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Big Fat Lies (Updated Edition) Review
"Body fat is not intrinsically unhealthy. Dieting on the other hand can be."
What if being overweight could be healthy? Apparently, it's not the pipe dream the majority of the world and researchers would like us to think. In Big Fat Lies, Glenn Gaesser, PH.D. unlocks the myths about obesity specifically the biggest of them all "obesity kills". Glenn is a graduate of the University of California and taught at UCLA and the University of Virginia so he isn't just blowing smoke up our fat butts.
He feels the obsession of a person's weight needs to be dropped mostly because weight loss is no guarantee for improved health. With his book he hopes to reshape your thinking on the various aspects of body weight and health, I think he will. Obviously, some facts are unquestionable if you eat only bad food and don't exercise you're in trouble. But overweight people can be strong and healthy; sometimes stronger and healthier than their slim counterparts.
With simple truths and simple facts Glenn explains how our expectations of body weight have been directed by insurance companies, the diet industry (30 billion plus industry), the fashion industry and of course media appeal. He thinks we should be focusing on metabolic fitness instead of weight. "Achieving metabolic fitness is probably the most important thing you can do for your physical health, and is thus the underlying theme of this entire book"
It's not like we aren't trying to lose weight. In fact according to Glenn there are "120 million Americans over the age of eleven trying to lose or maintain weight by one form or another of calorie deprivation." Over the age eleven?
Glenn succeeds in taking the focus off weight. Instead he sheds light on the importance of physical activity over "exercise". The purpose of the physical activity is not to lose weight but to be healthy by moving. Lo-Carb-ers will not be impressed with the Nutrition for Metabolic Fitness section but I like how he encourages adding instead of taking away. According to him "No foods are strictly off limits."
The text of Big Fat Lies is broken down into three parts with each of them further broken down:
The Crusade Against Obesity
*Weight: An Unhealthy Obsession
*How Obesity Got Such a Bad Name
Exposing the Myths
*Is Obesity a Killer Disease?
*Thinner May Not Be Healthier
*"Ideal" Height-Weight Tables
*Good Body Fat, Bad Body Fat
*Weight Loss for the Overweight and Obese
The Twenty/Twenty Program for Metabolic Fitness
*Metabolic Fitness: What it Means, How to Achieve It.
*Exercise for Metabolic Fitness: Shaping Up without Necessarily Changing Shape
*Nutrition for Metabolic Fitness
Closing with References, Recommended Reading and a few Resources
A lot of what's discussed are the studies ignored over the last 20+ years showing body fat is not the problem. "Fat in the arteries and fat on the body are different and not necessarily related." Study after study becomes a bit tedious after a while but it is still good to know there's more to the studies than "obesity kills." For sure this book won't appease the die hard skeptic but for those of us who are obese, eat our fruits, veggies and continue a daily bout of physical activity, at least we know for sure it isn't all in our head. We're healthy.
I'm sure when you are finished reading Big Fat Lies you'll have a different view on the role of fat in your life. Pun intended.
Gurze Books, 2002
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