19. More books
"The Diet Myth : The real science behind what we eat" by Tim Spector
A highly readable account that aims to explain the current thinking on nutrition and dieting based on the latest research. It provides an excellent historical perspective on how we arrived at many current held but completely erroneous beliefs. It explains the important role played by our biome and how this little understood part of the body can determine that genetical identical twins may produce completely different outcomes to dietary intervention. Compelling reading if to want to understand more of the science behind the effect of food on put bodies.
"Conditioning for outdoor fitness : functional exercise and nutrition for all" by David Musnick and Mark Pierce
If you want to go a bit beyond just keeping fit then this book explains how outdoor activities such as running/hillwalking/climbing ... etc all require quite specific combinations of training and nutrition. It also explains very well why exercising to lose fat requires a bit more thought than just building up a sweat.
"The Harcombe diet : Stop counting calories and start losing weight" by Dr Zoe Harcombe
A long term approach to diet, obesity, and fat loss that is focused on eating real food rather than cutting calories. Unlike conventional diets Dr Harcombe's approach stresses the need to avoid calorie restriction but focuses heavily on avoiding processed foods and refined carbohydrates, and avoiding eating fat and carbohydrate at the same time. Dr Harcombe publishes a subscription blog that provides weekly updates that regularly provide comment on the latest scare stories and media headlines which she carefully dissects to extract the facts. Highly recommended.
"Pure, white, and deadly : How sugar is killing us and what we can do to stop it" by John Yudkin
First published in 1972 and generally dismissed by the medical profession and the food industry, this is a scary, prescient, book on the seemingly innocuous pure white crystals. Nearly 50 years ago Yudkin's research was implicating sugar as a fundamental driver of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Unfortunately Yudkin was classed as a heretic and ignored while we followed what now seems to be the fairly disastrous "low fat, high carb" approach that resulted in more sugar being added to low fat processed foods in place of fat. While the book identifies a number of specific health problems identified by his research at that time, what is even more scary is how many of his predictions have now become reality. Here is a quote from his first chapter : "Secondly, if only a small fraction of what is already known about the effects of sugar were to be revealed in relation to any other material used as a food additive, that material would promptly be banned."
This book is not for those of a nervous disposition!
"Why we get fat and what to do about it" by Gary Taubes
Gary Taubes is a journalist who, in 2002, published a seminal article in the New York Times entitled "What if it's all been a big fat lie" ( https://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/07/magazine/what-if-it-s-all-been-a-big-fat-lie.html). This article was suggesting that the obesity epidemic was actually the result of the new dietary advice that arose in the early 1970s to avoid eating fat, and saturated fat in particular, in favour of a low fat high carbohydrate diet. Taubes was suggesting that the evidence indicated that the increase in consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates was leading to insulin resistance, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. In this very readable book he exhaustively expands on that topic by presenting all the evidence and it makes compelling and convincing reading. He explains why all calories are not equal when it comes to fat storage. He makes the startling paradigm shifting statement that people don't get fat because the overeat, they overeat because they get fat, which then diverts food from fuel to fat storage. The simplified conclusion is that if we do not eat carbohydrates, in particular highly processed and refined carbohydrates, then we cannot become fat.
"The obesity code : unlocking the secrets of weight loss" by Dr Jason Yung
Jason Fung is a doctor who specializes in the treatment of kidney disease. The leading cause of kidney disease is type 2 diabetes which is why he became involved in trying to understand the root causes of obesity and why we become fat. This book provides a very readable but all encompassing explanation of the insulin model of obesity which shows how insulin levels can be influenced by multiple factors, not just carbohydrates. Animal proteins, and cortisol, which is a hormone produced in response to stress, can also raise insulin levels. In addition, our guts also produce incretin hormones which can directly raise insulin levels in response to food in the mouth, long before it reaches the intestine. Jung also states that the origin of about 67% of the insulin produced in the body is currently unknown and postulates that this might be determined by genetic factors. Read Taubes' book and this one and you will know everything you could possibly want to know on how an imbalance in our insulin levels leads to excess fat storage. Highly recommended.
"The complete guide to fasting" by Dr Jason Fung
Following on from "The obesity code" this book explains the beneficial impact of fasting on controlling insulin levels and therefore fat storage and obesity. What I like about Fung's writing is his ability to explain complex scientific evidence in readable layman's terms. As well as the science background, this book provides practical guidance and recipes to help you implement a fasting regime, whether that is intermittent, alternate day, or extended. Highly recommended if you want to lose fat or just gain the long term health benefits of fasting.
"The Longevity Diet : The fasting mimicking diet" by Dr Valter Longo
Dr Longo was one of the the doctors whose research featured in Michael Mosley's documentary "Eat, fast, and live longer". Mosley originally fasted for 4 days under Dr Longo's supervision but Longo has now shown that most of the benefits of an extended fast like that can achieved on a 5 day low calorie diet which he calls the "Fasting Mimicking Diet" or FMD. FMD is not only helpful in controlling insulin and igf1 hormones but it has also been shown in some trials to be very beneficial for cancer patients undergoing chemo therapy. Basically FMD switches the normal cells out of growth mode into maintenance mode whereas the cancer cells are unaffected and continue to grow rapidly, so they are targeted more effectively by the chemo therapy. Dr Longo's research on aging has focused on how our diet can influence longevity and has demonstrated how dietary changes and calorie restriction can significantly increase the life expectancy of small mammals. This book explains the benefits of his proposed Longevity Diet although he admits that the increase in life expectancy is at yet unproven by randomized clinical trials, although a large number are currently underway. I have not analyzed his meal suggestions in detail, but they appear to me to be a bit calorie restricted and essentially vegan with vitamin supplements to ensure a correct intake of nutrients. I am not in favour of any diet that requires vitamin supplements to be healthy and the idea of long term calorie restriction is not one that I find appealing. However, if the trials were to show a significant increase in life expectancy then I might reconsider! Dr Longo has commercialized the FMD as the Prolon diet (www.prolon.co.uk) which is sold as a complete five day package of all the food required, and is subject to a health questionnaire before purchase. When I looked at Prolon some time ago I think it was about £250 for the 5 day package so this is much more expensive than just eating real food.
"The FAST 800" by Dr Michael Mosley
This is the latest bestseller from Mosley that updates the original 5:2 Fast Diet and combines it his 8 Week Blood Sugar Diet, which is essentially what I did when I started out to correct my blood sugar. The new diet is based on 800 kcals per day and also introduces the concept of time restricted eating, which is something that I have been doing for the past 6 months as it makes it easy to maintain the benefits of fasting after you have reached your fat loss goal