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Why do most diets fail? Why does one person eat a certain meal and gain weight, while another eating the same meal loses pounds? Why, despite all the advice about what to eat, are we all still getting fatter? The answers are much more surprising – and fascinating – than we've been led to believe. The key to health and weight loss lies not in the latest fad diet, nor even in the simple mantra of 'eat less, exercise more', but in the microbes already inside us. Drawing on the latest science and his own pioneering research, Professor Tim Spector demystifies the common misconceptions about fat, calories, vitamins and nutrients. Only by understanding what makes our own personal microbes tick can we overcome the confusion of modern nutrition, and achieve a healthy gut and a healthy body.
Tim Spector is Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King's College London and Hon Consultant Physician at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital. He has won several academic awards and published over 700 academic papers, a large proportion of which relate to nutrition and the causes of obesity. Since 2011 he has lead the largest microbiome project in the UK, using genetic sequencing to study the bacteria in the guts of 5,000 twins. He is the lead investigator for British Gut, the UK's largest open-source science project to understand the microbial diversity of the human gut.
"The Diet Myth is fascinating, and now I'm obsessed with microbes!"
– Nigella Lawson
"It's not often that a book changes my life in a mere three chapters [...] given my usual reluctance to jump on any nutritional bandwagon, I reckon this makes Tim Spector's work a rather compelling read. [...] It's truly eye-opening stuff, and we owe it to ourselves and the 100 trillion friends inside our bodies to read this book"
– Felicity Cloake, Literary Review
"I don't read diet books and I certainly never plug them, but The Diet Myth is a worthy exception that provides new insight into why we should think twice about what we put in our mouths"
– Dr Mark Porter, The Times
"A fascinating and original look at the impact of food on our bodies underpinned by cutting-edge research"
– Michael Mosley
"Tim Spector carefully explains that we are NOT what we eat, but rather that our trillions of microbial inhabitants have a thing or two to say. Lucidly written, The Diet Myth provides a first-class education about the conjunction of our microbes and our health"
– Martin Blaser, author of Missing Microbes
"Combining [...] fast-paced science with medical self-help [...] [A] model of clear, accessible and entertaining science writing"
– Clive Cookson, Financial Times
"[Spector's] fascinating book explores the various elements of the human diet: fats, proteins, carbohydrates, fibre, artificial additives, cocoa, caffeine, nuts, alcohol (and antibiotics) [...] if there is one thing he is convinced of, however, it is that the microbes in our guts are the key to our optimum health and that we ignore them at our peril"
– Good Book Guide
"A concise, entertaining book that demystifies the benefits of balanced microbes through healthier eating"
"The Diet Myth is fascinating, and I'm now obsessed with microbes!"
– Nigella Lawson
"There is a simple message in this ground-breaking book, and it is eat a variety of foods and you will end up with a variety in your microbiome"
– Bee Wilson, The Food Programme, BBC Radio 4
– Sheila Dillon, The Food Programme, BBC Radio 4
"A great book [...] a lovely, easy, urbane read [...] And it's very convincing. I'd advise anyone pondering a diet this season to read it first"
– Alex Renton, The Food Programme, Book of the Year, BBC Radio 4
"Several popular books have appeared this year about our microbial guests, focusing on their role in promoting human health – and Spector, a world leader in genetic studies of twins, has written the best of them"
– Financial Times, Books of the Year
"The book is structured as a takedown of diet myths, but it's much more than a self-help advice book. It's witty, well-written and broad-ranging, littered with fascinating factoids and case studies. Spector thoughtfully explains the strengths and weaknesses of the available evidence, drawing on research on gut microbes as well as his long-running studies on the genetics of twins and his own often hilarious experiments with various diets"
– New York Times (USA)