Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating

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The bestselling guide to healthy eating, debunking dietary myths, and proposing the radical benefits of low-carbohydrate diet, Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy is “filled with advice backed up by documented

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The bestselling guide to healthy eating, debunking dietary myths, and proposing the radical benefits of low-carbohydrate diet, Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy is “filled with advice backed up by documented research” (Tara Parker-Pope, The Wall Street Journal).

Dr. Walter Willett’s research is rooted in studies that tracked the health of dieters over twenty years, and in this groundbreaking book, he critiques the carbohydrate-laden diet proposed by the USDA.

Exposing the problems of popular diets such as the Zone, South Beach, and Atkins, Dr. Willett offers eye-opening research on the optimum ratio of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, and the relative importance of various food groups and supplements. Find out how to choose wisely between different types of fats, which fruits and vegetables provide the best health insurance, and the proportions of each to integrate into their daily diet.
Aimed at nothing less than totally restructuring the diets of Americans, Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy may well accomplish its goal. Dr. Walter C. Willett gets off to a roaring start by totally dismantling one of the largest icons in health today: the USDA Food Pyramid that we all learn in elementary school. He blames many of the pyramid’s recommendations–6 to 11 servings of carbohydrates, all fats used sparingly–for much of the current wave of obesity. At first this may read differently than any diet book, but Willett also makes a crucial, rarely mentioned point about this icon: “The thing to keep in mind about the USDA Pyramid is that it comes from the Department of Agriculture, the agency responsible for promoting American agriculture, not from the agencies established to monitor and protect our health.” It’s no wonder that dairy products and American-grown grains such as wheat and corn figure so prominently in the USDA’s recommendations.

Willett’s own simple pyramid has several benefits over the traditional format. His information is up-to-date, and you won’t find recommendations that come from special-interest groups. His ideas are nothing radical–if we eat more vegetables and complex carbohydrates (no, potatoes are not complex), emphasize healthy fats, and enjoy small amounts of a tremendous variety of food, we will be healthier. You’ll find some surprises as well, such as doubts about the overall benefits of soy (unless you’re willing to eat a pound and a half of tofu a day), and that nuts, with their “good” fat content, are a terrific snack. Relying on research rather than anecdotes, this is a solidly written nutritional guide that will show you the real story behind how food is digested, from the glycemic index for carbs to the wisdom of adding a multivitamin to your diet. Willett combines research with matter-of-fact language and a no-nonsense tone that turns academic studies into easily understandable suggestions for living. –Jill Lightner

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