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I reviewed Dr Briffa’s previous book Waist Disposal here on Paleo Diet News last year. That one focused on fat loss for men, and did so in an admirably clear way, utilising a diet based solidly on paleo precepts. Since it came out, I’ve recommended it to numerous male friends who have mentioned their need to drop a few inches round the middle. In fact, I’ve found that it serves as a great, non-threatening introduction to the paleo diet.
That’s why I’m so pleased that Dr. Briffa has released a second book – Escape The Diet Trap – along the same lines. It’s worth saying up front that it does cover much of the same ground as Waist Disposal (the truth about fat loss and health doesn’t change) but there are a couple of points that recommend it over the first book:
- It’s more ‘general’ in nature (and doesn’t have a picture of a man’s six-pack on the cover) so it’s more likely to appeal to women. Well, it’s more likely to appeal to women looking for weight-loss advice, although the man’s six-pack on the cover of Waist Disposal probably didn’t repel many!
- It covers more ground in relation to paleo-related concepts and techniques, including methods for busting through fat-loss plateaus – such as intermittent fasting, and high energy interval training.
- It’s more detailed in outlining the scientific evidence behind its recommendations. One Amazon reviewer called it “Waist Disposal on steroids” which is a good (though certainly not paleo!) description. I like to think of it as “Waist Disposal on Crossfit”….
Readers of Dr. Briffa’s blog will know that his approach is to the point and without any frills – and yet is warm and in no way condescending. Escape The Diet Trap is a thinking person’s fat-loss manual. You won’t just be told “do this” – you’ll find yourself thoroughly understanding why you’re doing what he recommends – and, most importantly, you’ll find the recommendations working.
So, what does the book cover? It begins with an outline which summarizes the content of each chapter – a brilliant idea, because it gives a clear “helicopter view” of what you’re about to read, and – consequently – makes the whole thing easier to follow. Here’s an example of the overview of some chapters:
1. Diets Don’t Work
We know that diets don’t work, and this chapter reviews the results of studies of conventional dieting, with or without exercise, over time. Research reveals that, even in the very overweight, eating less and exercising more bring average losses of no more than a few pounds in the long-term.
3. Toxic Waist
Recent research shows that the location of accumulated fat determines its likely impact on health: fat packed in and around the abdomen turns out to be the most harmful for both the body and brain. This chapter explores the risks of ‘abdominal obesity’, and provides guidance on how to assess and monitor this quite simply.
5. The Hunger Within
A major reason why traditional diets fail is the hunger they almost inevitably induce. In this chapter, we explore the sometimes devastating impact dieting and hunger have on psychological and general wellbeing.
9. Inflammatory Arguments
Fat stores in the body are ultimately determined by the action of specific hormones. In this chapter we explore how low-level inflammation can disrupt hormonal functioning, and in turn may lead to weight gain. The chapter focuses on the impact of inflammation on two key hormones – insulin and leptin – and goes
on to explore the role of diet in improving hormonal function and bringing about lasting weight loss.
18. Prime Fuel
In this chapter, all the major foods are rated according to their effects on body weight and health. Practical recommendations regarding their consumption are made.
19. Fluid Thinking
Here, the most common beverages, including water, fruit juice, soft drinks, tea, coffee and alcohol, are assessed from a body weight and health perspective.
21. Affirmative Action
The research shows that ‘aerobic’ exercise such as walking, running and cycling is not effective for weight loss, and this chapter explains why. The chapter goes on to explore the benefits exercise does offer, and provides practical information and advice about sustainable forms of activity.
The book ends on ‘Escape The Diet Trap In A Nutshell’ – a handy “dos and don’ts” summary which makes it easy to remind yourself of what you’ve learned.
Do I recommend Escape The Diet Trap? I absolutely do. Not only did I learn more in reading it, it’s also provided me with a real “go-to” book for those who show a slight interest in the paleo way of eating (and living) but who are frightened off by the “paleo diet” label. Not only has everyone I’ve recommended it to said they enjoyed it and found it fascinating – they’ve all reported success in dropping a few pounds.
What better recommendation could there be?
Have you read this book? What did you think? Please share comments below – along with recommendations of any other books you’d like Paleo Diet News to review!