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The Supermarket Diet

Book Review

The Supermarket Diet
By Janis Jibrin, MS, RD
Hearst (2005)
Reviewed by Susan Moores, MS, RD, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson

Claims

  • You won't feel hungry.
  • You can lose up to two pounds in a week.
  • The food you eat is easy to find in the supermarket and easy to make.
  • You learn how to keep lost weight off permanently.

This book positions itself as a sensible approach to weight loss and maintenance—one that allows the reader to push his or her grocery cart through the supermarket, find healthy convenient foods and achieve a healthy weight.

Diet Plan

The Supermarket Diet starts with a two-week meal plan which includes shopping lists, recipes and snacks. Readers are guided toward either a 1,200-calorie starter plan (a.k.a. Boot Camp) a 1,500- or a 1,800-calorie plan. Which level is "right" for the reader depends on gender and weight loss goals. The author helps readers select which calorie level is the best fit, how to troubleshoot problems if the calorie level selected does not seem to be yielding good results and how to progress through the diet, e.g., move from calorie level to calorie level.

The Supermarket Diet's strong suit is its detail. It is well-organized and incredibly practical. There are shopping lists for stocking the kitchen (from literally no food in the cupboards to a full-fledged diet-smart pantry). There are easy to understand and execute meal plans and recipes and all sorts of nuggets of nutrition information, such as whether to choose margarine or butter, the benefits of berries, why trans fats are trouble and more. The information is written concisely and decisively which can only help readers make better food decisions.

One of the highlights of the book is Chapter 7 - "Slender Shopping: An Aisle by Aisle Supermarket Tour." Jibrin starts in the produce section and ends in the meat department offering tremendous detail about which foods are great picks and why. Readers learn what fruits and vegetables offer in terms of nutrients (including phytonutrients), how to pick a healthful cereal or breakfast bar; what to look for when it comes to condiments, what to think about coffee and tea, which fish are safe and more. This section gives anyone interested in good health a wealth of indispensable information.

Nutritional Pros and Cons

The book's cover - it lacks freshness, interest or excitement which may dissuade some people from picking it up. It doesn't do justice to the sage advice waiting inside.

The Supermarket Diet handily covers the food and nutrition component of dieting. It offers a useful chapter on exercise, but readers may need to look elsewhere for more detail on how and what to do to build strength, flexibility and endurance. They may also need to connect with a registered dietitian to address the emotional and psychological influences on their weight concerns.

Bottom Line

The Supermarket Diet is filled with great information, great tools and great tips for losing weight and eating healthfully. Chapter 7 and the tear-out product guidelines in the book's appendix are worth the price alone.

February 2006