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Diet Cults

The Surprising Fallacy at the Core of Nutrition Fads and a Guide to Healthy Eating for the Rest of Us
Written by: Matt Fitzgerald
Narrated by: Stephen R. Thorne
Length: 9 hrs and 23 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the national best-selling author of Racing Weight, Matt Fitzgerald exposes the irrationality, half-truths, and downright impossibility of a "single right way" to eat and reveals how to develop rational, healthy eating habits.

From "the Four-Hour Body" to "Atkins," there are diet cults to match seemingly any mood and personality type. Everywhere we turn, someone is preaching the "one true way" to eat for maximum health. Paleo Diet advocates tell us that all foods less than 12,000 years old are the enemy. Low-carb gurus demonize carbs, and then there are the low-fat prophets. But they agree on one thing: There is only one true way to eat for maximum health. The first clue that this is a fallacy is the sheer variety of diets advocated. Indeed, while all of these competing views claim to be backed by science, a good look at actual nutritional science suggests it is impossible to identify a single best way to eat. Fitzgerald advocates an agnostic, rational approach to eating habits based on one's own habits, lifestyle, and genetics and body type. Many professional athletes already practice this "Good Enough" diet, and now we can too - and ditch the brainwashing of these diet cults for good.

©2014 Matt Fitzgerald (P)2014 Blackstone Audiobooks

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    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely amazing book

Everything that every nutrition book should contain. This book is incredible and everyone should read it. It destroys so many terrible myths and so much misinformation and nonsense pervading the world of food. There were moments I wished I could run and hug Matt Fitzgerald for doing such a fantastic job of presenting the accurate side of nutrition in a format those of us without a degree in biochemistry can digest. I have already recommended this book to the food and science enthusiasts I know, and I will continue to recommend it to everyone because this is an incredible collection of knowledge. Bravo, Mr. Fitzgerald.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A good defense of common sense in dieting, but

Changed my review from 5 to 4 stars as I kept listening. The book does a good job dismantling diet fads but makes dubious claims of its own(David Hume's deathbed conversion, David Blaine's 44 day 'fast'). Read with a skeptical mind.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Game Changer!

If binge listening is a thing that's what I did. Just couldn't stop listening - as my cult diet life flashed before my eyes!

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  • dominik
  • 2014-09-16

Ideologies I Didn't Think I Had

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, it is a highly interesting, casually written metanalysis on a subject we all hold near and dear. Reading this book can help you get a bit closer to yourself.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Matt, he is a no nonsense, objective, kind critic of all the diet dogma out there.

What does Stephen R. Thorne bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He got some of the science terminology wrong, but other than that, he was a solid voice for a story of this type.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

After Matt debunked veganism and fasting, it made me realize that I had some beliefs that I had given too much weight. I love that I had to change my view on these diets because of objective information.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • CA , United States
  • 2016-03-29

Finally!

I have read and tried every major diet book written in the past 30 years. Finally one makes real sense. I can live with this. Time to put these silly books away, dust off my old jogging shoes and get on with life.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Daniel Marshall
  • 2016-05-24

Eye Opening

Positive and rational information presented in a way for everyone to understand. It's not a diet book. It's not a lifestyle book. It's book of rationality, science and reason. It could save life however because so many people yo-yo and/or get stuck in a diet cult where it endangers their lives. This book may help!

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • JHMGirl
  • Colorado Springs, CO
  • 2016-01-18

Great Read

Fitzgerald knows his stuff and it makes complete sense for his reasoning behind all those diet cults and what not to do! Worth listening to for sure!

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Quella
  • 2017-05-08

There is no silver bullet

A cult is defined at a high-level as, “a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing.” Cults exist for nearly anything or anyone, and they do not have to be religious focused. Matt Fitzgerald intention with his book “Diet Cults: The Surprising Fallacy at the Core of Nutrition Fads and a Guide to Healthy Eating for the Rest of Us” is to point out the many different diet cults, their leaders, and why so many people blindly follow them with little or no long-term success. The book is quite well narrated by Stephen R. Thorne who has narrated other diet books along with a variety of other genres on Audible. If you are a person who gets swept up by every diet fad or craze that comes along, this book will help show you that every one of them has been just that, a fad that has died and quickly replaced with something else. Often it seems that is the intent of such cults, make their money and move on to the next. What is even more surprising is the level of effort and marketing that food companies will go to allowing them to quickly cash in on the latest diet craze.

Questions around dieting and the importance of things such as protein, carbohydrates, olive oil, sugar, fasting, juicing, sports drinks and many others are discussed in this book. We also see research around the super food industry and how it is often touted as the food that will save us all. Foods such a wine, chocolate, and even coffee are just a few of the ones covered in the book. We also see things like pomegranates and acai fruits as the new high priced wonder food we are all told to consume to make us healthy. Mr. Fitzgerald does a decent job with his research into the people and reasons many of these fads took off as they did. He provides various reasons why a given diet or practice can often be debunked when we look at science of how the body works and burns calories.

As with many religious cults, the author points out that most diet cults also have a set of “must” and “must nots” that define the given cult. You can only eat like a cavemen (paleo), you cannot eat carbs (Atkins), you must eat a specific amount of oils (Mediterranean), or you must not eat any refined sugars (sugar busters), etc. People in general want to have a system telling them what they can and cannot eat, and most of the diet cults do just that. They provide a list of the “dos” and “do nots” so people are better able to measure their progress or success when compared to the cults standards. The author, in this book, concludes that there really is no “best” diet for any one of us. There are many internal and external factors impacting our ability to put on and take-off weight that a single diet cult may work for some for a period of time, but not others. There are genetics, regional diets, family upbringing, etc. All of these items influence in one way or another how we consume and process what we put in our mouths.

I will say I found some of the book’s research to be quite biased in his conclusions and at the end he provides his own ideas for the best way people should eat. These are not really a diet per se, but more guidelines that may help people to make informed decisions with selecting foods to eat. There is no food excluded, but as with Weight Watchers point system, the authors system has a similar food weighting scale. I do have a few issues with the author’s use of the Bible and his lack of theological context or his use of proof-texting to make his point; mostly this involved the Jewish diet or their wandering in the desert when God provided them mana to eat. I also wanted to point out that there were a few placed in the book where vulgar language is included, these relate to quotes from others and not the author himself. However, these could have been removed from the book as they were unnecessary.

What the book seems to conclude in that there is no single diet that works for everyone. Each person needs to find the right foods and exercise that helps them achieve their weight goals. Can you take the best of each of these cults if they work? I think the author says yes in this book. He is claiming that a single diet cult that cuts a specific thing (carbs, sugar, etc.) may not be enough for long-term success. However, increasing exercise, reducing overall calorie intake, and eating foods that can be broken down and processed by the body are all good things to accomplish. Losing weight is difficult and it takes time and effort, there is no silver bullet that will get you to your weight goal while eating pizza and ice cream in front of the TV.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • tke
  • 2016-06-09

Great book, so glad I listened!

If you're like me, and have tried every diet under the sun to lose or maintain weight, you'll find this book interesting. It offers simple advice we've all heard, and debunks many fad diets that claim to be the best way to stay healthy or lose weight. I've been on one diet or another for most of my life, hoping to find the golden ticket, but listening to this book will simplify my approach in the future.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • rkeinc
  • 2016-02-14

Tells it like it is!

This book really puts in perspective all the diet books on the market! I enjoyed it very much!

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • robert
  • Grand Junction, CO
  • 2014-09-10

tells us what we need to know

Would you consider the audio edition of Diet Cults to be better than the print version?

yes

What was one of the most memorable moments of Diet Cults?

explains why people who diet don't lose weight

What about Stephen R. Thorne’s performance did you like?

very smooth

Any additional comments?

tells the truth that people do not want to face

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • M. Leonard
  • Mount Holly, NJ, US
  • 2016-07-09

More of the same

This author starts off well, giving rich, historical history of the evolution of human diets - which were most successful, etc. However, he veers off into the land of blaming the victim, as others before him. Weight loss failure is due to poor motivation and will power. He ignores the major role that food manipulation and marketing/sales and availability contribute to the issue. Especially the role that dense calories and the intended mass addiction to sugar that has been imposed on the global community. If these issues are not part of the conversation then it's just a passive chat. There is no true enlightenment.

9 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Christian Howard
  • 2019-08-02

This book breaks down all the fad diets

This book breaks down all the fad diets and gives an unbiased look at what the industry claims to be the best diets.