Neris and India's Idiot-Proof Diet: A Weight-Loss Plan for Real Women
By India Knight and Neris Thomas Grand Central Publishing (2007) Reviewed by: Ruth Frechman, MA, RD
"This book tells you how two ordinary women banded together to lose the weight that had snuck up on them over the years and how you can do it, too. It's not a diet devised by a fat middle-aged doctor or by some bossy string bean who has never been more than five pounds above her ideal weight. This is a real, long term workable diet for real people."
Synopsis of the Diet Plan:
The diet is the authors' personal version of a low-carbohydrate diet. Phase One, which lasts two weeks and contains large amounts of protein and fat and up to 30 grams of carbohydrates per day, is repeated six times over several months. Phase Two lasts nine weeks and slowly reintroduces some fruits, vegetables, yogurt, dark chocolate, whole-wheat bread and alcohol, with a few other foods. Phase Three is about maintaining weight loss and eating a "healthy, nutritious, balanced" diet for the rest of your life.
Forty to 100 grams of carbohydrates are allowed a day. Legumes, other fruits, starchy vegetables and whole grains are allowed twice a month. Foods such as potatoes, bananas, sugar, white rice, cookies, pasta, white flour, cakes and potato chips are not allowed at all. The book also contains recipes, supplement recommendations and meal suggestions.
Nutritional Pros and Cons:
This diet is not based on scientific research, but on how two women happened to lose 140 pounds between them in a year by consuming low amounts of carbohydrates and high amounts of protein and fat.
The good news is the book encourages realistic goals; tries to address emotional eating (although the authors assume everyone with extra weight dislikes themselves); encourages people to drink a lot of water (although water does not help the body metabolize fat, as stated in the book); promotes daily exercise; recommends finding a "diet buddy" for support; and includes three meals a day and as many snacks as required for energy.
However, there is a lot wrong with this diet. For example, Phase One includes 20 to 30 grams of carbohydrates a day, yet the Institute of Medicine recommends at least 130 grams of carbohydrates daily for proper brain function. (To quote one of the authors on Day One: "I have a throbbing head. I feel like my shoulders weigh a ton. And I'm very, very bleary," in addition to, "We both got massive headaches on Day Five.")
The diet is restrictive and is lacking fiber and whole grains and does not contain a variety of fruits and vegetables or many dairy products. ("I haven't pooed since the day before yesterday, which doesn't feel great.") The diet is also loaded with saturated fat and recommends unnecessary expensive and organic foods.
Cheating is allowed occasionally and cheat the authors did. Then they went back to Phase One.
The authors suggest feeding your children the same way. (See above about brain function!)
The book contains crude language and a lot of negative name calling related to having excess weight.
This is the epitome of a fad diet and should not be followed for any length of time. I kept wondering if it was a joke. The book contains incorrect nutrition information and the diet is missing important nutrients and could be dangerous for some people.