This may seem a strange book for me to be reading and reviewing…I am not obese (or overweight), never have been and in all likelihood, never will be. Until recently, I was one of the many people who thought overweight people were either eating too much and/or exercising too little. But then I discovered the real food movement, via books like Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions, and started to get a lot more interested in nutrition and health. I discovered Zoe Harcombe’s website by accident but decided that this book deserved a read. I am so glad I read it, because it is absolutely brilliant.
If like many people (including, sadly, governments and nutritionists involved in giving out advice on healthy eating) you think that a healthy diet is one low in calories, low in fat and with plenty of starchy carbohydrates then you need to read this book at once! Harcombe systematically dismantles the myths surrounding these “facts” about diet. For example, did you know that there has never been a study that conclusively showed an association (nevermind causation!) between high saturated fat intake and heart disease? According to our own Food Standards Agency in 2009 “The ideal controlled dietary trial for prevention of heart disease has not yet been done and it is unlikely ever to be done“.
Did you think that there were studies showing the benefits of eating plenty of carbohydrate? Erm, no, it’s just that if you tell people they need to eat less fat, then they need to eat something. Protein containing foods usually contain fat, so it has to be carbohydrates then.
In this book Harcombe systematically dismantles these and many other myths that have built up around diet. Myths that are perpetuated by our governments with their food pyramids and eat well plates. She does an excellent job of making this an entertaining and often amusing read, possessing as she does what could well be described as an acerbic wit, but after reading this book I have come away feeling somewhat angry and annoyed at the years of lies and mistruths I, and lots of other people interested in food and health, have been told.
So, what is the solution to the Obesity Epidemic? Harcombe suggests replacing current dietary advice with the simple advice to “Eat Naturally; Move Naturally“. She also gives advice on how this campaign might be put into practice. I would like to be hopeful about this but when you look, for example, at the website of the British Nutrition Foundation and see that their members include companies such as British Sugar, McDonalds and Birds Eye I don’t think that’s gonna happen, do you?
In the meantime, I shall be harping on to whoever will listen about this book and about the Weston A Price Foundation, and maybe start removing dietary advice literature from the doctors surgery and replacing them with WAPF leaflets…waddya reckon?!
I’ll end this post with Zoe Harcombe’s TV trailer about the book and suggest that you hop on over to her website, download her “20 Diet Myths” ebook, then treat yourself to some eggs, butter and real meat
Linking up this post to Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday.