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The Physicians Committee

NEWS RELEASE December 30, 2002

Doctors Rate Best-Selling Diet Books

Heart-Healthy, Low-Fat Approach Gets Five Stars; High-Protein, Fatty Diets Earn “Unsafe” Rating

WASHINGTON—For Americans resolving to slim down in 2003, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has completed an analysis of the 15 most popular weight-loss books. PCRM rated each book’s daily diet recommendations on five criteria critical to good nutrition and safe, healthy weight loss: a minimum of 25 grams of fiber, five servings of fruits and vegetables, no more than 50 milligrams of cholesterol, no more than 30 percent of total calories from fat, and no more than 10 percent saturated fat.

Only one book, Dr. Dean Ornish’s Eat More, Weigh Less, satisfied all the criteria for long-term healthfulness and earned PCRM’s top rating of five stars. Lowest rating of “no stars” went to Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution by Robert Atkins and Protein Power by Michael and Mary Eades, both of which espouse a high-protein diet that is also high in cholesterol and saturated fat.

“If you’re looking for a healthy weight-loss book, stick with the fad-free vegetarian approach,” says PCRM’s clinical research coordinator Brie Turner-McGrievy, M.S., R.D. “You can also find healthy options outside the list of top 15 bestsellers, such as Dr. John McDougall’s The McDougall Program for Maximum Weight Loss.”

“With all the current hype about high-protein diets, what gets lost is the fact that there have been no long-term studies on safety. We know from the scientific literature that diets heavy on meat, eggs, and cheese, such as the ones we rated ‘unsafe,’ have been linked to a higher risk of colorectal cancer, heart disease, impaired renal function, and osteoporosis,” says Ms. Turner-McGrievy. A study released in August in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases shows that high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets, such as the Atkins Diet, cause a rapid and pronounced loss of calcium in the urine, while studies of vegetarian diets have shown safe, effective weight loss.

Diet Book Ratings

FIVE STARS—Outstanding

  • Eat More, Weigh Less by Dean Ornish, M.D.


  • Get with the Program! by Bob Greene
  • The pH Miracle by Robert O. Young, Ph.D., and Shelley Redford Young


  • Eat Right for Your Type (Type A) by Dr. Peter D’Adamo
  • 8 Minutes in the Morning by Jorge Cruise
  • The Peanut Butter Diet by Holly McCord, M.A., R.D.
  • The Zone by Barry Sears

TWO STARS—Unsatisfactory

  • Body for Life by Bill Phillips
  • Eat Right for Your Type (Type O) by Dr. Peter D’Adamo
  • The Fat Flush Plan by Ann Louise Gittleman, M.S.,C.N.S.
  • The Insulin Resistance Diet by Cheryle Hart, M.D., and Mary Kay Grossman, R.D.
  • The Omega Diet by Artemis P. Simopoulos, M.D., and Jo Robinson
  • Sugar Busters! by H. Leighton Steward; Sam S. Andrews, M.D.; Morrison C. Bethea, M.D.; Luis A. Balart, M.D.


  • Eat Right for Your Type (Type AB) by Dr. Peter D’Adamo
  • Eat Right for Your Type (Type B) by Dr. Peter D’Adamo
  • The Schwarzbein Principle II by Diana Schwarzbein, M.D.


  • Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution by Robert Atkins, M.D.
  • Protein Power by Michael Eades, M.D. and Mary Eades, M.D.

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

Media Contact:
Jeanne S. McVey

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