I've read every Michael Pollan book (in defense of food, omnivours dilemma, cooked), Gary taubes book (why we get fat, good calories bad calories), Skinny Bitch, Jungle Effect, Rethinking Thin, Eat More Weigh Less, Atkins, South Beach. I had been obese for 15 years. I've been thin for almost two years now with a BMI of 23 and body fat of 8 percent. My BMI is the same as Lance Armstrongs in his prime. That being said, this book is as close to the most perfect diet book I've ever read. It gives solid advice and explains a lot. It explains why low carb works then stops working. It explains why we eat too much. But also, it entertains. The science is sound. The studies are interesting. The reading is good. Skip all the other books. Drink a few protein shakes and read this book.
I've read wheat belly, why we get fat (Gary taubes), and fat chance (Robert lustig) and this book is the weakest of the group of similar low carb books. This book states over and over that there is an association between Alzheimer's and wheat, but association does not equal cause and effect. Cause requires a randomized controlled trial, while associations could have nothing to do with cause and effect. For example, a propensity to develop Alzheimer's may lead to a hunger for carbs. Or hunger for carbs may lead to both eating more carbs and separately lead to Alzheimer's. In other words in order to prove cause and effect you would need to randomize people to either a high carb diet or low carb diet and see the incidences of Alzheimer's. If such a study exist is he doesn't mention it.
He mentions that you should give up dairy but gives no evidence to why this is in any way related to grain/gluten or even scientifically why dairy is bad. Ive reviewed the literature on dairy and I believe milk products to be ideal foods (cheese, milk, whey protein). The book, "the great cholesterol myth" does a more convincing job illustrating why cholesterol is not bad for you.
Grain brain gets off point by too often making non evidence based recommendations. Stating that studies show this or that without giving enough info to find and scrutinize these studies is not convincing. He makes a case for exercise helping the brain, but I didn't hear any journal names, authors, years of publication, or even the methodology of the studies. I will return this book and get my money back.
Not only should you not buy this book, but beware of his claims on supplements. Sure, grains may be not great for you, but to eliminate all carbs is not possible nor necessary to lose weight (he does day that 60 carbs per day are allowed). Read the boom, "mindless eating" by Brian Wansink if you want a more evidence based diet book with more reasonable recommendations.
I've read many similar books including mindless eating, good calories bad calories, in defense of food, jungle effect, fat chance, and rethinking thin. I put this book at the bottom for usefulness and also at the bottom for insight. I think most obese and formerly obese people already suspected that fat, sugar, and salt taste good. This book spends a lot of time demonizing the food industry for creating delicious food. Similar yet much better book is Mindless Eating. That book looks into how habits, not just the taste of food, lead to overeating. It gives suggestions such as the size of your plate mattering, keeping the candies 6 feet away from your desk vs next to it, waiting 20 minutes between refills, and using taller glasses rather than wide short ones. The studies for these recommendations are entertaining, clever, and scientifically sound. I've lost 20 percent of my body weight following many of the principles of Mindless Eating and now have the same BMI as Bob Harper (biggest loser trainer), and kept it for almost two years now. I was formerly obese for 15 years. I still eat fat and salt, but not much sugar. I have my life again, and have become the health guru at work. Good luck to all dieters.
I am a physician who reads and critiques the scientific literature and I have a personal interest in diet. I've lost 40 pounds over a 3 month period (weight down from 198 to 158 lbs, I am 5'9) partially following low-carbohydrate principles along with high protein and fiber. If what William Davis was saying was true, then all of society would be suffering from the problems associated with wheat. The reality is that most people do fine with some wheat in their diet.
The scientific literature supports low-carb dieting, and thus by eliminating wheat you are achieving a low-carb diet. If wheat were the specific cause of obesity, rather than all carbs as a group leading to obesity, then substituting non-gluten containing starches for wheat should have wheat loss benefits. Not even Davis claims this to be the case. He states that you cannot eliminate wheat and substitute other carbs because all carbs raise blood sugar. If all carbs raise blood sugar, than why is he choosing to write a book only about wheat?
The study that would need to be done (randomized controlled trial) would need to be comparing a wheat-free diet (allowing all non-gluten containing starches) to a diet allowing wheat with both diets having equal calories and carbs. By having the only differing variable between two comparison groups being the presence or absence of wheat in a diet, a study could establish cause and effect.
He makes a good argument for why low-carb dieting is a good idea, but scientifically Gary Taubes makes MUCH better arguements in "why we get fat" and "good calories/bad caloreis." Taubes cites very strong sources such as JAMA, while Davis even uses a blogger as his citation. The specific blog he cites is written by someone with a degree in English rather than any dietary, nutritional, science, or medical training.The performance was funny and entertaining though.
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