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Eat, Drink, and Weigh Less

Book Review

Eat, Drink, and Weigh Less
By Walter Willett, MD, and Mollie Katzen
Hyperion (2006)
Reviewed by Marisa Moore, RD, LD, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson

Claims

No deprivation. No fads. No hype. Eat, Drink, and Weigh Less uses nine principles to guide the reader through healthy eating and lifestyle changes to promote better health and weight loss. The authors shun deprivation and emphasize adding healthy foods to the diet and making simple changes to achieve weight loss goals. It introduces a tracking tool called the Body Score to measure success. According to the book's claim, a higher Body Score equates to a lower body weight.

Diet Plan

The book offers a three-part plan to achieve weight loss. The "Warm Up Plan" is a non-structured set of recommendations for the person who is just getting started with weight loss. It is also recommended for those who want to start making changes without adapting to a specific regimen. The second phase is the "21 Day Diet," complete with three weeks of meal plans ranging from 1,500 calories to 1,600 calories each. Exercise is encouraged during this time and high-calorie, sugar-sweetened beverages are prohibited. Finally, "Lifelong Maintenance" begins once a healthy weight is achieved. It reinforces the nine turning points outlined in the book and listed below. The Body Score tracking tool is used daily for the first month and weekly thereafter to chart progress and to provide motivation.

The Nine Turning Points:

  1. Eat lots of vegetables and fruits.
  2. Say yes to good fats.
  3. Upgrade your carbohydrates.
  4. Choose healthy proteins.
  5. Stay hydrated.
  6. Drink alcohol in moderation (optional).
  7. Take a multivitamin every day.
  8. Move more.
  9. Eat mindfully all day long.

Nutritional Pros and Cons

The book is written in a positive tone and wins points for its focus on adding healthy foods versus what must be given up. The main meal plans are largely plant-based and include lots of fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole grains. The recipes encourage a shift towards foods like millet, quinoa and wheat berries, which will be new to some readers who may find it difficult to locate and incorporate these foods into their diets. Additionally, some of the recipes require a great deal of cooking. To cater to those with a busy lifestyle, Willlett and Katzen offer a portable plan made largely of ready-to-eat and easy-prep foods. The book provides several supporting tools including a handy grain-cooking guide, shopping guide and tips on eating well through life's ups and downs.

Bottom Line

Eat, Drink, and Weigh Less provides sound nutrition information and advice based on scientific research. Designed to teach the reader how to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight for life, the book is packed with practical tips and tools to help with weight management and overall health. In addition, the authors take time to educate the reader about the importance of the principles outlined.

January 2007