By Dr. Michael F. Roizen and Dr. Mehmet C. Oz
Review by Nathan R. Unger
PharmD Candidate, University of Florida College of Pharmacy
Eat walnuts, almonds or peanuts 30 minutes before a meal. Avoid aluminum-containing deodorants. Drink one to two glasses of water before a meal. Supplement daily with fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. These are just a few of the “waist management” tips offered by Drs. Roizen and Oz in their book YOU: On a Diet, Revised Edition: The Owner’s Manual for Waist Management.
This book is by no means your ordinary book on weight loss and dieting; in fact, the authors de-emphasize weight loss and dieting that use techniques like the power of the mind, calorie counting, or even starvation. Throughout the book the reader will encounter “factoids”, “myth busters” and “YOU-reka!” moments that supply interesting nuggets of information and aid in debunking preconceived notions. As the title implies, the authors focus on the importance of waist, not weight, management. The book is constructed using four parts and three appendices that span 354 pages where Drs. Roizen and Oz guide the reader on a journey into the human mind and body and their physiological response to food and how that physiological response is altered by a larger than ideal waist size.
The authors begin the adventure in Part 1, entitled “What a Waist!” where they address the ideal body disposition and how the body is designed to maintain that ideal weight; moreover, they discuss how their methods strive to accentuate those functions.
In Part 2, “The Biology of Fat,” there is an attempt to explore and explain to the readers the science and physiological processes of appetite, digestion and gut inflammation using friendly terms and illustrations. Important information delivered in this unit includes avoiding foods that list simple sugars, enriched, bleached or refined powders and high fructose corn syrup within the first five ingredients. Interestingly, high fructose corn syrup, often found in soft drinks and low-fat foods, is not recognized as regular food thus satiety is not achieved and hunger continues. One suggested method to prolong satiety is to consume nuts which release calories slowly throughout the gastrointestinal tract; plus five to fifteen percent of the caloric content is not absorbed owing to the incomplete digestion from the physical skin of the nuts and mastication.
In Part 3, “The Science of the Mind,” the authors explain to the readers how stress, hormones, and emotions influence eating, or overeating. They address why mistakes or “falling off the wagon” will happen and why we need not blame ourselves. Not only is thirty minutes of daily exercise in any shape or form emphasized throughout the book for its positive impact on fat, hormones, and muscle, but also for its significant effect on deterring hunger. Starvation as a means to diet is explicitly discouraged as it shifts the body into fat storing mode and slows metabolism. For this reason it is recommended that one never achieve the feeling of hungry and consistently maintain a level of satisfaction by eating throughout the day.
Finally, Part 4, the “YOU Diet and Activity Plan,” brings the discussion together and introduces the reader to simple exercises and about 40 recipes that satisfy the desired components of the You-diet. One does not need to join a gym or purchase a treadmill in order to perform the recommended exercises; nevertheless, the use of weights is certainly not discouraged.
The science of the book is sound, but the necessity of the detail and depth the authors provide is questionable for the prospective reader. It is possible that educating the reader on the role of certain hormones in satiety and metabolism and how such processes are hindered by obesity may provide insight into the biological mechanisms of resistance they are facing. In addition, particular discussions of the physiological roles were often repeated unnecessarily. Many illustrations are fun and effective at delivering the message, but a good portion are unnecessary and distracting.
In essence, the value of the content is exceptional and ought to serve as a substantial source of knowledge for any reader embarking on a lifestyle altering journey. However, it could be condensed into a more manageable serving size. For example, the “99-second edition” beginning on page 200 does a superb job of focusing the discussion of the 199 prior pages without all the illustrations and intricate details of the human body.
I would recommend this book as a great resource for medical professionals.
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