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The Omega-3 Diet Revolution, the Ultimate Health and Weight Loss Solution.

The Omega-3 Diet Revolution, the Ultimate Health and Weight Loss Solution

Ratnesar S. Pan MacMillan, Sydney, 2006, 368 pages, $33.00, ISBN 14053713X

There is no false modesty in the author's claims for this book. It offers the ultimate health and weight loss solution by combining nutrition advice, weight loss techniques and behavioural strategies with omega-3 magic. The author is an Accredited Practising Dietitian who has conducted her own research into omega-3 fatty acids.

This is a friendly and easy-to-read book, which is intent on motivating the overweight reader to make changes to their eating and exercise habits. It is based on sound advice and will surprise many readers with the amount and variety of foods included in the meal plans and recipes. Six eating occasions a day are recommended with plenty of seafood such as the oyster snack and the Sri Lankan seafood chowder, which I am looking forward to trying.

The book is divided into three parts, with the first part of 14 chapters providing sensible suggestions for making changes and nutrition facts. The meal plans and recipes make up the second and third parts. Readers may be able to relate to some of the case studies of clients, which are dropped into most chapters. These demonstrate how various people have made significant changes as recommended in the book and what physical and mental improvements have resulted. Another key characteristic of the book is the action plans for change, which conclude many of the chapters They help to summarise the preceding chapter and basic points are reiterated in slightly different ways throughout the book. In fact, there are several lists of dos throughout the book but very few don'ts, which give it an upbeat, positive quality in a magazine-type style. Readers can quickly read through these lists and take on board the points relevant to them.

The three phases of the diet, explained in the first chapter, are the omega energising phase for gradual weight loss (and weight maintenance for small or inactive people), the omega energising phase plus, which allows additional healthy fats and a few extra treats and the omega rapid weight loss phase, a lower kilojoule diet recommended for the times when weight loss plateaus or to help keep up motivation. This phase is only recommended for a maximum of three weeks at a time. The author claims from her experience with clients that within a few days of starting the program people feel much more energetic, hence the use of energising in the names.

A clear explanation of fats and an uncomplicated account of the benefits of essential omega-3s for different life stages are provided. However, this is no textbook and the science of fatty acids is greatly simplified to appeal to a general audience. Plant and marine sources of omega-3s are discussed with an emphasis on the more important long-chain omega-3s from seafood, omega-3 eggs and enriched foods.

The chapter on nutrition basics divides foods into three main groups: carbohydrates, proteins and fat depending on which is predominant in the food. I found this a bit confusing as dairy foods are classified as carbohydrate foods along with cereal foods, fruit and vegetables. Full-fat dairy foods are also listed as saturated fats. Carbohydrates are explained a bit more fully in the glycemic index chapter where I would have liked an explanation of glycemic load as well. There are plenty of food examples to demonstrate healthy eating and practical help with serving sizes and proportions. The shopping chapter is full of helpful hints for selecting healthier options and food labels and claims such as natural are demystified in a straightforward manner. Nutrition information panels are explained although it would have been helpful to include the omega-3 fatty acids, a focus of this book, to highlight how to compare amounts across different foods.

The author then moves onto the mind and, with a series of lists, provides a range of options on how to be motivated, how to fight stress-related eating, how to fight off a binge and how to stop being a nibbler. This is followed by more lists of ways to increase everyday activity and a set of 22 ultimate weight loss secrets. Not any real surprises here for dietitians but simple, practical advice for the general reader.

There are 14 menus for each phase of the diet and plenty of recipes (but no photos unfortunately) to help readers eat more seafood, legumes and vegetables. If the book succeeds only in getting this message across to a wide audience it will have been effective. This is not a glossy coffee table book but a simple and practical guide to better eating and activity habits, which really tries to make the reader feel good about themselves. Dietitians will find much of their usual advice in this book and the book will be helpful for many of their clients.

Wendy Morgan, PGDipNutDiet, APD

Executive Director, The Omega-3 Centre

North Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
COPYRIGHT 2007 Dietitians Association of Australia
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Morgan, Wendy
Publication:Nutrition & Dietetics: The Journal of the Dietitians Association of Australia
Date:Jun 1, 2007
Words:828
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