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Valerie O (Canberra, Australia)

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Neris and India's Idiot-Proof Diet: From Pig to Twig
Neris and India's Idiot-Proof Diet: From Pig to Twig
by India Knight
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

18 of 50 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Serious problems with this book, 16 Jan. 2008
Don't get me wrong. The low-carbohydrate basis of this diet is correct. The emphasis on high protein is not. Low carbohydrate, MODERATE protein and HIGH fat is the healthy and effective way to go, both for weight loss and for healthy living for the rest of your life. To quote from Barry Groves' Second Opinions website:
"There is one simple reason: While the body can use protein as an energy source in an emergency, it is not at all healthy to use this method in the long term. All carbs are made up of just three elements: carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. All fats are also made of the same three elements. Proteins, however, also contain nitrogen and other elements. When proteins are used to provide energy, these must be got rid of in some way. This is not only wasteful, it can put a strain on the body, particularly on the liver and kidneys. Excess intake of nitrogen leads in a short space of time to hyperammonaemia, which is a build up of ammonia in the bloodstream. This is toxic to the brain. Many human cultures survive on a purely animal product diet, but only if it is high in fat. A lean meat diet, on the other hand cannot be tolerated; it leads to nausea in as little as three days, symptoms of starvation and ketosis in a week to ten days, severe debilitation in twelve days and possibly death in just a few weeks. A high-fat diet, however, is completely healthy for a lifetime."

And the fats should be mainly saturated fats, which have been falsely demonised by doctors and nutritionists. The authors do call butter and coconut oil "good fats", but don't seem to realise that they do not have to be limited in the way low fat diets limit them.

Some people find that a sudden change from their normal eating pattern to a low-carbohydrate plan, as advocated in this book, causes a serious shock to the body. This applies particularly to people who are older than the thirty-somethings the book seems to be aimed at and/or have been eating the wrong foods (mainly carbs) and gaining weight for decades. It is much safer, though slower, to make the change gradually, possibly by changing breakfasts only for a week or two, then lunches ... and so on. This gives the body time to adjust.

Though the authors several times make a point of advocating good quality foods, particularly organic foods, they unfortunately go on to recommend such non-foods and dangerous substances as soy flour, soy milk and tofu, whey protein powder, linseed (flax seed) and the artificial sweetener Splenda, all of which should be totally avoided, not just by dieters but by everybody. And their insistence on expensive supplements is unnecessary.

The importance of breakfast is correctly stressed, but the suggestion of porridge (carbohydrate) for breakfast on a low-carb diet is preposterous. Breakfast should consist of mainly protein and fat, which will restore the person's energy after not eating for twelve hours or so and keep her going until lunchtime. A decent breakfast of bacon and eggs or scrambled eggs with plenty of butter will obviate the need for a mid-morning snack.

The foods and recipes in the book do seem to be often expensive and exotic, and not the sort of thing ordinary people want or can afford to eat. Restaurant and party food choices figure excessively. The authors' ideas on clothes, hair and make-up are inappropriate and sometimes plain wrong, especially for an older woman or indeed any woman who does not feel a need to "look hot in a swimsuit".

The authors claim that if after one week on their diet you haven't lost any weight, you have not followed the diet properly or have "cheated". There are medical reasons why weight loss might not occur on this or any diet. They include hypothyroidism, coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity -- probably undiagnosed.

There are more problems with this book, and I am sorry now that I have ordered the authors' new cook book, which is bound to annoy me.

While there are some good points in it, the book as a whole is rather dangerous for the reasons I have mentioned.

I would recommend instead, or as well if you have already bought this book, 'Natural Health and Weight Loss' by Barry Groves, and 'Life Without Bread' by Christian B Allan and Wolfgang Lutz.
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 10, 2008 8:47 AM GMT

Eat Fat Get Thin: Eat As Much As You Like And Still Lose Weight!
Eat Fat Get Thin: Eat As Much As You Like And Still Lose Weight!
by Barry Groves
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Weight loss plus health benefits, 26 Jan. 2006
I took up Barry Groves' eating plan in June 2005 purely for weight loss, and by Christmas was successful in losing 6 kg (about 14 lb) which had accumulated over about twenty years (during which time I had been carefully following the "prudent diet" suggested by nutritionists: low fat and plenty of complex carbohydrates). Like Barry and his wife, I am now the same weight I was when I was married many years ago. I have found also that on this plan I am completely free of the debilitating and alarming hypoglycaemic episodes (not related to diabetes) which used to strike when I was least expecting them and leave me limp and exhausted for hours. I have carefully looked at several other low-carb plans. Some of them are complex and rigid, some are quite bizarre and some -- deferring to the edicts of the current diet dictocrats -- mistakenly try to combine low-carb with low-fat. Barry's plan is the simplest and best.

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