Okay, I’ll admit that I’m biased.
I’m a fan of Jonathan Bailor and his work. We “swapped” podcasts several months ago (here’s a link to his re-published Caloriegate podcast, in case you missed it, and here’s me on his show). I consider him to be a fellow Freedom Fighter in the war against the fatuous nutrition advice that’s made our country fat and sick.
Bailor’s new book, The Calorie Myth, is a great read that belongs in the company of works like Life Without Bread, Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution, Tom Naughton’s Fathead, and a New Atkins for a New You.
I deeply believe that a proper education is the best tonic for our dietary ills. Here are a few reasons to add this book to your Xmas list this year:
1. Bailor places the blame for the obesity epidemic squarely where it belongs: on the Calorie Myth itself.
Something about our food and health care system is broken. Probably many things. If you believe, like I do, that the Food Guide Pyramid is quite possibly the equivalent of Darth Vader — a malevolent force — that begs the question: who’s the Emperor?
The answer, I would argue, is The Calorie Myth.
As long as we believe in drivel like “everything in moderation” and “eat less, move more,” we’re never going to solve the epidemics of obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases that associate with it.
Bailor eviscerates the calorie myth in clean, simple language, using relentless logic and compelling research. Here’s one such gem:
“In June 2011… doctors at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill made a startling discovery. They discovered that the number of calories consumed per person per day increased by a jaw-dropping 570 calories between 1977 and 2006. At first glance, it appeared that they definitively demonstrated what many assumed to be the cause of our obesity, diabetes and heart disease epidemics: we are eating too much.
However, a second glance at their data reveals an even more startling discovery: If the average person is consuming 570 more calories per day than they need, and if the calorie counting math we hear about is accurate, then the average person should have gained 476 pounds since 2006.
Is it possible that instead of asking “Why are we getting fatter?” we should be asking, “Why don’t all of us weigh six hundred plus pounds?”” (The Calorie Myth, pg 16).
Okay, so why bother getting the book, if you already know/believe that there’s more to fat loss than counting calories?
Here’s why. The Calorie Myth is all-pervasive. Education is the best antidote. As successful people in many disciplines will tell you: If you want to embed a useful idea in your mind, consume it from many diverse sources.
2. Bailor’s “Clogged hormonal sink” metaphor = a fantastic metaphor for thinking about obesity.
Here’s a video he made to introduce the concept:
And here’s a pull quote from the book that articulates it:
“When we become hormonally clogged, out body can no longer respond to signals from our hormones and brain that otherwise enable us to burn body fat automatically. However… we can heal our hormones, “unclog”… and get our body to burn fat instead of store fat…
A healthy body, like a healthy “sink”, responds to more in with more out, and to less in with less out. Water only builds up in sinks, and fat only builds up in bodies, when they become clogged. The key question then is: what causes clogs?” (In my parlance, I would ask “What breaks the Black Box?” — same question, different metaphor.)
Bailor explains: “sinks and bodies become clogged and break down when the wrong quality of things are put in them. This is why we don’t worry about washing our hands as quickly as possible, but we do work to keep hair out of drains.” (pg 26-27)
This metaphor is a very graceful way to describe what many people have struggled to convey. Other attempts have included:
* Sam Feltham’s “limescale” metaphor;
* Gary Taubes’ “alternative hypothesis”;
* Bergman and Bauer’s lipophilia hypothesis:
* Dr. Peter Attia’s fat flux equation (DNL + RE >=< L);
* My “Black Box” metaphor;
We’re all saying the same thing: when your change the focus about how you think about obesity and weight loss, you get exciting new possible solutions.
3. Bailor offers an excellent, simple primer on how to eat healthier, exercise smarter and live better. For instance:
* Bailor categorizes foods into just 2 classes: “SANE” and “inSANE.” (Guess which ones are better for you!)
* He also includes a sound exercise program that rhymes with other great programs, like Fred Hahn’s Slow Burn and Doug McGuff’s Body by Science.
You might be under the impression that I’m in total lockstep, and that this review is on the verge of becoming an infomercial. Not entirely! There are points where our perspectives diverge. For instance, I personally believe in the “settling point” theory of obesity as oppsed to the “set point.” But that’s an arcane, subtle distinction at best.
What I find far more remarkable is how Bailor’s 10 years of study took him to such a similar place. It leads me to believe that critical thinking and curious people who “dive deep” into the diet/nutrition literature will come to these conclusions because they’re likely grounded in the very laws of nature themselves.
The Calorie Myth will be published December 31, 2013, by HarperCollins. But if you pre-order now, you can gain access to myriad bonuses, including a free ebook, recipes, eating and exercise plans, and even videos.
I wholeheartedly endorse this book and look forward to you freeing yourself from frustrating calorie myths.
Viva La Revolucion!