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Escape the Diet Trap [Paperback]

Dr. John Briffa
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (175 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Jan 2012

This revolutionary book reveals:

  • Ten reasons why eating a low-fat, calorie controlled diet makes sustained weight loss virtually impossible.
  • Why the less hungry you are, the more weight you’ll lose.
  • How different types of calories have different fattening potential.
  • Why weight is not just about calories, but the impact our diet has on key hormones including insulin and leptin.
  • Why you should ignore foods labelled ‘low fat’ or ‘light’.
  • Why aerobic exercise has little impact on weight, and the type of exercise that does.
  • The simple and mental tricks to ensure permanent success.


Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (5 Jan 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007442432
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007442430
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (175 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 193,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

After qualifying as a doctor in London and flirting with a career in surgery, I discovered my true calling was in nutrition and wellness. For more than 20 years my clinical practice has been geared to finding the true underlying causes of illness and symptoms, and giving individuals the tools they need to take control on their own health.

I have a particular interest in weight loss, and don't believe that success here is all about 'eating less and exercising more'. Actually, as I explain in Escape the Diet Trap, taking conventional approaches to weight loss doom most of us to failure.

When I'm writing or lecturing, I always strive to take an evidence-based approach, and refer liberally to published research. I like to bring in my clinical experience too (the approaches that work in the real world with real people). I do like to drop in some common sense for good measure too!

Should you read one of my books, please do share you experiences. You can do this by contacting me at or by leaving a review here at amazon.

My blog contains more than 1,250 articles and podcasts covering all aspects of health and wellness. You can find it at

Product Description


‘I am relishing this phenomenal, science-based demolition of the bankrupt diet and `healthy eating' advice that's been churned out by the nutrition establishment for the last fifty years. Why dieting is a total waste of time. Why fat is not the enemy. The `slimming' foods that actually encourage you to put on weight. Why you should base your eating on time-honoured unprocessed foods, not the low-cal junk that fills food industry coffers. A really important book.’ Joanna Blythman

‘Escape The Diet Trap is a masterly, forensic deconstruction of current nutritional gospel, a long overdue dish to relish.’ Joanna Blythman, The Grocer

‘Briffa’s tips will leave you trim, toned and pleasantly hunger-free.’ Woman

‘I was really impressed, mainly because the weight loss was so quick.’ Woman and Home

‘...builds a sustainable relationship with food that will bring long-term weight loss without excessive exercise, calorie control or hunger.’ Saga

‘I lost 6lbs in two weeks, despite eating a lot more than usual. I’m hooked.’ Cosmopolitan

About the Author

Dr John Briffa is a practising doctor and award-winning health writer who has contributed to a wide variety of newspaper and magazines both in the UK and abroad. He was formerly the natural health columnist for the Daily Mail, and has been the Observer’s nutritionist since 2002. He is the author of several books on the subject of health, nutrition and natural health including Ultimate Health, Natural Health for Kids, The True You Diet and Waist Disposal and writes a well-trafficked blog at He works in private practice in London.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
149 of 152 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The thinking persons fat loss book. 30 Dec 2011
As a "big boned" chap I was given this book on pre order for Christmas by my wife. I have just finished reading it and felt that I should write a review. For those of you who need to lose weight and are fed up being told to "go for a run and eat a bit less" then this book is for you. It is not a diet book but a collection of well researched and analysed theories regarding weight loss and health. John Briffa then looks at the available evidence and puts forward a reasoned argument against many of the standard assumptions. For example he explains why just cutting down food intake may not be the answer and discusses the limitations of the standard diets available especially ones involving calorie counting.
The science in this book is very well explained and easy to understand and I feel that having the background knowledge behind the changes I need to make to my diet will, in the long run, strengthen my resolve. I will also be able to explain to my mates exactly why joining them at the gym may not be the answer to our weight loss, although when combined with the suggestions in this book it will result in a fitter me. I also think that this book removes some of the guilt of failing to lose weight in the past despite following various plans by explaining why you may have failed and what to do about it.
There are sections in the book that also discuss the power of marketing and big food producers behind the availability of foods in supermarkets that have certainly informed my shopping practice for the better.
In summary do not buy this is you want a formulaic diet planning book but do buy it if you want to make simple changes to your diet that will change your life for good.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It actually works! 16 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My partner bought this book on the recommendation of our GP who had used it lose weight in order to have cancer surgery. We've both tried various diets in the past; slimming world, ww, rosemary connelly etc & though we found they worked we were unable to stick to them long term. And unsurprisingly the weight came back on often with a few extra pounds.

Though I was very sceptical about "low carb" eating (I loved bread, potatoes, pasta and rice)I decided to give this a try, in the main to motivate and support my partner and also to see if it worked. I was 4 stones overweight when I started this eating plan 6 weeks ago. It isn't a miracle diet but I have lost 10 lbs in that time. What does seem miraculous is that I haven't craved starchy carbs at all or felt hungry or deprived.

I have always cooked "from scratch" & used very little processed foods, so that already fitted into my eating habits. I'm not a health food addict but have always used butter instead of "healthy" spreads, natural yogurt, raw nuts and seeds etc. I have continued to have my red wine and my favourite sweet treat 85% cocoa solids dark chocolate, though I don't crave it the way I used to. I still have Yorkshire pudding with my Sunday roast and make my gravy with plain flour.

The only downside so far is I am limiting the amount of fruit (excepting berries) in my diet; I used to eat 3 or 4 pieces of fruit each day.

Eating out is difficult, so I have tend to order what I want and then start again the following day. I been out for a few meals and had pasta, rice, naan bread etc.

Overall, this is the easiest weight loss programme I have ever followed; no weighing or counting and for me, very sustainable. My partner has also following the plan for the same period has managed to shed an amazing 18lbs.
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131 of 135 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I purchased Dr Briffa's previous book, Waist Disposal, in January 2011. I was approaching 40, had developed an impressive middle aged spread (which somehow I managed to disguise by virtue of the fact I didn't put much weight on my face!) and had tried several times over the previous years to lose a stone (I weighed about 16st, 1 stone was not exactly ambitious). I tried the Low GI diet, I tried Atkins, I even tried the cabbage soup diet! I ramped up my exercising, and all that happened was I'd lose a few pounds in the first few weeks, then eventually put it back on, with the added bonus of some additional pounds. So I entered 2011 determined to give it one more go for the sake of my health.

Waist Disposal interested me because it seemed aimed at blokes like me. All the principles laid out in Waist Disposal are captured in Dr Briffa's new book, Escape The Diet Trap, with the latter providing more detail, more up to date evidence, and some new ideas. It's like Waist Disposal on steroids.

All I can say about Dr Briffa's principles is they work. They really really work. I write this review 12 months on from following them, and I have lost 3 stone. I look and feel fantastic. Not only have I lost weight, but I sleep better and genuinely feel healthier. I used to take headache pills once or twice a week before - now once every couple of months. The upshot of all this is that I am happier. You can't underestimate how your feelings of self esteem and happiness improve as you see yourself lose weight and become healthier, simply because you changed your eating habits. I don't consider Dr Briffa's principles a diet, that word suggests it is a temporary state, a fad - for me it's been about a lifestyle change in what and how I eat.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent resource
such a sensible book full of up to date sensible information - a mine of resources and links too. Worth a buy if you've struggled with dieting and info and research makes a... Read more
Published 11 days ago by Debbie Flint
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Enjoyed learning the many facts in the book finding out about Soya products was a revelation
Published 1 month ago by TISME
5.0 out of 5 stars The recent backlash against sugar is all well and good, but they...
I suffer from PCOS, so am VERY keen to get my blood sugar under control! I've used this guide, along with Atkins, to achieve this. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Rosil
5.0 out of 5 stars This might just change your life
I was recommended to this book by a friend who has been following Dr Briffa's advice successfully for the past two years. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Maria H.
3.0 out of 5 stars CONFUSING!
I borrowed this from the library with hope based on the customer reviews on Amazon. But on closer inspection I found the advice in the book to be rather odd. Read more
Published 2 months ago by MissMouse
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic and absorbing book full of common sense approach strategies...
Excellent book... did not want to put it out. Total revelation to me. In fact this book is a great resource and should never be too far away from hand. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Looby
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book
I can't say this was rivetting and I had read it all before in various guises but I think the author is very knowledgable and what is more He may be one of the few English authors... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mrs. J. Gardner
5.0 out of 5 stars Brill Book
I am sooo glad I bought this book.
I needed the information explained in it, & as I'm not into books that " Go On " forever, I found this just the right length. Read more
Published 3 months ago by marion robinson
4.0 out of 5 stars Escape Indeed
This book is very good, I have reduced my weight and with the help of the gym toned my body to a better shape. It is eay to love this diet. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Thomas James Wigginton
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and eye opening
I enjoyed this book although I'm rubbish at sciencey things. I'm going to give this a go and see how I get on with it.
Published 4 months ago by marathon runner to be
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