Encyclopedia of Diet Fads / Edition 1

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Americans have long obsessed about their diets. For 200 years, diet fads have come and gone, sometimes reappearing under different names, but always attracting legions of followers. Many who adhere—for a time, at least—to a diet fad's requirements have little knowledge of its safety or efficiency. By the time reliable information comes to light, a fad may already have disappeared. The Encyclopedia of Diet Fads describes many of the health fads and fashions of the past, as well as current trends in weight loss, examining the pros and cons of different plans. The authors help to identity effective means of losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Particular emphasis is placed on weight-loss programs aimed at young people, who are experiencing the highest rates of obesity in history.

This volume introduces a wide variety of weight-loss methods. Entries describe particular diets, support groups and services, or people who have changed the way Americans eat. An extensive appendix on weight-loss resources helps readers chose the most nutritionally sound program for their needs. Above all, this encyclopedia stresses nutritionally sound approaches, rather than a quick fix. As the authors emphasize, weight loss is merely one component of healthy living.

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Editorial Reviews

Ever wondered who invented the "Carbohydrate Addict's Diet" or what exactly "Christian diets" might be? Bijlefeld and Zoumbaris have answers to these questions and more about diet trends. Organized as an encyclopedia, with listings of popular fad diets, descriptions of each plan, and the health myths or facts that support them, this resource includes a historic overview of diet trends as well as appendixes of "smart snack solutions" and sample healthy menus. Among its entries detailing diet fads such as the "grapefruit diet" are informational pieces about the food pyramid and the risk of diabetes among the overweight. Although each entry seems complete and follows an alphabetic principle of organization, the guide is not necessarily intuitive. The encyclopedia includes an entry for "Tarnower, Herman," who readers discover by reading the information beneath his title is the creator of the Scarsdale Diet, itself a topic discussed earlier in the resource. A more appropriate method of organization might be by diet "type" (calorie restrictive, food group restrictive, etc.), with a section that discusses doctor-recommended health practices and menus. In addition, some information is repeated; the method to calculate Body Mass Index is duplicated in two entries, and the Food Guide Pyramid is found in two places (albeit modified for vegetarians in one instance). This encyclopedia might be useful in the health classroom or the nurse's office; however, as the fad diets within are described in fairly granular detail, the possibility exists that a troubled reader might use the encyclopedia as guidance, not as a warning. 2003, Greenwood, 242p.; Index. Illus. Biblio., PLB. Ages 11 to Adult.
—Amy S. Pattee
Library Journal
Even as the country fights an epidemic of obesity, Americans remain obsessed with being thin-a paradoxical situation that makes this resource timely indeed. In their introduction, freelance writer Bijlefeld ( The Gun Control Debate: A Documentary History) and librarian Zoumbaris (Food and You: A Guide to Healthy Habits for Teens) provide a history of dieting and diet fads while noting the controversies surrounding weight-loss methods. Ranging in length from one paragraph to two pages, their alphabetically arranged entries cover diets (vegetarian, macrobiotic), diet methods (Atkins, Weight Watchers, Ornish), exercise (aerobic activity, walking), drugs (ephedra, fen-phen), diet foods (Slim Fast), nutrition (vitamins, Trans Fatty Acids), diet gurus (Richard Simmons, Nathan Pritikin), and many related topics (Healthy People 2010, diabetes, registered dietitians). Entries for the various diet plans explain the plan's premise as well as its pros and cons. The appendixes provide a time line of diet fad history, an annotated list of useful web sites, myths and facts about weight loss, a list of sensible snack foods, recommended dietary intakes for young people, and sample menus at various calorie levels. Although this title is more current than Theodore Berland's 1986 Rating the Diets, it fails to include such hot trends as the South Beach Diet and Dr. Phil's Ultimate Weight Loss Program. Nevertheless, this useful and entertaining source is recommended for most public, consumer health, and academic library collections.-Barbara M. Bibel, Oakland P.L., CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313322235
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/30/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

MARJOLIJN BIJLEFELD is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of The Gun Control Debate: A Documentary History (Greenwood, 1997), Teen Guide to Personal Financial Management (Greenwood, 2000), and Food and You: A Guide to Healthy Habits for Teens (Greenwood, 2001).

Sharon K. Zoumbaris is a professional librarian, freelance writer, and storyteller. She is author of Teen Guide to Personal Financial Management (Greenwood, 2000) and Food and You: A Guide to Healthy Habits for Teens (Greenwood, 2001).

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