Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Review of "The Calorie Myth: How to Eat More, Exercise Less, Lose Weight and Live Better," by Jonathan Bailor

 Review of

 The Calorie Myth: How to Eat More, Exercise Less, Lose Weight and Live Better, by Jonathan Bailor ISBN 9780062267344

Five out of five stars

 Based on simple premise, not all calories are alike

  I am fundamentally extremely skeptical of books where there is the claim that it contains the knowledge that people need to lose weight. Specifically when those claims are made in a sentence that also contains phrases about simultaneously eating more and exercising less. As a fan of bookstores, I have seen many diet and exercise books rise to the level of a bestseller only to become little more than a trivia question a few years later. If there was a reasonably simple solution to the problem of weight loss that could be encapsulated in a book and diet, it would have been found and the creator would be basking in the glow from billions of dollars.

 I was impressed when Bailor opens with the simple statement that all calories are not the same, the claim to the contrary has always puzzled me. I was a biology and chemistry major in college and when we were studying metabolic pathways in biochemistry we learned that the energy available from proteins, fats and carbohydrates is different. Since it is well known, and has been for some time, that the energy levels it takes to extract energy from fats, carbohydrates and fats is different, statements claiming that a calorie of each is equivalent were knowingly erroneous. Furthermore, the end results of the processing are different and essential resources for the human body.

 The second major and also well-known premise that Bailor states is that different people metabolize food at different rates and in different ways. It is obvious to anyone that has known two people of the same gender where one seems to eat a lot, has never been on a diet, yet stays slim and trim. However, the other person is always dieting, counting calories and eating reduced portions, yet is never able to make anything other than trivial reductions in their status of being overweight. If they do succeed in a dramatic weight reduction, they never seem able to keep it off and actually end up gaining it back plus a little more. Like many others I have been reminded of this at holiday family gatherings.

 Using these two facts as the moorings, Bailor describes the subsequent premise that different people have different metabolic settings and that must be changed if there is to be a permanent alteration of an overweight condition. Once again, the solution is one that should not be news to anyone, eat fruits and vegetables, primarily raw vegetables, instead of carbohydrates. I can remember being admonished by the teachers in elementary school to eat the vegetables in our school lunches and seeing posters on the walls explaining the value of eating fruits and vegetables.

 The most impressive aspect of the book is Bailor’s debunking of the position that fats are the most unhealthy food type to consume. For reasons that are unjustified, the consumption of fats was declared taboo years ago yet there has been growing scientific evidence that reasonable consumption of fats is healthy and necessary. The absorption of many essential nutrients is aided by the presence of fats in the intestines.

 Even though most of what Bailor puts forward regarding a healthy lifestyle is not new, he presents it in a concise and effective manner that can be understood by anyone. He also backs it up with pages of scientific references. In my opinion, no area generates more self-serving nonsense than how to eat and exercise to lose weight and maintain that loss. Unlike so many diet books that are irrelevant and unknown a year after they peak, Bailor has written a book that will remain relevant for a long time, for his advice will work for nearly everyone and is based on science.

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