I have just finished reading The Diet Myth by Tim Spector and by sheer coincidence there was a television program on SBS television last night about that very thing. If you are in Australia you can find the TV program on SBS On Demand here.
My husband bought the book after listening to a radio interview with the author Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology. You can find the interview here as a podcast on ABC radio. My husband thought the book was terrific and as he had read aloud some interesting snippets while reading the book I was keen to read it for myself. The book certainly didn’t disappoint.
From the blurb:
We are all increasingly bewildered by the simple question of what to eat. Despite advice from experts, governments and dieticians of the dangers of too much fat, sugar, protein and lack of exercise, our nutrition – and the global obesity crisis – is getting much worse.
Why can one person eat a certain meal and gain weight and another eat exactly the same food and lose pounds? Genes provide part of the answer, but we have been overlooking one vital aspect of diet that lies within us. Thanks to recent breakthroughs, scientists have begun to examine the permanent residents in our guts: the thousands of previously unknown but essential microbes whose job it is to digest our food and keep us alive.
. . . .Only by understanding how our own microbes interact with our bodies can we overcome our confusion about modern diets and nutrition to regain the correct balance of our ancestors.
The book explores many aspects of our diet but concludes with the advice that:
. . . .you won’t go wrong if you treat your own microbes like you would treat your own garden. Give them plenty of fertiliser- prebiotics, fibre, nutrients. Plant new seeds regularly in the shape of probiotics and new foods. Give the soil an occasional rest by fasting. Experiment, but avoid poisoning your microbiotic garden with preservatives, antiseptic mouthwashes, antibiotics, sugar and junk food.
These treatments will maximise the diversity of the species that flourish (in your gut), producing the greatest range of nutrients. (The Diet Myth p273)
There are many reviews of this book available on the internet and I would strongly suggest that you check them out. The book certainly explains why some people cannot lose weight by eating less and exercising. Something that doctors tell them to do!