The French Don't Diet Plan: 10 Simple Steps to Stay Thin for Life
By William Clower (Three Rivers Press) 2007
Reviewer: Andrea Giancoli, MPH, RD
Claim: Stay thin for life in 10 easy steps inspired by the French lifestyle.
In this 10-step, eight-week program, forget "faux foods": those that contain any artificial food additives or high fructose corn syrup. Toss out dietary supplements: all nutrients should come from the diet. Choose "fabulous" foods: primarily unprocessed whole foods with no artificial ingredients or high-fructose corn syrup. Commonly "forbidden foods" like cheese, whole milk, butter, chocolate, bread and butter are now allowable. Engage in sensual eating: When eating sweets (such as chocolate) use all of your senses to savor it. Your sweet tooth will diminish if you are completely conscious of what you are eating and enjoying. Take at least 20 minutes to eat your meal. Serve less than what you want and tell yourself you can go back for more. Use smaller dishes and take small bites. Don't use fluids to wash down bites of food. Wait 10 minutes after eating and then have a small treat like cheese, chocolate, nuts, tea or coffee. Share meals with your family with no distractions, to slow down eating, enabling you to eat less and let you relax. Avoid stress and practice relaxation techniques. Be active in your everyday life and you won't need to join a gym.
The diet is well-balanced, includes all food groups and a variety from each group. The author considers a baguette to be a health food despite the fact it is largely refined processed wheat. He briefly recommends whole grains but does not put a lot of importance on them. He unnecessarily demonizes artificial sweeteners with scant evidence to back it up.
This is really a combination diet and lifestyle plan that offers good advice on not what just to eat but how. The reader must read through each of the 10 steps carefully to get the full understanding of what these steps mean. Some steps are actually misleading such "You don't have to go to the gym." The reader may interpret that as no need to exercise, but the author actually is advising the reader to become more active every day: walk everywhere, take the stairs and find an activity you like (biking, dancing, yoga, etc.). Dieters should read carefully to discern the true behavior being recommended or they may find themselves overindulging and under-exercising.