Monday, July 21, 2008

Book Review

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Mission Statement: all reviews will be my honest assesment on the material in queston. My opinion will never be influenced by personal bias or my opinion of the author.

Eat Stop Eat Review




“Discover why one simple change to the way you eat will make you forget about every other super-complicated weight loss and diet program"

"The Eat Stop Eat method of using flexible intermittent fasting for weight loss is so completely uncomplicated that you can literally start the program the minute you finish reading this book. You don't need to buy any fancy foods or special diet supplements. You will start seeing results today!"

- Brad Pilon

Who is this book for?

Anyone interested in intermittent fasting; the science behind it, as a lifestyle or as a way to lose fat.

What will I learn from it?

Besides learning how to practise the Eat Stop Eat lifestyle, this book covers topics pertaining to intermittent fasting and metabolism, health, body composition, hormonal effects and much more.

Strong points

* Very newbie friendly, yet well referenced and scientificly accurate. This is the only book on the market with a substantial collection of research on intermittent fasting.

* Does a good job of dispelling the diet myths ('starvation mode' etc)

* An enjoyable reading experience.

Weak points

* There are no calorie/macronutrient specific guidelines given in this book, which might be a problem for some people. Of course, if you have a good grasp on calorie counting and such, this is a non-issue. On the other hand, I think Brad left out meal plans/nutrional guidelines intentionally, since he pushes this as a lifestyle diet rather than a 'diet' diet, so to speak.

* As for training, Brad refers to some of his affiliates, which feels like a cheap way out of having to come up with something of his own. It woudn't have hurt to put some basic workout templates in the book.

Overall

This is the best book about intermittent fasting you can get at the moment. Not a hard title to grab, seeing that there aren't that many around, but it's actually a surprisingly good read; it's written in laymans language, simple and easy to understand, but remains solid on the scientific side of things. I particularily liked that Brad choose not to skimp on the reference list. The main downside as I see it, is that it is a bit vague when it comes to the practical side of things (what to eat, how to train).


Eat Stop Eat Audiofiles Review



Click link and then click 'order form' on eatstopeat page to view this product

Who is this product for?

Anyone interested in the science and technicalities behind intermittent fasting.

What will I learn from it?

Brad speaks about intermittent fasting and how it relates to hormones, health, muscle/fat metabolism and exercise.

Strong points

* Covers the topic in fairly technical terms, but doesn't get over the top. Anyone should be able to understand and follow along after having read the book.

* Complements the book nicely.

* I particularily liked the chapter on insulin resistance and growth hormone.


Weak points

* Some type of lame new age music playing in the background. That, in combination with Brad's voice, made me sleepy at times.

Overall

Complements the book very well and I found the discussion interesting, despite being well versed in the topic myself.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Help me digg it

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I just added Digg and a social bookmarking icon to this site, and I'd greatly appreciate if you would digg any articles/posts that you like. Take a minute or two, it's not much to ask.

For example, by digging the post from 18th July, which explains why meal frequency doesn't have anything to do with boosting your metabolism, we might be able to spread the message just a little bit further and make people a little bit smarter and skeptical of what they hear and read about dieting.

The digg count will also help me determine what you as readers want more of, and prompt me to post more of the same stuff.

Tom Venuto responds to the criticism

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My review of Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle prompted me to seek some clarifications regarding Tom's stance on meal frequency and whether he has changed his stance since the latest edition. I think BFFM is a great book overall, so I wanted to give Tom a chance to meet my critcism personally. This is how it went.


---------

Hi Tom,

I'll keep this short and to the point.

I am an affiliate of your book and recently reviewed it on my site (check the post from 18th July). Credibility is important for me and I only review material I consider worth recommending.

The gist of the review was that I think BFFM is an excellent book, despite one major flaw; your stance wrt meal frequency and how it boosts your metabolism. This is simply put not true, as you probably know. I posted evidence to the contrary (check the excerpt from my book, the post above the book review).

In response to the review, my blog readers (and I) want to know if you have revised your stance wrt meal frequency and if you plan on releasing an updated version of BFFM.

Thanks for your time,

Martin

---------

Hi Martin

Thanks for your email. Actually, I'm somewhat familiar with the type of work you do, so I'm surprised and very much appreciative that you even took the time to read and review my particular ebook - among all the others out there - and then email me
about your concerns.

You wrote:

I'll keep this short and to the point. The gist of the review was that I think BFFM is an excellent book, despite one major flaw; your stance wrt meal frequency and how it boosts your metabolism. This is simply put not true, as you probably know. In response to the review, my blog readers (and I) want to know if you
have revised your stance wrt meal frequency


OF course! Anyone who has read my recent work knows that I've become an absolute stickler for scientific accuracy.

In fact, this is EXACTLY why people should listen to me today, because unlike some others in the diet field who are too emotionally and financially vested in their dogma to change, I believe its our responsibility as fitness/nutrition professionals to acknowledge errors, omissions or new data.

I haven't read your post but Ive read all the literature on meal frequency (I have at least 40 full text papers in my files), actually I read them a long time ago.. which is why its' my "bad" that I havent updated the book yet. The first edition was written in 2002.

yes there will be a new edition. Burn the Fat 2.0 may get released later this year, or at the latest early 2009.

heres what you will see in the new edition:

You will still see me recommend 5-6 small meals per day,and rather strongly. But not dogmatically. What you wont hear me say is that 6 meals increases metabolism or weight loss over 3 meals at an equal caloric intake.

You will also not hear me say that your metabolism slows down if you miss a single meal. (starvation
response) I already reviewed that data on my public blog last year:
http://www.burnthefatblog.com/archives/2007/11/is_starvation_mode_a_myth_no_i.php

It's important that my burn the fat ebook - both the original 1st edition and the new 2.0 edition that will be released soon - is viewed inside the context in which it is writen: the subtitle of the book gives the context:

"fat burning secrets of the world's best bodybuilders and fitness models"

One reason I am still very proud of that book after all these years, even though my knowledge and teaching ability has since multiplied exponentially, is that I made a promise and I delivered on it: I promised my readers that I would show them how bodybuilders and fitness/figure competitors do it. It did exactly that. As a matter of fact, It might help you if you view my book as somewhat autobiographical. Even if we (bodybuilders) did some dumb stuff (we did, LOL) or believed some dumb stuff (we did!). I delivered on my promise. The fact that I've spent 20+ years
going through the world of bodybuilding dogma and come out the
other side makes me a better person to teach this stuff today than
someone who has never been immersed in it

I also practice what I preach. I still compete to this day, drug-free for life, using
the same methods I teach in my book. Nothing has changed except my understanding of WHY certain things work.My technical errors in that original first edition, were virtually all about mechanisms, not methods. the methods worked, and looking at my client photos and my own competition photos are testimony to that fact.

Today, I do not view or pitch burn the fat, feed the muscle as an end-all-be all program, or as THE best solution and I have NEVER pitched it as "magic" in an attempt to sell more. I view it as A solution. Its one model. One way of doing it. Just like intermittent fasting is not THE way to do it, it's ONE way to do.

we are all amenable to certain laws, but there are many ways to skin a cat. four people can approach the same destination in the center of town, one each from the north, south, each and west. they are all heading in different directions on different paths, but all toward the same destination.

As an interesting footnote, my new book THE BODY FAT SOLUTION to be published in hard copy by a major NYC publisher in early 2009, is my attempt to show a different model: how does the average, busy overweight person with no inclination for number crunching, stay motivated, overcome emotional issues with food, deal with life stresses and pressures that get in the way, and burn fat, and keep fat off permanently. In the nutrition segment of this forthcoming hardcover book, i recommend THREE meals a day... plus 2-3 snacks.

Martin, THANK YOU again for contacting me. i appreciate the opportunity to personally answer your concerns about the old edition of my ebook. Other people would have just jumped on a forum and "flamed me."

sincerely,

Tom venuto

PS you have permission to reprint my reply as long as you reprint
the entire thing

---------


I was quite pleased with Tom's openmindedness and sensibility; it is a rarity in this industry.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Excerpt from my upcoming book

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Since I talked about meal frequency in the BFFM book review, and how 99% of diet/fitness books keeps reiterating the same old jargon about how several small meals a day 'stokes/fires up your metabolism', I thought I might as well go ahead and clear up the confusion surrounding this subject.

Note: Tom has changed his stance on higher meal frequency and metabolic rate. Read this: Tom Venuto responds to the criticism.

Below is an abbreviated (and unedited) excerpt from my upcoming book, with the working title 'The 16-8 System'. An extensive introduction to my approach can be found here.


(from a chapter called "Dispelling the Myths")

‘Eating several small meals a day is superior to a few large meals a day’

Despite being a highly impractical meal pattern for many people, this is by far the most common diet myth around; not only in the fitness community, but also in the mass media. As a consequence, it’s also the hardest diet myth to kill, as it’s being perpetually kept alive and repeated ad infinitum by the supplement industry, nutritionists that can’t put the research into proper context and people that just keeps repeating what the others are saying. Let’s look at what the actual studies can tell us about this topic.


Meal frequency and TEF


You’ve probably heard that eating smalls meals throughout the day ‘stokes the metabolic fire’ or is the ideal way to eat in order to control cravings and blood sugar; as consequence, this should also be the ideal way to eat for fat burning purposes. This belief is partly based on a gross and blatantly incorrect interpretation of research concerning TEF (Thermic Effect of Food).

Besides body weight, activity patterns and genetics, TEF is part of the equation that determines your metabolic rate for each given day. Paradoxically, ingesting energy costs energy and TEF is the increase in metabolic rate above basal conditions due to the cost of processing food for storage and use (ref). Simply put, every time you eat, the body expends a certain percentage of energy just to process the food you just ate. TEF varies between the macronutrients; protein is given a value of 20-25%, carbs 5% and fat 2-3% (ref). In a mixed diet, TEF is usually estimated to 10% of the calorie intake.

So, every time you eat, TEF comes into play and your metabolic rate increases in response to the meal you just ate. The problem here is that the research has been presented in such a way that it has lead people to believe that the net effect of TEF of several small meals would be greater than that of a few, large meals.

You see, TEF is directly proportional to the calories contained in the meal you just ate (ref). Assuming a diet of 2400 calories, with the same macronutrient composition, eating six small meals of 400 calories or three big meals of 800 calories, TEF will be exactly the same at the end of the day. The only thing that will differ between each meal pattern is the pattern of the spikes; six small meals will equal six small spikes in metabolic rates, while three big meals will equal three big spikes.

So, while eating several small meals a day will per definition ‘keep the metabolic furnace burning’, three big meals will ‘keep the metabolic furnace blasting’.

How about fat burning? As researchers have found, substrate metabolism is largely dictated by the meal you just ate and the macronutrient composition of your diet - how you split your meals have no consequence for the amount of fat oxidized at the end of the day (ref). Simply put, if you eat six small meals throughout the day, you will store and burn less fat between the meals compared to three meals a day, while you will store and burn more fat with three meals a day. Substrate metabolism will be different, but the net effect will be the same on either meal pattern.

Note that I say ‘store’, because fat storage and fat burning is an ongoing process – with six small meals you will store less AND burn less, and with three meals a day you will store more AND burn more. This is important to remember, as it can and has been twisted into ‘you will store more fat with three meals a day’. Sure, if you measure fat storage on a meal per meal basis, which is insane, but on the other hand you will burn more fat in between the meals. Whether you store or lose body fat at the end of the day is a consequence of intake minus expenditure; not meal frequency.

In conclusion, different meal splits have no effect on metabolic rate or fat metabolism.

I must admit that I’m a bit amazed at how people keep missing the boat when it comes to meal frequency and TEF. This myth is also prevalent in the minds of many professionals, which is even more confusing. The research is there, right in front of your eyes if you know where to look, and there’s been several large scale, meticulously controlled and well designed studies on the topic of meal frequency and TEF. And still, people keep believing that several small meals a day will increase your energy expenditure beyond what fewer, large meals will do.

Then again, the powers that be, in this case the supplement industry, loves the fact that the myth is being kept alive. What do people eat when they are being told that they should eat six meals a day? Well, it sure isn’t six home cooked meals. Rather, people are downing meal replacement products, protein shakes and bars in between the main meals. This is a billion dollar industry that is partly being kept alive by erroneous beliefs. Bodybuilding and fitness magazines usually have no interest in presenting accurate information about the topic, as they derive a large part of their financing from supplement ads. In fact, many magazine writers have a vested interest in keeping the myth alive as well, themselves being owners of supplement companies that make millions out of selling protein powders and meal replacement bars.

Is a high frequency meal plan ever warranted? Sure, if your energy expenditure is extremely high, it would probably be a lot more comfortable to consume your calories in several meals rather than a few very large ones. The 300 lbs off-season bodybuilder or endurance athlete that needs 5-6000 calories a day to maintain body weight would be better advised eating 6 meals of 1000 calories rather than 3 meals with 2000 calories. Some other instances, such as some teenagers having a hard time putting on weight, would also warrant a high frequency meal plan simply because it would be hard getting all the calories in three meals.

However, these cases represent a minority of people. Getting enough calories in few meals doesn’t seem to be a problem for the great majority, and going by the feedback the 16-8 system has been getting, it’s definitely a more comfortable way to eat for many people.


Studies cited for this excerpt (in no particular order)

Denzer CM - The effect of resistance exercise on the thermic effect of food - International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism

Bellisle F et al. Meal frequency and energy balance. Br J Nutr. 1997 Apr;77 Suppl 1:S57-70.

Westerterp KR et al. Influence of the feeding frequency on nutrient utilization in man: consequences for energy metabolism. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1991 Mar;45(3):161-9

Taylor MA , Garrow JS. Compared with nibbling, neither gorging nor a morning fast affect short-term energy balance in obese patients ina chamber calorimeter. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2001 Apr;25(4):519-28.

Jones PJ et al. Meal frequency influences circulating hormone levels but not lipogenesis rates in humans. Metabolism. 1995 Feb;44(2):218-23.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Book Review

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Mission Statement: all reviews will be my honest assesment on the material in queston. My opinion will never be influenced by personal bias or my opinion of the author.

Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle Review





“There are dozens of outstanding books on the subjects of nutrition and fat loss, but far too many of them are mired down in technical details and scientific terminology that are
either too difficult to understand or simply too damn boring...”

"...It never ceases to amaze me how some of these writers can take a simple concept and
make it sound mystical, complex, and a thousand times more confusing than it really is."

- Tom Venuto

Who is this book for?


Beginners, intermediate trainers and everyone else that needs a reminder about what it's all about.

What will I learn from it?

This book covers all of the basic topics that might interest someone looking to lean out effectively; what to eat, macronutrients, goal setting, how to measure progress and body composition, supplements, weight & cardio for fat loss.

Strong points

* Very newbie friendly. The book covers everything from the bottom up; while not delving into each topic in great detail, the range and thoroughness is impressive.

* Inspirational and motivational reading. Covers goal setting very well, which is often overlooked in most fitness books (despite being one of the most important subjects there is IMO).

* Good sample menus and workouts.

* You get your money's worth. This is 340 pages of solid information; no phony pics or filler material (in contrast to another popular book I read recently, which was 60 pages of text followed by 300 pages of pics and sample menus. Hint: think Star Trek, fat loss)

* An easy, very enjoyable reading experience.

Weak points

* Weak on the scientific side of things. Tom should look into updating this five year old book - especially the part about eating small meals throughout the day to 'stoke your metabolism' (as numerous studies have shown, a high meal frequency diet has no metabolic benefit vs a lower meal frequency diet). 99% of diet/fitness/bodybuiling books preaches the higher meal frequency route, so this should be viewed as rather mild criticism.

Note: Tom has changed his stance on higher meal frequency and metabolic rate. Read this: Tom Venuto responds to the criticism.


Overall

This was one of the first e-books I read, and it still stands out as one of the best and most complete books on the topic of fat loss. If you're looking for a 'broad range' book covering a multitude of topics, as opposed to niche books like The Stubborn Fat Solution or The Ultimate Diet 2.0, then this is hands down the best e-book money can buy.

Being five years old, it has some flaws; the jargon of small meals throughout the day to 'stoke your metabolism' is prevalent, but if you can overlook this you'll get heaps of good information. I particularily liked the part about goal setting, which is an often overlooked aspect of dieting and weight training.

I'll go as far as saying that 99% of weight trainers/fitness enthusiasts will get something from reading the book - if not because of the information contained within, then because of the motivational kick in the nuts it delivers.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Updated Interview

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You'll find it here.

This is a follow-up on the interview I did with Leigh Peele a while ago. New topics include women and IF, and why I believe IF is the best approach for maintenance. It's quite length, but after having read it you'll get a very good idea what my approach is all about. Check it out.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Controversies

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Check Lyle's latest blog post.

In short, Alwyn Cosgrove seems to have copy-pasted parts from The Ultimate Diet 2.0 into his own book Warp Speed Fat Loss

Monday, July 7, 2008

Book Reviews: Best of Lyle McDonald

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Mission Statement: all reviews will be my honest assesment on the material in queston. My opinion will never be influenced by personal bias or my opinion of the author.


First I thought I'd only review Lyle's latest books, but then again I've read them all and thought I might as well go ahead and do a ranked list of which books I consider his best.

Though my association with Lyle is no secret, I'm keeping these reviews honest and objective, as you'll discover.

Still, I consider Lyle to be the most sensible authority on all things nutrition related and in some cases I've resorted to nitpicking. I'm judging his work against an extremely high standard as I consider any of these books to be far superior to 99% of any run-of-the-mill diet book out there.

Feel free to discuss or list your own list in the comments section.


1. The Stubborn Fat Solution Review



“Hardcore dieters have no problem getting certain areas super lean. Shoulders, upper back, etc, all come in just fine."

"But most people have those trouble spots. For men, it’s usually the abdominal and low-back area, women’s lower body fat has been a problem for years.

"The Stubborn Fat Solution represents the culmination of a 10-year obsession I’ve had with the problem of stubborn body fat and how to eliminate it”.

- Lyle McDonald

Who is this book for?

Lean people wanting to get even leaner. Maybe you’ve reached a condition where you’re almost satisfied with your physique, but still have that nagging fat over your lower abs preventing it from being visible…and it bugs the hell out of you. Well, this book is for you. Included in the book are four ways to rid yourself of this stubborn fat once and for all.

This is also a very interesting read for anyone interested in the science of getting ripped and why it can be so damn hard.

What will I learn from it?

This book provides an excellent primer on body fat and fat metabolism; basic fat cell metabolism, the interaction between hormones, exercise and body fat, why we have stubborn fat depots in the first place, how fat burning supplements works on fat cells, are all topics covered in this book.

Strong points

* The theory behind the method is explained very well before leading the reader into the actual protocol. Lyle handles a complex topic skillfully and lays it out in a way that everyone can understand.

* Creative, fresh ideas which are explained and backed up by actual research. This is a true rarity in the fitness/bodybuilding community.

* The methods presented in the book works. I helped him test run the stubborn fat protocol on my clients (IF style) and I think it works just as good as it claims to.

Weak points

* No pictoral presentations of what stubborn body fat actually looks like. Lyle spends a lot of time telling the reader that you should already be lean to start with, in order to take advantage of the methods presented, but including some pictures on what would be considered having stubborn fat vs just being fat would probably have helped a lot.

* Lyle apparently can’t spell for shit and gets my name wrong in the foreword. Pissed me off.

Overall

I rarely come across something on the topic of diet and exercise that teaches me something new, but this book did. The chapters about hormones, diet and exercise, and how these factors relate and affect stubborn fat cell metabolism, were a gold mine of quality information on this rather niche topic.

As for the exercise protocols, you can tell Lyle spent a decade collecting and processing his thoughts; the rationale for why you should do this and that are very well explained and backed up by solid research.

Overall, this book is an excellent blend between theory and practice. A must-read for physiology and nutrition geeks like me, or the frustrated fitness enthusiast/bodybuilder looking for a fresh approach to finally uncovering those semi-obscured abs.


2. The Protein Book Review



“The Protein Book is a comprehensive look at the issue of protein intake for both strength/power and endurance athletes."

"Coaches looking for the latest scientific developments in terms of optimizing protein nutrition for their athletes as well as athletes looking for answers to their questions will find them all covered in complete detail.“

- Lyle McDonald

Who is this book for?

Athletes (all kinds), fitness enthusiasts, coaches and nutrition geeks interested in all or any aspects of protein.

What will I learn from it?

Everything there is to know about protein and how to apply that knowledge in practice. Chapters are dedicated to such topics as protein metabolism, protein quality, meal frequency, nutrient timing, requirements for athletes and protein controversies – among many other topics.
You’ll also learn why eating protein frequently (high frequency meal plan) can have a negative effect and may not even be optimal for muscle growth – an issue that I figure might interest IF’ers.

“...I’ll take three hours to represent the minimum amount of time that should pass between meals. Eating more frequently is unlikely to be beneficial and may very well have a negative effect…”

- Lyle Mcdonald, direct quote from the book, pertaining the issue of meal frequency.

Strong points

* Extremely thorough and complete. Make no mistake, this is the only book on protein you will ever need. There is simply no issue left untouched.

* Excellent resource for laymen and professionals alike; everything is very well referenced and substantiated with hundreds of studies cited throughout the book.

Weak points

* The book almost reads like a research paper; though the language is very proper and correct, you’re at the risk of dozing off if you’re trying to take in too much at once.

* Gets a bit repetitive.

Overall

The only book you'll ever have to read about protein and an excellent resource for athletes and professionals alike.

Instead of second guessing your protein intake and the when, how and why's of workout nutrition, supplements and meal frequency, get this book.


3. The Ultimate Diet 2.0 Review



“Building on previous cyclical diets such as the original Ultimate Diet and Dan Duchaine's Bodyopus, the UD2 will give you the reasons why dieting to extreme leanness is so difficult (hint: thank evolution)."

"More importantly, it'll give you the solution to those problems.”
- Lyle McDonald

Who is this book for?

This is a book for fairly advanced, experienced and lean fitness enthusiasts/ bodybuilders seeking an improved body composition. The diet can be described as an extreme version of a cyclical ketogenic diet.

What will I learn from it?

Aside from the diet and training protocol itself, you are also given a theoretical primer on why it’s so hard to get lean, stay lean and/or build muscle in the process; it will give you a very good understanding of how and why your body doesn’t cooperate with you despite how hard you push.

Lyle explains how the various anabolic and fat burning hormones, such as leptin, IGF-1, insulin and catecholamines conspire against you when you venture below your body fat set point – the main point being that building muscle and losing body fat gets a lot harder the leaner you are, and UD 2.0 was developed to sidestep those issues.

Strong points

* The first part of the book explains how and why our body will do anything to keep us from reaching our goals (lean and muscular) and it does so very well.

* Humorous and enjoyable to read.

* The diet is very effective if you're willing to put in the work.

Weak points

* Short; the chapters on alternate versions of the protocol could’ve been longer and more elaborated on.

* This is definitely not a diet for the timid or flexible minded individual. Having this as a weak point may not be fair, since Lyle is quite clear on that fact.

Overall

When this book first dropped 5 years ago, it was an eye opener for me and many others that read it. The answers to why fat loss stalls, and why cravings and feelings of malaise increases as body fat drops lower, finally received a logical and thorough explanation.

Some of the facts about leptin and how it relates to body fat set point is now common knowledge among the more educated (forum) crowd, but I still suspect that the great majority has no clue about these things; if so, pick this book up, regardless if you plan to try the diet or not.

As for the diet itself, it works (as evidenced by numerous people), but don’t expect a walk in the park.


4. The Ketogenic Diet Review




“I became interested in low-carbohydrate diets over 10 years ago when I used one myself to lose fat. However, as I delved more into them, I realized that most books written about low-carbohydrate (aka ketogenic) diets were miserably flawed.”

“… I set out to determine for myself what the research actually said about low-carbohydrate diets. It took me over two years of research and writing, culminating in this, my first book.”

- Lyle McDonald


Who is this book for?

Fans of the ketogenic diet and nutrition/physiology geeks.

What will I learn from it?

Everything there is to know about ketosis and the ketogenic diet(s); the how, when and why’s of ketosis are thoroughly explained, as well as the effect of ketosis on your health and body. You will also learn how to set up a ketogenic diet (three versions) in practice and everything else you need to know about how to make it work.

Strong points

* Very comprehensive and complete. If you’re interested in the mechanics of ketosis, practice a ketogenic diet or would like to try a ketogenic diet, you need to get this book.

* Objective and extremely well referenced.

Weak points

* Same problem as with the protein book; in parts, the book almost reads like a research paper and you’re at the risk of dozing off if you’re trying to take in too much at once.

Overall

This is just as comprehensive as the Protein Book, as it thoroughly explores the subject in detail. Being his debut title, it’s impressive in scope and ambition. It covers every aspect of ketogenic diets I can think off and if you’re a fan of that diet approach you’ll find this book very interesting. It’s certainly technical in some parts, but that comes with the territory.


5. The Rapid Fat Loss Handbook Review



“Finally, Discover a Diet System That Will Help You to Lose Weight in the Fastest Way Possible!"

“If you’re willing to invest mere moments of your time, you’ll learn how you can lose 4-7 pounds of unsightly body fat, and anywhere between 10-20 pounds of scale weight in only two weeks.”

- Lyle McDonald


Who is this book for?

This is a book for the impatient, frustrated dieter wanting to lose fat the fastest way possible while keeping as much muscle as possible in the process. The diet presented here is commonly known as PSMF, which stands for Protein Sparing Modified Fast.

What will I learn from it?

Before leading the reader into the actual diet, Lyle gives a basic primer on body fat, nutrition, metabolism and exercise. You’re then introduced to the diet, how to set it up and how to include ‘free meals’ and ‘refeeds’. You’ll also learn what supplements to take, what not to do and how to proceed after reaching your goal.

Strong points

* If you’re new to nutrition or dieting: a basic primer on nutrition is given, giving some basic facts about protein, carbohydrates and fat.

* It lives up to the claim of being ‘a scientific approach to crash dieting’. This is not your run-of-the-mill fad diet book on how to lose weight fast; the diet is well thought out and optimized in order to make the most out of the calories ingested.

* Humorous and enjoyable reading.

Weak points

* If you’re advanced/well read up on nutrition/physiology: you’ll be disappointed. Don’t expect the same intricate theoretical background given in books such as Stubborn Fat Solution, UD 2.0 and other books by Lyle.

* No cookies on this diet.

* Just kidding. There aren’t really any more weak points that I can think off – this book delivers exactly what it claims, but it’s a little weak on the research side of things (no reference list, though an explanation for that is given in the introduction).

Overall

If you want to lose fat the fastest way possible, get this book. Lyle doesn’t sugarcoat things, nor tries to hide the fact that the diet in itself is restrictive, tough and that you’ll get hungry from time to time - but the diet works, and it works very well for those that adhere to it.

This is probably Lyle’s most ‘mainstream’ book, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, so it will be of great benefit for those fairly new to nutrition and dieting, but of less benefit for those already well read up on the subject.


6. A Guide to Flexible Dieting Review




“What if I told you that expecting to be perfect on your diet was absolutely setting you up for failure, that being more flexible about your eating habits would make them work better? ”

“No filler, no fluff, no pages of full color supplement ads like other products. After reading this book, you'll understand more about successful dieting behaviors than you ever thought possible.”

- Lyle McDonald


Who is this book for?

Everyone that has problems maintaining their eating behaviors during and after dieting. If you’re the kind of person that tends to spiral out of control when you ‘break’ your diet, then you need to read this book.

What will I learn from it?

You’ll learn how, when and why people often fail their dieting attempts and why they aren’t likely to keep the weight off in the long run. In stark contrast to, for example, UD 2.0, Lyle lays out a very flexible strategy which includes free meals and structured refeeds (in order to maintain sanity and increase fat burning hormones).

Strong points

* As with The Rapid Fat Loss Handbook, this is very newbie friendly book.

* Covers aspects of dieting psychology which most of us can relate to.

* A humorous, easy read.

Weak points

* As with The Rapid Fat Loss Handbook, you can tell this book is clearly aimed at the mainstream crowd. Nothing wrong in that, the advice given here is very solid, but more advanced readers won’t find much new here.

* I’m really nitpicking now: no reference list.

Overall

This didn't score high in the rankings for the sole reason that I didn’t learn anything new from it. Keep in mind that this is my opinion as a professional and as someone that knows nutrition and dieting like the back of my hand – for someone new to dieting, or with not as much of a vested interest , this might very well be the first book you should get.


7. Bromocriptine Review



“The drug bromocriptine is a nearly 30-year-old drug that has been classically used to treat Parkinson's disease and hyperprolactinemia.”

“As it turns out, it may also be able to trick the body (the brain specifically) into thinking that all systems are normal when you're dieting (and your body is adapting to the lower caloric intake).”

- Lyle McDonald


Who is this book for?

People interested in finding out how the body defends against fat loss and/or interested in manipulating the body fat set point with pharmaceutical agents.

What will I learn from it?

Besides learning everything there is to know about bromocriptine (and other dopamine agonists), you are also given a detailed primer on why it’s so hard to get lean and stay lean after dieting. The difficulties and hormonal impact of dieting is discussed throughout many of Lyle’s books, but this is by far the most detailed exploration of the subject.

Strong points

* An interesting read; the interaction between brain, hormones and pharmaceutical agents (sounds better than 'drugs') is very well covered.

Weak points

* The one major flaw of this book is the foundation and premise it is being based on: what looked good on paper did not seem to have worked so well in practice.

Overall

Don’t get me wrong, I liked this book – I found it a more interesting read than, for example, A Guide to Flexible Dieting and The Rapid Fat Loss Handbook, but I can’t possibly rank it higher due to the sole fact that the bromocriptine approach never took off. It’s not a popular fat loss aid and there’s probably a good reason for that.

The feedback and anecdotal reports from bromocriptine users have been very mixed, perhaps even leaning towards negative. While it seems to have appetite blunting effects, side effects such as nausea and hypoglycemia are often reported and the general consensus tends to be that the negatives outweigh the positives. Simply put, there are better things to use if you want to venture down the supplement/pharmaceutical route while dieting.

It’s still a good and informative read, but Lyle touches on the issues explored here in other books as well (UD 2.0, Flexible Dieting). Unless you’re passionate about subjects like leptin and dopamine agonists, you might want to consider getting some of his other work first.




My name is Martin Berkhan and I work as a nutritional consultant, magazine writer and personal trainer.

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