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The Obesity Epidemic: What Caused It? How Can We Stop It? Hardcover – October 31, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Columbus Publishing Ltd; First edition (October 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907797009
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907797002
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #495,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Zoë was the first pupil from her state school to graduate from Cambridge University, having won a scholarship to read mathematics/economics at this famous institution. What no one knew at the time was that, having been anorexic as a teenager, Zoe had developed bulimia before starting her studies at Cambridge. She sat in her historic room, overlooking Kings Chapel, stuffing her face with food and asked the million dollar question: Why do I overeat? When all I want is to be slim? So started over a decade of research into obesity, overeating and weight loss. During her 20 s Zoë experienced food cravings to rival any drug addiction and discovered that there are three medical conditions that cause these food cravings. And so her first book came about: Why do you overeat? When all you want is to be slim. Published in 2004, it continues to change the lives of people who read it. Since putting her own advice into practice, Zoe has lived craving free and a constant 8 stone for over 15 years. She no longer suffers from any of the conditions that cause insatiable cravings and she knows how to make sure that these conditions never return. Stop Counting Calories & Start Losing Weight: The Harcombe Diet was published in 2008, to share the message with readers world-wide. By popular demand, a recipe book came out at the same time. Zoë has also appeared on TV and Radio and writes regularly for magazines and newspapers. Zoë is a qualified nutritionist with a Diploma in Diet & Nutrition and a Diploma in Clinical Weight Management, but she is first and foremost an obesity researcher. She has also found that the majority of nutritional information currently being taught (to dieticians and nutritionists) is wrong and that all dietary advisors need to be far more challenging and far less accepting of what they are being told. Solving the obesity epidemic relies upon such people, who really do want to make a difference, questioning their founding beliefs in the way that Zoë has done. Zoë is sponsored by no one and has funded the last two years researching for and writing the book full time from savings. Conflict of interest is at the heart of the obesity epidemic and therefore true independence is essential to be able to honestly question and analyse the problem. In whose interests is it that the world things eggs are bad for breakfast? Who stands to gain if butter is demonised? Zoë s personal experience has also proved invaluable in this journey to have effectively done the Minnesota starvation experiment as a teenager provides an understanding that no text book can match. Researchers writing TCB1 Antagonism Exerts Specific Molecular Effects on Visceral and Subcutaneous Fat and Reverses Liver Steatosis in Diet-Induced Obese Mice . (Diabetes, April 2010) have no general understanding of obesity and likely have never even been on a diet or had first hand experience of the misery of overweight and hunger. Zoë has.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 59 people found the following review helpful By P. Feet on November 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have a masters in Biology and have to admit I was a little sceptical before I started reading this book.
From reviews I knew that it would discuss many of todays dietary myths/truths that you read about almost daily in magazines, papers and in official publications:

Here are some of the myths discussed and dissected:

- Fat is bad for us
- Starchy carbohydrates should be the main building blocks of our diet
- Saturated fat causes heart disease
- We should eat more fibre
- Fruit and veg are the most nutritious things to eat
- You need to eat five portions of fruit and veg a day
- Cholesterol is a dietary enemy
- Losing weight is about calories in vs calories out
- More exercise is a cure for the obesity epidemic
- Food advisory bodies give us sound, impartial advice

The book is well written and all conclusions are firmly based on scientific data and research.
The author is credible and stays loyal to the scientific method.

The book has some very interesting conclusions and was a big eye opener to me.

I highly recommend this book for every dietitian, researcher and other person interested in any of the topics mentioned above.

A must read.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Man TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Obesity researcher and nutritionist Zoë Harcombe hails all the way from the UK and she's authored several books on the subject of diet, health and nutrition, including Stop Counting Calories & Start Losing Weight: The Harcombe Diet and her latest release The Obesity Epidemic: What Caused It? How Can We Stop It? She's strategically positioned herself as one of the most outspoken and trusted advocates of livin' la vida low-carb in the entire world.Read more ›
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Penni L. Smith on April 10, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've always heard that certain foods are bad and others good, but someone simply saying that didn't mean anything to me. This book, however, changed my life. The author fully documents all her assertions, and I became convinced. As a result, I have limited processed foods and made some other small changes. Just from that--absolutely nothing else, no effort at all--I lost about 40 pounds. I have since purchased and read her diet book, and will be making more of a deliberate effort soon, which should take off the rest of my considerable excess. The diet book would not have been enough for me if I had not read this one first and became persuaded of the truth of what she says.

Harcombe traces the history of the rising levels of obesity and shows how it corresponds to changes in official diet recommendations. She shows how some faulty research conclusions developed and spread, gaining an influence they should never have had. What's really scary is how the food processors influence government agencies and medical associations we think we can trust.

Expect to have your beliefs challenged. You must be willing to look at the facts and not just accept the lies we've heard over and over.

I especially appreciated the biology she explained. I never realized how insulin works to store fat, what cholesterol really does, how the whole digestive process works. Had I known all that years ago, I think I would be in much better health now. No one ever explained these basics to me before.

Prior to purchasing this book, I read her free book 20 Diet Myths - Busted. A Manifesto to change how you think about dieting. That small book was packed with information that just made me want more, which is what this book delivers.

This book can save your life. If we could spread what it says, it could save many, many lives.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By P. Firebaugh on May 2, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There are zillions of diet books out there, books that seemingly enrich their authors, but do nothing to stem the growing obesity epidemic. This isn't a diet book, but is a superbly researched explanation of why our efforts at controlling obesity have failed for too many people. Sadly, this information should have been supplied by our physicians and dieticians, as many references are of the type that would be readily available to a medical professional. She demonstrates why the simplistic "eat less, do more" pablum fails and why "calorie in, calorie out" never was true. Most surprising,she shows why the old bromide: One pound of fat equals about 3500 kcal, so to lose weight, all one needs to do is cut 500kcal per day from the diet to lose one pound of fat per week--is demonstrably false; yet all experts assert this "truth" without understanding where this came from. Zoe's goal is to stop or reverse the obesity epidemic and I would like to think that with the evidence based information she provides, we can get this accomplished.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Zoë Harcombe's passion is obesity. People want to be slim more than they want virtually anything else in the world and yet two thirds of people in the 'developed' world are overweight and one quarter to one third are obese. This makes no sense.

Zoë was the first pupil from her school to graduate from Cambridge University. Whilst studying maths and economics at this historic institution, Zoë set out to answer the million dollar question - Why do you overeat? When all you want is to be slim? This became the title of Zoë's first book - published in 2004. Stop Counting Calories & Start Losing Weight followed in 2008, with an accompanying recipe book and The Obesity Epidemic: What caused it? How can we stop it? was published in October 2010.

Having worked internationally as an HR Director/VP at blue chip organisations such as Mars, SmithKline Beecham and the Welsh Development Agency, Zoë left corporate life in 2008 to make diet and health her full time role. Since then, Zoë has set up The Harcombe Diet club, to provide on line support for people rejecting processed food in favour of what we should be eating - real food.

Zoë has a Diploma in Diet & Nutrition and a Diploma in Clinical Weight Management, but struggles to find anything that is being taught in 'conventional' nutritional worlds that is true or evidence based. Hence why she spent 2008-10 writing The Obesity Epidemic - 135,000 words blowing apart: the misapplication of thermodynamics to dieting; the notion that 1lb = 3,500 calories, let alone that a deficit of 3,500 calories will lead to a weight loss of 1lb; the Seven Countries Study and the subequent change in our diet advice, which has caused the obesity epidemic; the role of exercise in obesity and much more.

Zoë's personal values are health, relationships, personal development, mutuality and integrity. The order of the first two has not changed in 20 years. Her personal goal is two fold and complementary - to do whatever can be done to reverse the horrific, man-made, obesity epidemic and to make a difference in the lives of others.

Zoë lives in the Welsh countryside with her husband, Andy, a rescue dog and a rescue cat. Andy descibes her as friendly, enthusiastic, principled, chatty, passionate and short! She is a member of Mensa, but friends say she hides it well! Other passions are rugby - especially Wales - cocoa & cocoa butter (i.e. real chocolate), friends and dinner parties. There can be little better in life than great company and great food - more of both and the world would be a happier and healthier place.