Back to Basics Diet Book Review
By WLR's Site Manager, Laurence Beeken
What is the Back to Basics Diet?
This is a book detailing the latest approach to reducing the Nation’s obesity, and it attempts to highlight that we are not overweight due to any fault of our own – it’s the fault of what we eat.
From processed foods to the availability of high energy fast foods, we are encouraged from the opening paragraphs to understand that it is the type of available foods which are causing our weight related problems. David Hack has concluded that modern foods, such as sugar and processed carbs, are so addictive that it is near impossible to stop eating them. This in turn plays havoc with our weight; so to lose weight effectively we need to return to our natural diet - a diet which cuts out sugary and processed foods, while increasing fibre and slow digesting carbs.
How Does the Back to Basics Diet Work?
Rather than promise a quick fix or a short cut towards losing weight, the Back to Basics book looks at some of the science behind weight gain.
The book looks at how modern day processed foods may be the cause of the explosion in obesity rates, along with our love of the low fat, high carb way of thinking.
A whole section is devoted to our evolutionary past where it is argued that a return to the hunter gatherer type diet which our ancestors followed is the way forward. This is followed by lengthy sections where Hack analyses our thought processes, as well as body chemistry (including Leptin and Insulin), in order to put some reason behind his theories.
Back to Basics also contains a plan, along with recipes to provide support in this new way of eating and lifestyle. There is advice too on how to build more activity into our daily routine with the ‘eat less, move more’ message - something that a lot of diet books tend to overlook.
The Back to Basics Diet Theory
David Hack argues that although calorie counting works, the method used to calculate the calories in food has not changed over many years, and he suggests that this does not take the type of foods (protein, carbs etc) into account. He believes that by taking a different approach to dieting by working out what we should really be eating, we can re-establish a healthy relationship with real food, and so lose weight in the process.
As a result of eating a more natural diet, (and excluding grains and dairy) we should in theory eat fewer calories as well as giving our health a boost at the same time. By making changes to when we eat and being active every day, we don’t need to ‘diet’ as such - most diets are doomed to failure because we eventually get so hungry we can’t stand it anymore and reach for the nearest cream cake in desperation to boost our mood!
The Science Behind the Back to Basics Diet
Most of what we eat today is totally different to what our ancestors ate; modern, processed foods contain too many ‘empty’ calories which offer very little real nutrition. As a result, our internal ‘weight regulating’ systems are constantly being compromised and fooled by the onslaught of highly processed foods, which is why we find it so hard to lose weight - even if we just try to cut down or eat smaller portions. David Hack suggests that we need to give the hormones which regulate our weight a rest and learn to enjoy real food once again, which is what his programme is all about.
Are the Back to Basics Diet and The Paleo the Same?
This approach is claimed not a re-hashed Paleo or ‘Stone Age Caveman’ diet. Many such diets recommend eating huge amounts of meat and saturated fat and not much else, unlike this regime which contains plenty of healthy proteins and fats, such as fish, chicken, organic meats etc .
Can The Back to Basics Diet be Effective?
The Back to Basics returns us to a way of eating that is in tune with how we are supposed to eat. A natural food diet contains far fewer calories than most of us eat these days and works with our own internal chemistry to burn away our body fat. More importantly, there is no starvation and no tiny portions of food here, meaning that we don’t have to rely on our will power each day. The Back to basics diet provides fewer calories but more food, so you won’t get hungry or have to use will power just to try and resist your natural hunger pangs.
Will the Diet Work?
Many diets fail because they do not follow up with help or guidance. By contrast, the Back to Basics book ‘holds your hand’ as you get used to a new, healthy lifestyle. For each day, there is a detailed guide that gives a structure to your day, and tells you when you should be eating, or when you should be active. There are also simple recipes, along with motivational tips and tricks and some good old-fashioned common sense.
There is no magic formula here, just a carefully structured programme of diet and activity that includes a return to real food, changes to when we eat and to daily activity. No gimmicks, no fads, just a sensible eating and activity plan.
Can You Stick with the Back to Basics Diet?
In theory, you shouldn’t get hungry, although if you’re used to eating a huge amount of pizza you’ll find things hard going.
Also, despite the book’s claims to the contrary, you are going to find it difficult to stick to in the current environment where we are constantly bombarded with images of tasty (and sugar laden) fast foods.
Similarly although the book states otherwise, budgeting is going to be difficult where so many snacks are low cost and readily available, and families will likely struggle to find a good fit.
Ultimately, anything that helps us to increase our intake of healthy, less processed foods as well as encouraging us to get more exercise can’t be a bad thing.
Not sure about the Back to Basics Diet?
Weight Loss Resources has a great set of tools to help you find a way of dieting you can live with. Find out how to achieve the calorie balance that is going to get you to your ideal weight.