The Top 5 Diet Book Lies

The Top 5 Diet Book Lies

I know, I know – it’s SHOCKING that anybody would stretch the truth to sell something. The diet book section of book stores, however, tends to be a hotbed of BS when it comes to half-truths, mistruths and flat out lies. Here are the top 5 lies that just about every diet book is guilty of.



  1. It’s not your fault: At the risk of sounding harsh – yes it is. BUT…to quote my colleague and friend Leigh Peele – you WANT it to be your fault. If your weight ISN’T actually your fault then there is an unknown and otherwise complicated issue. Most diet book authors will try and earn the trust of the readers by finding blame in something else for their desperate readers’ large waistline. Bottom line – yeah it’s your fault but that’s unimportant. Don’t dwell, self-hate or self-blame – just freaking do something about it.
  2. Calories Don’t Matter: This is the rallying cry of just about any diet book on the market today. It’s not HOW MUCH you eat, it’s WHAT you eat. For the record I don’t entirely disagree with this. Eating well for overall health is paramount. Putting nutrient-dense foods in your body is a surefire way to improve your health. The unsexy and inconvenient truth, however is that calories DO matter most – they always have, they always will. The more tightly controlled the study, the more calories are king when it comes to weight maintenance. The irony is that the very books that tell us we don’t need to worry about calories are the ones with meals plans that fall meticulously between 1200-1500 calories. (The Zone and South Beach Diet are prime examples of this).
  3. Fast, Permanent, Easy: The diet book trifecta. Pick 2 out of the 3 ladies and gentlemen: If the results are fast and permanent it won’t be easy, if it is fast and easy it won’t be permanent and if it's permanent and easy it won’t be fast. Nothing worth working for in life is easy and fat loss is no exception.
  4. Simple Cause/Easy Solution: This is a diet book must! Afterall, if it’s simple people will buy in. Obesity is a multifactor, multilayered issue. To suggest that insulin, cortisol, mixing fast and carbs, toxins, wheat or any other singular entity is the cause is oversimplistic at best and patently false at worse.
  5. This system is “revolutionary”, “groundbreaking”, “secret”: NOTHING in nutritional science is “revolutionary”. We learn bits and pieces of a very big puzzle through studies. Most ideas are now rehashed permutations of other dietary ideals. What’s revolutionary is how things are marketed and promoted.

When all the glitter and smoke clears, we are left with plain old wisdom of simply eating better, eating less and moving more. Within that there are certainly better ways to do things and new ideas are never a bad thing. The most important thing is to find what works for you. TO quote Brian Wansink; “The best diet is the one you don’t know you’re on.”.