NPR

When Your Fad Diet Fails, And It Probably Will, 'Just Eat'

Diets often fail in the long term because they're too strict or require unnatural eating habits. In a new book, Barry Estabrook turns to science and history to find a weight-loss regimen that works.
Food journalist Barry Estabrook talks with diet gurus and sifts through dieting history and the latest nutrition studies. He discovers that unfortunately, these diets don't really work in the long term for most people because they are too strict or require unnatural patterns of eating. Source: Michele Abercrombie/NPR

About 45 million Americans go on a diet every year, and we spend about $33 billion on weight-loss products, trying to find a magic way to slim down. But the diet landscape is confusing and the science is contradictory. How do you know which diet works?

Investigative food journalist Barry Estabrook is best known for his 2011 award-winning book, Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit, and other deep dives into the way our food system works. But when confronted with obesity and maxed out on blood pressure and cholesterol medications, he decided to turn the lens on himself.

In his new book, Just Eat: One Reporter's Quest for a Weight-Loss Regimen That Works, he documents his sometimes funny but very real failures at today's popular diets. Estabrook talks with diet gurus and sifts through dieting history and the latest nutrition studies. He discovers that unfortunately, these diets don't really work in the long term for most people because they are too strict or require unnatural patterns of eating.

Estabrook talked with NPR about how he sorted through the noise and found his own path to better health.

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