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Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss--and the Myths and Realities of Dieting Paperback – April 29, 2008
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
We have been led to believe that obesity is a relatively recent development in U.S. society, but this apparently is not the case. The stories of weight loss strategies and weight attitudes from even 100+ years ago are fascinating to read about. Discussion of our past attitudes about what is fat and what is a desirable weight shows that these attitudes have changed substantially through the years: for example, flappers of the 20's, who most of us vaguely recall to have been quite thin, would actually be considered overweight by today's extreme standards. The "Gibson Girl" ideal of the early 1900's would be considered absolutely obsese today.
Studies and experiments which have been done to figure out the "why" of overweight show that everything is still not well understood about weight gain, obesity, and weight loss. There are still more questions to be asked and not yet enough answers, and to complicate things each person is unique in physiology. Genetics is thought to play a strong role, and studies of twins and adopted children reveal the genetic component plays a strong role in your weight and how easily you can gain or lose excess weight.
Don't read this book expecting to find some new weight loss miracle. There are no real solutions in this book, but rather, it can give you a more realistic and educated understanding of what you are up against in the weight loss wars.Read more ›
I read an article by Kolata in the New York Times a few days ago that was based on this book. I thought that the article was excellent, stressing the heritability component in obesity, and pointing to the failures of weight-control diets. I rushed to get the book, fully expecting fuller, more satisfactory explanations -- a truly book-length treatment of this important subject.
But the book here is actually no more than an article that has been heavily padded with cutesy anecdotes so as to achieve the physical corpulence of a book.
There are interesting (but not original) descriptions of diet fads throughout the ages. There are interesting (but depressingly familiar) accounts of failures of diets. There is an interesting account of animal studies on obesity. There are interesting accounts of twin studies that point to high heritability of obesity. And then there is endless prose that over-interprets all this: to wit, obesity is inherited, nothing can be done about it.
There is also an instance of gross malpractice of journalism. In the introduction, Kolata tells us that her book is the story of a high-science, two year long, carefully planned study of diets: Atkins versus LEARN. In chapter after boring chapter she gives us personality sketches of some of the participants and trivia about the progress of the study over the two year period. Then, at the end, while we wait for her to tell us the outcome, she tells us that, well, no, she can't say. The scientists haven't had the time to write up the results. Come on, Ms. K.Read more ›
The main point of this book -- which is very well-researched and scientifically-based -- is that people, contrary to the popular thinking in our society, are not fat because they are lazy or lack willpower. In fact, there is little evidence to support the common notion that people, through diet and exercise, can lose mass quantities of weight and KEEP it off. The best research shows that our overall size/weight (which is related to our hunger) is genetically and chemically determined. So basically, yes, oftentimes fatter people eat more (though not always), but their hunger is not something that can simply be overcome through "willpower" -- at least, not for a lifetime. It would be like resisting the urge to breathe -- that's how primal it is.
All this may seem very discouraging to the average person (who is bound to be discontent with their current weight, thanks to modern ideals), but Kolata poses the question we may have forgotten to ask: Who says we all have to be skinny anyway? When the research shows that the highest life expectancy belongs to the slightly "overweight" (extremes of thinness and obesity still are not as "healthy"), why do "health scientists" still insist that the majority of us need to be thinner, for our health?
The answer, of course, is that our society does not accept fatness. Kotala's anecdotes illustrate the pervasiveness of this belief.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was not really interested in a book on weight loss, but I read and enjoyed Kolata's Ultimate Fitness, so when I saw this volume on the bookstore shelf, I bought it too. Read morePublished 8 months ago by A Lfquist
Really important information presented here. Kolata explains clearly, using research findings, not wishful thinking, exactly why the whole notion that being fat reflects a... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Sara G. B. Fishman
Diet not working (again)? Maybe it's time to get real and see what others have gone through and what has been learned about "eat less, move more."Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
I thought this was a great piece of journalistic writing. With a Penn study comparing two diets as the background to her research, Kolata weaves in the history, science and... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Sylia Abadi
The best and most interesting book on weight loss I have ever read. I love this book and recommend it to everyone. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Truthful Reviews
An exceptional read for anyone wanting to understand the science and sociological foundations of obesity and weight in the United States. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Glenys Buckingham
I really enjoyed reading Gina Kolata's study on dieting. She really did her homework! Another point that I valued in this book was that it lacked sensationalism. Read morePublished on April 6, 2014 by Patricia M.
A well researched and insightful book on obesity from every angle. This book has made me think about this topic in ways I've never imagined.Published on February 15, 2014 by EGBoston
I enjoyed the book how it structured the information about the study along with myths we have heard along the way about dieting. Read morePublished on February 13, 2014 by Natalie