Customer Reviews: Eat This, Not That! Thousands of Simple Food Swaps that Can Save You 10, 20, 30 Pounds--or More!
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VINE VOICEon December 24, 2007
This is a great book. Slick and attractive, with fantastic full-color pictures. Very well researched too, which is expected coming from the folks behind one of the most densely-packed, informative magazines, Men's Health.

The truth is that casual dining restaurants have higher calorie meals than the much-maligned fast food joints. While the fast food restaurants are now required to publish calorie, fat, and sodium contents, the casual restaurants have been quietly fighting against requiring them to release the same information. Thanks to this book and the research behind it, we can now get a better idea of what we've been eating at these restaurants. And it is eye opening.

Each two page section has a high-calorie, fat trap food on the right, and a healthier alternative on the left. Lots of reasons for why one is a better choice than the other, as well as quick lists of other good choices (and not so good choices) on the left and right.

This simple, but effective layout conveys a ton of information quickly and easily. The sections are by restaurant, and by situation type (like shopping at the mall, or at a holiday party), so it is easy to read and get good ideas for how to make better food choices.

The only negative is that you might never get fries again, after you see all the things you could eat instead and still not hit the calorie count of the fries. Outback's Aussie Cheese Fries have 2900 calories. Wow!

Highly recommended book, even if you aren't trying to lose weight. You'll learn a ton about the foods you are eating at restaurants, which is well worth the price of admission.

Sean P. Logue, 2007
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on April 6, 2008
*Easy to carry around. Fits nicely into a purse. Handy on vacation.
*Pretty pictures
*Fun to read
*Easy to use.
*Lots of familiar products/mainstream restaurants included.
*Quickly identifies healthiest items on the menu.

*Fuzzy Math. Some of the comparisons don't make sense--like turn to the Baskin Robbins section--why is Rocky Road ice cream bad (290 calories, 15gfat (8 sat), 32g sugar), but Two Scoop Hot Fudge Sundae is good (530 calories, 29g fat (19sat) and 52 g of sugar.) WHAT???? I don't get it.

*I wouldn't take the caloric facts as *fact*--For instance under the SONIC section, the authors list the Grilled Chicken Wrap as only having 380 calories but fails to mention that this is without dressing. Double check the caloric content on the restaurant's website before eating.

*Contradictory. Apparently, Goldfish crackers are bad when they're coming from a vending machine (p. 193) but good when coming off a store shelf. (216).
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on January 10, 2008
I really like the core message of this book... A year ago I started calorie counting but got sick of it very quickly, then I bought Dr. Shapiro's Picture Perfect Weight Loss: The Visual Program for Permanent Weight Loss which has a very similar strategy to this book's - showing you pictures of good and bad choices of similar styles or calorie counts.

From a year ago I've lost 35 lb, I'm basically at my ideal weight, and I haven't had the slightest bit of trouble keeping it off and I don't feel like I'm "dieting". In fact, I feel like I enjoy what I'm eating far more than ever before - I'm very impressed! I picked this book up because I'm pretty food-conscious now and I like to be aware of additional practical healthy choices.

What I like about this book compared to the Dr. Shapiro one is that it's extremely practical - at one point a Quarter Pounder is recommended as a "healthy" choice. I'd more or less agree with this approach; I think things like burgers can be healthy, filling options if you know what you're doing - whereas a Dr. Shapiro would have you eliminate all meat from your diet.

Where I think this book falls down a little bit is if you were trying to put together a mental "theme" of what to eat and what not to eat based on this book, you really couldn't. Sometimes shrimp is shown as a healthy option, sometimes it's not. Sometimes you're better off eating a turkey burger, sometimes you're not. It comes out after reading a bunch of suggestions that you shouldn't eat fries or mayo - but you still get the feeling that it's a bit potluck. The Dr. Shapiro book exaggerated the differences between good and bad foods to teach common patterns - this book just presents a bunch of data points and you need to find your own patterns. The Dr. Shapiro book focused primarily on calories - this one adds things like sodium which in my mind are usually not your first concern. I also find this book to be a little more annoyingly pseudoscientific, citing the results of some studies that sound like one-offs and talking about "foods that cure". Different target audience I guess.

After reading a few of these books you start to figure out your own patterns and make your own guidelines. Here are mine, which have worked wonders for me:

Don't eat anything fried - no french fries, fried chicken, potato chips, etc. Only rarely eat ice cream. Don't eat condiments that are bad for you and don't add that much to the experience: mayo, cheese, butter, oil. Don't eat pizza. Eat bread, pasta, and rice less often. Eat tons of seafood: fish, shrimp, etc. Don't feel like you need to avoid meat or burgers. Be extremely active with substituting off anything bad at restaurants. Splurge when it's worth it - i.e., when you have the opportunity to eat something really good. I don't forgo dessert after a really good restaurant meal. Seek out tons of healthier meals that you would honestly prefer eating over what you eat regularly now. Find a few healthy things you like at every restaurant you frequent. Have a wild guess of how many calories are in everything you eat, so you never sit down and eat a 4,000 calorie large pizza yourself :). Don't keep anything convenient that's unhealthy in the house.
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on October 12, 2010
This book has easily digestible information--no complicated calorie formulas, just practical food swaps. You can walk into any fast-food or restaurant chain and know the damage to your waist and health. I keep this book in my car whenever I have a hankering for a quick bite. The authors rate each restaurant with a letter grade, which makes it easy for you to decide how healthy you want to be for lunch or dinner. There are some awesome recipes in the back that tell you the cost of making them versus buying them. I worship the chicken skewers--they come out super moist and flavorful!
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on December 13, 2007
This guide gives you heaps of smart choices to help you manage your weight so you can still go out to eat at great places without packing on as much weight. If you don't know what you're putting into your body, you can make huge mistakes when it comes to the choices you make. Sometimes your main meal could contain two days worth of fat, so Dave has given us these choices to still enjoy ourselves when eating out either at restaurants or fast food restaurants.
There is information in here that you may not have ever heard in here and when you find out why, the choices are even easier for us. When he tells you about the amount of meat in burgers and how that can be four days worth of meat in one sitting. Scary. He's done a years worth of investigating to put this book together and bring us these facts and found that the typical fast food restaurant has about 552 calories per entre and a typical sit down restaurant has aprox 870 and these numbers will shock you into better choices.
Dave is well researched and knows what he's talking about. I love this book and find it really interesting even if you don't need to watch your weight but just want to make healthier choices. You can take it around with you when you are in the drive thru or at a deli etc etc. Therefore I think everyone can benefit from reading this book and would make the perfect birthday gift or a treat to yourself. I love it.
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on December 8, 2010
Eat This, Not That, is chocked full of surprising health statistics about eating out. Did you know that Arby's Beef and Cheddar is healthier than their Marketfresh Sandwiches?
Other interesting tidbits:

- Cheeseburgers often have less calories than fast food salads.
- Chick-fil-A is the best rated fast food restaurant, with all meals coming in below 500 calories.
- Wraps are not a healthier substitute for sandwiches.
- Pinto beans usually are cooked with meat in the sauce, so they are not vegetarian.

The book also lists menus for different types of cuisine, what is healthy, and why other options are unhealthy. It even gets into the details of holiday dinners, ball park treats, and other special occasion consumptions. There is also a section for what to eat when you feel... tired, nervous, old, etc.

This is a very thorough book, and is an eye opening read for the average consumer!
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This little book is invaluable for anyone who travels or has to eat out frequently. It provides simple alternatives at popular eateries and allows the reader to make better selections. Its handy size will allow you to carry it with you in the car or in your briefcase. The colorful pictures and simple text make it useful for younger individuals who need to watch what they eat, but don't want to have to tell their friends they can't go to a particular fast-food joint because there are no good choices. This enables them to make better choices!

I did not give this book five stars because it is so simple. I would have found it helpful if there had been an appendix (text only) with the complete calorie, fat, etc. breakdowns of all the items on menus at the popular fast food restaurants. This would have been a great supplement to the more simple information presented in the main text. Nevertheless, this book should prove valuable to anyone who takes the information to heart and actually uses it.
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on December 28, 2007
First of all, go to [...] for a sample of what you will find in this book. Their preview of the book is almost half of the stuff you will find in the actual book and it's structured about the same, so you can decide if you should still need to buy it (which you should because there's so much good advice in here)

Second, if you're serious about "dieting" or a lifestyle change, you shouldn't be eating too much of these foods anyways. However, if you love going out and you're tired of salads, this guidebook provides a lot of swaps you should try. There are many different types of chain restaurants so whereever you go, this book should be able to give you tips. There's examples from "healthier" places like Subway to those places that even if you swap out for a "healthier" item, you're still killing your diet, like Krispy Kreme.

There are 2 sections that I found helpful that was not available online - the drink section and the menu interpretations. I love coffee and beer. I can drink the occasional coffee and I cheat sometimes with beer. Upon reading the page about beer, it turns out my beloved Samuel Adams is listed under "Not that" and it highly recommends Beck's Light.

My favorite section of the book is the menu interpretations. We won't always be going to KFC, Subway, Chili's, etc and Dave knows this. He has listed sample menus from your run-of-the-mill taqueria, steakhouse, bbq joint, even sushiya! In each menu, it tells you what to eat and what to avoid!!

This book is just so helpful when you go out and it's advice will help you somewhat stay on your diet and still have fun. Just don't go overboard and think it's now okay to eat these items all the time.
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on May 10, 2008
I really like the idea behind this book, and applaud the authors for some good work. However, both of those commendable things are subverted by some real fundamental problems. First, there's the amount of information offered. It's not as much as you'd think, primarily because there's such an emphasis on the pictures. Do I need a picture of a breaded chicken sandwich? Do I need a dozen? No. Give me a table from each restaurant, annotated with hot spots and clever insights, and I'll have a lot more to go on. There really isn't nearly enough information in this book.

The biggest problem I have with it is two-fold: First, the authors use tricky phrasing and small print to make their points. For instance, at Panera Bread, the pizza-like alternative they say to eat is shown as a whole pizza, while a small-print item I didn't notice at first says that their caloric and fat estimates are based on 1/3 of the pie shown. This happens quite a few times throughout the book.

The second problem is that it's kind of a set-up job. The "not that" examples are usually stacked with the fattiest dressing, the highest-calorie beverage, etc. Basically, if there's a way to get fat and calories into the "not that" examples, they seem to have amped it to the extreme. I would have preferred more information and less sensationalism.

Overall, a good idea, but some flaws make it less than useful. Too bad.
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on December 11, 2007
This book sorts through good and bad foods and explains it all using great pictures. It's easy to read, and compact enough to go with you to the store or restaurant...
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