A highly personal and spirited expos‚ of the diet culture by a journalist who has had ample experience with the pressures...

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LOSING IT: America's Obsession with Weight and the Industry that Feeds on It

A highly personal and spirited expos‚ of the diet culture by a journalist who has had ample experience with the pressures to he slender. A recovered bulimic, Fraser (who has written for Health, Glamour, and other magazines) has given up the pursuit of thinness and here urges other women to do likewise. In writing this book, she says, ""I became as obsessed with the diet industry as I was, at one time, with dieting."" It shows. Following a brief look at changing ideals of beauty, she zeroes in on the current cult of thinness and those who promote it. In her enthusiasm, she lumps together Susan Powter, Richard Simmons, and Dean Ornish as ""diet gurus,"" though their credentials and their methods have little in common. However, her look at diet scans such as chromium supplements, herbal remedies, and over-the-counter diet pills is more carefully done and thus more persuasive, as are her reports of visits to a Jenny Craig weight-loss center and to a couple of rather questionable San Francisco-area diet doctors. Fraser evidently weighs enough to appear to be a legitimate client/patient, and her descriptions of these encounters are eye-openers. Obesity researchers also come under her scrutiny. She asserts that their thinking is distorted by the fact that their funding comes primarily from the diet industry and that their attitudes are shaped by the larger culture's preference for thinness and even--a shaky claim, this--by their own personal weight problems. Her praise is saved for antidiet researchers who take the position that exercise and good nutrition are what counts for health and that weight just doesn't matter. A welcome message for many women, marred somewhat by an excess of zeal.

Pub Date: Jan. 13, 1997

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1996