Most helpful critical review
58 of 77 people found the following review helpful
Almost There But Not Quite
on December 1, 2010
Thumbs up for George for trying to encourage better eating through low carb. Replacing refined wheat, sugar and processed food isn't easy but it can be done.
I would say 50% of the recipes are good low carb meals.
However, there were recipes that really disturbed me.
Example: George recommends that artificial sweeteners such as Splenda can be used as a replacement to sugar. We already know that sugar and high fructose corn syrup are not good for us but artificial sweeteners have problems too (Splenda, Equal). The only sweeteners that have the least controversy are xylitol and maltose (although maltose tastes funny) which are safer to use. Stevia is good too but for some reason glycemic.com is asking the FDA to remove it from GRAS status and they're doing the same to agave. So with stevia and agave, better to wait and see what the verdict is first.
Another disturbing replacement is soy flour with wheat or oat bran to replace refined wheat flour. Now depending on how the soy flour is processed, there may be residues of processing chemicals left on the product. Plus, most of US soy crops are genetically modified. Soy can have estrogenic effects on the body if you can't eliminate natural estrogen mimics from the system (which can be dangerous in a developing fetus). The only time when soy is safe is (in some people) it can block estrogen receptors to lessen the impact of estrogen dominance from other sources, which might explain why people having tofu can derive some benefits from it. However, the best way to have soy is through fermentation - a process which many Asian cultures use - instead of the Western method of chemical extraction.
With the wheat and oat bran replacements, use them sparingly - especially wheat. The bran is able to retain anti-nutrients and for people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease it can make your symptoms worse. Use oat bran instead. Depending on the person, some people can actually tolerate whole wheat products pretty well (whole wheat not refined wheat) so they will have no problems eating whole wheat bread etc.
George has no problem with using vegetable oils in his recipes. But vegetable oils are unstable and high in omega6 - which causes inflammation if you're deficient in omega3 (which most Westerners are). Vegetable oils are commonly made with a combination of oil from canola, soy, corn and peanuts - how is that low carb or healthy? Vegetable oils also go rancid quickly and gets damaged easily by heat (which will occur when you cook).
Besides the above problems, this cookbook is written well, is organised and the recipes are easy to make (unless you're like my friend who doesn't know how to boil an egg then you may find it a challenge). You just have to replace the above ingredients with better ones to make the meals you eat truly stella low carb dishes.
The saddest part is, George admitted to not reading Atkin's books - he said he only flipped through some pages to get the gist of the idea. This from someone who recommends low carb but couldn't finish a book that his own works are based on! Scary..