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Not intermittent fasting, just another diet book
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.