Battle of the Weight Loss Books
By Jordan S. Rubin, NMD, PhD
Rubin, a naturopathic doctor, bases his diet on the whole grains, saturated fats, red meat, and unprocessed foods (such as raw, unpasteurized goat's milk and cheese) eaten during biblical times. And because hormone injections, pesticides, and other staples of today's food industry hadn't yet been introduced, he also recommends eating organic when possible. He lays out a three-phase, 40-day plan evoking Moses' journey and Lent, each phase allowing a greater choice of foods than the previous one, and suggests a partial fast every seven days with dinner as the only meal; morning and evening prayers are part of the program. Rubin also prescribes a regimen of supplements, aromatherapy, and hygiene that requires dieters to purchase a number of items, many developed by Rubin himself.
What the experts like: Economos applauds "the concept of organic, free-range meat and getting people to eat a wider variety of less-processed foods." And this, she says, is the only book of the group that emphasizes a spiritual component, which may give some readers the extra motivation they need to stick to the diet.
What they don't like: "There's an incredible amount of commercialism and product endorsement in the book," Nelson says, and purchasing the recommended pills and potions would be costly. In addition, Economos cautions that fasting, while not always harmful, can be dangerous for people with high blood pressure or diabetes, both of which are common in obese individuals. "Plus," she says, "deprivation primes people for binges." Lash also takes issue with the author's superior tone: "He goes out of his way to put down various kinds of medical care other than the one he espouses." Bottom line, he says, "It's a diet I wouldn't recommend to anyone."
Crunching the numbers: Not counting the partial fasts, daily calories start at about 1,650 and increase to roughly 1,800 by phase two. In the first phase, fat is a whopping 58 percent of total calories, but by the time you get to maintenance, it's lowered to a healthy amount. The diet is low in calcium and vitamin D.