jueves, 20 de octubre de 2011

The Smarter Science of Slim by Jonathan Bailor

In his book The Smarter Science of Slim Jonathan Bailor presents much more than advice on lifestyle and diet. This is a complete argument relating themes of nutrition, exercise, digestion and food to their associated consequence, weight. Unlike many works in the area of diet, The Smarter Science of Slim presents informed consideration of the subject, offers no quick fix, no formulaic or unsubstantiated, quasi-religious claims. What the book does do is argue a coherent, rationally-constructed and evidence-justified position which identifies an approach to diet and lifestyle rather than a prescription. It is to the author’s credit that the book achieves its aims in a fluent, readable style that engages and entertains as well as informs.

Jonathan Bailor begins with a criticism of current approaches, a corpus of advice that represents something of an establishment position. It’s a diet he labels INSANE. It’s not quite an acronym, but it gets the point across. The consequences of this diet are obesity. Yes, we are being officially advised into a state of obesity. In contrast, the SANE approach allows you to eat just about as much as you want. What’s more, it’s better nutritionally and your weight will stabilise at a lower level. Does this sound too good to be true?

To prove the case the author cites research findings and extensive data to identify a diet that is roughly equally shared between protein, carbohydrate and fat. On the face of it, this may not seem to be such a radical departure from the current received position, except in relation to fats. But The Smarter Science of Slim approach differs markedly in the foodstuffs identified in each category. Jonathan Bailor thus declares war on starch! Out go grains, flour, potatoes, rice and pasta, for example. In comes as much water-rich vegetable as you want to eat. Crucial to Jonathan Bailor’s argument is that these fill you up and thus satiate, while simultaneously providing all essential nutrients alongside low calorific values. He is also confident that eating more proteins will restrict the appetite that currently craves more starch because it is fat and protein deficient.

The argument then moves on to the concept of a person’s natural body weight. The norm can change and can be changed, but the human body always tries to maintain what the brain perceives an optimal or normal weight. The problem is that this norm is influenced by the digestive load that the diet presents. When this is changed, then the perceived norm can be changed. INSANE diets raise the norm and hence promote obesity, while SANE approaches encourage stabilisation at lower weights.

But The Smarter Science of Slim goes beyond this. It also suggests exercise routines that don’t take all day, are efficient at burning energy and keep the body fit and trim. And all of this can be accomplished in just twenty minutes a couple of times a week.

Cooks will be disappointed with Jonathan Bailor’s approach to meals that adhere to his SANE principles. But the ingredient list is extremely long and even five minutes in the kitchen would produce something palatable, tasty and also SANE, certainly something a tad more appetising than a veggie smoothie. The Smarter Science of Slim allows, even encourages consumption of almost anything you want in the line of meat or fish. Since fats are not outlawed, you can even take a slab of cheese. But you will have to make your sandwich with cabbage leaves, rather than bread.

Anyone who has feelings of guilt or even mere concerns about weight, diet or lifestyle could profit greatly from reading The Smarter Science of Slim. The book illustrates that there is nothing to be afraid of, that there are multitudes of wholesome and tasty foods that can be eaten with abandon without fear of obesity or ill health. As a consequence of The Smarter Science of Slim’s SANE approach, these things will look after themselves, leaving you to get on with living life rather than worrying about it. Then you can read The Smarter Science of Slim again to admire the book’s style, scholarship and coherence.

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