Book Review: BioDiet by David G Harper PhD

I was able to interview David G Harper about his new book, BioDiet last week, (You can check out that interview here) and he was gracious enough to send me a copy of his book to review.  Now that I’ve gotten a chance to read through it, I can tell you what I think about it.

Great Book for the Basics

If you are in need of a book you can hand to someone who doesn’t really know much about the ketogenic diet and just needs to get the basics down, this would be a great book for that.  It clocks in at just over 200 pages plus a few appendices with several of the things that make dense subject more understandable like pictures, graphs, and cut ins that go over certain topics in more detail.

While the book refers to the “BioDiet“, that is really just the author’s name for a nutrient dense ketogenic diet full of real food and high in animal fats. So just know that I will probably use BioDiet and Ketogenic Diet interchangeably in this review.

The Reason for the Book

The first thing the author does, and it is something I wish more authors did, was go over some of the health care costs that are staring us in the face as a nation.  Things like the fact that obesity related health care costs are estimated at around $210 Billion dollars per year and that number is only going up.  Or the fact that job absenteeism adds another $4.3 Billion to the cost each year.  For all the personal reasons someone should want to improve their health, the biggest reason should be the fact that if we don’t make a change as a nation we not be able to be a nation too much longer.

The Science

The next section walks through the science behind the diet.  Dr Harper walks through the science from different angles, first looking at how our diet changed over time with the advent of agriculture and then looking at how a low carb diet was “rediscovered” over and over through the years by people like Banting and Atkins.  Then of course we looked at how incorrect science was put forth that moved our nation towards a more plant based diet with disastrous results for our health.

Considerable time is spent looking at how eating a BioDiet will change your body by looking at the biochemistry of digestion and nutrient absorption, then we look at how the diet affects chronic diseases.  We look at how the reduced inflammation of a low carb diet will improve things like heart disease and arthritis and then how the lower blood sugar levels improve rates of glycation throughout the body.

Dr Harper also details the kinds who should NOT use a ketogenic diet for health such as people with Carnitine deficiency, beta-oxidation defects, pryuvate carboxylase deficiency, carriers of the ApoE4 gene and those talking SGLT2 Inhibitors.  These exceptions are almost never talked about in any of ths books I’ve read on the subjects.

How to Succeed on the BioDiet

The next section is how to succeed on the diet.  There is a 6 week plan with some sample meals and some quick how-tos. There is also a recommendation to take MCT oil to speed up the body’s creation of ketones.  For the record, I’ve never really used MCT oil and have never found it necessary.

There is also tips on how to handle the common issues with the diet like plateaus, not enough water or salt and how to think about alcohol.  The appendices also give some nutritional info on certain foods, what to do about sweeteners and how to read nutritional labels.

Final Thoughts

Overall, it’s a good book for beginners.  If you’ve been doing this a while I doubt you will glean any new information but if you know someone that is interested in this way of eating, this would be a fantastic book to give them.

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