BlogHer Book Club: Why Women Need Fat

by Kathy on January 12, 2012 · 6 comments

in BHBC, Books, Decisions, Food, Reviews

I’ll admit it, the main reason I signed up to read and review Why Women Need Fat by Dr. William D. Lassek and Dr. Steven J.C. Gaulin, my fifth BlogHer Book Club selection, was because of a line in a summary about it which said something about “why those last five pounds seem impossible to lose.” I think I was contemplating resolutions for 2012 at the time and knew one was to try to work on shedding those “last five pounds” in the New Year. I wanted to know their “secret” and got a lot more then I bargained for…

I didn’t pay much attention to the subtitle: How “Healthy” Food Makes Us Gain Excess Weight and the Surprising Solution to Losing It Forever. Had I realized what I was getting myself into, I probably would have taken a pass. However this is not because I didn’t enjoy or learn a lot from reading this book. It was very interesting and informative. I have just been purposely avoiding books, movies (such as Food Inc.) and anything else that could inform me about the details of why my family and my diet is unhealthy. I wasn’t ready.

I knew if and when I were to take the time to find out what is wrong with what typical Americans, like my family, eat on a regular basis, that I would then have to make some serious changes to our grocery shopping, meal planning and consumption. I had a vague idea about some of the “bad things” that we have been eating before reading Why Women Need Fat. Now I know the truth. Ready or not, the Benson family will be making some adjustments to what we buy and eat in the near future. In fact I already made my first post-Why Women Need Fat trip to our neighborhood/family owned grocery store and was very impressed how well I was able to do following many of the recommendations the authors suggest in this book.

Dr. Lassek and Dr. Gaulin take about two-thirds of Why Women Need Fat to give readers background and make their very thorough case for why and how our American food processing and eating habits have gotten so out of whack over the past 40 years. Then they use the final third of the book to give practical suggestions as to how to shop for and introduce healthier alternatives into our meals. The authors also break down their theories and understanding of the most effective ways for us to reach our “natural and healthy weight,” primarily without having to follow any formal weight loss diet.

There is a lot of comparison in this book of American food processing and eating routines versus Europeans, Asians and others around the World. They highlight what many of our overseas neighbors are doing better when it comes to healthy eating and how our country went astray. I also found the discussion of how our food choices and eating habits impact our fertility, ability to carry and nurse babies and then lose and/or gain postpartum weight fascinating.

I recommend this book, but caution if you choose to read it: be prepared to makes some changes to your own diet or at least know that you will not look at a food label or many of the things you eat in the same way ever again (especially if you currently buy and consume a lot of processed foods made with vegetable and/or soybean oil). Please join our discussion over on the BlogHer Book Club page where you can share your thoughts and find out what others are saying about Why Women Need Fat.

If you have already read Why Women Need Fat or decide to check it out in the future, I would love to know what you think of it.


Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of this book to read for this review and to participate in the related BlogHer Book Club discussion. However, I was in no way encouraged to write a positive or negative review about Why Women Need Fat.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jewels January 12, 2012 at 10:31 am

I was so glad to see that another blogger I 'know' was reviewing this book as well. I liked it for the most part, and, like you, have made some changes in our grocery picks. I felt like they didn't give much hope to people who are overweight, though, and for that reason, I didn't like it. Also, with 7 kids, completely changing our diet would result in a lot of rebellion.


2 Tina @ January 12, 2012 at 3:10 pm

I haven't read this one. I'll put it on my list. I have a long list of book recommendations about our food supply, if you're interested. The best one to start with is "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan.


3 Heather N January 12, 2012 at 8:54 pm

I really enjoyed reading your review Kathy… it gives a great overview of the book and what to expect from it. If we all make a couple of small changes in the foods we buy we will see results, both in ourselves and what is being produced.


4 Kathy January 14, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Jewels – I agree it was fun to *see* other familiar bloggers reviewing this book and appreciate you stopping by here to read and comment on my review. Yeah, I wasn't sure what to make of the whole concept of each of us having a natural weight that no matter what we do we are more likely to end up at. In some ways it makes sense to me and in others not so much. I can only imagine what it would be like to try to make all these changes with such a big family, but as I keep saying to my husband after reading this book, I believe any changes (no matter how small) we choose to make based on the recommendations will help us and our children to be healthier. Heading over to check out your review now!


5 Kathy January 14, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Tina – I will definitely let you know if I want to read more books about our food supply and appreciate the rec for the best one to start with. In many ways I am still digesting what I learned in this one… But its a step in the right (and a healthier) direction for me and my family for sure!


6 Kathy January 14, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Thank you Heather! I agree about even small changes making a difference in our own health and hopefully eventually food production as well. When I get overwhelmed after considering the recommendations in this book and others I have heard about elsewhere, it helps me to remember that.


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