There are plenty of health books on the market nowadays. I look at the new releases at the library from time to time just to see what is out there. Generally, the health books are either about the newest “fad” or the same conventional wisdom, I have already heard. It is very rare that the books teach or encourage critical thinking skills.
Since becoming interested in “real food” Mcstriver and I have started evaluating the conventional health wisdom. We have had to put our critical thinking skills to work to evaluate the things we are learning in the “real food” realm, mostly from the internet.
I first heard about “Death by Food Pyramid: How Shoddy Science, Sketchy Politics and Shaddy Special Interests Have Ruined Our Health” by Denise Minger from one of the many blogs I follow. The title intrigued me I must admit. What is so wrong with the food pyramid, I wondered. I grew up with it and had been taught the four food groups and the food pyramid in school. Sure McStriver and I have greatly reduced processed food from our diet and avoid certain ingredients, but I didn’t think that the food pyramid concept was flawed.
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When I starting reading the book (I reserved it from the library) I was pleasantly surprised to see the author was just as interested in teaching you how to evaluate health studies and claims as telling you her opinions. The book explains things like observational and clinical studies in clear, everyday terms. Denise Minger explains pros and cons about the different methodologies used in health research. After explaining how to critically assess health studies the book looks at some of the well known key studies and evaluates their results. It highlights possible problems as well as usefully takeaways from the studies. There is a small section towards the end of the book that does discuss suggestions for healthier eating. Even this section is written from the prospective that the reader should make thier own choices and that what is right for one person might not be right for another. The author Denise Minger also has a food blog called rawfoodsos.com
Having read this book I feel I have a better understanding of how to make food choices for the McStriver family. I feel empowered to learn more, even scientific literature.
Verdict: I highly recommend this book. Even if you follow mainstream health advice this book will help you understand how the USDA guidelines came about and how to critical assess the latest health studies reported in the news.
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