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Big Fat Lies: The Truth About Your Weight and Your Health Paperback – July 18, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gurze Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition (July 18, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0936077425
  • ISBN-13: 978-0936077420
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #428,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If you've ever looked at height-weight tables in your doctor's office or calculated your body-mass index from a formula in a fitness magazine, and realized that you're technically overweight, this book is for you. Not only does it expose the highly flawed methodology used to calculate those ideals, it also argues that you can be fit at any weight. In fact, the author asserts, being heavier is actually better for you in some ways: statistically, you have a better chance of living a longer life if you're both active and on the heavy side. But there's the rub: being heavy in itself is no virtue. Exercise and healthful eating are still the keys to vitality and longevity. It's just that weight control has been unrealistically foisted upon us by the insurance and fashion industries, making us miserably concerned with girth when there's often no need for worry. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

It seems that anything society decides is conventional wisdom sooner or later gets debunked. Happily, such is the case with many of our ideas about body fat; hence, this book exposing the ostensible facts about fat. Gaesser presents a wide range of evidence to make his overall point that much of what Americans think is true about fat and its threat to health is not. Bowing to conventional wisdom, not only do people undertake diets and other therapies to achieve unachievable results, some make themselves less healthy by losing too much weight or become obsessed with what is actually "good fat" --the provocative term Gaesser uses for the subcutaneous fat usually found on the hips and thighs, which is "biochemically better suited to taking fat out of the bloodstream" --where fat is most dangerous--than is the other, "bad" fat. Unfortunately, excess good fat is also harder to get rid of, and, alas, the cosmetic offenses of good fat are harder to overcome. For those wishing an informed, even enlightened approach to controlling body fat, this is essential reading. Mike Tribby --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Also helps motivate you if you are in despair about losing weight.
KristinK10
The first two sections of this book show a study in selective reasoning by the medical establishment.
Robert Beveridge
I would also recommend it for graduate students who are studying meta analysis.
Laura Marie Coons

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
Read this book before you try one more plan to get thin. It helps you see that, for most people, losing weight is an aesthetic decision, not a health one. You can look at yourself more kindly, realizing that you are not ruining your health, unless you actually do have a weight related condition. You can look at other big folks more kindly- be honest; you know you judge others!- realizing you have no more idea of whether they are unhealthy than their thin counterparts-as if it was any of your business! But, really, the facts helped to loosen the hold this topic had for me. There are other books that go farther with appearance acceptance, but this one is a great start to feel confident it's really okay to go there!
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
Glenn Gaesser, Big Fat Lies (Gurze, 2002)

Do yourself a favor-- find this book and read it as soon as possible.

The first two sections of this book show a study in selective reasoning by the medical establishment. Gaesser provides a mountain of evidence that all we've been told by the insurance industry, the medical industry, and the fitness over the last half-century or so regarding weight loss is a lie. We hear some of it now and again on the news, especially how low weight is linked to osteoporosis, but you've never seen this much of it together all in one place. Gaesser's position is that exercise, not weight, is primarily responsible for a person's health, and that "exercise" as we know it today (high-impact aerobic exercise) is not the be-all and end-all foisted upon us. All of which points out why overweight and obese people should be reading it (and popularizing it), and they are its target audience to be sure, but Gaesser makes a lot of noise about the normal- or underweight unfit, too.

The first two parts of the book are the theory, the third part is the practice. Gaesser provides a simple, easy-to-follow exercise regimen suggestion, infinitely customizable for the average person, and dietary suggestions without ever proposing a diet per se; his goal is to steer us towards eating healthier rather than rationing out what we can and can't eat. Again, the thin will benefit from following his guidelines just as much as the overweight. It's all common sense, of course, but he does point out a number of things that may surprise the average grocery shopper (for example, the actual amount of fat to be found in whole milk, which is staggering).
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 27, 1998
Format: Paperback
Big Fat Lies is a must read for every medical professional who is ever responsible for the care of an "overweight" patient. If you are fat, even a little, you should arm yourself with the information in this extremely well researched book before going to the doctor's office.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Catherine Wardner on October 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
I learned the truth about both Weight Tables and Diets, as well as the importance of Nutrition and Exercise. In this book, Dr Glaesser explains the historical context of the American Weight Tables and their formation by Met Life Insurance Company. His extensive research has shown that people with higher weights can be fit and sometimes even fitter than the ones that actually fit into the prescribed weight tables. For me this is a startling finding. I am relieved to learn that Glaesser recommends allowing our bodies to equilibrate around our natural set point rather than yo-yo dieting to try to attain a weight that we have been taught is optimal. In depth discussions of good vs bad types of body fat are also informative and further make Big Fat Lies a good and instructive read.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Thinner is not necessarily heathier. Explaining medical information in a highly readable style, this book turns conventional wisdom on weight gain on its ear. If more people had access to the information in this book, the multimillion-dollar diet industry would be in trouble.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 20, 1997
Format: Hardcover
For all fitness professionals. This well written book will challeng you to rethink your notions about obesity and weight loss.
The concepts will assist you in coaching and supporting your clients to achieve realistic fitness goals and healthy eating behaviors for a lifetime! A MUST read for anyone who has battled to achieve an elusive body weight, that someone somewhere, told them was ideal. For anyone who has suffered through any diet - a must read
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By M. E. Wood on November 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
What if being overweight could be healthy? Apparently, it's not the pipe dream the majority of the world and researchers would like us to think. In Big Fat Lies, Glenn Gaesser unlocks the myths about obesity specifically the biggest of them all "obesity kills". Glenn is a graduate of the University of California and taught at UCLA and the University of Virginia so he isn't just blowing smoke up our fat butts.

He feels the obsession of a person's weight needs to be dropped mostly because weight loss is no guarantee for improved health. With his book he hopes to reshape your thinking on the various aspects of body weight and health, I think he will. Obviously, some facts are unquestionable if you eat only bad food and don't exercise you're in trouble. But overweight people can be strong and healthy; sometimes stronger and healthier than their slim counterparts.

With simple truths and simple facts Glenn explains how our expectations of body weight have been directed by insurance companies, the diet industry (30 billion plus industry), the fashion industry and of course media appeal. He thinks we should be focusing on metabolic fitness instead of weight. He discusses in great detail his views on metabolic fitness.

Glenn succeeds in taking the focus off weight. Instead he sheds light on the importance of physical activity over "exercise". The purpose of the physical activity is not to lose weight but to be healthy by moving. Lo-Carb-ers will not be impressed with the Nutrition for Metabolic Fitness section but I like how he encourages adding instead of taking away. According to him "No foods are strictly off limits."

A lot of what's discussed are the studies ignored over the last 20+ years showing body fat is not the problem.
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