Parts of this book are quite informative and interesting. I suspect I should eliminate or at least reduce my wheat consumption, or maybe just reduce rParts of this book are quite informative and interesting. I suspect I should eliminate or at least reduce my wheat consumption, or maybe just reduce refined carbohydrates, but parts of the book were so alarmist that the contrarian in me wants to keep eating wheat. The author falls into the common error of oversimplification, reducing the US's health and weight problems to one cause. Wheat = BAD in this book. No, wheat = EVIL, bad isn't a strong enough term. He cites an odd mixture of academic studies and anecdotes, as best fits his argument. And that's the real problem. The book left me with the distinct impression that he started with the assumption that wheat is the root of all our health problems and went in search of whatever evidence he could find to support that contention. Studies, anecdotes, whatever. He continually cites the correlation between the recommendations of a low-fat diet high in whole grains and our current obesity epidemic, but never does he present any evidence that people actually following those recommendations are the obese (see the spurious correlation blog at http://www.tylervigen.com/ for some hilarious examples of correlations). He continually condemns the recommendation to eat healthy whole grains, putting real snark into it, but cites no evidence as to what percentage of Americans are actually eating whole grains vs. products made from refined white flour, never mind following other dietary recommendations to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
TL;DR Some interesting points, but overall piss-poor science. Don't make health decisions on this guy's say-so....more
Started this on paper over a year ago, but had to return it to the library when I was about halfway through. It was in that in-between rating place, wStarted this on paper over a year ago, but had to return it to the library when I was about halfway through. It was in that in-between rating place, worth reading but not high on my list, so it took a while to get back to. Finally got around to finishing it in audio form. Read by the author, who is not bad for a non-professional narrator. Not great, but acceptable.
The book itself is interesting. I think if I'd finished it last year I might have rated it higher. The ideas in this book have been hashed over a lot in the last year, so parts just felt trite and repetitive. A year ago it might have been more original and interesting. The dangers of a topical book. But still relatively well written and worth the read. I especially enjoyed the stories of the lives everyday folks that are woven throughout the book, illustrating the social/political/economic trends the author is discussing.