Diet Cults: The Surprising Fallacy at the Core of Nutrition Fads and a Guide to Healthy Eating for the Rest of US

Diet Cults: The Surprising Fallacy at the Core of Nutrition Fads and a Guide to Healthy Eating for the Rest of US

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by Matt Fitzgerald
     
 

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From the national bestselling author of Racing Weight, Matt Fitzgerald exposes the irrationality, half-truths, and downright impossibility of a “single right way” to eat, and reveals how to develop rational, healthy eating habits.
From “The Four Hour Body,” to “Atkins,” there are diet cults to match seemingly any mood and

Overview

From the national bestselling author of Racing Weight, Matt Fitzgerald exposes the irrationality, half-truths, and downright impossibility of a “single right way” to eat, and reveals how to develop rational, healthy eating habits.
From “The Four Hour Body,” to “Atkins,” there are diet cults to match seemingly any mood and personality type. Everywhere we turn, someone is preaching the “One True Way” to eat for maximum health. Paleo Diet advocates tell us that all foods less than 12,000 years old are the enemy. Low-carb gurus demonize carbs, then there are the low-fat prophets. But they agree on one thing: there is only one true way to eat for maximum health. The first clue that that is a fallacy is the sheer variety of diets advocated. Indeed, while all of these competing views claim to be backed by “science,” a good look at actual nutritional science itself suggests that it is impossible to identify a single best way to eat. Fitzgerald advocates an agnostic, rational approach to eating habits, based on one’s own habits, lifestyle, and genetics/body type. Many professional athletes already practice this “Good Enough” diet, and now we can too and ditch the brainwashing of these diet cults for good.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/03/2014
Eschewing the term “fad diets” in favor of “diet cults,” sports nutritionist Fitzgerald (Racing Weight) attempts to ascribe cultish behavior to the quest for weight loss. Noting that there’s no single approach that works for everyone, but that each approach has effective elements (though some are only effective in the short term), Fitzgerald identifies what works and what doesn’t within each of the major weight-loss programs. Along the way, he studies the paleo diet, the wildly successful Weight Watchers program, gluten-free diets, and the Atkins diet, along with old approaches such as fasting. He concludes with what amounts to his own cult diet. Noting that motivation is a key component, he focuses on common sense: eat lots of fruit and vegetables, avoid processed foods, incorporate healthy oils, eat high-quality meat and seafood, and, of course, exercise. Those who’ve stuck with Fitzgerald may feel like the kid in A Christmas Story when the secret is revealed, but it’s a sensible approach, even if it’s reached in elliptical fashion. Agent: Linda Konner, Linda Konner Literary Agency. (May)
Men's Fitness
“Sports nutritionist Matt Fitzgerald lets us in on his no-diet secrets that can help endurance athletes get leaner, stronger, and faster.”
Triathlete Magazine
“Racing Weight answers the difficult questions athletes often have about dieting, including how to handle the off-season. The book gives readers a scientifically backed system to discover your optimum race weight, as well as five steps to achieve it.”
Joe Friel
“I highly recommend reading Racing Weight even if you don’t need to lose any excess poundage. You’ll come away with a better understanding of your physiology and also of food.”
Alex Hutchinson - Runner's World
“In this book, Fitzgerald takes aim at the long list of dietary approaches that claim to be the "One True Way" to eat healthily, arguing instead for what he calls "agnostic healthy eating." The key (which he has introduced in previous books) is a ranking of 10 categories of food, and the goal is simply that, wherever a food falls in that hierarchy, you should generally aim to have more of the foods that rank above it and less of the foods that rank below it. And you know what? I agree. You can quibble about some of the details, but this is not a bad description of the way I aim to eat. I'll eat anything, more or less, but always aiming to have more of the things at the top of the ladder than at the bottom. If you're a fellow dietary agnostic, the book is worth a read.”
Shalene Flanagan
“A delicious read. I am always amazed at how much I learn from Matt Fitzgerald's books. Diet Cults dives into the human nature, psychology, and pleasure aspect of food. I devoured it.”
Library Journal
05/15/2014
Athlete and nutritionist Fitzgerald (Racing Weight) describes a diet cult as "a way of eating that is morally based, identity forming…viewed by its followers as superior to all other ways of eating." Acknowledging that cult diets have existed since antiquity, he briefly examines Jewish eating laws and the food philosophies adhered to by followers of Confucius, then examines modern diets and concludes with his own "agnostic healthy eating game." Many eating programs both healthy and not are surveyed, including raw foods, paleo, Weight Watchers, superfoods, Atkins, gluten-free, and others. Fitzgerald notes that most popular diets advocate "one true way" of eating in order to attain maximum health while focusing on an "unnecessary avoidance of healthy foods." His own eating guidelines are basic: eat mostly from a list of essential and recommended foods—vegetables, fruits, nuts, healthy meats and fish, whole grains, and dairy—and eat less refined grains, processed meats, sweets, and fried and processed foods. VERDICT While the cult analogy is carried a bit far, referencing the Bible and referring to protein shakes as "a sacrament," the conversational writing is enjoyable and the content informative.—Pauline Baughman, Multnomah Cty. Lib., Portland, OR

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781605985602
Publisher:
Pegasus
Publication date:
05/15/2014
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Matt Fitzgerald is an acclaimed endurance sports and nutrition writer and certified sports nutritionist. His most recent book, Iron War, was long-listed for the 2012 William Hill Sports Book of the Year,
and he is the author of the best-selling Racing Weight. Fitzgerald is a columnist on Competitor.com and Active.com, and has contributed to Bicycling, Men’s Health, Triathlete, Men’s Journal, Outside, Runner’s
World, Shape, Women’s Health and has ghostwritten for sports celebrities including Dean Karnazes and
Kara Goucher.

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Diet Cults: The Surprising Fallacy at the Core of Nutrition Fads and a Guide to Healthy Eating for the Rest of Us 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He tells you to not eat paleo, and then explains how his plan is better...even though it sounds exactly like paleo. Also, too much storytelling and not enough research.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago