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John Speakman (Scotland)

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The Instinct Diet: Use Your Five Food Instincts to Lose Weight and Keep It Off
The Instinct Diet: Use Your Five Food Instincts to Lose Weight and Keep It Off
by Susan B Roberts
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars at last some sense from a world leading nutritionist, 7 Jun. 2009
Perusing the shelves of diet books these days you will have noticed all sorts of diets with fancy sounding names - the hollywood diet, the south beach diet, the cave-man diet, F-plan, P-plan etc etc, all of which claim to have the secret that will make you thin. These books tend to be single message solutions - eat more protein, eat less carbs, eat bananas and papaya, drink green tea, don't eat dairy. the list is endless. Generally these books are written by people with minimal qualifications in the field of human nutrition (often celebrities cashing in on their fame) and by and large the diets they advocate work in the short term (all diets do), but fail in the long term.

Seeing the title 'the instinct diet' you might think this book is one of the same stable of fad dieting books. But you would be wrong. This book is written by one of the worlds leading human nutritionists. She has drawn on her vast experience and the conclusion she reaches is that solving the obesity problem requires a multi-level approach. There is no magic bullet that will solve the problem. You need a whole range of strategies that will allow you to regulate your intake and control your weight. This may seem an obvious message. But generally it takes somebody to point out the obvious for us to actually see it. That is what this book does. She uses her tremendous knowledge of human nutrition to come up with useful approaches to tackle the problem. So this is not just another fad diet book. It is written by somebody who actually knows what they are talking about, and as a result it may be different in another way as well. It may actually work.

Elephants on Acid: And Other Bizarre Experiments
Elephants on Acid: And Other Bizarre Experiments
by Alex Boese
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great read, 1 Jan. 2009
This book is a really great read. I got it at christmas and read it over a couple of days when travelling - for which it was a perfect companion. It provides summaries of a whole range of experiments conducted between about 1800 and the late end of the 1990s. Each experiment is covered in about 2-3 pages and they are grouped together in ten separate themes. These cover all sorts of topics from how long a head can be kept alive after decapitation, to whether the females in a bar become more attractive as closing time approaches, and how many men interrupted in the street accept an offer of sex from an attractive woman compared to how many women accept the same offer from an attractive man (guess what the answer to that is?). Some of the experiments are disturbing, but many of them are amusing. The balance is just about right to keep you reading through the disturbing stuff with the promise of amusement to come. The tone of the author in describing the material is just right. Most of the experiments described are psychological rather than biological investigations.

Lots of these bizarre experiments particularly from the 1930s until the 1970s are performed on very small samples (occasionally the researchers own children!) and in some cases include procedures that are ethically outrageous. You will more than occasionally be dismayed that doing this stuff was actually legal. As such I think this book would be a fantastic undergraduate additional reading text for science ethics courses as it really emphasises why we currently have and need ethical review boards to oversee science proposals before experiments can be performed. Don't let that put you off though. This is as far from a boring undergraduate textbook as you are likely to get.

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