’The book is written in an accessible tone and explains the relevant elements of physiology and genetics, plus the reasons why being overweight or obese is harmful. ’
Title: Gene Eating
Author: Dr Giles Yeo
Publisher: Seven Dials
Reviewer: Kate Jack, PhD Student and Advanced Virology Nurse, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
What was it like?
This is an “anti-diet” book, written by a geneticist who has 20 years experience in studying obesity and how the brain controls what we eat. Gene Eating seeks to explore the (lack of) evidence behind many popular diets such as “clean eating”, the “Paleo diet” and the “alkaline diet”. The book is written in an accessible tone and explains the relevant elements of physiology and genetics, plus the reasons why being overweight or obese is harmful.
What were the highlights?
- · Succinctly pointing out that our species is becoming increasingly obese simply because we eat too much and move too little.
- · Explaining that how much fat a person has is to do with our brains and feeding behaviour.
- · Clearly de-bunking the myth that drinking water infused with lemons will turn the body alkaline and cure all ailments.
Strengths & weaknesses:
Gene Eating is aimed at the general population but is comprehensively referenced by papers in peer reviewed journals, not pseudo-science. For example, the science behind calorie intake is presented clearly. However because this is not a “diet book” as such there is no alternative diet plan presented, other than the notion of eating a lot less and moving a lot more. The author lists five suggestions that will help, such as eat less saturated fat, but is not prescriptive in precisely what should be consumed for breakfast, lunch and tea.
Who should read it?
Nurses are caring for an increasingly overweight population, many of whom will have tried or considered the variety of popular diets with differing levels of success. This book will enable nurses to have a more informed conversation with their patients about weight loss and reiterate that an increase in exercise is important. In addition, anyone with an interest in a more scientific, but highly readable, text detailing for example the role of leptin and its pathways between the brain and gut will find this an immensely enjoyable and humorous read.