If you’re someone who wants to lose weight, you’ve probably spent some time thinking about and experimenting with different diets. Browse the literal shelves of a bookstore or the metaphorical ones of the internet, and you can find thousands of options to choose from, each with their ardent fans and supposedly decisive rationales. But which diet really works best, and, most importantly, given that 95% of people who lose weight on one gain it back, is a plan that an average human can stick with for the long haul?

My guest today is in a distinctly well-informed position to comment on this question, having personally test-driven over a dozen diets in three years. His name is Barry Estabrook, and he’s an investigative journalist and the author of Just Eat: One Reporter’s Quest for a Weight-Loss Regimen That Works. We begin our conversation with what set Barry on his quest to find the best, most sustainable diet. We then get into the fact that the ideas behind modern diets aren’t new, and the sometimes weird history of their predecessors. From there we turn to Barry’s experiments with contemporary diets, including what happened when he tried eating both low-carb and low-fat, joining Weight Watchers, and figuring out what he could learn from the eating habits of the Greeks and French. We end our conversation with what Barry ultimately changed about his own diet to successfully drop the pounds, and what he discovered as to what really works best for sustainable weight loss.

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Show Highlights

  • What set Barry on this course to experimenting with every diet in the book 
  • What’s the earliest diet Barry came across?
  • Some of the weird fad diets in America’s history 
  • The three primary branches of dieting 
  • The religious overtones of dieting 
  • Barry’s experience on a low-fat diet 
  • The original Atkins diet — low-carb, high-fat 
  • What Weight Watchers is like 
  • Some lessons Barry learned from healthy countries around the world 
  • Why the Mediterranean/Greek “diet” works 
  • Why don’t the French gain weight like Americans do?
  • What are people doing who lose weight successfully keep it off?
  • Easy places for anyone to cut back 

Resources/Articles/People Mentioned in Podcast

Connect With Barry

Barry’s website

Barry on Twitter

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