An ambitious book presents a revolutionary approach to fitness, diet, and exercise.
This volume seeks to reimagine medicine in an attempt to emphasize a preventive patient strategy that can combat degenerative, chronic disease and prolong life. Ever the iconoclasts, Nichols (Eat Real Food Or Else, 2016), a medical innovator, and his patient, Davis, a Stanford-educated engineer, provide an argument that debunks many popular medical myths that have led people who seek a healthy lifestyle astray. Eating whole grains, avoiding fats, going for long-distance runs— the authors attack these and other commonly held presumptions about how to promote and maintain wellness with lucidity and vigor. The hypothalamus, the body’s “master regulator” of the key physiological processes that govern health, acts as if humans still lived as hunter-gatherers seeking to enhance their survival. This accounts for why some people who do extended aerobic exercise actually gain weight. The hypothalamus thinks the body needs to store fats to meet the demands of these long periods of physical stress. “The agricultural revolution had the net effect of pushing our hypothalamus out of its normal equilibrium, and into a place where it could no longer regulate and operate properly,” the authors argue. Consumption of starches, even whole grains, has messed up humans. To understand how the hypothalamus, and consequently lipids (fats), sugars, and other nutrients, functions, the patient must order tests outside the current regime permitted by health insurance companies and physicians. The authors encourage patients to join forces with their doctors to explain and engage the rather elaborate health strategies that they advocate. Written in a clear, straightforward manner, the book still features an argumentative edge, and why not? Nichols and Davis take on many false medical saws with an enthusiasm and thoroughness that provide strong scientific evidence for their discussion. The convincing book also displays a number of cartoon drawings and sidebars that attempt to lighten the load. Would that all patients had a Dr. Mike in their corners.
An intensely, deeply argued recasting of what it means to be healthy that may pose difficulties for patients but provides solid evidence for effective prevention strategies.