The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living is one of the most comprehensive and science-based guides around on the Ketogenic Diet. Written by a dietary scientist and a physician, Dr Jeff Volek and Dr Steve Phinney have been immersed in the ketogenic field for over 30 years and use peer-reviewed medical research to support the use of the ketogenic diet. For those unfamiliar with peer-reviewed research, it is the gold standard of research in which it not only meets strict guidelines but also has been submitted to a panel of peers (experts in a specific field) to review and validate. The authors then utilize this peer-reviewed research to present sound explanations for the metabolic processes and changes one goes through when converting from the “sugar burner” to “fat burner” way of eating.
While written with the health care provider in mind, this book is not so complex that a “layperson” with no medical expertise couldn’t understand it. Acronyms are used frequently, and the meanings can easily be found online if not within the book itself. While we loved this book, we would prefer to see a new edition that includes more current research. This is not to say that what is discussed in this book is out of date, but at 10 years old there have been new findings that readers would benefit from knowing.
For a reader that is thinking about beginning the ketogenic diet or even a “keto veteran”, this book is a must-have. The authors explain the nuisances of cholesterol and the diet’s effects on each kind, to breaking down some of the “keto flu” symptoms and how to combat them. The authors start by introducing you to the problem of “carbohydrate intolerance” that needs to be treated with a restriction of carbohydrates (they put it a lot nicer then “you eat way too many carbs and now you can’t fit in your pants”). This is as much a practical guide to ketosis as it is a scholarly review of the available data surrounding the ketogenic diet and the benefits and uses of the diet in a therapeutic/medical situation. Many myths that the public has come to accept as facts are eloquently “busted” in a way that is both supported with peer review scientific studies and statistics as well as easy to understand explanations of these studies. Some of these myths are:
- Low carb diets will only produce water weight loss.
- Low-fat diets are more beneficial to heart health and combating heart disease as well as obesity.
- The brain can only function adequately on glucose and requires carbohydrates.
- Performance athletes and those that exercise frequently cannot perform as well on a low carb diet.
- By eliminating many high carb vegetables and fruits on a low carb diet you are leaving yourself in a micronutrient deficit.
- Fat makes you fat.
In conclusion, if you are looking for a book that will not only explain what the ketogenic diet is but also explain how it works with different disease processes such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, hyperlipidemia and such, then this is the book for you. If you are a health care provider that is interested in the diet and how it could be used in combination with traditional medicine to treat your patients this is an excellent source with the citations to further your own personal research in the field of ketogenic science so that you will be adequately prepared to not only answer patients’ questions on the subject, but also implement the diet in cases you see appropriate.
So whether you are going into this book skeptical or already a believer, you will be met with unbiased facts NOT opinions and hopefully after reviewing the research you will be able to see the merit in the ketogenic lifestyle.