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120 of 131 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2013
Compare this book to the one that started the 5:2 fast diet craze, "The Fast Diet," by Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer. http://www.amazon.com/The-FastDiet-Healthy-Intermittent-Fasting/dp/1476734941 .

That book is based on the theory of intermittent fasting, with clinical benefits going beyond weight loss. Mosley goes into the science behind the theory, including reference to Harvie's study. Mosley asserts that compliance ought to be easier because one can eat liberally on the five other days.

I wrongly imagined that Harvie and Howell might improve on the 5:2 fast diet by not only including recipes but by modifying the liberal five-day diet into a real Mediterranean one. But disappointingly, Harvie's book here is just another weight loss diet without real fasting, a little more protein on two days with low carbs, and 1100 calories instead of the 600 or 500 calories allowed on the fast days of Mosley's plan, but a normal calorie-restricted diet on the other 5 days. It adds some exercise advice. I failed to see anything special about the recipes.

Although the book cover quotes Good Housekeeping (UK) as "revolutionary and clinically proven," this is questionable. This book refers to just one short small new original study of women with breast cancer who dieted, and it depends a lot on anecdotes instead of peer-reviewed science. I think the idea was that those with breast cancer might diet, lose weight, and have better outcomes from the cancer, but the study didn't show that.

This book was written before the NEJM publication of the PREDIMED Mediterranean diet. What Harvie terms "Mediterranean" diet in this book might have some fish, but is completely different from the proven PREDIMED Mediterranean diet as it ignores extra virgin olive oil and the amount of nuts in that scientific study and is otherwise little different from the standard low-fat American diet plans referred to in the end papers.

The virtue of the diet presented in this book is possible improved compliance, that it might be easier to follow than calorie restriction for seven days, or real fasting for some days such as a 5:2 fast diet. The downside is that results might be slower and more difficult to demonstrate than alternative diets, or might not have any health result from diet itself because the scientific basis is tenuous. There might be some temporary weight loss but little longterm change in metabolism, health or longer life.

My own conclusion is to ignore this book and plan a weekly menu not for weight loss or appearance so much as for health and longevity. The PREDIMED diet ( [...] ) was not planned for weight loss but rather to prevent cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, and premature deaths. Intermittent fasting likewise is intended to employ calorie restriction to change metabolism and increase health and long life, and not so much dieting for weight loss and appearance.

I hope the book cover is wrong in its unsubstantiated bold assertion this book is an "INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER." Obesity is a big problem in the US as well as UK but more sales of this book are not going to help solve our health problems, in my opinion. The authors should be ashamed of such an effort and should plow their profits back into a longterm, large, real scientific study similar to the PREDIMED one but including real intermittent fasting such as alluded to but never employed.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2013
Everyone knows what dieting is about but this publication seems to tackle the biggest failure point - how do you stick to deprivation eating long term. Book is pretty straaight forward - the usual research findings, medical claims, success stories although the research quoted seems conservative so likely to be more accurate. Diet itself consists of very restricted carb eating for 2 days and a norma diet the other 5. Straightforward reading, simple diet to follow.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2013
I have never read a book such as this in e form previously. I felt it is not suitable for this format. Many of the tables could not be read or interpreted. Ended up buying hard copy, as was a good book.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2013
I wasn't wild about the recipes. I have adopted the concept. We eat low carb 2 days a week we eat meatless one day a week and we stay between 1300 and 1700 calaries per day on the remainder of days. It is easy to stay on the program. My wife ani I are both loosing weight.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2013
A very good book and diet . it is working and especially great as it is only two days a week.
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22 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2013
the book is not suitable for e-book, pages with weekly meals are very difficult to read and cannot be enlarged.
Recipes are spread over pages, should be on single page.
have to buy the hard copy when available in shops.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2013
I am loving this diet so far. I quit smoking 6 months ago and really packed on the pounds quite rapidly and finally found something that works for me. I never feel hungry which is a great miracle and I have a lot more energy for exercising. I am losing weight-average 3-4 lbs a week (but I am quite heavy). The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is the charts which you have to keep flipping back and forth to understand. Much easier to figure it out if on consecutive pages or maybe a pullout chart.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2013
This is only my third day on this diet, but I've already lost 8.5# in the first two days. I am now on the 5-day portion, and happy with the food, progress and everything else. I'm hoping I can stick to it. I gave this diet 5 stars because of my progress. I give it 2 stars for recipes, which sometimes are bland & unappealing. I made the chicken soup with leeks & it was pretty tasteless despite some good, fresh herbs. I couldn't eat it all because it just got sickening. I will update this as I progress. Tonight is Mediterranean chicken...this recipe looks a bit better! One recipe that I loved was the cod with pickled radish & cukes. YUM! I've been making that radish/cuke a salad to eat whenever I get hunger pangs because there's only about 10 calories in a huge bowl, LOL!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2014
This book presents clear instructions on what can be eaten on the 2 fast days and on the non- restricted days, even though they (the" unrestricted" days) are limited to some extent. The diet works and is easy to follow. I did not fast on 2 consecutive days but in general either Monday and Thursday or Tuesday and Friday. Also I in general had 3 mini-meals on the fast days. . I lost 4 kilos in 3.5 months and it was easier than any diet I have done so far. I would recommend this book together with Kate Harrison's book but this one is the one to buy.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2013
Until I read the book, I didn't realize that the authors specialized in weight loss to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women. The information is good, and the instructions are thorough, but I felt as if it were written for women with a "you can too" for men. In addition, I try to avoid diets that involve eating things that aren't normally in my pantry. I'm sure that "eggplant curry with chickpeas, rice and a mango raita" is very tasty but I'm not interested in gathering the ingredients to find out.
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