Perfect Health Diet – a quick review

There can only be oneWorking on my book (actually one of the Guides, the one on Low Carb Diets; it will be part of the book eventually), I just finished the Perfect Health Diet written by a husband-and-wife-team, the Jaminet’s. My recommendation in a nutshell: buy the book, read it diagonally, and use liberally what you learn from it (blogger disclosure: this is what I did, including the buy-the-book part)

I first thought this book was a bit of a fad, as it does really tick all the boxes: Paleo, Zone, IF, … and on top of it is has a catchy, over-promising title. I read it anyway for my research – a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do –  and I was pleasantly surprised. The book is actually very good.

Hence the first part of my recommendation: buy the book. It is not dirt cheap, but at about 10 quid for the Kindle edition you get a lot of great information. The PHD basically combines Paleo, Zone, and IF. On top of this, micronutrient supplementation is discussed in great detail, and as a bonus there is loads of info on inflammation and other nutrition-related pathologies.

The authors have done a tremendous amount of research on this topic, and there is a lot of information contained in the book. And this information is even reasonably nicely structured and part of a nice narrative, which is an enormous effort as I can attest to.

This is where my diagonal reading recommendation comes in: the book is written both for scientists and lay people and not everyone might want to read through 20 arguments why 65/20/15 is the optimal macronutrient ratio. But it is reassuring that those arguments are there, and can be checked if need be. Just dont be the one doing all the checking, unless you have nothing better to do.

Now to my last recommendation: learn from it and use it liberally. I know that there is a fine line between an actionable recommendation and a good narrative on the one hand, and over-simplification and dogmatism on the other hand, but in my view the authors have crossed it a couple of times. Never ignore first signs after – the title “Perfect” Health Diet is an an omen after all: There Can Only Be One.

In CrossFit lingo, PHD would be “Paleo-Zone with Quadruple Fat” (almost, scaled back down to 2000’ish cals) and I am less sure than the authors that 4x fat is the the one and only way to go, vastly superior to 3x or 5x (well, I can see that 4x is better than 5x). This theme goes throughout the book: prescriptions are often very specific, and the authors seem to have very little doubt in that they just nailed it with all their science.

Which brings me to another point. Now it might be slightly unfair to single out one scientific reference when there are hundreds, but (a) this is not the only one, albeit possibly the worst, but there are a few more (b) it is displayed prominently, and (c) it in my view is really a bit of a blooper. Which is a shame, because it raises doubts as to the accuracy of the other science quoted and that I am in much less a position to verify.

So, take this book with a grain of salt, but otherwise make good use of all the great information it provides.

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