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You Are What You Eat

Gillian McKeith

Average Review Rating Average Rating 2/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Michael Joseph

Published : 2004

Copyright : Gillian McKeith 2004

ISBN-10 : PB 0-7181-4765-0
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-7181-4765-5

Publisher's Write-Up

Addictive TV + Excellent Advice = The Diet Sensation of the Year. In the primetime Channel 4 television series You Are What You Eat, Dr Gillian McKeith works closely with eight ordinary people - dubbed Britain's Worst Eaters - to give them a diet makeover. As they get on the path to health their bodies and their lives turn around in amazing ways.

In the book, Dr Gillian brings together the advice and the real-life stories to create a diet makeover for all. There are 10 steps to follow, including Get To Know Your Own Body, Top 10 Bummers and Dr Gillian's Top 20 Crisis Tips, plus a 14-day start-up plan, which will literally transform the way we approach our diet and health. The results are incredible and anyone can do it.

At a time when the western world is waking up to the nightmare of obesity problems, Dr Gillian is the voice of inspiration - she's on a mission of tough love and her approach, very simply, works.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Nadine (310105) Rating (2/10)

Review by Nadine
Rating 2/10
This is the book to accompany the Channel Four series, designed to target our bad eating habits and make us aware of everything we put into our bodies. I must confess I never watched the programme, but everyone seems to be talking about it so I picked up the book with some interest. Regrettably, it is destined for the recycle bin.

In the prologue the author describes the event that led to her own awareness of the impact a healthy diet can have. Apparently she attended a lecture given by a woman who had been diagnosed with terminal bone cancer. The speaker described how she had been sent home to die, but embarked on a “macrobiotic” diet of raw vegetables, whole grains and nuts. Within months she had made a full recovery. The author describes this as an inspiration to us all, but frankly I didn’t find it inspiring. I found it alarming that she could get away with it. There are people out there who might actually believe that raw sprouts are a cure for cancer.

The rest of the book is packed with advice that I find highly questionable. For example, we are told that cooking our food destroys up to 85% of the nutrients, so we should make every effort to include raw food in our diets whenever possible. No doubt there are benefits, but the author neglected to mention that cooking also destroys most bacteria that cause food poisoning. She also states with some concern that the enzymes in our food are broken down by cooking. In point of fact, we cannot absorb whole enzymes anyway. If cooking doesn’t destroy them, our digestive systems certainly will.

One part that made me laugh out loud was the section on how food can be used as medicine to treat certain conditions. I have no quarrel with citrus fruit being good for the immune system and spinach boosting iron levels… but she goes a bit too far. For example, did you know that an effective method of treating a worm infection is to put garlic cloves in your socks? The active components then pass through the skin, into the blood and to the digestive system. This is where I began to seriously doubt this woman’s credentials. Surely it would be easier (and more socially acceptable) to just take a garlic capsule?

The whole text is littered with vague, pseudo-scientific statements that made me wonder if the author had ever read a medical journal in her life. In her section on the importance of eating organic food and avoiding residues of pesticides and fertilisers, she says: “There are numerous studies which show that chemicals inside our bodies do not help our health”. While there is nothing untrue about this statement, it doesn’t really tell us anything. To which chemicals does she refer? While they don’t help our health, do they actually harm us? Who performed these studies? Where are her references? Where are her quotes and statistics? If I were to completely change my diet to accommodate her advice, personally I would like to know what scientific sources she used in developing her theories. Since there is no bibliography, I couldn’t find a single creditable source.

I think what I found most objectionable was the bullying, patronising tone. She implies that her methods are the only ones worth bothering with, and unless we follow her advice we are all going to live unhappy lives and be fat and ill all the time. She fails to realise that those of us who are fortunate enough not to suffer from debilitating digestive conditions are really pretty robust when it comes to what food we can eat. Unless we are allergic to it there is absolutely no reason not to drink cows’ milk. Bread will not kill us, and as long as we have a balanced diet and keep quantities in moderation, there is no reason to cut out anything at all.

We evolved as a species of hunters and gatherers. We are designed to cope with whole winters eating nothing but dried mammoth meat. Perhaps in this day and age it would not be the ideal diet, but surely we do not need to limit ourselves to organic soya milk and raw broccoli. In my professional opinion (and I do have accredited training in both biochemistry and healthcare), anyone following her advice to the letter will be permanently hungry, thoroughly miserable and most probably will suffer from perpetual indigestion.

Grudgingly, I must point out that *some* of her advice is good. An abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables in the diet is undeniably beneficial. But do we really need another faddy diet book to tell us that?
Nadine (31st January 2005)

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