Summertime 2010 Book Review Series: ‘Living Low Carb’ By Dr. Jonny Bowden
Posted Jun 23 2010 2:29pm
Books, books, and more books! I got ‘em coming out of my ears for the Summer of 2010, so I’m doing this special series of reviews of the newest and best low-carb, health, and nutrition books that you may want to take a closer look at. Many of the authors of the featured books are scheduled to be guests on my podcast show in the coming months. My goal is to try to feature at least one new book review a day, every day all summer long. There’s a lot of great stuff out there you need to know about and I can’t wait for you to see what all is available! ENJOY!
One of the most honest and accurate health writers and speakers on the planet today has got to be the amazingly prolific and one of the all-around lovable good guys– Dr. Jonny Bowden . His stellar writings which are featured through a wide multitude of various nationally-syndicated columns such as on AOL, The Huffington Post, iVillage as well as his bestselling line of books make him a highly sought after expert on all things related to nutrition, diet, and living a healthy lifestyle. Back in 2003, he penned what many in the low-carb community considered the quintessential magnum opus book on the awesome benefits of carbohydrate-restriction that has ever been written in a readable style that was palatable to anyone interested in learning more about what this way of eating is all about. The book was called Living The Low Carb Life: From Atkins to the Zone Choosing the Diet That’s Right for You and it was an outstanding book that literally allowed you to compare all of the most popular low-carb diet plans side-by-side with a brief synopsis of each one along with the pros and cons to decide which one is best for you. Dr. Bowden has always maintained the philosophy that people need to find the diet that is right for them.
But when the low-carb diet supposedly fell out of favor with the public in 2005 after the big low-carb food marketing craze subsided, Dr. Bowden’s publisher discontinued printing the book despite strong sales. Then in 2009 there was such a great demand for this book by people sincerely interested in learning more about what low-carb living was all about and the emergence of a whole host of solid scientific evidence supporting low-carb diets that the publishers had no choice but to contact Dr. Bowden requesting that he update his classic book with all of this brand new information that has released since the publication of his original manuscript. The end result of that updated and expanded version of his 2003 book is what we have in the 2010 edition renamed Living Low-Carb: Controlled-Carbohydrate Eating for Long-Term Weight Loss.
For fans of the original book, most of the information contained in this update will be familiar. But there are a lot more diets included in the comparison including ones that have released in the past few years like The Biggest Loser, The Maker’s Diet, The TNT Diet, YOU: On A Diet, Curves, The Low GI Diet, and The 6-Week Cure For The Middle-Aged Middle, for example. The format for featuring these various low-carb plans (and a few non-low-carb ones as well!) is the same as the first book–a quick “in a nutshell” overview of the plan, a few pages explaining the genesis of the program and how it works, and finally you get “Jonny’s Lowdown” where he give a 1-5 star rating for the diet along with commentary explaining the positive and negative aspects of the particular diet he is highlighting. There are 38 diets examined in all and you can bet it includes just about all of the major low-carb diet plans out there (with the exception of the bestselling New Atkins For A New You which released in March 2010 after the publication of this book).
Before he gets to the comparisons, though, Dr. Bowden lays the groundwork why low-carb living is optimal not just for weight loss but also your health with a series of chapters. He begins Chapter 1 by providing the history behind low-carb and how it all came about in the first place thanks to a man named William Banting (surprise, it wasn’t the late, great Dr. Robert C. Atkins who first created low-carbohydrate diets). Then in Chapter 2, Dr. Bowden meticulously explains why low-carb diets work by showing you the mechanism that takes place when you eat this way. A new chapter included in this update is about the ongoing controversy regarding dietary fat and cholesterol and whether they negatively impact heart health as most of the “experts” have been saying for decades. A discussion of whether we’ve been “misled” on this issue and supporting facts making the case for that are included in Chapter 3.
Another new addition to the book is Chapter 4 begs the question, “So Why Isn’t Everyone On A Low-Carb Diet? (OR Why Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About This Stuff)” is an eye-opener to anyone who is still convinced that the conventional wisdom regarding high-carb, low-fat and even vegetarian diets is the optimal nutritional path. The continued misinformation about healthy low-carb diets persists despite both anecdotal and scientific proof to the contrary. Dr. Bowden explains some of the obstacles that stand in the way of low-carb being widely accepted by our culture and what needs to be done to bring out the truths behind this dietary lifestyle change. Chapter 5 explores the concept of the “metabolic advantage” on low-carb diets while Chapter 6 tackles most of the biggest myths about low-carb, including the assumption you’re missing out on nutrients eating this way, the alleged danger of being in ketosis, the fear of kidney damage eating so much protein, the needless heart disease fears, and more. All of this information is written in an easy-to-understand yet thorough way so that the reader will feel confident in the veracity of everything they soak in from the 400+ pages included in this updated version.
After going through all of the diet comparisons in Chapter 7, Dr. Bowden shares an inspiring story in Chapter 8 about an aboriginal community in Canada that was placed on a high-fat, low-carb diet and went on to lose 1200 pounds between them as part of a study conducted by Dr. Jay Wortman featured in a documentary called My Big Fat Diet . Chapter 9 covers the use of supplementation and diet aides while on low-carb which is simply a synopsis of a lot of the information contained in several of Dr. Bowden’s other recent books on this subject. The frequently asked questions in Chapter 10 is probably the most exciting part of this book because it includes a potpourri of burning questions that real people have submitted to Dr. Bowden over the years, including when can I eat carbs again, how long will it take for me to lose 10 pounds, why am I constipated, how do I beat sugar cravings, how many calories do I need to eat on low-carb, and many more. It’s quite the collection of the real-life questions most people have about low-carb diets with a level-headed professional response to each.
In Chapter 11, you get to pick up on 50 or so “tricks of the trade” to make your low-carb lifestyle much more pleasurable and effective while preventing the bad habits that inevitably creep into the diet of anyone who has “failed” at being a success on low-carb. Finally in Chapter 12, Dr. Bowden helps you assimilate all of the information he’s provided in his book to discover exactly which plan is going to provide the best success for YOU! In the end, that’s the primary purpose of Living Low Carb–you want to find what will work for you and then DO IT! Once you choose your program, there are a whole host of low-carb support resources listed in the back of the book, including web sites, blogs, books, and cookbooks to keep you on the straight and narrow as you begin your low-carb journey in earnest. If you could only get one book about low-carb, then this is it! Dr. Jonny Bowden has done his homework. Now you have the tools and information to take away all of your excuses and make livin’ la vida low-carb work for you. GO FOR IT!