This book shares much information with "Wheat Belly" by Wm. Davis and "What Makes us Fat" and "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taub, but Dr. Perlmutter focuses more on the effects of a high carb, low fat diet on the brain. Conditions like diabetes are discussed thoroughly but in the context of explaining how these diseases impact the brain.
This book was timely for me. I adopted a wheat free/ low carb eating plan in April of 2012 after reading "Wheat Belly" and my "set point" weight dropped by 16 lbs in just a few weeks. This was despite the fact that I already had what most would consider a healthy diet. But, because I cook for family members who have not adopted these eating habits, I became lazy about preparing separate foods and saw my weight creep up a few pounds and some of the other health improvements falter in the last few weeks. This book was an excellent refresher course for grain free and low carb eating as well as a jarring wakeup call about the ways eating habits change our brains. Alzheimer's has a frighteningly high frequency among women in my family, so I am encouraged to learn that I have at least some control about the future health of my brain. Dr. Perlmutter's advice differs in a few ways from Dr. Davis. Dr. Perlmutter recommends fasting and recognizes a correlation between low calorie consumption with greater brain health. This book also says it's okay to cheat now and then. Most of the other books caution readers against cheating, likening carb consumption to dependence on addictive drugs. This is the case I have found to be true. Cold turkey for "carbaholics" is easer than relying on will power and moderation.
I like that this audio book is accompanied by a PDF featuring some the statistics, recipes, etc.
If you have read other books on this topic, I recommend reading this book as well because it focuses heavily on the neurological impact of gluten and carbs. On the other hand, if you have not read "Wheat Belly" and "What Makes us Fat", I recommend these in addition to "Grain Brain" as these books go into more detail about the evolution of the grains we eat today and the illogical processes that resulted in much of the dangerous "conventional wisdom" that many health professionals view as holy writ today.
Narrator does a nice job.
Ardent Audible listener with a long commute!
Until I listened to The Great Course's "The Myths of Nutrition and Fitness" (2011), I hadn't had a class on nutrition since a one week course, part of a required high school health class, more than 30 years ago. Since then, I've been getting my eating and exercise info from the popular press, like Cosmopolitan and The Huffington Post.
Anthony A. Goodman, MD's series of lectures convinced me those articles on diet and exercise - well, disgusting juice fasts and enemas (gross!) aren't going to work; cutting all carbohydrates out of a diet is really going to do a number on your health; and the best way to exercise and stay fit is to find things that make you happy to do, and keep doing it on a regular basis.
I found the discussion of simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates really helpful: I'd spent years thinking my preference for a slice of good whole grain bread sans butter as a snack was somehow the dietary equivalent of having a candy bar. That's probably what some article in People Magazine said 20 years ago, and I never realized science had long since discarded that silliness.
The section about kids, exercise, and diet (meaning what they eat, not a weight loss program) was really helpful: I've got a three sport teenager that sometimes works out or plays 6 hours a day. I've been worried about how to make sure she's eating enough, and what kind of rest she needs to make sure she doesn't get hurt and she gets what she needs from a workout. Goodman makes it clear that when training, muscles need rest to build. He also talks about distinguishing good pain from bad pain, and when it's a horrible idea to 'work through the pain' that signals a nasty injury.
Goodman is relying on published, peer reviewed studies on nutrition, exercise, illness, and injury in his lectures, and he often cites the specific author and paper. Where information and conclusions in studies needs more research, he says so. There are a few anecdotes drawn from actual case studies that support data, but by no means is this a "I knew this one guy who lost weight by/Follow this one weird tip Oprah recommends" listen.
There's a quick Easter egg in the last section on extremely athletes: he met Mountaineer Tenzing Norgay (1914-1986), who was one of the two people on the first successful summit of Everest. They discussed endurance and mountain climbing. Goodman was convinced a successful climb to the top of Everest required supplemental oxygen. Norgay thought it could be done without, as long as the climber was very quick. Norgay was right.
Goodman's narration was lively, although he had a little bit of a nasally thing going on.
[For anyone interested in reading published, peer reviewed studies on nutrition and exercise, the National Institutes of Health's PubMed database aggregates and indexes papers. There are, for example, 72,616 papers mentioning body mass index (BMI) in the abstract; 20,627 are free.]
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