time now. I think that just by looking at this book on amazon you are interested in learning more and in that case this book is for YOU! I wish everyone would read this that way all the nutritional myths major marketing companies spend millions on can be debunked. I recommend it
4 Stars Helpful
Recommended by a friend/relative who swears by it and it reads well and is a big help.
5 Stars New way of life
This book was recommended by my cardiologist and I had a surprise 5 stents inserted. It offers great information and guidelines to change your eating habits. Outstanding.