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When I think about grocery shopping in the United States, I cannot help but recall the scene in the old movie Moscow On The Hudson when Robin Williams character is instructed to go shop for coffee in the local market. Having been used to rationing in the Soviet Union he has not been exposed to the variety of food product available to him in the United States. Overwhelmed he keeps saying "Coffee, coffee, coffee" then passes out not being able to make what appears to him a most complex decision at the time.
It is not too much unlike that grocery shopping in the United States today. You come into a supermarket bulging with products all very colorfully marketed making sometimes unfounded claims as to their health benefits. It is wise, therefore, to come armed with the knowledge that what one buys IS really healthy for them not something a marketer told them to get them to buy their goods. This IS the proverbial SUPERMARKET SURVIVAL GUIDE one should read before entering a store and keeping handy while still in the store.
The book starts with Chapter 1 "Getting to Know and Love the Supermarket." Within that chapter the author lists 11 Secrets the Food Industry Doesn't Want You to Know and the 20 Worst Packaged Foods in America. It is helpful to know, for starters, what kind of food one should consider junk before going on to food shopping for healthy products. Chapter 2 "The Produce Aisle" is simply lovely. It talks about Mastering the Produce Aisle then lists over 40 types of produce from how to pick the best (PERFECT PICK) to PEAK SEASON, how to preserve and store the produce item at home (HANDLE WITH CARE) and what is healthy about the item to begin with (THE PAYOFF). There is even a Salad Bar Survival Guide and a Your Organic Primer. Finally Chapter 3 "The Meat and Fish Counters" having to do with building a leaner body with fresh protein that really packs a punch. In this section the author includes a list of different kinds of fish, their Omega 3 count, protein grams, contaminant content and environmental friendliness. There is a similar chart entitled The Meat Matrix describing proten-to-fat ratio.
Chapter 4 "The Refrigerator" instructs on how best to use the book and then begins the EAT THIS, NOT THAT comparisons with Deli Meats. I love that these sections include photographs of food products all in full color. You are enabled to easily pick out what you want to buy this way. The author meticulously lists the calorie counts, fat grams and sodium contents of all products compared. In the Grains section he lists the grams of fiber included within the product. Chapter 5 "Pantry Staples" in the Pantry Label Decoder reminds you to read package labels.
Of course the author does not ignore the fact that many individuals have a sweet tooth and would like to indulge in products that do not leave them excessively guilt ridden. He addresses this in Chapter 6 "Snacks and Sweets" even to the point of listing what would be considered the lesser of two evils when buying Corn Chips, Potato Chips, Dips, Granola, Cookies, Snack Cakes, Candy and Chocolate.
Understanding that the modern day grocery shopper tends to indulge in frozen convenience foods the author addresses this in Chapter 7 "The Freezer Section". He advises on the healthier Ice Cream, Frozen Yogurt, Frozen Pasta, Frozen Fish, Frozen Beef and Chicken Entrees and Frozen Meatless Entrees/Meat Substitutes.
Chapter 8 warns to "Think Before You Drink" listing The Worse Beverages in the Supermarket even including a section on the healthier beer to drink and mixers to use in alcoholic beverages.
The book concludes with Chapter 9 "Your Save-Money Shopping Guide". (Who hasn't heard oftentimes the dieter complaining that eating healthy is just too expensive?)
All in all this is a GREAT book I would highly recommend to help one eat healthy keeping their weight under control, their cholesterol levels healthy and blood suger within normal limits. I remember a trainer telling someone who was having trouble losing weight by exercise alone that that was was only 30 % of the solution. Nutritious eating is vital and this book can help you immensely in that regard.
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on March 25, 2012
I recently read a study that claimed that people, on average, eat about 50% more calories than they think. This leads to regular weight gain that many people find baffling.

This book can help you save calories without feeling restricted in your diet and is a great shopping companion at the supermarket. All foods listed contain full nutritional breakdowns, which means calories, protein, carbs, and fats.

Here's a quick summary of what you'll find inside this book:

1. How supermarkets are designed to induce you to buy high-profit items, and the 20 worst packaged foods in America.

2. How to pick the freshest, best-quality produce and salad, how to store them so they stay delicious longer.

3. Which meats are the best to buy and why, such as which cuts of beef are leanest and which fish is most healthy.

4. What types of deli meats are healthiest for you and why. I liked that sodium levels were listed as regularly consuming too much sodium can cause many types of health problems, ranging from unsightly bloating to the very serious issues of high blood pressure, strokes, kidney disease, and more.

5. How to save calories on snack food like chips, dips, granola, cookies, candy, and more. This is good because snacks and sweets are a weakness for many people, and the pounds can really add up over time if they don't watch it with these types of foods.

6. Which types of beverages, including alcohol, to choose. This section includes the worst beverages that you can buy (and you might be surprised--some are very popular!) and shows you how to minimize these empty calories in your diet.

7. Finally, this book ends with a section on saving money in the supermarket, which is always welcome. There are many books that cover this in more detail, but the author does a good job choosing some tactics that everyone can immediately use to be more frugal in their shopping.

A lot of effort was put into this book and I think you'll find it very helpful.

If you're considering this book because you want to lose weight, I also recommend CARDIO SUCKS! 15 Excellent Ways to Burn Fat Fast and Get in Shape (The Lean Muscle Series). It shows you how to tailor your diet to your weight loss needs, and what types of exercise are scientifically proven to be the most effective in terms of burning fat (and they're NOT long, grueling jogs!).
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VINE VOICEon January 2, 2009
I know, that sounds like a wild claim. And I'm surprised I wrote it.

I own both of the previous Eat This Not That books (Thousands of Simple Food Swaps,For Kids!), so when I noticed this one was about to come out I decided to skip it. What more could it offer than what was already in the other two?

Then, tonight, I went shopping for food with my teenage daughter at Target. We spotted this in the little book section and, at her urging, picked it up and glanced through it.

What a great book! So helpful! So useful! Yes, if it keeps my husband healthy and my daughter enthused about nutrition, it gets my vote as best nonfiction book this year. I read about every day, and no book has struck me as a Must Buy as much as this one.

The reason? Since the book is entirely about food at supermarkets, every item on every page is something readily accessible to you. And since every item is captioned with its relevant nutritional information, it's like having the "Nutrition Facts" panel of every major item at your grocery store right there in your purse, in a little book that is so well designed and organized it is remarkably easy to use.

By comparison, the earlier titles had less detailed grocery sections, as well as lots of stuff about fast food chains and table-service franchise restaurants, material that is useful only if you frequent those particular places.

In this book, every page has valuable content for anyone who shops at a supermarket -- so much, in fact, it's tough to determine just what to highlight in this review. Every time I flip through the book I come across useful, surprising information. For example, right now I'll randomly open it a few times and learn why....

1) Fruit Loops are better for you than Apple Cinnamon Cheerios...

2) Regular Cheerios is a better choice than Smart Start...

3) Regular Quick 1 minute Quaker Oats is healthier than Quaker's Simple Harvest Multigrain hot cereal...

4) Dole pineapple cups are more nutritious than Dole mixed fruit cups...

5) Del Monte pear halves beat Del Monte sliced pears...

I could go on forever.

By the way, not all the pages are side-by-side product comparisons. One spread, titled "The Meat Matrix," compares the nutritional value of a variety of meats, everything from pork to ostrich. Another, "The Perfect Refrigerator," displays a perfectly stocked healthy fridge. My daughter was especially interested in a spread titled "The Snack Matrix," which shows which combination of snack items (fruit, peanut butter, cottage cheese) mix well together for both nutrition and taste. Another section discusses how to store fresh fruit and produce and explains why fresh food is better for you.

Until now, I have never used the phrase "book of the year" in any of my Amazon reviews. But this one, at least for nonfiction, just might live up to that claim.
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on May 25, 2009
I bought this book after I had gone through the first "Eat This Not That" book. Unlike its predecessor, Mr. Zinczenko goes much more in depth into all different kinds of food, rather than just focusing on what you should eat at different fast food restaurants. It was especially helpful in distinguishing what food labels really mean (whole grain vs. multi-grain, cage-free vs. free range, just for starters.) As well as clever comparisons, such as the nutritional value of different cuts of meat and which fruits and vegetables carry the most pesticides.

Unfortunately, the amount of information is also its downside. Unlike the first book, where there were short lists that are easy to remember (the foods you should eat every day, what to eat when you feel sick/tired/etc.) Mr. Zinczenko creates many different different categories, some of which may not be necessary (sweetened vs. unsweetend cereals, for example). This muddies the message with too much complexity and I often end up ignoring the finer points when actually doing my grocery shopping.

A very interesting, easy to read book. But plan on devoting some time to digest the wealth of information here.
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on September 2, 2009
I have now read this entire series and while there is a great deal of interesting & valuable information, there is also a lot of conflicting information. Nowhere is their specific methodology for determining "Good" from "Bad" shown. And it's very strange to see 2 products with nutrition numbers very similar, one in the "EAT THIS" group with the other in the "Don't Eat That" group. And there comparisons about entire types of food that should be avoided completely if weight loss & nutrition are the concerns. Example: Frozen Pizza. There's no such thing as healthy frozen pizza.

Why can't they compare like to like. They don't compare the various types of Raisin Bran. They compare one brand of Raisin Bran to Cheerios. And cheese. They recommend Velveeta but call a brand of Provolone bad. As a rule, white cheeses (Swiss, Mozzarella, provolone, etc.)are almost always better choices than any yellow cheese (cheddar, American).

One has to wonder if this series of books is more about the marketing of processed food (which should be avoided entirely if at all possible) than about good nutritional advice. If weight loss & nutrition are concerns, you're better off just reading the labels and using fresh or homemade products whenever possible.
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on February 1, 2010
I read the yellow and the orange books from the library. Glad I did before I decided to buy them. I have few problems with these books.
-Many of the items on the "eat this" this are still horribly bad for you.
-Some things on the "eat this" list in one book is on the "not that" list in another book.
-Many of the items they compare, I don't buy to begin with
-When I wrote items down to get at the grocery store I discovered the brand I was already buying was better than what they recommended.
-Some the items they recommend I have tried and they taste horrible. Apparently this is not taken into account.
-Some things are not explained or may not be even be true. Example, they recommended a certain brand of pasta but looking at the nutrition it was no better than any other pasta. Why is it better? Are companies paying these guys?
I give this an ok rating because it does have some good advice to consider and is a good starting place though the book is flawed. I recommend you get the book on loan, not buy it. And just go ahead in the store and compare the labels on the products you buy to others like it. And if you frequent a restaurant get the nutrition menu on the way out so next time you can pick the lesser of the evils that you still like.
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on March 15, 2009
It's amazing how you can lose weight without even dieting simply by eating things you like. I thought I was eating right on a lot of foods. Simple things like yogurts and cereals that turned out to be so high in sugars and I would have never known had I not read this book. I have changed so many things and never even noticed a difference in the taste. I've bought this book for every family member. It is so worth it. It teaches you what the wording on packages "really" means and how not to get suckered into creative marketing ploys. This is a must have for everyone!
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on October 22, 2009
By making a few simple swaps, I was able to lose 45 pounds in just a few months, just by using the information from this book. This is the best book in the series so far, because it goes into great detail about what's really in food and what exactly is on the shelves at your local supermarket. The other books focus more on eating out, which I honestly didn't like because I almost never eat out. The recipes in the book are also great! If you want to lose weight, buy this book! Buy your friends this book too! It honestly doesn't take much effort to implement these better food choices. The key to losing weight is knowing exactly what you're eating, and this book goes into great detail about that.

I also recommend getting the new 2010 edition because it contains updated information on the new products that came out. It also has more recipes! However, if you want to just get one book to see if you like it, get this one! As a person who works 50 or more hours a week and doesn't have much time, this book has made my life much easier and my waistline a lot smaller!
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The introduction places this delightful work in context (Page vii): "It can be a place of wonder and excitement. . . . But it can also be a place of great danger, where marketing ploys, and outright lies can rob you of your fitness, your health, your vitality. . . . I'm talking, of course, about the American supermarket."

To summarize: This is a book that helps readers shop smarter. It notes for different classes of food (from candy to snacks to cereals and on and on) the ones that are most and least damaging, in terms of calories, fat, and sodium. A brief one line analysis generally accompanies each set of data on each product.

Examples of this part of the book. For instance, pages 176-177 feature corn chips. The conclusion, if one chooses to get some corn chips, is to purchase and eat products like Snyder's of Hanover Multigrain (130 calories, 5 grams of fat [0 grams of saturated fat], 110 milligrams of sodium) and not those like Frito's Original Corn Chips (160 calories, 10 grams of fat [1.5 grams of saturated fat], and 160 mg of sodium). Or take frozen pizzas, if you must. Think in terms of buying Palermo's Primo Thin Margherita (260 calories, 12 grams of fat [5 grams of which is saturated], and 520 mg of sodium)--not DiGiorno's Traditional Crust Pepperoni (770 calories, 35 grams of fat [14 grams saturated], and 1430 mg of sodium). Some of the comparisons as those above are quite stunning, and suggest that doing some decision-making at the store can have nutritional consequences.

Some interesting features--Survival guide for supermarket tips (pages 2-9), including a depressing check of stated calories per serving on the package and what the book says are the real calories per serving. the 20 worst packaged foods for a person in the country (e.g., Haagen-Dazs chocolate peanut butter ice cream; the book suggests purchasing Edy's slow churned peanut butter cup ice cream instead), tips on which produce to purchase for nutritional kick, "making sense of meat," tips on snacking, and so on.

But, in the final analysis, it is the tips on which are the best and which the worst, in terms of nutrition, products in a variety of food categories. This book provides a nice service along those lines. I had thought that this would not be particularly useful when I ordered it (one look at the wild and wacky cover illustrates one reason for my pessimism), but I am happy to say that my doubts were not realized.
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on January 13, 2009
I like the size of the book and how easy it is to take with me on trips to the store. However, I find the structure of the switches more confusing than necessary. It seems to me that each set of comparisons uses the same colors on the right and left to show similar switches. For me, this just makes for big splashes of colors on the page that doesn't really help much and forces me to pick through the text. I might as well do that on the product labels. My opinion is this book would be a much better help by grading each group of products on a consistent good to bad color scheme, like a spectrum from green to red. At a glance, I could then decide on a healthier but similar product, avoiding the shortcut of a more familiar and possibly less healthy product.

The text is informative with plenty of facts to help the reader take more control of their shopping trips, I just found the color scheme too dazzling and more of a hurdle to using the book as a quick reference shopping guide. So far, I've relegated this book to a home reference before and after a shopping trip, checking what I need in advance to try healthier brands then checking what few impulse items I get to see if there are healthier items to satisfy whatever craving I was indulging.

In hindsight, I probably should have looked at this book alongside similar books to make a better choice for me. Still a good book for the money and it has served its purpose of improving some of my food choices.
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