Diet books, reviewed: The Best Life Diet

We asked the experts to evaluate’and enhance’four popular diets. Here’s our assessment of diet book The Best Life Diet

Source: Best Health Magazine, September 2008

asdThe Best Life Diet

By Bob Greene, an exercise physiologist and certified personal trainer based in Santa Barbara, Calif. (featured on Oprah)

Basic premise

The reason you’re carrying too much weight is complex, so a lifelong approach that focuses on a variety of healthy foods, exercise and emotional well-being is necessary.

What’s different

Not much. Compared to the original plan, published in 2006, the new paperback edition is more of a companion to Greene’s website, rather than a revamp.

The pros

  • ‘This is a common-sense diet book,’ says Catherine Schwartz Mendez, a registered dietitian at the Thunder Bay District Health Unit in Thunder Bay, Ont. ‘It doesn’t cut out specific food groups, or require calorie counting or a lot of measuring.
  • It gets into issues besides food. ‘Physical activity is so important, and the mental health side of weight is often neglected,’ she adds.

The cons

  • Recipes are very appealing and nutritious, but some require a fair amount of prep time. ‘It’s almost like you need your own personal assistant!’ Schwartz Mendez says.
  • Greene grants some products a Best Life seal of approval. But brands such as Applegate Farms and Muir Glen may be tough to find, or not available at all, in Canada.

Latest findings

While there aren’t any specific studies on The Best Life Diet, a 2007 study published in Obesity looked at emotional eating, which Greene’s program addresses in some detail. The study, from Brown University, found that emotional eaters (for example, people who eat when they’re lonely, or as a reward) tend to have the most trouble both with losing weight and keeping it off.

Healthy boosts

  • Substitute ingredients to make some recipes more doable, advises Schwartz Mendez. ‘For example, if you want to make Shrimp and Edamame Rotini and don’t have edamame [soybeans], toss in black beans for protein and snow peas for green and crunch. Or, if you don’t have mussels, you can still make Tuscan Cod and Mussels in a Light Vegetable Broth. Just add more cod.’
  • To learn how to find the healthiest brand names, go to, a virtual grocery store tour developed by the Canadian Diabetes Association and Dietitians of Canada to help people understand and compare food labels.

Also check out our reviews of other popular diet books: The South Beach Diet Supercharged, The All-New Atkins Advantage and The G.I. Diet Clinic.

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