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Terrors of the Table

The Wall Street Journal features a review of Terrors of the Table by Walter Gratzer today (Normally, WSJ Online is by subscription only, but it is open to anyone this week, so enjoy!). Gratzer’s book comes on a swell of anti-diet-faddism and gives the long view of how things like the Atkins and South Beach diets come and go. From the WSJ review:

All sorts of characters appear in Mr. Gratzer’s account, including scientists who study the body and its digestive processes as well as foods and their nutrients; doctors and public-health workers who battle the disease caused by improper nourishment; food manufacturers who peddle their products as cures; and diet promoters, pill pushers, faddists and quacks, most of whom promise much more than they can deliver…

Today, a superabundance of food, especially processed food, has led to an epidemic of obesity and diabetes. At the same time, various diets — Pritikin to Scarsdale to The Zone to Atkins to South Beach — have won cult-like followings. Mr. Gratzer is none too impressed with any of these plans, nor with the sellers of vitamins and herbal remedies, nor with (for that matter) the apostles of vegetarianism. He debunks studies that denounce salt and those that salute fiber. He doesn’t advocate any particular plan. But he seems to be a moderation man, even allowing the odd root-beer float.

Of course, another Oxford author Eric Oliver might dispute the notion of “an epidemic of obesity,” but that is a debate for another day.

LINK to review on WSJ Online.

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