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Escape the Diet Trap [Paperback]

Dr. John Briffa
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 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 (166 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 144,113 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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
159 of 162 people found the following review helpful
By ACB (swansea) TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a fellow medical doctor, I wholeheartedly endorse the findings and subsequent advice given by Dr Briffa in this comprehensive book. It is well-researched with reference sources unlike the plethora of 'diet' books on the market. His detailed descriptions of the mechanisms and effects of calorie restriction, interaction of protein,carbohydrate and fats on the body's hormonal and metabolic system are clearly explained. The essential fats and protein amino acids are emphasised as are those that should be avoided especially trans fats in processed food, cakes,biscuits and fast foods, citing the scientifically-backed reasons.

His conclusions and recommendations of a food intake based on a high protein, medium fat, low carbohydrate content are logical. Examples of food types to be eaten or avoided are set out. Vegetarians may struggle. The pitfalls of the body mass index (BMI) are described as are the advantages of waist measurement,the mirror, how clothes feel etc. over the scales. The physical and mind problems associated with conventional low calorie diets and their detrimental effects are clearly stated. The other emphasis is on exercise. Intermittent high intensity aerobic exercise in moderation is more important for heart/lung fitness whilst resistance exercise more important in maintaining muscle size and strength (a pair of dumbells work wonders if no access to a gym). Motivation, short-term goals and maintenance are discussed as are overcoming 'sticking points'. If the science is daunting Dr Briffa recommends reading the basic summaries at the end of the first 17 chapters.

Personally, I was a fit rugby player 6'2" and 16stone 4lb aged 21. 40 years later I am the same size and shape (body fat 15%). According to the BMI I have been obese for years.
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141 of 144 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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121 of 124 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
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Sensible and Intuitive
A very clear and simple answer to keeping healthy. Scientifically backed up and very intuitive. It is also an easy read.
Published 1 day ago by J. Rawicz
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, practical, evidence-based advice
This book cuts through much of the hype about low-carbohydrate diets with a sensible, evidence based approach. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Julie K
5.0 out of 5 stars A+
A+ product and service. Will use again. Good price, fast service. I cannot fault this transaction in any way. Thank you
Published 9 days ago by jacqui holtom
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
I loved this book. Informative, well-written by a qualified doctor and a book that I will use again and again. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Book Worm
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Think this author talks sense and have implemented some of his suggestions to good effect. Definitely worth a look inside!
Published 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING
This book made me thing about diet in a different way! explains how your body reacts to different foods, what is important to keep energized during the day and how to lose weight... Read more
Published 13 days ago by indre
5.0 out of 5 stars Weight loss
Best advice ever changed my eating habits for life never felt better after heart attack last year. Never too late even at 77years old!
Published 14 days ago by Patricia Halsall
5.0 out of 5 stars Try it.
Brilliant easy read, changed my eating habits and am now losing weight and feel better. Would recommend it to anyone struggling to stick to a diet, don't diet eat what we are... Read more
Published 22 days ago by lisa
5.0 out of 5 stars Life-changing!
For me this book has been life-changing! I've changed my daily diet, and am now following a 'primal/paleo' diet (sounds silly and cranky I know!). Read more
Published 1 month ago by V. K. Stimpson
4.0 out of 5 stars must buy!
Interesting read with plenty of information and shocking facts!
All I can say is I'm def following the advice giving and in only 2 weeks am noticing a difference!
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
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