Health At Every Size
by Linda Bacon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Health At Every Size / 978-1-935-61828-7
This wonderful book is a must-read for everyone interested in the truth behind weight and health. Even people familiar with Health At Every Size (HAES) concepts will find valuable information here.
In this novel, scientist Linda Bacon uses her engaging tone to present valuable research that shows that individual weight ranges are largely determined by genetics, that Americans are only slightly heavier (and some inches taller!) on average than we used to be, and the majority of claims of an "obesity epidemic" are overblown for political and industry reasons. Taking on both the public and the private sector, Bacon shows how government education (think the controversial "food pyramid") can and is hijacked by special interests and lobbyists, and how industry practice is legally driven to maximize profit even at the expense of customer health.
If all that sounds negative, it might surprise you to hear that "Health At Every Size" is an incredibly positive book. After showing that weight is largely out of the control of an individual, and carefully explaining why the "experts" who claim otherwise (based on industry needs rather than actual science) are wrong, Bacon then carefully explains why the most important thing a person can do for their health is to eat a variety of foods, listen carefully to their body's hunger and satisfaction signals, and - above all else, and for surprisingly sound scientific reasons! - to choose foods that they enjoy!
Going into this book, I had already been exposed to HAES philosophy online, so I wasn't sure if this book would have any new material for me, but I deeply enjoyed this book and found it to be very helpful. Bacon is clear and easy to read and understand; her concepts are outlined and the book is easy to navigate either for a single read-through, or when coming back to look for remembered snippets later. Her science is sound and her methods are well-documented, and it's encouraging to see someone so right and yet so open to being proved wrong.
In addition to HAES philosophy, there's also a good deal of useful information for "re-training" your tastebuds to enjoy more variety if the reader chooses - for example, I have never, ever liked the taste of whole wheat breads but have always felt that my body needs more fiber intake; Bacon's book was the first book I've read that provided useful, helpful information for how to adjust to a taste that, before this, I had truly hated.
I would strongly recommend this book to anyone.
~ Ana Mardoll
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