How Not to Diet on

At over 600 pages, How Not to Diet is not an easy read. Personally, I was less interested in weight loss and more interested in health and longevity. Although this angle is well-covered, the book is mainly geared towards long-term weight loss for overweight and obese people. Only halfway through I realized that How Not to Die would probably have been the better choice for me.

Nonetheless, Dr. Greger’s book is packed full of interesting tidbits but also doesn’t fall short on actionable advice. He doesn’t fail to use the one or other opportunity to make on-point puns which makes for a more pleasant reading experience. Given the very dense format—underlined by almost every other paragraph being accompanied by one of 5,000 citations—this is greatly appreciated.

Right from the start, my curiosity was raised by floating questions like “Should you eat breakfast or skip it?” or “Is it better to exercise before or after meals?” and stating that a calorie isn’t always a calorie.

As I’m a sucker for tidbits, I took way too many notes while embarking on this endeavor. For example, I just find it fascinating to learn that cow milk blocks some of tea’s benefits1 or how the same meal can be less fattening when eaten as breakfast than as dinner2. Admittedly, following every single piece of advice would most likely turn your life upside down and there are diminishing returns the deeper you go. As Michael Greger remarks from time to time, improving your diet is not an all-or-nothing proposition and every bit helps.

Small warning: I can’t verify the book’s accuracy. In general, I have a good feeling about’s neutrality and took most things at face value. For some statements, I actually dove deeper into the linked study and, on a few rare occasions, I was surprised how the study’s results were portrayed. Still, on an overall level, the conclusions and advice don’t feel far-fetched.

Read in April–May 2020.

  1. Mentioned in “Fat Burners”. Cites 3684

  2. Mentioned in “Chronobiology”. Cites 2837