cover image Gene Eating: The Science of Obesity and the Truth About Dieting

Gene Eating: The Science of Obesity and the Truth About Dieting

Giles Yeo. Pegasus, $27.95 (368p) ISBN 978-1-64313-127-6

Yeo, a geneticist who runs the Metabolic Disease Unit at the U.K. government’s Medical Research Council and moonlights as a BBC science commentator, offers an “anti-diet book” that’s less a tutorial than a gently humorous, if very erudite, travelogue through the world of fad diets. Skip the Paleo diet, he argues—Paleo man did. “Cleanses” don’t cleanse, he writes—skip those too and remember that the livers and kidneys already fulfill that function. Too much processed meat is unhealthy, but it is “pseudoscience” to suggest all animal-based protein is harmful, not to mention an example of the complacency incurred by having a surplus, not a lack, of available nutrition. Ditto for gluten, at least for most people. The book finishes up with some memorable “Yeo Truths,” such as to not “feel bad if [staying healthy] feels hard, because it ain’t s’posed to be easy” and to “go forth, be sensible, be moderate (and to paraphrase Oscar Wilde) even with moderation.” Perhaps most importantly, Yeo tells readers to view food as something to work with, not to fear. His well-informed survey will leave health-conscious readers both entertained and with plenty of food for thought. (June)