By Gino D'Acampo
Kyle Books (2010)
Reviewed by Melinda Johnson, MS, RD
The Italian Diet is based on the traditional Italian diet, which is healthy and packed with nutritious foods, with no food groups banned or limited. Italians have the lowest obesity rate in Europe, eating a diet fairly typical of the classic Mediterranean diet. The meals are simple and easy to prepare, with ingredients you can easily find at the grocery store.
Synopsis of the Diet Plan
This is a cookbook with some nutrition advice mixed in—it is not a comprehensive diet plan, although the author does offer one sample week's menu for a 1,500-calorie diet or a 2,000-calorie diet. The introduction is written by Juliette Kellow, a registered dietitian and gives a good, basic breakdown of the Mediterranean style of eating. The author cautions this is not a strict weight-loss plan, but more of a lifestyle plan. He emphasizes making your own meals with fresh ingredients, keeping portions small and taking time to eat at the dinner table. The recipes all provide nutrient breakdowns and they are arranged into helpful chapters such as "lunch to go" and "desserts." Each of the recipes provides an introduction by the author, an acclaimed Italian chef and TV personality.
Nutritional Pros and Cons
This is a beautiful book with full-page color photographs of the food and some fun photos of gorgeous Italian people thrown in for good measure. Leafing through the book, you will be tempted to bring a little bit of Italy into your kitchen. The nutrition advice is balanced and reasonable and it is very helpful to have the nutritional breakdown for each recipe. The recipes are healthy and easy to read.
It may be a little difficult to use this book for a complete diet overhaul and it may not be the only tool you need in weight-loss efforts. The one-week sample menus are helpful but daunting and do not include snacks. You must enjoy cooking if you want to use this plan, as it does not offer much advice on using prepared foods.
I recommend The Italian Diet as a healthy cookbook, rather than a diet plan—the recipes are appealing and fairly simple, and they are certainly healthy. For someone looking to lose weight, this book may help them but they will probably need some more tools in their arsenal, like a consultation with a registered dietitian. Finally, for someone wanting to learn about nutrition, this book is a good starting point but is quite basic.