Saturday, January 12, 2008

Diet Books: Roads to Riches?

Every January I regret not having had the forethought to write a diet book. Do I have any special expertise in this subject? No, but that doesn't seem to matter much any more. Apparently any diet book with a catchy title and an attractive cover will sell, especially this month. Whatever happened to "Eat less, Exercise more"?

The January 21 issue of Time, just out, features "Calorie Countdown," by Andrea Sachs, a report on ten books "that claim to have the skinny on shedding pounds." I don't intend to buy any of them.

A few seem to offer sensible advice and/or old formulas (even Dr. Atkins' diet has been revived again, but not by Dr. Atkins, who is deceased). Actually, that one worked for me for a while, but I weakened.

Some of the more outrageous or openly commercial are the folowing: Eat This, Not That! by David Zinczenko, with Matt Goulding, is aimed at men who eat mainly at fast-food restaurants. One tip is to eat a Big Mac (540 calories) instead of a Whopper (760). I can't imagine eating either one.

Skinny Bitch in the Kitch, by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin, is a vegan guide forbidding not only meat, but sugar, dairy, white flour, coffee, diet drinks, and artificial sweeteners. I'm not sure what's left (well, fruits and veggies, but . . .).

The Ultimate Tea Diet, by Mark (Dr. Tea) Ukra, urges a well-balanced diet and exercise (fine) plus endless helpings of tea (which the author happens to sell).

Granted, several of the other books mentioned seem more sensible, including Dr. Dean Ornish's The Spectrum, which promotes a low-fat way of life.

Let's face it: eating is a very personal, emotional matter. I've lost weight; I've gained weight. Unless I lose my appetite (not likely to happen until I'm at death's door), no book is going to make me thin (or young). However, I've read a few diet books in my lifetime. If they're your "cup of tea," go ahead. Just don't nibble on chocolate or potato chips while you're reading! And if you're a writer, have a diet book ready by next January.

Copyright 2008 by Marlys Marshall Styne

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