Saturday, January 13, 2018

Book Review: Eat, Drink And Be Healthy

Next up for review is Eat, Drink And Be Healthy, which is an updated 2nd edition of the original work published in 2001. The author, Dr. Walter Willett, is a Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. He was the director of the nutrition department at Harvard when I was in grad school. It was an honor to learn from him and you will not find a more impressive and respected nutrition researcher anywhere in the world.

Introduction
This book is basically a nutrition research encyclopedia, summarizing the most important literature of the past few decades. Dr. Willett organizes the book into 7 diet and lifestyle recommendations that have a powerful impact on risk of chronic disease. The book is 378 pages long. It is extremely well written and researched and I truly enjoyed reading it.  This is the best nutrition book I have ever read and the original version is the 2nd best nutrition book I have ever read.

5 Things I Really Liked About Eat, Drink, And Be Healthy
1) The best thing about this book is that all of the recommendations are based on scientific evidence. There is not a person in the world that understands nutrition research as well as Dr. Willett. He is considered the father of Nutritional Epidemiology and this book is a bible of nutrition research. So many popular diet books make recommendations based solely on the opinion of the author. It is so very nice to read a nutrition book making recommendations that are based on peer-reviewed evidence.

2) The chapter on dietary fats is amazing. There has been a lot of confusion lately about which fats are healthy and which are not that has been generated by popular diet books and the media. Dr. Willett sets the record straight.

3) If you have worked with me personally or read any of my books, you already know that carbohydrate quality is of extreme importance to me. Dr. Willet does an amazing job with his chapter on carbohydrates.

4) I really liked the section on how to decipher nutrition research. The media does a horrible job when disseminating new nutrition research. Their goal is clearly to generate buzz and sell newspapers and they often completely misinterpret research findings. Dr. Willett explains the process of the scientific method and how it is normal and fine to get contradictory results from nutrition research from time to time. Recommendations should never be altered based on just one study. You always want to look at a new study in the context of research done in other populations and with different study designs. Willett really does a good job explaining this.

5) The chapter on weight loss diets is outstanding. Willett goes through each of the popular diet strategies out there and expertly lists the pro’s and con’s of each. This is probably the coolest part of the book, in my opinion.

Is Eat, Drink And Be Healthy Worth Reading?
Absolutely! As I mentioned above, if you could read just one book on nutrition, this would be it. Dr. Willett has changed the way we conduct nutrition research and millions have benefitted from his work. I think this book should be required reading for all high school students. There are very few books out there that can actually change the course of your life after reading them, this is one of them.

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