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on May 14, 2000
This is a very good book indeed: informative, clearly written, realistic, and practical in its approach. Drawing upon scientific evidence, the authors expose the flaws in fad diets and provide a sound, healthful, and easy-to-follow alternative: the Mediterranean diet, with its modest amount of meat, lots of fruits and vegetables, use of olive oil as the primary fat, and daily glass or two of an alcoholic beverage (preferably red wine). They stress the importance of eating and drinking in moderation as well as physical activity, recommending walking as probably the single best form of exercise. For really exciting recipes, however, I turn to my extensive library of cookbooks. One book that I have enjoyed reading and cooking from immensely is "Recipes and Remembrances from an Eastern Mediterranean Kitchen" by Sonia Uvezian. In addition to recipes for uncomplicated dishes that are not only healthful but also taste wonderful, this fascinating volume contains an important message: slow down and smell the roses. Of the two dozen-plus Mediterranean cookbooks I own, Uvezian's is by far my favorite. I was amazed at how compatible "Low-Fat Lies" and "Recipes and Remembrances" are in their philosophy; one book actually reinforces the other. In reminiscing about her eastern Mediterranean childhood, Uvezian describes precisely the life style Dr. Vigilante encourages. The region's love affair with food in general and vegetables in particular and the gardening, walking, biking, dancing, and socializing are all part of her memories. Vigilante's Italian "passeggiata" (daily promenade) is Uvezian's "shamm al-hawa" (smell the air) and serves the same purpose--in the doctor's words "a source of exercise, fellowship, relaxation, communication, psychotherapy, street theater, and pure amusement." "Low-Fat Lies" and "Recipes and Remembrances" have deepened my understanding and appreciation of the Mediterranean diet as no other books have, and I recommend them both very highly.
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on May 21, 1999
Kudos to Dr. Vigilante and Dr. Flynn for writing the best book on health and nutrition that I've ever read! If you are looking for guidance to not only lose weight, but also lead a healthy lifestlye, this book is a must read! In it, they expose the hidden dangers of low fat diets that we've been subjecting ourselves to for years, explaining the science behind the nutrition in a very understandable way. I read the book in only a few days, it was that enjoyable and interesting to read! Even better, they don't just promote the Mediterranian diet, they tell you how you can easily apply it to your life; and the recipes really are delicious and easy to make. Living and eating well don't have to be difficult anymore!
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on July 4, 1999
If you don't know much about the Mediterranean Diet and are confused about whether you want to try the two most popular fad diets (low-fat or Zone), then you owe it to yourself to read the book. It crearly debunks why low-fat diets are almost impossible to stay on, and shows the shoddy research methods behind the claims of the high-protein/low carbo fanatics -- not to mention the dangers of these diets.
My biggest criticism of the book is that the authors spend an inordinate amount of time debunking the bad fad diets -- nearly the entire first half of the book. Maybe this amount of space devoted to trashing these fads is worth reading if you had not heard, or were not previously convinced, about how bad the fad diets are. For me (since I previously had read plenty of articles on the topic), it was preaching to the converted. So, I did not get as much out of the first half of the book as maybe others would.
The second half, which does cover the principles of the Mediterranean Diet, is alone worth the cover price. The books summarizes the very solid research to date on the natural and very healthy diets of the Mediterranean peoples. Unlike other books on the topic, the authors tell you how to limit the calories with handy tables. There's also a good list of items to stock in your 'fridge at all times. The one complaint about the second half is wanting more: more detailed data about the benefits of the diet, more discussion of weight loss on the diet and more thought about simple rules of eating Mediterranean without gaining weight. But hey, maybe the writing team is already thinking along these lines for a sequel. I'll certainly buy it.
(P.S., if you like this book, think also about getting "The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook," by Nancy Harmon Jenkins -- it also covers the principles of the diet and features scores of great recipes).
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on February 24, 2000
I had previously borrowed and read an older (now out of print) book on the Mediterranean diet, so like some other reviewers, this aspect of it was no surprise to me. However, I enjoyed reading the information about fad diets, seeing as how I had thought about trying the no-carbohydrate plans...and only didn't do it beacause, as a friend of mine said, "you know, I miss getting to eat bread" (and in my case, pasta and certain vegetables).
I have since loaned this book to that friend of mine - when she quit her no-carb diet (scheduling overload and family crisis), she regained the 12 lbs. she had lost in 2 weeks on it, and then a few more...so I know she was looking for something easy to do. I don't know that she has used the book, but I know that for me it really indicated primarily these changes in my diet: 1. Simply reduce (don't eliminate) the amount of meat you eat; 2. Increase your servings of fruit and vegetables; 3. Watch the types of oil you use; 4. Watch your portion size; 5. (Most importantly) simply eat in moderation, and don't skimp on anything.
The fact that it means I can still eat, without denying myself food, makes this a plan I can use for life - unlike "diet"s, which, to quote my Garfield poster, are "Die with a T".
However, I have to admit Ihave only tried a few of the recipes - I found other cookbooks that provide a better variety of good recipes, so Icannot say much about the recipes.
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Dr. Vigilante makes some very good points in the book "Low-fat Lies High Fat Frauds". He states that society has been duped into believing the lower the fat in your diet the better. He also states that many of us have replaced these fats with sugars and false fats. He makes the case for olive oil as a healthy fat to add to ones diet. At the back of the book he includes some recipes. The book has its drawbacks though. The main one is he allots about 3/4 of the book to telling the reader why other diets dont work. KEVIN! We already know that or we wouldn't be reading your book! He then goes on to support a diet that is rich in olive oil, alot of olive oil! For a roasted vegie dish he includes 1/3 of a cup. There is 1/4 cup in his strawberry spinach salad. Now I have to agree with Dr. Vigilante that too low fat and no fat are NOT the way to go. I believe a lot of folks (including myself) may have thought at one time that the lower fat the better and many of us (me too) may have substituted what we thought were healthy lofat/nofat foods for fuller fat ones. Unfortunately, some of us discovered (me again) that we did not lose any weight because we were still eating to many calories, maybe more. Because instead of having the satiation fat provides we were eating a ton of sugar. However, I think we dont need to go overboard on the fat (even the healthy fat) either. Moderation seems more in order whether it be with sugar or fat such as olive oil. Though olive oil is a healty fat it still packs a wholloping 14grams of fat per tablespoon and should also be used in moderation. My thoughts are to eat a rich varied diet with lots of fibrous carbs, water, lean proteins, easy on the starches, some good fat and some junk tossed in now and then. Despite the heavy olive oil if lightened up a bit the recipes are yummy. And in his book Vigilante also makes the case for a glass of red wine or grape juice and lists the health benefits in detail something which is rarely done.
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on July 31, 1999
This is a very good book. If you have wondered where the truth lies try this- it is based on population studies and real evidence. The Zone, Atkins, Sugar Busters and the low fat recommended diet, all advocating different ways- how can we know which is the right way to eat? Well, despite what their authors claim where is the evidence for any of the above? If you are confused or have tried these various options and failed, do read this. It is sound, realistic and tested by time. It is a great way to eat and not expensive. No special bars or mixes, no counting carbs, proteins or computing combinations. It recommends more than just a diet it is a way of eating that is tasty,cheap,easy and proven- the Mediterranean Diet. Calories do count but portion control is the way to do it-not constantly worrying about numbers. If the authors read these reviews I would make one request and that is that they make the recipes available on line (ok,for a price), in Mealmaster format
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on December 28, 2000
Before you follow any diet read this book! It debunks fad diets (Atikins, Ornish, Low-Carb, Sugar Busters, etc.) by explaining the flawed science behind them in words and examples that anyone can understand and introduces the reader to the the Mediterranean diet. Dr.'s Flynn and Vigelante not only speak of "diet" in terms of food but they expand this term to include lifestyle as well. They provide scientific proof of the benefits of olive oil, red wine, and the Italian passegiata (after-dinner stroll). The authors organized the book to be read either cover-to-cover or browsed. The first part is dedicated to debunking the fad-diet myths, the second introduces the reader to the Mediterranean lifestyle and the third includes practical advice on how to introduce this into your life. As an "out of the closet" reader of other diet books, I was pleased to discover that education, not guilt, is the motivator for loosing weight in this book.
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on April 3, 2000
This book is wonderful! Not only doesn't it provide the information you need for a healthy heart and body, it also sheds some light on fad diets that can be confusing and very difficult to follow. I love bread, pasta, potatoes, and corn but I've always wondered why these carbs where always being bashed, perhaps because of the information in Low Fat Lies people will no longer have to feel guilty for enjoying these and all foods in moderation.
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on October 7, 2002
Don't get me wrong - I think a Mediterranean diet can be very healthy. But Vigilante and Flynn have packaged a traditional weight loss diet as something brand new - and this book surely isn't new. Additionally, too much of what is added to "the usual" is contradictory. For example, on page 24 they describe a study which shows that a high-fat breakfast is more satieting than a low-fat one and tends to prolong the time until the next meal. However, reading on, we find that almost all the breakfasts they propose are very low in fat!
I did an analysis of one of their 1500 calorie meal days (which they recommend for all women except for those who are "extremely hungry" AND are losing weight rapidly). It's 20% fat, high carb, and 45 gm protein. (The protein RDA for any woman over 125 lbs is higher than this.) It's a basic low-fat/high carb diet with a little less protein than it should have.
Ironically, the authors spend a good portion of the book trashing almost all the diets on the market, from very low fat to very low carb, when the diet they propose is basically Ornish sprinkled with olive oil.
I give it two stars because it does have some good information in it, but there are other books which talk about the Mediterranean diet which give much more sound advice and present the information more plainly and with less rhetoric. A good example is "Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy" by Walter Willett.
In short, your dollars would be much better spent elsewhere.
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on August 9, 1999
This book contains a wealth of scientifically backed up information on the failure of low fat diets in American Society. In fact, it traces how the popularity of low fat diets has coincided with the epidemic of obesity in America! They even have a whole chapter dedicated to debunking Dr. Dean Ornish, whose mantra of low/no fat eating has been propagated in the media. The authors state how his scientific papers, aimed at medical professionals are very well written. However, they point out that his popular books, aimed at the dieting public, mislead and misinform (by ignoring the other aspects of his intensive program (i.e. long hours of exercise, stress reduction programs, etc) and focusing solely on reducing fat in the diet). As many other online reviewers commented, this book makes its point early on. I wish instead of 2/3 information and 1/3 recipes, it could have been 1/3 info and 2/3 recipes. Now I have to go get another book to get more varieties of healthful recipes with olive oil and Mediteranean flair!
Rachel Perlow
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