Thursday, January 12, 2012

Book Review: Why Women Need Fat

BlogHer, a website for female bloggers to which I belong, sometimes provides books for bloggers to review through its book club. This month, we read Why Women Need Fat: How "Healthy" Food Makes Us Gain Excess Weight and the Surprising Solution to Losing It Forever.

The word "healthy" on the cover is in quotation marks for good reason. People are buying more and more "healthy" foods, and yet obesity keeps increasing. Could it be that eating more like our ancestors ate could be the solution to the obesity epidemic?

It's no news that fad diets don't work, but this book does provide some new food for thought (pun intended). Its main point is that omega-3 (polyunsaturated alpha-linolenic) and omega-9 (monounsaturated oleic) are good fats and omega-6 (linoleic) is bad fat. To summarize the message, one should eat fish, canola oil, and olive oil but stay away from corn, corn oil, soybean oil, and cornfed meat. It was also interesting to read historical information about our aversion to saturated fats (Eisenhower's heart attack), anthropological studies, etc. I felt that the book could have been better organized and more succinct, however. It makes the same points several times and also could have benefited from providing example meal plans.

Also, it is tempting to take away the message that some fats are good fats and we can eat as many of them as we want, but this is simply not true. It is still important to keep portion size in mind. For example, on page 143, the authors write, "Like plain potatoes and wheat, rice and pasta are low in omega-6 and can be eaten without any restrictions." I don't understand how they can get away with this claim. If you eat a lot of pasta (or almost any food except raw veggies), you are going to get fat. While not all calories are created equal, you still have to be conscious of calories in vs. calories out.

But overall, the book definitely made me stop and think more about what I am buying at the supermarket. I would definitely prefer to buy organic, non-corn-fed chicken, but the $2.99 deals at Market Basket are just too tempting. I guess I should start shopping at Whole Foods. I would probably find fewer punctuation errors there, too.


Anonymous said...

Correct use of apostrophes and scientifically correct nutrition information are both things that need to be preached more and more, keep up the good work :)

Anonymous said...

Spelling error in fourth line up from bottom- non-cord-fed should be non-corn-fed.