Top critical review
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Persuasive, but has several shortcomings
on April 7, 2014
This book is worth reading and I understand the many glowing reviews here. But I found some of the points of view unconvincing. The authors say that legumes (beans, peas and lentils) are basically poisonous and recommend eliminating them from the diet. They say the same for most grains. But this immediately raises the question, in my mind at least, about the fact that significant portions of the world's population - in fact all the native peoples of the American southwest and all of Central America - have traditionally subsisted almost entirely on grains (corn) and legumes (beans), and have shown no evidence of being poisoned by these foods. In India, too, chick peas and lentils form a major part if their healthy diet. The authors don't address this at all.
They also recommend including in one's diet relatively high amounts of carbs from rice and potatoes, arguing that these carbs - what they call "safe starches" - produce needed glucose. Well, I tried this recommendation, but immediately started piling on the pounds when eating all those "safe" starches in the recommended amounts. Once I eliminated these and replaced them with non-starchy vegetables I resumed losing weight. Now, this may be just my personal experience, and others may do fine with all this rice and potatoes, but given the author's touting of their program for weight loss, readers should be aware of this potential shortcoming.
For me the most interesting aspect of this book was the discussion of fats, and the revelation that consuming up to 70% or more of one's calories from fat can be safe and healthful. This has helped me with dieting, as the extra fat seems to kill the food cravings for snacks and sweets that previously made it difficult to stick with a diet. The discussion of the beneficial role of saturated fats was also eye-opening. A good companion book to read is Udo Erasmus's book on oils, which will tell you what you need to know about omega-3 fatty acids and the best ways to get them. Learning about the benefits of saturated fats from the Perfect Health Diet, combined with learning about which oils to increase and which to avoid from Erasmus, has been informative.
UPDATE. Unfortunately, I have to retract my previous comments regarding this book's discussion of fats. The reason is that I was using a Tanita scale that measures percent body fat and water as well as weight. From this I discovered that eating the increased fat over time did indeed increase my percent body fat. The weight loss was deceptive, as I must have been losing water or muscle, but not fat. Disappointing, and, for me at least, another negative for the book. For this reason I am deducting another star. Of course, this is just my own experience. Every body is unique and may respond differently.