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Reading List - Chapter 4: Food

What to Eat, by Marion Nestle

Since its publication in hardcover last year, Marion Nestle's What to Eat has become the definitive guide to making healthy and informed choices about food. Praised as "radiant with maxims to live by" in The New York Times Book Review and "accessible, reliable and comprehensive" in The Washington Post, What to Eat is an indispensable resource, packed with important information and useful advice from the acclaimed nutritionist who "has become to the food industry what . . . Ralph Nader [was] to the automobile industry" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch). How we choose which foods to eat is growing more complicated by the day, and the straightforward, practical approach of What to Eat has been praised as welcome relief. As Nestle takes us through each supermarket section―produce, dairy, meat, fish―she explains the issues, cutting through foodie jargon and complicated nutrition labels, and debunking the misleading health claims made by big food companies. With Nestle as our guide, we are shown how to make wise food choices―and are inspired to eat sensibly and nutritiously.

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Secrets From the Eating Lab: The Science of Weight Loss, the Myth of Willpower, and Why You Should Never Diet Again, by Traci Mann

A provocative expose of the dieting industry from one of the nation’s leading researchers in self-control and the psychology of weight loss that offers proven strategies for sustainable weight loss. From her office in the University of Minnesota’s Health and Eating Lab, professor Traci Mann researches self-control and dieting. And what she has discovered is groundbreaking. Not only do diets not work; they often result in weight gain. Americans are losing the battle of the bulge because our bodies and brains are not hardwired to resist food—the very idea of it works against our biological imperative to survive.

In Secrets From the Eating Lab, Mann challenges assumptions—including those that make up the very foundation of the weight loss industry—about how diets work and why they fail. The result of more than two decades of research, it offers cutting-edge science and exciting new insights into the American obesity epidemic and our relationship with eating and food.

Secrets From the Eating Lab also gives readers the practical tools they need to actually lose weight and get healthy. Mann argues that the idea of willpower is a myth—we shouldn’t waste time and money trying to combat our natural tendencies. Instead, she offers 12 simple, effective strategies that take advantage of human nature instead of fighting it—from changing the size of your plates to socializing with people with healthy habits, removing “healthy” labels that send negative messages to redefining comfort food.

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The Diet Myth: The Real Science Behind What We Eat, by Tim Spector

We are all increasingly bewildered by the simple question of what to eat. Despite advice from experts, governments and dieticians about the dangers of too much fat, sugar, protein and lack of exercise, our nutrition - and the global obesity crisis - is getting 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.

Drawing on the latest science and his own research team's pioneering work, Professor Tim Spector explores the hidden world of the microbiome and demystifies the common misconceptions about fat, calories, vitamins and nutrients. 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.

Mixing cutting-edge discoveries, illuminating science and his own case studies, Spector shows why we should stop listening to the myths of diet fads and instead embrace diversity for a healthy gut and a healthy body.

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The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood and Your Long-Term Health, by Justin and Erica Sonnenberg

Stanford University’s Justin and Erica Sonnenburg are pioneers in the most exciting and potentially transformative field in the entire realm of human health and wellness, the study of the relationship between our bodies and the trillions of organisms representing thousands of species to which our bodies play host, the microbes that we collectively call the microbiota. The microbiota interacts with our bodies in a number of powerful ways; the Sonnenburgs argue that it determines in no small part whether we’re sick or healthy, fit or obese, sunny or moody. The microbiota has always been with us, and in fact has coevolved with humans, entwining its functions with ours so deeply, the Sonnenburgs show us, humans are really composite organisms having both microbial and human parts. But now, they argue, because of changes to diet, antibiotic over-use, and over-sterilization, our gut microbiota is facing a “mass extinction event,” which is causing our bodies to go haywire, and may be behind the mysterious spike in some of our most troubling modern afflictions, from food allergies to autism, cancer to depression. It doesn’t have to be this way.

The Good Gut
offers a new plan for health that focuses on how to nourish your microbiota, including recipes and a menu plan. In this groundbreaking work, the Sonnenburgs show how we can keep our microbiota off the endangered species list and how we can strengthen the community that inhabits our gut and thereby improve our own health. The answer is unique for each of us, and it changes as you age.

In this important and timely investigation, the Sonnenburgs look at safe alternatives to antibiotics; dietary and lifestyle choices to encourage microbial health; the management of the aging microbiota; and the nourishment of your own individual microbiome.

Caring for our gut microbes may be the most important health choice we can make.

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Follow Your Gut: The Enormous Impact of Tiny Microbes, by Rob Knight with Brendan Bugler

Allergies, asthma, obesity, acne: these are just a few of the conditions that may be caused—and someday cured—by the microscopic life inside us. The key is to understand how this groundbreaking science influences your health, mood, and more. In just the last few years, scientists have shown how the microscopic life within our bodies— particularly within our intestines—has an astonishing impact on our lives. Your health, mood, sleep patterns, eating preferences—even your likelihood of getting bitten by mosquitoes—can be traced in part to the tiny creatures that live on and inside of us.

In Follow Your Gut, pioneering scientist Rob Knight pairs with award-winning science journalist Brendan Buhler to explain—with good humor and easy-to-grasp examples—why these new findings matter to everyone. They lead a detailed tour of the previously unseen world inside our bodies, calling out the diseases and conditions believed to be most directly impacted by them.

With a practical eye toward deeper knowledge and better decisions, they also explore the known effects of antibiotics, probiotics, diet choice and even birth method on our children’s lifelong health. Ultimately, this pioneering book explains how to learn about your own microbiome and take steps toward understanding and improving your health, using the latest research as a guide.

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The Second Brain: A Groundbreaking New Understanding of Nervous Disorders of the Stomach and Intestine, by Michael D. Gershon

Dr. Michael Gershon has devoted his career to understanding the human bowel (the stomach, esophagus, small intestine, and colon). His thirty years of research have led to an extraordinary rediscovery: nerve cells in the gut that act as a brain. This "second brain" can control our gut all by itself. Our two brains -- the one in our head and the one in our bowel -- must cooperate. If they do not, then there is chaos in the gut and misery in the head -- everything from "butterflies" to cramps, from diarrhea to constipation. Dr. Gershon's work has led to radical new understandings about a wide range of gastrointestinal problems including gastroenteritis, nervous stomach, and irritable bowel syndrome. The Second Brain represents a quantum leap in medical knowledge and is already benefiting patients whose symptoms were previously dismissed as neurotic or "it's all in your head."

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Nutrition in Clinical Practice, by David L. Katz, Rachel S.C.Friedman and Sean C. Lucan

In nearly every level of treatment and counseling, care providers must take into account the effects of their patients’ diets. Nutrition in Clinical Practice is written to guide health professionals in providing well-informed, compassionate, and effective dietary and weight-management counseling.

This fully updated 3rd edition is edited by a leading authority in nutrition and preventive medicine. Practical and evidence-based, chapters address the effects of diet on health and a comprehensive array of illnesses, making it a vital and timely addition to any caregiver’s library.

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