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Book Reviews

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Cinch! Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches

Book Review

Cinch! Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches
By Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD
HarperOne (2011)
Reviewed by Judy Caplan, MS, RD


Cinch! claims you can profoundly change the way you look and feel in just 30 days. It combines dramatic weight-loss results—up to eight pounds in five days—with a 25-day simple nutrition program that produces sustainable weight loss without calorie counting or relying on complex charts. The author claims in one month you can easily drop a dress size and still eat dark chocolate every day.

Synopsis of the Diet Plan

This diet plan consists of two parts: The five-day fast-forward is designed to jump-start your weight loss and calls for four simple meals a day made from just five foods: spinach, almonds, raspberries, eggs and yogurt (or vegan-friendly alternatives). She provides a shopping list that includes everything you will need.

The 25-day plan (Cinch! Core) also calls for four meals a day but draws from a more varied array of foods. The author forgoes calorie counting for a five-piece puzzle approach, which allows the reader to pick and choose foods from the following groups: produce, whole grains, lean protein, plant-based fat and specific seasonings, which the author refers to as SASS. There are lots of simple, easy-to-make recipes categorized under breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

Sass stresses the importance of exercise and awareness of the potential harm of emotional eating. She includes worksheets to help the reader identify roadblocks and track success.

She focuses on three key rules which work to provide lasting results:

  1. Eat Like Clockwork.
  2. Think Five Pieces Five Times a Day.
  3. Make Flavor Your Focus.

While there is no doubt this weight-loss approach is extremely health-promoting, the reader might find it takes a lot of work, but that is not necessarily a drawback. The simple truth is healthful eating, successful weight loss and weight maintenance do take time, energy and a strong commitment to succeed.

Nutritional Pros and Cons

Sass does an excellent job laying out the "hows" and "whys" of the Cinch! diet plan, which is basically a heavily plant-based, nutrient-dense diet plan, although she does include chicken and seafood, she supports all of her claims of why this kind of eating lowers disease risk and promotes weight loss with citations from the latest applicable research. The reasoning behind Cinch is sound.

From a registered dietitian’s perspective, Cinch! covers everything you would want your clients to know about healthful eating. However, from a reader’s point of view, the content might be a bit dense with facts and the plan a little confusing.

Bottom Line

I liked the book and would recommend it. While I think the book is a sensible approach to weight loss and healthful eating, I think it is a bit ironic that the book is titled Cinch!, mainly because the diet plan would be a huge adjustment for the average person who eats a traditional American diet. (Which is precisely why Sass wrote the book.) For those who are either highly motivated or are already eating a mostly plant-based diet and accustomed to preparing healthy food on a regular basis, this would be a cinch. Either way, if followed, Cinch! will lead to a cinched waistline, lower risk of disease and good health.