A few years ago when I was looking for a simple, straightforward book about healthy eating, I came across Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy by Walter Willett. I’m so glad that I did. This book is filled with solid advice based on tons of peer-reviewed scientific research. And if you care about credentials, which you should when it comes to your health, Willett’s are top notch. He’s not your next-door neighbor who lost 30 pounds by going on a cabbage diet, and then decided to write a weight loss book. He’s chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health and a professor of epidemiology with an MD and a DrPH (doctor of public health).
This book gives it to you straight, talking about the things we do and don’t need for our body to function optimally. In the first chapter, Willett states that a healthy diet, regular exercise, and not smoking can eliminate 80 percent of the cases of heart disease in the US and the majority of cancer cases. Think about that for a second. That’s huge! This is empowering because these are factors that we have some control over.
Key points from the book:
- You weigh what you weigh because of your diet, your genes, your lifestyle, and your culture.
- Where you store fat can affect your risk for certain diseases. Fat around the chest and waist may be more problematic than fat around the hips and thighs.
- Learn to be a defensive eater (e.g. slow down when you’re eating, practice putting the fork down before you feel stuffed, and against your parent’s warnings spoil your appetite before meals – you may end up eating less).
- When in doubt go Mediterranean (plenty of veggies, moderate amounts of whole grains, and minimal red meat)
- Not all fats are created equally. Some fats are better for you (e.g. monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats), while some fats are bad for you (e.g. saturated and trans fat).
- Slight Tangent: Food products that contain less than 0.5 grams of trans fat are allowed to list their trans fat content as 0 on nutrition labels. Sneaky bastards, right?
- Tip: Check the ingredients on the label and look for “partially hydrogenated oils.” These are the primary sources of trans fat in our diets. If you see it listed, drop the item, and slowly back away.
- Good news: The FDA is currently considering banning partially hydrogenated oils from food. Until then though, check the labels!
- Tangent Over
Eat the rainbow when it comes to fruits and vegetables. More colors mean more nutrients.
For anyone wanting to know about the basics of healthy eating, I highly recommend this book. It contains a lot of useful information on everything from nut consumption to choosing a multivitamin. At the end it also has a list of several healthy recipes to try.
You can get it from Amazon or check it out from your local library. Let me know if this review was particularly helpful and I’ll try to do more of them. Enjoy your weekend!