I'm an avid reader of health, fitness and nutrition books, both for work and for pleasure. When author Robert J. Davis, PhD, asked me to review his book "Coffee Is Good For You" (Perigee, 2012), I was more than excited. You see, Davis is the founder and editor-in-chief of the website Everwell.com, a long-time partner of SparkPeople's. We have several of their informative videos on our website, and I've always been impressed with how well their messages align with our own. Davis is an award-winning health journalist, author and professor of public health. His videos, articles and books are always well researched, clearly explained, and entertaining to boot. The man knows his stuff.
This book in particular gives an overview of the science behind a lot of common diet, nutrition and health "facts" to decide whether there is any truth to these ideas or not. It covers a wide range of long-standing dietary questions (What's better: butter or margarine? Do low-carb diets aid weight loss? Are artificial sweeteners safe?) as well as recent hot topics such as the healthfulness of organic and local produce, whether grass-fed beef is better, the real facts behind the "caveman" (paleo) diet, whether microwaving food in plastic is safe, so much more. Davis' style is to examine all the research available behind such claims to help consumers find the real truth. In some cases, he debunks the myths. In other cases, the research may surprise you and change your mind on a certain issue. And in a few cases, there's a little truth on both sides.
I devoured this book cover to cover in just a couple of nights. Not only is it interesting for a person who cares about nutrition and health, but it's also very helpful for anyone who feels confused or tired of it all. One day you hear a food is good for you. The next day you hear that too much of it causes cancer. How do you make sense of it all? Start with this book. No matter what level of education or experience you bring to it, you're going to learn a lot that will better help you become a smarter consumer. Probably what I loved best about the book was not just how it covered these varied and interesting beliefs or questions on nutrition—but how easy they were to understand, and how well Davis teaches the reader to apply these skills when interpreting everything from health news headlines to the health claims on cereal boxes.
I enjoyed reading the book so much that we received permission from the publisher to include a few excerpts (which I handpicked) on SparkPeople.com. So if you'd like to see just a few snippets of what the book has to offer, check out these three collections of excerpts:
Here's another testament to the popularity and intrigue factor of this book: Every person who comes into my office and sees it picks it up, asks me about it, and then asks to borrow it. It actually went missing from my office not once but twice because someone grabbed it from a table to start reading it!
"Coffee Is Good For You" is available in paperback ($10.20) and Kindle ($9.99) at amazon.com.
Which nutrition myth, claim or question do you wonder about the most?
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