A humorous anthology debunking contemporary wisdom about guilty pleasures and bad habits.
“By making ourselves feel good about changing one tiny thing, we're more likely, at times, to miss the big picture,” writes Wilser (co-author: It's Okay to Sleep with Him on the First Date: And Every Other Rule of Dating, Debunked, 2013 etc.). With the exception of government warnings about the dangers of smoking, he maintains a skeptical attitude toward dietary advice, accepted health nostrums, and more. To emphasize his message, he divides the book into two separate sections, each paginated separately and ending in the middle. After finishing one, readers can turn the book over and start on the other one. Despite the jocular attitude he maintains throughout, he consistently claims that his critiques are serious. The author begins the “Bad News” section with a jab at the supposed virtues of juice cleansers, reporting that he followed a juice-only diet for five days and felt terrible. He also tested what the effects would be if he just ate junk food for a month but regulated his caloric intake. His aim was to examine the issue of how to address the problem of obesity—is quality or quantity the paramount factor in weight gain or loss? This time, the rules of the game were reversed: no vegetables, fruit, or unprocessed meats, chicken, or fish. The result: he lost 11 pounds, his bad cholesterol went down, and his good cholesterol increased. “The point,” he writes, “is that moderation is such a powerful force that it works even when you're eating crap.” Wilser also explores controversial health issues such as whether or not it is beneficial to have annual mammograms and prostate tests. More surprising, tooth-brushing right after a meal may erode the enamel.
Wilser delivers useful advice with cheerful good humor in a book that is wide-ranging but holds few surprises.