Review of ‘How Not to Diet’ by Dr. Michael Greger (New 2020 book)

Review of ‘How Not to Diet’ by Dr. Michael Greger (New 2020 book)

How are ye doing, guys! You read the title…let’s do this! I’ve just finished Dr. Michael Greger’s new
book, titled ‘How Not to Diet.’ I’ve been extremely busy with work and other
stuff recently and I haven’t had much of a chance to make videos, but I just had to make
this one now to share my thoughts on this book with you guys. Dr. Greger, founding member and fellow of
the American College of Lifestyle Medicine and founder of, also created
the blockbuster New York Times Bestseller ‘How Not to Die’ and the accompanying cookbook. He now follows up that paradigm-shifting entry
in the nutrition literature with a foray into the diet and weight loss book arena. ‘How Not to Diet’ IS a diet and weight loss
book, coming out on December the 10th just in time for Christmas and in perfect time
to help kick-start a new year new you weight loss plan, as is often the case with weight
loss literature. But from my reading of this advance copy the
guys at were good enough to send me, the parallels with other diet
books end there. In ‘How Not to Diet’, Dr. Greger swaps emotional
appeals for evidence, anecdotes for truly actionable advice and testimonials for cutting-edge
science. As he says himself on page 4, “This is the
kind of book I was made for.” Complete with a note from Dr. G. himself and
well aware of the precedent set by his previous books and work on, I was
psyched to discover the “groundbreaking science of healthy, permanent weight loss”, being
all too aware not only of the growing problem of overweight and obesity here in Ireland,
but also how the problem goes on to increase the risk of chronic disease and especially
given how hard it is to keep weight off after losing it. So how does the book live up to it’s promise,
does it deliver “facts, not filler, fantasy or fluff”? And importantly, is it something I would recommend
to my patients, or to you watching this video? I’d first of all like to say that everything
about this book rails against your typical diet book, from the content, to the size,
to the amount of text…but don’t let that put you off. If it seems a bit much at first, you could
skip right through to Dr. Greger’s 21 Tweaks to start implementing his recommendations
right away. There are also “Food for Thought” summaries
at the end of each section that sum up the actionable advice covered in that section. But the book is such an interesting, entertaining
and easy read that it will likely grab you once you’ve finished the introduction anyway
and this is the best way to get the most from this book, since once you understand the mechanism
behind each piece of advice and have an awareness of the level of evidence there is to back
it up, you will be all the more motivated to fully commit to it. Indeed, Dr. Greger admits himself that this
book turned out to be a much bigger undertaking than even he was expecting. I can attest to this, having covered the topic
of diet and weight loss before – what I planned on being a quick overview rapidly evolved
into a detailed 3-part series as I uncovered some of the huge amount of research during
my own reading on the topic. The amount of work that has gone into every
chapter, every paragraph, even every sentence of this book is massively impressive to me,
and to the casual reader can be easily grasped by the frequency of references – averaging
almost 10 per PAGE, each indicating a scientific work that was read, critically appraised and
woven into this work by Dr. Greger and his team. The amount of effort that has gone into this
book is truly mind-boggling! The nigh-on 5000 references are not even included
physically in the book since it would have almost doubled it’s size, but will instead
be available online via a QR code by the time of release. Given this level of detail and comprehensiveness,
I can guarantee that there’ll be stuff in here that will be new even to the most seasoned
Nutrition expert. There’ll be tips, techniques and strategies
in these pages that will be brand new to you no matter how much you might have previously
read up on weight loss or however many diet books you’ve bought before. Even early on in the book you might be very
surprised as I was as to just how much of an issue our obesity problem has become, the
problems with some of the remedies that have been used so far including issues with bariatric
surgery and the level of impotence of public health policy and scale of the push-back from
big industries against attempts to fight this epidemic. The book then moves onto part 2, which explores
all the key factors that might go into a perfect sustainable weight loss program. This highly evidence-based section provides
the tools to allow you to assess weight loss diets yourself for likelihood of effectiveness,
including parameters such as glycaemic load, caloric density, satiety and effect on the
intestinal microbiome, and helps shine some light on why most weight loss strategies and
diets inevitably fail – and what you can do about it. These seventeen key ingredients for an optimum
weight loss diet are added to four more factors important for long-term weight control, including
safety [sic], sustainability and nutritional completeness, and the 21 total elements are used to define
“The Optimal Weight-Loss Diet” Dr. Greger describes in part 3. Part 4 is truly an exciting prospect for dieters
out there that are partial to that “one weird trick” we used to see cropping up all over
the Internet, or that might not be fully ready to commit to wholesale changes in what they
eat but want to start off with some smaller changes that can be made to any diet, and
especially for those that may have given up hope following multiple attempts at weight
loss – even attempts at losing weight on a plant-based diet. This is the section in which Dr. Greger documents
“every evidence-based tip, trick, tweak and hack” he has uncovered through years of scouring
the medical literature, as he says himself. These “boosters” are arranged in a way that
will appeal especially to those of us who appreciate things like checklists and personalisation,
allowing you to customise your own portfolio of techniques that work best for you. Dr. Greger stresses that this section is supposed
to be used as an adjunct to a solid baseline of a healthy, dare I say “boring” weight-loss
diet, but it is nonetheless exciting to read about and discover some of these novel and
unexpected weight loss boosters! This section will be especially pertinent
to those that may have encountered the all-too-common problem of resistant weight loss, or just
want to realise their bodyweight goals that little bit quicker. It includes the highly-anticipated chapters
on ketogenic diets and intermittent fasting from Dr. Greger that are such hot topics at
the moment, and they are certainly worth the wait. Indeed, these sections are like microcosms
of the entire book; guiding the reader through vast swathes of science and research whilst
being easy and fun to read, allowing you to draw your own conclusions and implement as
much or as little of the techniques and advice as you like. There are many other fascinating sections
in this part, including details on how you can activate your so-called “ileal brake”,
how to position your bed at night to increase weight loss and the recent revelations in
the field of Chronobiology – that is, the study of our bodies’ daily mental, physical
and emotional cycles. Without giving too much away, here you will
find details on how best to time meals, answers to perennial questions about the importance
of breakfast and how we can work with our bodies’ natural rhythms to accelerate weight
loss, including the apparent triple-benefit of front-loading our calories. There’s plenty in here that will be brand
new to even the most dedicated follower of Dr. Greger’s videos. There’s even a section on Dr. Valter Longo’s
fasting mimicking diet which many people might be keen to read! I would also like to draw special attention
to the way Dr. Greger addresses two important topics in the weight loss world especially
plagued with misinformation – the relative importance of genetics, and the role of exercise
in weight loss. The over-emphasis of these two factors persists
because it suits big interests to keep the public misinformed on them, and he does a
particularly good job of addressing both throughout this book. Dr. Greger closes out the book with a section
dedicated towards putting all of this science into action. This will eventually be added into Dr. Greger’s
Daily Dozen app in a special weight loss section that will enable you to implement all this
science into your daily life with a simple checklist just like we can with the Daily
Dozen. There is so much actionable, evidence-based
advice and such a wealth of practical tips presented in this book that you won’t be able
to help but lose weight! Overall, ‘How Not to Diet’ is a perfect blend
of science, advice and practical tips on diet and weight loss. This book is the real new year, new you investment,
something you can get really excited about and fully on board with, and I promise you
you won’t be disappointed. But more than that, this book is perfectly
poised to bring a healthy dietary pattern to a whole new cohort, and hopefully many
more people will become empowered not only with the knowledge they need to achieve sustainable
weight loss, but lifelong health as well. Given all of this, in addition to the fact
that you can go into as much or as little detail as you want whilst resting assured
that the advice you’re putting into action is evidence-based and proven to work, yes
I would recommend this book to my patients and to you watching this video. Whether you are after “exciting new tools
and tricks”, if you like the structure of a checklist and customisation, if you’ve failed
previous attempts at weight loss, if you’re hoping to shed a few pounds after Christmas
or just looking to maintain a healthy weight in this World of fattening food choices we
live in, there will be something for everyone in here regardless of where you are in your
weight loss journey or what level of motivation you have. Everyone’s going to be talking about this
book, so if it sounds like it’s something you might be interested in make sure you get
your copy early! I hope you enjoyed this review, if you found
it helpful give us an old thumbs-up there and subscribe for more reviews and other stuff. I’ll leave a link to buy ‘How Not to Diet’
in the description box in case you’re interested. Let me know in the comments if you’re thinking
about giving it a look! That’s it for now though guys, talk to ye
soon. Sláinte!

12 thoughts on “Review of ‘How Not to Diet’ by Dr. Michael Greger (New 2020 book)

  1. Are you going to be checking out Dr. Greger's new book?


    Murray S. Ireland still 'on course to become the most obese nation in Europe' [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2019 Dec 7]. Available from:

    Smith KB, Smith MS. Obesity Statistics. Prim Care. 2016;43(1):121-35.

    van Baak MA, Mariman ECM. Mechanisms of weight regain after weight loss – the role of adipose tissue. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2019;15(5):274-287.

  2. Five thousand references!? Wow! Some of those tips sound interesting, like positioning your bed. Never heard of that.

    Nice to see you back! Happy Holidays!

  3. It is so funny, 1000's of lean vegans which do not need to lose weight say how good this book is to lose weight.

  4. It's good to see you back!
    Is there enough other useful content to justify somebody who doesn't need to lose weight buying this book?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *