“The ADAPT Your Life Diet presented in this book is entirely customizable based on your current situation and future goals. It’s not a set of unbreakable laws; it’s a framework to help you understand the hormonal and metabolic effects of carbohydrates on your body. With this knowledge, you can lose weight and reclaim your health while eating delicious foods and enjoying the pleasure of eating without constant fixation on calories, grams, or other calculations. Meals without math! End Your Carb Confusion shows you how.”Inside front cover
I learned about Dr. Eric Westman through research into the low carb/keto world, and couldn’t wait to get my hands on his new book, End Your Carb Confusion. The subtitle, “A Simple Guide to Customize Your Carb Intake for Optimal Health” describes the volume perfectly. I’ve read many, many books on Keto and Low Carb diets in recent years. None have explained the causes, symptoms and solutions in such a clear and concise way as this one.
End Your Carb Confusion is presented in an easy-to-read format — large text, lots of white space, with graphics and quotes throughout. You can read a few pages at a time without getting lost the next time you pick up the book. This is ideal for people like me who don’t have a lot of time to read in one sitting! Sprinkled throughout are inspiring anecdotes and success stories.
The author begins by exploring why people fail on most diets (assuring readers it isn’t necessarily their fault). Dr. Westman claims his book will be a “GPS to help you navigate toward the strategy that’s right for you.” He uses the GPS/car analogy throughout the book to clarify many of the principles presented. For example,
GPS works only when you know where you’re starting from and where you want to go
You don’t need a brand-new engine; maybe all you need to do is change the fuel you’re using.
Part One: How We Got Here
Part One begins with a bleak description of the world’s current health situation, and how the epidemics of obesity and other health conditions are affecting quality of life. Dr. Westman explains how these conditions exploded in recent decades and why most diets don’t work.
I took particular interest in his explanation of why the “eat less, move more” theory doesn’t work. In essence, your body slows down your metabolism to compensate for the reduced incoming energy and the extra outgoing energy. You need to cut more calories and/or add more exercise to continue losing weight. The cycle continues until emotional or physical burnout takes over and you give up. Often this results in regaining what you lost because your metabolism has become so efficient (slow).
Next, Dr. Westman dives into how sugar negatively impacts almost every part of the body, the cycle of sugar addiction, and how insulin does much more than just regulate blood sugar. You don’t need an advanced degree to make sense of the scientific information presented.
This part concludes with a crash course in carbs — exploring fruits, complex carbs, and processed foods.
Part Two: The ADAPT Your Life Diet
Part Two of End Your Carb Confusion explores Dr. Westman’s solution: The ADAPT Your Life Diet. He presents the three phases of the plan, including a questionnaire to determine which phase is right for you. Phase one is the most powerful (and the strictest), while phases 2 and 3 are less restrictive but can be just as effective. The author suggests trial and error may be needed to zone in on the best approach for your goals.
Benefits and food lists are provided for each phase, including how much you can eat in each food category. Sample menus are presented, as well as information on why certain foods are to be avoided. Dr. Westman answers several questions the reader may have, such as:
- Can my body function with so little carbohydrate?
- Do I need to count calories?
- What if I am hungry?
- What if I don’t need to lose weight?
This section also includes advice on how to transition between phases, and how athletes can tell the difference between the need for more carbs and overtraining syndrome.
Part Three: The ADAPT Your Life Diet for Real Life
Part Three of End Your Carb Confusion is like a troubleshooting guide. It includes an extensive FAQ section, exploring topics such as what to do if you’ve fallen off the wagon, exercise, fasting, reading food labels, how to follow the ADAPT Your Life Diet as a vegetarian and more.
The final chapters provide meal and snack ideas, as well as suggestions for dining out and eating on the go.
If you are just starting out, you’ll gain in-depth instruction on how to follow a low carb diet and why it works. If you’ve been following a low carb diet for years, you’re likely to pick up a few new tips and tricks that can help you on your journey.