How Not To Diet | Michael Greger

Summary of: How Not To Diet: The Groundbreaking Science of Healthy, Permanent Weight Loss
By: Michael Greger


Welcome to ‘How Not To Diet: The Groundbreaking Science of Healthy, Permanent Weight Loss’ by Michael Greger. This book summary explores the surprising realities of our connection with food, obesity, and how to move forward on a healthier path. Discover the astounding link between our ancestors’ eating habits, the rise of calorie-rich processed foods, and the modern obesity epidemic. Learn why calorie intake is a bigger culprit for obesity than lack of exercise, and what changes were triggered by the food industry in the 1970s. You will also uncover the benefits of a plant-based diet, the importance of fiber, effective methods to cut down sugar, and the impact of low glycemic load on your health. Get ready to dive into this engaging journey that will transform the way you perceive food, weight loss, and your overall health.

The Evolutionary Biology of Overeating

One in three people are now obese compared to one in thirty a century ago. This change can be attributed to the availability of high-calorie processed foods. The evolution of human biology towards the preference for calorie-dense foods dates back centuries. In the past, humans struggled to find food, and it was essential to hunt for calorie-rich foods to obtain the necessary calories for their daily requirements. In the present-day, the environment is of abundance, and processed foods contain more calories than ever. Overweight bodies are doing what they have been taught to do over time when presented with excess calories.

The Real Culprit Behind Obesity

In the last 100 years, obesity rates have surged inexplicably, especially from the 1970s. The cause? The food industry is stuffing us with CRAP, calorie-rich and processed foods. Food companies have been producing more calories than necessary, and we have been consuming them, packing extra weight. A large part of the problem is that healthy food isn’t very profitable, unlike processed food, making billions in sales yearly. The answer is here, eat healthy and avoid CRAP.

Effective and Sustainable Weight Loss

The weight-loss industry is worth 50 billion dollars, but most of its offerings are short-term solutions. Scientific evidence suggests that an effective weight-loss diet should contain fiber-rich foods. Eating more fiber reduces overall calorie intake and the amount of calories absorbed, leading to weight loss. Consuming just 14 more grams of fiber a day results in an additional weight loss of 1.9 kilograms in four months. The best sources of fiber are legumes and whole grains like beans, chickpeas, and lentils. Incorporating sufficient fiber in the diet can prevent gradual weight gain and lead to sustainable weight loss.

The Impact of Glycemic Load on Weight Loss

Understanding how different carbohydrates affect your body can help you achieve weight loss goals and maintain a healthier diet. Foods with a high glycemic load can cause a spike in blood sugar levels and increase cravings, leading to overeating. By avoiding foods like white bread, rice, and potatoes, and instead opting for legumes, fruits, and non-starchy vegetables, you can counter metabolic slowdown and support weight loss efforts.

The Hassle with Fat

The belief that carbohydrates are solely responsible for the obesity epidemic while fat is guilt-free is a popular but false theory. The truth is that both carbohydrates and fat contribute to weight gain. The key to weight loss is a low-fat diet, which is more effective than commonly believed. However, the problem is that people have unrealistic expectations about what low-fat diets are. We often consume foods labeled as low-fat, but they contain a high percentage of fat. Our ancestors consumed meat that had half the fat content of today’s extra-lean meat. For this reason, the benchmark for an actual low-fat diet should be 10% of total calories per day. According to Dr. Dean Ornish’s trial, reducing fat intake to 6% on a whole-plant food diet for a year results in an impressive average weight loss of 24 pounds. A crucial step in minimizing fat intake is to cut down on added oils. Sauteing or frying food in wine, sherry, vinegar, or broth instead is a healthier option.

Sugar and Weight Loss

The excessive consumption of added sugars is contributing to the obesity epidemic in the US. Americans consume an average of 17 teaspoons of added sugar per day, which is 350-500 excess calories leading to weight gain. Studies show that reducing sugar intake leads to weight loss, and current guidelines recommend only 10% of daily calories come from added sugars. The food industry typically argues that a calorie is a calorie, but studies show that sugar consumption leads to overeating. The ideal recommended daily intake of added sugars is 5%, and people who cut out added sugars for just two weeks reported decreased cravings. By addressing added sugar consumption, individuals have a significant opportunity to reduce calories and improve their health.

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