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The Fat of the Land: The Obesity Epidemic and How Overweight Americans Can Help Themselves Paperback – September 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (September 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140261443
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140261448
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,079,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Despite a $39 billion diet industry and the proliferation of "fat free, sugar-free, guilt-free" foods, Americans are fatter than ever and fatter than anyone else in the world. Fumento, a medical journalist and author of the controversial The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS (LJ 11/15/89), blames a variety of factors, from nutritional fads to the cult of victimization to the merchandising of oversized food portions. His basic premise, however, is that we must accept the fact that the more calories we ingest and the fewer we burn off, the fatter we get. True self-esteem, he notes, comes from taking control of our lives and responsibility for our actions. He indicts the myriad weight-loss "miracle" gimmicks and reiterates the unpopular but proven remedy: Eat less and exercise more. Highly recommended.?Susan B. Hagloch, Tuscarawas Cty. P.L., New Philadelphia
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

``The very act of living in the United States puts you at great risk for obesity,'' warns science writer Fumento in this harangue with a clear message: The fault, dear fatties, lies in overconsumption and underexertion. The formerly fat but now happily and proudly trim Fumento (Science Under Siege, 1992; The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS, 1990) charges that the current craze for low-fat but not-so-low-calorie processed foods is giving consumers bigger waistlines while making megabucks for the food industry. The other profit-makers he pillories, with words like ``huckster'' and ``sham,'' are the writers (and publishers) of diet books, such as Susan Powter for Stop the Insanity and Cliff Sheats for Lean Bodies. He has some strong words for the tactics of Nutri/System and Jenny Craig, too, but it is the National Association for the Advancement of Fat Acceptance that really ticks him off. It is time for an attitude adjustment, he argues, calling for society to return to the values of moderation and setting limits. He'd like to see an anti-obesity campaign along the lines of the anti-smoking campaign that made puffing on cigarettes appear gauche, and he urges activists to enlist the food companies in a campaign against overeating just as they engaged beer makers in campaigns against underage drinking and, further, to pressure fast-food restaurants to reduce the size of their fat-laden portions. Having advised society of its duties, Fumento, whose attempts at humor do little to lighten this lecture, instructs individuals to eat the right foods, i.e., high in fiber and low in caloric density; eat only when hungry; and get a reasonable amount of exercise. A sermon on gluttony and sloth and a jeremiad against those who aid, abet, and profit from these sins. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

An excellent book, but be warned..
Rachel Landry
In spite of its heavy reliance on scholarly research, the book is written in a very readable, non-technical style.
cgabriel223
Someone who didn't read between the lines and both books would think Fumento had disproven Gaesser's claim.
Todd Budreau

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 48 people found the following review helpful By cgabriel223 on July 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
Fumento has an admirable willingness to write books that go against popular wisdom and political correctness. (Unfortunately, though, he seems to have an aversion to using his impressive critical thinking skills against right wing and corporate targets.) In this book, he takes on diet hucksters, fat activists, and overweight Americans themselves.
Fumento has clearly done his homework. Unlike the overwhelming majority of high-selling diet books, this book is heavily footnoted and based solidly on a great number of published research findings in medical and scientific journals. I find him to be a credible author and I find his medical claims to be plausible. In spite of its heavy reliance on scholarly research, the book is written in a very readable, non-technical style. Fumento includes a lot of anecdotal autobiographical material about his own-ultimately successful-struggles to lose weight. He makes frequent use of humor along the way. (Actually, I thought his quips missed more often than not, but I appreciate the effort.)
Fumento arrives at the common sense conclusion that losing weight requires developing the self-discipline to consume fewer calories and/or to be more physically active and thus use more calories. (This is over-simplifying his findings slightly, since he does, for instance, claim that some weight-loss drugs appear to have some limited effectiveness.) The countless fad diets and such that seem to fly in the face of this and seem to have found some way around the need to eat less and exercise more fall into one of two categories: Either a) they just plain don't work, or b) insofar as they work at all, it is precisely because in some indirect way they do indeed result in the person consuming significantly fewer calories.
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41 of 49 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
It's true, as you will have gathered from all the reviews that precede this one, that Fumento and Manson make a good argument for eating a high-fiber diet and exercising, and for identifying obesity as disease. That Americans are known for self-indulgence in all fields, not just food, is a fair critique (though I'm tempted to wonder what kind of vehicle Fumento drives, and whether for him, as for so many of us, every indulgence except that of food is a sign of status rather than of weakness.) Many of us can benefit physically and emotionally by eating more fiber and fewer calories, and by exercising more.
However, the (very) mixed reviews the books received testify to the fact that the *tone* of this "scientific" text goes far beyond what's appropriate for medical journalism, which, the last time I checked, was supposed to employ a neutral tone and strive for objectivity. One reviewer praises Fumento for giving "not just his opinions", but his opinions form at least as much of the book as does his research. His own loathing for flesh and contempt for the overweight, his presumption that if he can lose 25 pounds, anyone can lose any amount, his equation of anyone overweight with compulsive eaters, his denial of any study which doesn't suit his thesis, his reference to overweight people as "fatties"--what are these, if not opinions? They are, fortunately for him, opinions which many thin Americans share, since so many of us are taught that fat is a moral issue. Fumento claims to be treating it as a medical one (I almost expected him to launch into "love the sinner, hate the sin"), but medical issues, even alcoholism, rarely merit the sense of outrage, contempt, and disgust which permeates Fumento's writing.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The things I liked about this book:
1. It has a breezy, refreshing tone that keeps the book from getting bogged down in the science.
2. Fumento presents a lot of useful information in a straightforward way: eat more fiber, eat more vegetables, get some exercise. Simple concepts, but they can get lost with the latest fad diets.
3. He encourages personal accountability about a weight problem, not trying to blame other people.
The things I did NOT like about the book:
1. Fumento often adopts a condescending attitude toward the obese. In particular, he derides NAAFA and its president, Sally Smith.
2. He ridicules several books about the diet industry as having been written by fat people trying to justify their condition, then reaches the same conclusions their books do. In particular, Laura Fraser's book, Losing It, is mocked, then cited as a source a few chapters later!
3. The thing that bothered me the most about this book was its ending. Throughout most of the book, Fumento advocates taking charge of your own health, and using exercise and a healthy diet for weight control. However, in the last chapter, he discusses the benefits of phen/fen and ephedrine, even saying that he urged his friend to give ephedrine a try. Perhaps at the time the book was published, those drugs had not been proven as dangerous as they have now. However, pushing weight control drugs after spending hundreds of pages telling people that they can't blame anybody but themselves for their obesity is inconsistent. He writes that people can't blame genetics for obesity because obesity has skyrocketed in the US over the last 100 years, and genes can't change that fast.
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