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Perfect Health Diet: Regain Health and Lose Weight by Eating the Way You Were Meant to Eat Paperback – December 3, 2013
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“This is more than a diet. It's a program for perfect health. The result of 5 years of research, the Perfect Health Diet enabled scientists Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet to cure their own chronic diseases. With more than 600 citations to the scientific literature, Perfect Health Diet explains simply and clearly how to optimize your diet for a lifetime of great health. I've read hundreds of books on nutrition and health in my life, and Perfect Health Diet is at the top of the list." (Chris Kresser, M.S., Lac; integrative medicine practitioner and blogger at ChrisKresser.com)
“The Perfect Health Diet is the missing link. It bridges the gap between the philosophical, broad-based, almost intuitive ancestral approach to health and the hard-core data hounds who need to see proof at every step. The authors are scientists through and through, an astrophysicist and a molecular biologist, who deftly wield the scepter of cold, hard science while paying homage to the inescapable wisdom of traditional, ancestral, evolutionary health.” (Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint and founder of marksdailyapple.com)
“From the best of what we know about ancestral science and the natural world comes a modern-day formula proven to return us to optimal health. The Perfect Health Diet delivers exactly what it promises.” (Dallas & Melissa Hartwig, authors of It Starts With Food)
“The sanest overview of what to eat I have ever seen. If you are going to read only one thing on the subject, read this.” (Seth Roberts, Ph.D., professor emeritus of psychology at UC Berkeley and author of The Shangri-La Diet)
"Whenever any of my clients ask me a health/performance diet question, I just tell them to go to Perfect Health Diet; I trust that anything that appears in the book has been thoroughly researched and examined. One of my best friends was on the diet while undergoing chemo and his bloodwork numbers were so good that they would have been considered average...for a person without cancer. This book is my number one nutritional resource for my family, friends, and clients.” (Court Wing, Co-founder and Head of Training, CrossFit NYC)
"This book provides the missing link between Paleolithic diets and complete health and vitality, and provides a complete foundation for total ancestral health in the modern age." (Aaron Blaisdell, Professor of Psychology at UCLA and President of the Ancestral Health Society.)
About the Author
Paul Jaminet, PhD, was an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Paul’s experience overcoming a chronic illness led the Jaminets to develop the views of aging and disease presented in Perfect Health Diet.
Shou-Ching Jaminet, PhD, is a molecular biologist and cancer researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, and Director of BIDMC’s Multi-Gene Transcriptional Profiling Core. Shou-Ching was born in Korea to Chinese parents, attended college at National Taiwan University in Taipei and graduate school at University of Newcastle in Australia, before coming to the US to work at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Children’s Hospital Boston, and Beth Israel Deaconess and Harvard Medical School.
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Top Customer Reviews
The end product is a diet that has similar macronutrient ratios to Pacific islanders with high levels of longevity and resistance to disease. How they deduce that such a diet is optimal is pretty interesting. The authors use the premise that your body can convert one type of macronutrient to another, but such conversion may not be optimal. Why go completely high protein when your body will just make glucose from protein? Why go high carb when the carbohydrates above 600 calories a day are converted to saturated fat? The authors also point to the nutrients in human milk as evidence on what might be optimal to eat. The discussion of macronutrients (fats, proteins, carbohydrates) was the most detailed I have seen in any nutrition book for a non-professional audience.
The diet is a "paleolithic" diet in that it suggests avoiding food toxins such as fructose (sugar), grains other than white rice, legumes and omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. The book is quite specific about the evidence on these toxins. The diet is fine with so-called "safe starches", such as potatoes and white rice. It ends up being a high fat diet by calories as protein and carbohydrates are given generous upper bounds. Coconut oil is praised.
A section on supplements gives reasonable advice to focus on a few key nutrients and to avoid a few other common supplements. All the advice is quite reasonable.
Readers who still need to be convinced that saturated fat and dietary cholesterol are not the causes of heart disease might start with a more basic book that fights all the introductory fights (Good Calories, Bad Calories by Taubes is one, albeit lengthy suggestion). But for someone buying into the basic paradigm and looking to optimize their own health through nutrition, the Perfect Health Diet is the best book to buy.
It is a testimony to the insightfulness of this book that it persuaded me to change.
How was I persuaded?
* The Jaminets are highly educated (Ph.D.s both), but not they're not nutritionists and are not bound by any party line.
* They amass a huge volume of scientific literature in support of their assertions - about 1/3 of every page is journal citations.
* They write clearly, and are clearly motivated by a desire to share the keys they've discovered for better health.
* Time after time, while reading, I exclaimed "so *that's* why!" - there's an overarching framework they build, and after reading it I have a much broader and deeper understanding of health and nutrition.
The changes I made were:
1. Eat a modest amount (15-20%) of calories as carbs from what they call "safe starches" (rice & potatoes in my case.)
2. Eat a large (~70%) of calories from fat. In particular, I consume dramatically more butter (kerrygold!), and I've added a fair bit of coconut oil too.
3. (As a result, the amount of protein I eat has dropped somewhat.)
4. Supplementing with a mix of the vitamins they recommend.
5. Doing a 24-hour fast once a week.
Results: (after 1.5 months or so.)
1. I'm no longer "brain-dead" and unable to think in the evenings after work.
2. I no longer have fruit or chocolate cravings.
3. I'm much happier, and wake up looking forward to the day.
4. I've been much more social.
5. The extra starch has not resulted in weight gain. (I always gained weight when eating carbs before.)
6. It looks like the fasting (which I've never tried before) is helping my alertness and also contributing to healthy weight loss.
It took less than a week for me to notice dramatic changes. The diet guidelines are straightforward and fit on a page, but the explanatory material is priceless. The Jaminets post on an ongoing basis at their perfecthealthdiet dot com blog as well.
I can't recommend this book highly enough.