Top critical review
1,381 people found this helpful
A Guide, Not a Cure
on November 4, 2011
All diet books cater to these notions: you'll lose weight fast, it'll be easy, and only THIS diet book has the proper secrets to success. The 17 Day Diet fits those criteria.
The difference between a quality diet book and a scam is that some leave the reader properly informed about the foods that make us thrive and have a normal body weight (South Beach Diet, Zone Diet, 17 Day Diet), and some are based on fantasy premises, such as that your blood type makes a difference, your ethnic background makes a significant difference, or your astrological sign makes a difference. The 17 Day Diet is a quality diet book.
The keys to sustained weight loss (30 lbs. or more, maintained for longer than TWO YEARS, not six months, or one year) are established by good research. You don't need to buy a book to accomplish the requirements: proper diet, and physical activity. I'm a family physician that lost more than 30 lbs. 16 years ago, and have kept it off. I did it by following the research based information noted long ago in a Scientific American article. And I'll give you the info for free in two parts:
Food: Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat and fish. Stay away from the white stuff (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, sugar). Even more simply put by Michael Pollan in his books: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly vegetables.
Exercise: Here's the rough part: people that have lost 30 lbs. and kept it off for more than two years AVERAGE an hour of physical activity per day. Lots of ways to get this done, often creativity is required. I have patients that are long-haul truckers and traveling salesmen that, against formidable odds, are thin and healthy. They have found ways to get this one hour of activity in (often by splitting it into smaller intervals several times/day). I had to begin riding my bicycle to work every day (45 minutes each way). I do it year round (even have studded snow tires for my commuter bike). You can find a way. Don't use weather as an excuse to skip your activity. There is no such thing as bad weather, there are only improperly dressed people, say the Scandinavians. I'm Irish, but I believe them.
There you have it. Where does this leave 17 Day Diet? IGNORE the wonderful testimonies posted by Amazon readers regarding their weight loss. Come ON....you've heard all this stuff before, with each diet book that has come out, with each diet that you've tried. Write these folks claiming marvelous success back in two years, and you'll find that the only ones that have succceeded are the ones that have adopted what I suggest above.
Bottom line: The 17 Day Diet is one of the "good" diet books, because Dr. Mike provides excellent nutritional advice, and insists that you stay active. His particular hook, his innovation, is that you keep the body's metabolism "off balance" by shifting back and forth between metabolic food groups. None of which contain baloney, though the advice is. Try the book, stick to it, you WILL lose weight. Stick to it for two years, and you'll keep the weight off. Why? Not because of any diet secret here, not because of keeping the metabolism "off balance", but because if you follow Dr. Mike's advice, you'll be eating fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meat and fish, dramatically reducing the "white stuff" in your diet, and exercising regularly.
The 17 Day Diet is also distinguished by the upbeat and friendly tone of the author. Any doctor that goes out on a walk with his patients twice a week (as Dr. Mike does) is quite literally walking his talk. Kudos to the author!
One last note: the author does refer, somewhat obliquely, to a relatively new hot topic in weight loss medicine. The type of bacteria that colonize your gut MAY affect your ability to lose weight. The author recommends probiotics to shift your intestinal flora. Current research is more suggestive that when you eat a healthy diet, your gut flora evolves to deal with healthy foods, whereas junk foods encourage intestinal flora that promote obesity. In other words, if you want healthy gut bacteria, eat right, as opposed to taking probiotics. This research is intriguing, but preliminary, and not established.