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Battle of the diet books II.

Then we last reviewed diet books (Jan./Feb. 2004, p.1), low-carb was king. The South Beach Diet and Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution ruled the bestseller list. Good Carbs, Bad Carbs and The New Glucose Revolution weren't far behind.

Only two have survived that list of 10: South Beach (that's good, given its sensible advice) and Eat Right 4 Your Type (that's bad, given its scientific-sounding baloney).

The latest crop of weight-loss books pooh-poohs both low-carb and low-fat diets. The good news is that most of them recommend fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other healthy foods and rail against sweets, refined grains, and bad fats. Can't complain about that, even if the rationale is sometimes, shall we say, imaginative.

Since no large, long-term studies have tested these diets on weight, we can't judge their ability to trim your physique. Instead, we've rated each book's scientific credibility ("Is the Science Solid?") and whether the diet is healthy (good points are marked with a [up arrow] and not-so-good points with a [down arrow]). In "What You Eat," Yes means frequently and Less means rarely, if ever.

These weight-loss books are listed in the order they appeared on this spring.
Name Claim What You Eat

The Rice Diet Austere, high-carb Yes: whole grains (not
Solution diet that limits salt just rice), fruits,
by Kitty Gurkin (an appetite stimulant) vegetables, beans,
Rosati and and fat will detox your (limited) fish, non-fat
Robert Rosati body and trim pounds. dairy.

 Less: all other foods.

The Fat Smash Detox your body with Yes: fruits,
Diet (mostly) fruits and vegetables, whole
by Ian K. Smith vegetables for 9 days, grains, seafood, lean
 eat 4-5 small meals meats, low-fat dairy,
 every day, and sugar substitutes.
 Less: sweets, refined
 grains, fatty meats,
 alcohol, fried foods,
 fat-laden salad

The South Switching to the Yes: seafood, chicken
Beach Diet "right" carbs stops breast, lean meat,
by Arthur insulin resistance, low-fat cheese, nuts,
Agatston cures cravings, and oils, most vegetables;
 causes weight loss. (later) whole grains,
 most fruits, low-fat
 milk or yogurt, beans.

 Less: fatty meats,
 full-fat cheese,
 refined grains,
 sweets, juice,

Ultra-Metabolism Turn up your metabolism Yes: whole grains,
by Mark Hyman by controlling fish, grass-fed or
 gut-brain-fat-cell organic beef or
 communication, stress, poultry, nuts, soy
 inflammation, thyroid foods, beans, fruits,
 function, and toxins vegetables.
 in your home and your
 liver. Less: sugar, artificial
 sweeteners, oils,
 refined grains, dairy
 foods, processed

The Shangri-La Curb your appetite and Yes: 1-3 Tbs. Of sugar
Diet lower your body's in water and/or 1-2
by Seth Roberts preferred weight Tbs. of extra-light
 (set point) by olive oil each day
 consuming unflavored between meals.
 sugar water and oil
 between meals. Less: processed foods

The Sonoma Diet The right carbs and Yes: olive oil, nuts,
by Connie fats, wine, and 10 fruits, vegetables,
Guttersen "power foods" bring whole grains, fish,
 lasting weight loss, lean poultry, meat,
 health, and energy. wine, (limited) dairy.

 Less : sweets, refined
 grains, fatty meats,

Eat Right 4 Your blood type Type O. Yes: meat,
Your Type determines your diet, seafood, fruits,
by Peter J. supplements, and vegetables.
D'Adamo & personality because
Catherine it is "the key to your Less: wheat, beans.
Whitney body's entire immune
 system." Type A. Yes: fruits,
 vegetables, beans,
 most seafood.

 Less: meat, dairy,

 Type B. Yes: meat,
 beans, fruits,
 vegetables, seafood.

 Less: chicken, wheat.

 Type AB. Yes: seafood,
 dairy, fruits,

 Less: meat.

Eat, Drink, & Gradual shifts to a Yes: fruits,
Weigh Less healthier, more vegetables, whole
by Mollie Katzen delicious diet will grains, legumes, nuts,
& Walter Willett trim your waist. unsaturated oils, fish,
 poultry, beans.

 Less: fatty meats,
 butter, full-fat dairy,
 trans fats, refined
 grains, sweets.

 Is the Science Is the Diet
Name Solid? Healthy?

The Rice Diet Yes, if you can stick [up arrow] Low in salt,
Solution to this very-low-fat, sugar, bad fat.
by Kitty Gurkin low-salt, low-flavor
Rosati and diet (sprinkled with [down arrow] Low in
Robert Rosati Buddhist mindfulness, protein.
 yoga, and the 12-Step
 program originally
 designed for Alcoholics

The Fat Smash Detox mumbo jumbo [up arrow] Mostly
Diet aside, exercise and healthy foods.
by Ian K. Smith diet advice (fill
 up on fruits and [down arrow] Some
 vegetables) is solid, recipes high in
 if scarce. sodium.

The South Healthy version of [up arrow] Mostly
Beach Diet Atkins diet that's healthy foods.
by Arthur backed by solid
Agatston evidence on fats and
 heart disease.

Ultra-Metabolism Sketchy, unproven [up arrow] Unprocessed,
by Mark Hyman science that sounds healthy foods rich
 impressive. in fiber and

 [down arrow] Too many
 supplements backed by
 scant evidence.

The Shangri-La What science? Advice ? Who knows? The author
Diet is based largely on never identifies the
by Seth Roberts author's dieting and a "nutritious and
 few (misinterpreted) healthy" foods he
 rat studies. Many recommends.
 references are
 irrelevant, random

The Sonoma Diet Evidence for [up arrow] Mostly
by Connie Mediterranean diet is healthy foods.
Guttersen stronger for heart
 disease and diabetes [down arrow] Doesn't
 than for weight loss. mention that alcohol
 may increase risk
 of breast cancer.

Eat Right 4 Science fiction is more Not applicable (diet
Your Type like it. References varies according to
by Peter J. (some from the 1930s) blood type, ancestry,
D'Adamo & have little to do with etc.).
Catherine diet.

Eat, Drink, & Packed with good [up arrow] Mostly
Weigh Less science from Willett, healthy foods.
by Mollie Katzen who chairs the
& Walter Willett Nutrition Department at [down arrow] Could lead
 the Harvard School of people to use too much
 Public Health. oil.

 Worst Preposterous
Name Feature Claim

The Rice Diet Low protein (16 to 20 "It has been shown that
Solution grams a day) may lead we only really need
by Kitty Gurkin "Ricers" to lose about 20 grams of
Rosati and more muscle than a protein per day."
Robert Rosati higher-protein diet.

The Fat Smash Skimpy book for "There is no limit and
Diet "Smashers" has few there's no counting
by Ian K. Smith recipes, menus, details calories. But even
 ... Or words, for that with this freedom,
 matter. don't overeat!"

The South Restricts carrots, "Watermelon is bad."
Beach Diet bananas, pineapple,
by Arthur and watermelon.

Ultra-Metabolism Imprecise advice to "Relaxing makes you
by Mark Hyman take dozens of thin ... there are a
 supplements like number of foods that
 quercetin, fenugreek, will help you relax
 N-acetylcysteine, and reduce the impact
 taurine, glycine, of chronic stress ..."
 pycnogenol, rutin,
 and bioflavonoids.

The Shangri-La Tries to convince the "If you add cinnamon
Diet reader that "the better to your pizza, it will
by Seth Roberts food tastes, the more make it less fattening,
 fattening it is." at least the first

The Sonoma Diet Exaggerates benefits of "Radicchio's star
by Connie "power foods." nutrient, a
Guttersen phytochemical called
 intybin, aids digestion
 and strengthens the

Eat Right 4 People may use these "If you are a Type A
Your Type diets instead of woman with a family
by Peter J. effective treatments history of breast
D'Adamo & for cancer, asthma, cancer, consider
Catherine infections, diabetes, introducing snails
Whitney arthritis, high blood into your diet."
 pressure, and

Eat, Drink, & Recipes allow "salt to "If you're a little
Weigh Less taste" and don't list hungry at bedtime, let
by Mollie Katzen sodium levels. the slight discomfort
& Walter Willett be an overnight bridge
 connecting you with a
 delicious breakfast."
COPYRIGHT 2006 Center for Science in the Public Interest
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Publication:Nutrition Action Healthletter
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2006
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