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Diets, Deconstructed: The Best Life Diet

Posted Sep 12 2008 3:58am
Sure, Bob Greene's diet plan has Oprah's approval, but does it pass NYU Professor Lisa Sasson's critical eye?

Let's see what she has to say.

What I Like:

" This book emphasizes the incorporation of physical activity into a healthy eating plan for optimal success. Even better, unlike some books that assume readers can jump right into complicated workouts, Bob Green somewhat individualizes exercise recommendations depending on people's physical state and ability.

Also, there is no universal caloric goal. Again, this is as personalized as a book for the masses can be.

I also really appreciate the mention of emotions, stress, and hunger awareness. Healthy eating isn't just about knowing that broccoli has vitamin C. There are other emotional, social, and psychological factors that affect our food choices."

What I'm Not So Sure Of:

"The phases last a little too long, and could cause people to lose motivation and abandon the diet. Also, different supplements are advocated from the beginning. I would rather he encourage people to get as many nutrients from real food as possible, rather than in pill form."

What I Don't Like:

"Bob Greene makes too big a deal of refined carbohydrates. Like a lot of other books out in the market now, he calls for their elimination during the first phase of his diet.

There are even statements suggesting that refined carbohydrates are addictive, and that shunning them for four weeks during phase one will help stop that addiction. This has absolutely no basis in reality. Many foods can be healthy in small amounts.

A dinner of grilled chicken, vegetables, and half a cup of regular pasta is a perfectly healthy meal. If someone doesn't like whole wheat pasta, they shouldn't be forced to eat it. Also, a plain baked potato, with its fiber, vitamin C, and potassium, should never be seen as a "diet buster".

I also think it's important to respect cultural sensitivity. Refined carbohydrates are a staple in many international cuisines, many of which don't have nearly the same obesity problem we do here. For example, I think it would be ridiculous to recommend that a Japanese person start having sushi rolls made of brown rice."

In Conclusion:

" Bob Greene's book goes beyond just dieting and food. I am glad physical activity and the emotional and social factors behind eating are discussed.Overall, the diet plan is well-rounded, but there are excessive restrictions that I don't think are necessary.

I wouldn't have a problem recommending this book to one of my clients because, overall, Bob Greene offers comprehensive nutrition information."

A big thank you to Lisa Sasson for sharing her time and opinion with us!

Here are my two cents:

I was rather surprised by some of Bob Greene's suggested buys. For example, he recommends Yoplait yogurt, which contains high fructose corn syrup and, in some varieties, artificial sweeteners.

Why doesn't he recommend plain unsweetened yogurt -- regardless of the brand -- which can be sweetened with fresh fruits? There is nothing special in Yoplait yogurts that can't be found in other brands.

Lastly, I wish diet book authors would respect their readers a little more and not ask them to log on to their websites and pay extra money for advice and tips that could have very well been included in the text.

On a more positive note, I agree with Lisa Sasson that, for the most part,Bob Greene offers sound nutritional advice for the most part that can help people improve their dietary patterns.

In my grade book, Bob Greene's Best Life Diet scores a B+.

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