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The Starch Solution: Eat the Foods You Love, Regain Your Health, and Lose the Weight for Good!

4.26  ·  Rating Details ·  1,716 Ratings  ·  169 Reviews
A bestselling author’s groundbreaking eating plan that challenges the notion that starch is unhealthy

From Atkins to Dukan, the fear-mongering about carbs over the past few decades has reached a fever pitch; the mere mention of a starch-heavy food is enough to trigger a cavalcade of shame and longing.

In The Starch Solution, bestselling diet doctor and board-certified intern
Hardcover, 348 pages
Published May 8th 2012 by Rodale Books
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Sep 10, 2012 Aubrey rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People interested in being healthy
I have trouble not giving five stars to well researched nutrition books that go against profits and are geared towards giving accurate information. I have always had respect for Dr. McDougall but this is the first book of his that I have read and I devoured it in less than a day. It is very well organized and easy to follow.

On October 1, 2007 I went vegetarian and October 1, 2008 I went vegan. Then about a year and a half or more ago I followed what Dr. Esselstyn said and cut out added oil, cut
It's about time I've read a book by Dr. McDougall. I've been hearing about him and seeing random tidbits from him here and there ever since I went vegan five years ago. This book just might be a life-changer for me. Even though I have never bought into low-carb diets and would always defend healthy carbs in whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables, I still held onto some carb-phobia, thinking I needed more fat and more protein to be healthy and satisfied. Now once and for all, I am convinced ...more
Jun 15, 2012 Judith rated it it was amazing
Most important: do not just skip to the recipes in this book! As good as they are, I believe it's important to read and understand the detailed information on the basic building blocks of nutrition and the even more essential information on the health benefits and dangers of individual food types.

I bought and read the first McDougall book many years ago, in the 1980s. At that time I read it straight through and followed the plan for a while. Unfortunately I slid away from the basics and my healt
Debbie Vanover
As of today, Aug 18, 2012, I have lost 20.7 pounds in 7 weeks. I am eating MORE than I have ever eaten before, sleep better and more deeply, have more energy, and am saving money on my grocery bills. It's a win, no matter how I look at it! :)

(Edited April 11, 2013, to update blog info and a typo.)

Pax Gethen
May 16, 2012 Pax Gethen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Solid health advice from a medical doctor with decades of experience using a starch-centered, low-fat vegan diet to help people improve their health. Not a lot of new information for me since I've read most of the author's previous books and monthly newsletter, but I do enjoy McDougall's writing style, and the fact that he backs up his recommendations with references in published, peer-reviewed medical journals. Mary McDougall's recipes are great too.
May 27, 2013 Nicole rated it did not like it
Shelves: food-issues
One of my colleagues recommended this book, as following the diet has helped her child with an autoimmune condition. Although I'm glad it helped her child, this is not for me. A couple of things I didn't like about the writing: first, McDougall cites confounding lifestyle factors when a study disagrees with his philosophy, but he completely ignores them when it it convenient to do so; second, he claims absolute, incontrovertible evidence of causation (good and bad) in studies that show only ...more
Oct 21, 2012 Ahmed rated it it was amazing
A comprehensive, detailed and top notch review of all nutritional myths. This book as others I've read is an eye opener. A lot of my information was corrected, not only that but he support whatever he is saying with evidence. It's not his opinion.

I think this book would change your life, no matter if you are sick, obese or not. It will give the information needed to change your ways with food.

It worth every minute you spend reading. So don't waste your time and start reading.
May 26, 2013 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: health, nutrition
This book contains a lifestyle diet. It is very well written, complete yet not technical, with references to peer-reviewed articles. This is basically the same diet as recommended by "The China Study", The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter's 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds, and "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease".

While modern medicine is excellent for curing contagious diseases, it fails miserably against the so-called chronic diseases of the affl
Nov 01, 2012 Kristina rated it it was amazing
Yes! I was already doing most of the things Dr. McDougall recommends in this book, but how satisfying to read all the science behind why it is good for me and why I can continue to eat rice, potatoes, and pasta with veggies and salsa as much as I want, whenever I want.
Apr 09, 2014 Deborah rated it it was amazing
This really works, folks! I have been vegetarian for 7 years. This book gave me permission to eat starches I had been avoiding out of habit from my dieting days. Dr. McDougall's explanation about the importance of starches makes total sense, and the recipes are good too. McDougall is the only doctor I really trust to put people's health ahead of profit. Check out his website for free information on almost any health topic.
David Kerschner
Jun 25, 2012 David Kerschner rated it really liked it
I'm generally very skeptical of books like this. However, Dr. McDougal cites the majority of things he says. Well put together, convinced me to become vegan. I hesitate to recommend this sort of book, but I think everyone should read it.
Kate Merriman
Dec 03, 2012 Kate Merriman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vim
The best-researched book on nutrition I've ever had the good fortune to get in my hands!!

I cannot recommend this highly enough.
May 20, 2014 rivka rated it did not like it
Study cherry-picking, agenda-selling piece of propaganda.
Jan 05, 2014 Mary rated it it was amazing
I reluctantly agreed to try the Starch Solution when my doctor recommended it... I never, ever, ever voluntarily ate vegetables until I was well into adulthood. With much dismay, I discovered that I NEVER felt better than I do following this lifestyle plan. And I am even more pleased that the McDougall's believe in what the preach so much that they've made it available, without cost, to everyone on their website. Bravo to them, to everyone who follows them and even to me for climbing on board :)
Aug 25, 2015 Marlene rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, 2015
I have two significant problems with this book. That said, I'm here for the recipes.

First, the guy comes across as a pompous ass. His condescending pity for people who are not "thin and beautiful" is offensive. Indeed, one of his section titles is "Where have all the thin and beautiful people gone?"

Second, all major diseases are blamed on weight. This latter completely disregards the plethora of medical research coming out that is linking inflammation to many of these major diseases - heart dis
Dec 21, 2014 Marina rated it really liked it
First of all: I do strongly believe that a vegan diet has tons of health benefits and (apart from obviously being good for the environement)can be a solution to many health problems. I've been following a vegan diet for almost five years now, however I do have a problem with vegans saying things like "meat and milk cause cancer etc.". It's not just Dr. McDougall but generally people from the vegan society who tend to repeat that sentence over and over again. I do believe it is true BUT only if ...more
Jul 08, 2015 Bryan rated it it was amazing
I didn't read this for the weight-loss aspect of the diet, but rather because I recently came across Dr. McDougall online and wanted to read some of his work. This is a great read. I've been following a version of his diet for a few weeks and feel great! Making starches the foundation of what I eat keeps me full and energetic. Go sweet potatoes! I love his straightforward explanations and no nonsense approach to health and wellness on a plant-based diet. He gets to the root of the problem ...more
May 12, 2015 Christina rated it it was amazing
Stop fearing carbs people!.Excellent book. Lots of great information from Dr McDougall. I have been loosely following the starch solution for a while and have read a lot of previous books, articles by, and have watched many videos of Dr McDougall. What he has to say really resonates with me. I picked up the book..finally, because I decided to dive into the starch solution some more, since being diagnosed with cancer. I know how well it makes me feel when I do follow it, and I want something to ...more
Jenna David
Apr 19, 2015 Jenna David rated it it was amazing
This book is straightforward and super easy to read. It goes into just enough detail and if you want more detail or information the studies and in the back so you can search them up on the Internet or library and you can use his website as well. I am definitely going cut my fat and protein down from overt fats and fake meats after reading this and see how I feel. I've been vegan for 3 years but I have always eaten a lot of fats and had bad skin even as a vegan so this makes sense and I'll see if ...more
Nov 11, 2012 Alison rated it it was amazing
Shelves: healthy-stuff
This is a very interesting look at health and diet. It is a vegan diet but goes a little further in avoiding processed foods and oils. I agree with a lot of what is said in the book and think everyone involved in nutrition and medicine should read this. It is quite the eye opener and I'm looking forward to trying out the recipes.
Aug 17, 2012 Maggie rated it really liked it
I am a strong believer in Dr. McDougall's message that eating a plant-strong, vegan diet will save your life. I highly recommend this book for not only the science behind it, but also for the great recipes. I have made many of them and my family has enjoyed them all.
Wandoo Ityavyar
Mar 12, 2014 Wandoo Ityavyar rated it really liked it
The Starch Solution is an incredibly fun and easy read. John McDougall gets right to the point. McDougall is a doctor by profession. What inspired his career choice is having suffered from a stroke at the age of 18. His parents suffered through the Great Depression of the 1930s. During this period they had no choice but to eat a high starch diet which consisted of beans, peas, corn, potatoes amongst other starches because that is all they could afford. His mother's painful memories caused her ...more
May 13, 2014 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Fascinating read, this book was very well written, flowed well. I did not read this book because I wanted to lose weight, but am interested in books on health and the many different perspectives that are out there. Whether you agree with this type of diet or not the author provides plenty of examples on why certain things are not good for you and why you should attempt to cut them out, not just for a healthier you, but for a healthier planet as well.

I really enjoyed reading how this doctor appe
Nov 13, 2012 Natalie rated it liked it
I have to say, the greatest thing about this book was the freedom to eat starchy foods. I have never bought into the low carb thing but I realized that I almost feel guilty eating breads and rice and potatoes anyway. The whole gluten-free thing has been driving me batty. I recently cut out most meat and dairy and I have to say that his information goes right along with how I have felt. I do eat fish, butter, and feta cheese though and I don't make an effort to replace eggs in baking but I don't ...more
Dec 02, 2012 Melissa rated it it was ok
When I read books like this that are chock-full of information, I like to read them slowly and really think about each chapter. Unfortunately, this book was on request so I had to read it and return it in three weeks! Still, I learned quite a bit out of what I read, particularly about getting enough nutrients on a vegan diet. I wish he had spent more time talking about why some of the other diets he debunks actually do work for some people - like the "don't eat anything white" diet that does ...more
Michael Klusek
Jul 21, 2013 Michael Klusek rated it it was amazing
An eye opener. Was on the paleo diet and started having issues. Since the switch I am more satisfied, don't have late evening hunger cravings, don't need coffee in mornings, and am more focused throughout the day.

I would say those are some major benefits.

I pretty much have a full bowl of oatmeal every morning. I mix organic instant oatmeal and flax, Irish steel cut and some cream of wheat. I vary up the fruit and brown sugar added.

I will have a coffee now and then but I don't need it like I use
Thomas Glahn
Mar 25, 2016 Thomas Glahn rated it really liked it
Shelves: english, non-fictie
Aptly called a maverick physician, John McDougall is one of the pioneers of nutritional medicine. Over the years he has treated thousands of patients, vastly improving their health by changing the way they eat. The Starch Solution explains how and why this works. In addition the book contains practical information, such as menu planners and a large selection of recipes.

Good health is of interest to each and everyone. It also makes you more successful in your work life, says John McDougall:

Jul 08, 2012 Kristen rated it really liked it
I like the ideas put forth in this book. I'm already a whole foods vegan so for me this "solution" wouldn't be a huge change for me. I do rely on a lot of nuts, seeds, and coconut oil though so I would have to cut all of that out for the most part. By cutting my fats out I would have more room in my diet for starches. I'd have to eat more veggies like potatoes and also add a little more grains into my diet. I'm going to try this out just because so far my way of eating hasn't given me the body ...more
Nov 23, 2013 Christan rated it it was amazing
This book was the best thing I ever chose to read. Carbs are the ultimate food.. starches.. fruits.. it's all completely nourishing. You won't need coffee anymore. It will make you feel so incredible.

If you liked this book, I recommend The 80/10/10 diet also.
Raw til 4 is a great page on facebook if you want to combine both diets.

Find me here:

Jun 05, 2015 Sherilyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book may not be very interesting to a lot of people, but I really enjoyed it. Just by looking at the cover you would assume it's a weight loss book. Dr. McDougall explains the healthiest way to eat, with his focus purely on health rather than weight loss. He explains with his own experience and evidence why a plant based diet is best, as well as the dangers of the average American diet. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who cares about their health whatsoever.
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John A. McDougall (Born 1947) is an American Irish physician and author whose philosophy is that degenerative disease can be prevented and treated with a low-fat, whole foods, plant-based/vegan diet – especially one based on starches such as potatoes, rice, and corn – which excludes all animal foods and added vegetable oils.
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“FRENCH TOAST I like to cook up a batch, then refrigerate or freeze individual slices in zip-top bags. A quick heating in the toaster or microwave oven and breakfast is ready. Substitute a tablespoon of brown sugar for the dates if you wish. The turmeric is for color; if you don’t have it, just leave it out. PREP: 10 MINUTES | COOK: 15 MINUTES • MAKES 12 SLICES 2 cups Cashew Milk 3 tablespoons chopped, pitted dates 1⁄8 teaspoon ground cinnamon Dash of ground turmeric 12 slices whole wheat bread Pure maple syrup, fruit sauce, or fruit spread, for serving Process 1 cup of the Cashew Milk and the dates, cinnamon, and turmeric in a blender until smooth. Add the remaining 1 cup Cashew Milk and blend a few more moments. Pour the mixture into a bowl and dip slices of bread in it, one at a time, coating them well. Heat a nonstick griddle or skillet over medium heat. Cook as many slices as your pan will handle at a time, turning until both sides are evenly browned. Serve warm with toppings of your choice.” 2 likes
“Factory farms feed their sick and dying cows, called “downer cows,” to chickens and pigs.” 0 likes
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