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What to Eat When You're Expecting Paperback – January 7, 1986

2.4 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This mother-and-daughters team, authors of What to Expect When You're Expecting, present what they call the Best-Odds Diet, a clear, well-informed and easy-to-follow plan that places emphasis on lean protein, plenty of calcium, vitamin C and other minerals and vitamins. (Scaled down, this diet could enhance anybody's health anytime.) Daily requirements are calculated in servings. Ice cream and pickles, as well as any other sugary, salty and overly processed foods, are frowned upon by the authors, but allowances for "cheating" are made. The book proceeds from the needs of mother and fetus to changing eating habits to problems like morning sickness and heartburn and what a vegetarian mother should do to ensure correct nutrition. One-hundred tasty and practical recipes follow.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Dedicated to "the very important premise that diet has statistically dramatic influence on the outcome of pregnancy," the authors focus on what to eat to ensure as healthy a child as possible. Topics range from preparing for pregnancy to preparing for the second child, and include food for dad and other kids too. Being comfortable, eating while nursing, food groups, monitoring weight gain, how to indulge cravings and avoid aversions, and what to watch out for (alcohol, for example) are also included. Perhaps the strongest section is that with recipes. A solidly written book, recommended for those who are willing to monitor their pregnancies carefully. Patty Miller, New Hampshire Vocational-Technical Coll., Laconia
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 349 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company (January 7, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0894800159
  • ISBN-13: 978-0894800153
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,581,051 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Confusing, Contradictory, and Out-of-Date
This entry from the popular What to Expect series will disappoint, confuse, or confound most readers, even fans of series. Although it provides some guidelines, they don't translate into a coherent diet that's possible to actually follow. In a word, it's restrictive, although the authors authorize some cheating. (Yes, once a month you can have a scoop of ice cream or a bran muffin, but NOT both!)
Written in 1986, the book packs in plenty of nutritional information, however, it's a safe bet that nutrition and pregnancy guidelines have changed in the past 17 years. Like many diet books, it starts by selling the benefits of the system (and warning of the dire consequences of failure). Following the traditional diet book map, it next evaluates your current eating habits (possibly giving you this score: "Under 70 means you've let everything you ever heard or read about nutrition pass you by. If you want a healthy baby and a comfortable and safe pregnancy, start taking the Daily Dozen as seriously as the Ten Commandments - now.") After scaring you - er - scoring you, the book moves into tips for changing your eating habits.
As its cornerstone, it introduces the "Daily Dozen," 12 servings that a pregnant body needs. Unfortunately, it skimps on the guidelines for what equals a serving. The section with examples has only 10 pages and it's buried in the middle of a chapter. Although the authors point out that one food can stand for several servings (milk is a 1/3 of a protein, a calcium, and something else ... I just spent 15 minutes flipping through the book trying to find this part, but I still can't.), they fail to list of such ingredients in a way that's actually useful.
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Format: Paperback
The backbone of this controversial book is an eating plan -- the "best odds diet" -- that INCLUDES generous amounts of whole grains, dairy products, protein, fruit and vegetables and EXCLUDES all sugars. The authors claim that by following this diet and carefully monitoring one's weight, a woman has the "best odds" of producing a healthy, full-term baby and staying healthy herself.

Women have difficulties with this diet for several reasons. First is the sheer amount of food one is required to eat. Something like 4 dairy servings, 4 protein servings, 5-7 whole grain servings, 2 vitamin C foods, 3 leafy greens/orange foods, etc. Second is the complete exclusion of "sugar", including honey and molasses, with the suggestion that concentrated fruit juices (esp. apple juice concentrate) be used instead. Third is the authors' obsession with limiting weight gain. This book strongly favors staying at the very bottom of a 25-35 pound weight gain, one author boasts of her 20-pound gain (lower than medically advised unless we assume she is overweight), and the only weight-gain charting example is for a minimal gain.

I think many women would make the necessary changes to include the required foods if it were not for the exclusion of sugars and the focus on minimal weight gain, which makes one neurotic about cramming down 7 whole-grain servings each day. Although the authors claim their diet is "scientific" they produce no evidence for it. Their claims rest on studies such as: 1. severely malnourished women produce babies with health problems; 2. a Harvard study found that women with poor diets tend to have babies in poor health, with average diets have babies in average health, and with excellent diets have babies in excellent health; 3.
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Format: Paperback
Herbal tea is dangerous?

No white bread?

By the time my wife and I had skimmed through "What To Eat..." we were concerned enough with what we read to ask our doctor. He dismissed it with a wave of his hand. "Everyone is trying to sell a book," he said. "The way to sell books is to say something extreme."

We found that the best way to use this book was to learn the principles (wheat germ and cottage cheese are "efficient" vehicles of nutrition, we found), but not become too alarmed by the extremisim.

Buy the book, stock your kitchen pantry as suggested, and even try some of the recipes...

but remember to take a deep breath, not panic and use your own common sense when it comes to feeding the life inside you.

PS: If you haven't done so already, take a look at the excellent "What To Expect When You're Expecting." It has the balanced, common-sense approach to the whole "baby thing" that this book lacks.
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Format: Paperback
A more appropriate title for this book would be, What to Eat When You're Expecting If You Have an Eating Disorder.

Weighing yourself everyday? Ordering broiled meat without sauce in restaurants? "Cheating" by eating a bagel with cream cheese? Sounds an awful lot like the last diet I went on. I brought this book into an appointment with my OB, who said, "Yes, I looked at that book when I was pregnant. I remember thinking, I'm glad I'm a physician, or this would really freak me out."

Expectant Moms: Please, please, do not buy this book. Don't read it. Eat like a healthy, reasonable, HUNGRY human being and follow your doctor's advice. Don't listen to advocates for "a good looking pregnancy," or an author who boasts about gaining only twenty pounds during her pregnancy (five pounds less than the minimum recommendation).

There's enough pressure in this culture to be thin during our ordinary lives. Let's not take it to the point of striving to be thin while we're pregnant. Shame, shame on Heidi Murkoff.
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