Monday, August 17, 2009

Books to read

Good Calories, Bad Calories - Gary Taubes.

(Diet Delusion in the UK)

Taubes has made his career writing about bad science for newspapers and the journal Science. He discovered his next target in the late 90s: public health. After spending years reviewing journals, studies and the history of public health, Taubes essentially concluded that the standard wisdom rested on a very faulty foundation, and that the slate needs to be wiped clean so that real science can be done. This book is fairly long and dense, but very engaging if you are interested in the science he is discussing.

The Fat of the Land - Vilhjalmur Stefansson

Stefansson spent years in the arctic eating an all-meat diet. On his return, he subjected himself to a supervised medical experiment in which he ate nothing but meat for a full year. He wrote several books about his experiences. He draws on those books in The Fat of the Land, in which he argues that healthiest diet is one that is predominately based on animal meat. This book contains Stefansson’s take on the experiment he engaged in, as well as an overview of the use of meat in arctic exploration.

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration – Weston Price

Weston Price was a dentist who, in the 1930s, decided to take a survey of the primitive people’s of the world to see what their teeth looked like. He quickly discovered that so long as a population was eating its traditional diet, their teeth were nearly flawless and had very low incidence of tooth decay. Moreover, he found that they were typically in good health and did not appear to suffer from diseases of civilization. Price took pictures of the teeth and facial structure of the people he surveyed and those pictures are fairly remarkable to view. Price’s prose is a product of his time, so one must be careful to sift through the claims about “racial stock” and “racial purity” to reach Price’s ultimate conclusion: that nutrition, not race or racial purity, was the cause of society’s physical degeneration.

Life without Bread – Wulfgang Lutz

Basically, this is a low-carb diet plan that focuses on total health instead of weight. Lutz spent decades treating Crohn’s patients with his diet, with a claimed 80% success rate. He published his book in 1967 in German, but it was not translated to English until the early 2000s. It was eclipsed by the Atkins diet, and is critical of Atkins in the sections about implementing a low-carb diet.

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