Thousands of Simple Food Swaps That Can Save You 10, 20, 30 Pounds -- or More!
David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding
The principle: Alphabetized by restaurant and brand name, color pictures help you choose better food without having to work too hard at it.
Excerpt: "Do you really know if that burger is 250 calories, or 500 calories or 1,000 calories? No. And you'll be shocked and amazed when you discover the truth!"
Bottom line: Written by editors for Men’s Health magazine, this book aims for readers who want bit-by-bit weight loss without necessarily giving up their In-N-Out pit stops. Some food swaps are head-slappingly obvious (if you eat a burger without the bun, you save calories!), but others might give a hungry eater pause (Subway's double roast beef sandwich trumps the tuna sub; crispy carnitas tacos are actually one of Chipotle's healthiest meals.) Nutritional advice includes decent ideas for sneaking more spinach in your diet, along with the Reagan-era-esque gem to "pile on the ketchup" as a way to include more antioxidant-rich tomatoes in your diet.
"Not much new here in terms of premise," Heber says. "For people who don't know much about foods and calories, it might be helpful." Still, it's "nice and practical -- very much sounds like a food book written by men," Roberts says. Although it might be hard to tote around and whip out in restaurants and supermarkets, she adds, "it would make fine bathroom reading."
You might like this book if you like: Showtime's “Penn & Teller”; " junk food.
Worth the price: Why Chick-Fil-A earns an A-plus but Panera Bread gets a D in the restaurant report card; plus the "20 worst foods in America."
The No S Diet
The Strikingly Simple Weight-Loss Strategy That Has Dieters Raving -- and Dropping Pounds
Reinhard Engels and Ben Kallen
Perigree Press, 2008
The principle: No snacks, no sweets, no seconds, except on days that begin with S (Saturdays, Sundays and special days)
Excerpt: "Three rules and one exception may be simple, but they're sharp. They target the right problem -- excess -- with the right solution -- moderation."
Bottom line: The diet's developer is a librarian turned computer programmer who came up with a simple set of rules to help himself lose weight. His "cute, common sense formula" turned into a home-grown website, then spawned a book. Here he and his coauthor describe limits and rationales behind the rules: "No snacks" means no eating between meals; "no sweets" means nothing with added sugar; "no seconds" means everything must fit on one virtual plate. Weekends and documented "special days" (such as birthdays) serve as the release valve, a reward for good behavior. Billed simply as "a framework for controlling excess," the book assumes readers already know how to -- and will -- make sensible food choices. (Or, as they say in charming techie patois when debating whether a pretzel is a permissible lunch, "the No S Diet delegates that micro-decision to you.")
"This is just another attempt to organize unorganized emotional eaters," Heber says. And rules only go so far, Vash adds, because "when you're on a diet, every day is a 'special day.' " The authors have a rebuttal on hand, however: Yes, you can abuse the only-on-S-days rule, they write. "But you can't do it without knowing you're being a bozo."
You might like this book if you like: Lifehack.org; 43folders.com; alliterative rules.
Worth the price: The tech-speak sprinkled throughout the book, including a section on "Intelligent Dietary Defaults" that teaches you how to "Optimize your Oatmeal."
Perfect Body Diet
The Ultimate Weight Loss and Workout Plan to Drop Stubborn Pounds and Get Fit for Life
The principle: Add glucomannan (a food thickener/fiber supplement) to your food, with a choice of two eight-week eating plans.
Excerpt: "Glucomannan will make you feel so satisfied that you won't even realize that you're on a diet."
Bottom line: Readers choose an eating plan -- low-fat or low-carb -- based on their body shape, ideal weight and carbohydrate tolerance. But the diet's "secret weapon" comes from glucomannan, a fiber supplement derived from the konjac plant, which can expand up to 100 times its own water weight. It's often used as a supplement in pills, but the author (a doctoral student studying exercise science and nutrition at the University of Connecticut) recommends breaking open the capsules and mixing it with food for maximum effect. Indeed, nearly every one of the book's recipes has glucomannan added, including the chicken with pistachio pesto and the eggs with "gluco-salsa."