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Kellman (Gut Reactions), an internist who practices integrative medicine, states that the major cause of obesity is the loss of microbial diversity in the gut. Antibiotics and the consumption of processed foods, he says, kill much of the good bacteria that the body needs to properly digest food. This leads to weight gain because the metabolism is slowed down. Dieting is not successful under these circumstances. The author offers a program to restore gut health and maintain a healthy weight without counting calories, carbs, or fats and proposes a very strict regime that becomes more liberal with time. At the beginning, one must eliminate eggs, sugar, gluten, soy, and dairy in order for the body to restore healthy bacteria. It's also necessary to consume "microbiome superfoods" such as asparagus, garlic, leeks, and tomatoes and the spices turmeric and cinnamon along with prebiotics, probiotics, and supplements to begin the process. Over seven weeks, the diet becomes less strict and one may indulge in the occasional treat. Kellman claims that this regime will lead to maintaining a healthy weight by rebalancing microbes and hormones and ending cravings, stress, and fatigue. He provides meal plans, recipes, and lists of supplements, and cites articles and studies from both the scientific and the popular press. The author's plan may be helpful for some but the research, while promising, is not yet conclusive. VERDICT Purchase only where there is interest in alternative therapies.—Barbara Bibel, Oakland P.L.