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Vitality: Quest for a Healthy Diet in the Wake of the Low Carb Craze

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It was the ever witty Mark Twain who said, "Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint."

It was the ever witty Mark Twain who said, "Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint."

However, amid the often half-baked diet fads that our culture is saturated with, we need a well-researched health book to guide our eating decisions. Vitality: Quest for a healthy diet in the wake of the low carb craze gives us the background and sound assessments of the latest flavour-of-the-day diet.

Vitality provides a comprehensive overview of low-carbohydrate diets. Much of the detail focuses on the well-known Atkins Diet. However, there is also a discussion of two of the other popular offerings: the Zone and the South Beach diets. Tannis looks at the science underlying each diet and outlines its strengths and shortcomings.

Tannis examines the science behind the initial weight loss that dieters tend to experience, providing a clear discussion of central concepts such as ketosis, a state in which the body begins to break down fats for energy because of insufficient carbohydrates. In the end, she uses a number of studies to support her argument that this kind of diet's effectiveness can be attributed to water loss, reduced caloric intake, and the relative ease of sticking to an eating regimen that includes fatty foods.

But is this type of diet safe? Tannis expresses some serious concerns about low-carb diets and under-informed dieters who ignore what nutritional science has to tell us. For instance, extreme anti-carb diets replace carbohydrates with high-protein foods that also contain large amounts of unhealthy saturated fat, and excessive ketosis can lead to disorders such as osteoporosis. The book also offers a useful section on the risks of low-carb diets for specific groups such as diabetics, pregnant women, and athletes.

Don't let this lead you to believe that Vitality throws out the low-carb diet. In fact, the reader is given a diet plan that follows a scientifically supported reduction in carbohydrates the bad ones like refined sugar and white flour. Throughout the book, Tannis provides clearly explained information on protein, carbohydrates, and fat, so the reader can make an informed change to a sustainable and healthy diet.

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