4 out of 4 stars
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Who doesn’t want free health tips from an expert, right? Well, at least without having to book multiple appointments with specialists. There is so much conflicting advice out there that most of us don’t know which way to turn anymore. Eat breakfast. Don’t eat breakfast. One day, eggs are bad for you. Next, you can have as many as you like. The multitude of health fads and what they recommend have become truly frightening. I for one have been left with my head spinning.
While I am quite cynical about medical advice in recent years, preferring my own research on most topics, I was very impressed with the author's general advice and knowledge, finding that it coincided with a lot of what I have come to believe.
Morton E. Tavel, M.D.—the author of Health Tips, Myths, And Tricks—gives good, down-to-earth tips and information that anyone can apply. The format he’s used is easy to read and easy to pick out relevant bits when you need them or read the book in one sitting. He begins with the first section, being Health Tips. This covers virtually every topic you can think of - from how to lose weight properly and easily, to how to deal with a cold, to the safety of consuming fish. The second section focuses on the “Myths” that are out there and how you can save a lot of money knowing more about things like bottled water, for instance. The last section is dedicated to the “Tricks” used to lure you into buying various products like dietary supplements, and the scams we are exposed to by amongst others, legitimate drug companies!
What I particularly enjoyed about this book is the author takes all of the scientific studies and makes his own conclusions for the reader’s benefit, all neatly laid out in easy-to-understand layman's terms.
Another thing I liked is the way he has no hesitation in calling out certain brands or even restaurants that produce very unhealthy high-fat content foods. At one point he lists the calories, sodium and fats in the dishes from Olive Garden’s “Tour of Italy”, saying that if you eat this, “you’ll be well on your way to needing heart bypass surgery. Although I am capable of treating heart disease, I much prefer preventing it.”
By the same token, he’s probably given others a major boost in recommending their products or food. I loved the fact that he’s all about saving the reader/consumer money by warning you off being tricked into taking supplements, having unnecessary tests or health check-ups, and believing you’re forced into a gluten-free diet, for example.
In spite of all the research I’ve done over the years, I still found interesting snippets of information that were new to me - for instance, the fact that a cup of peas contains more protein than a large egg!
I enjoyed the way he’d mention something in one chapter, and then come back and devote an entire later chapter to that one specific piece of advice. In this way, if you missed it or found your attention waning for some reason, this would then reinforce that concept or idea. To give you an example, he mentions early on in the book that he doesn’t recommend artificial sweeteners to replace the bad effects of sugar, as he feels they have no dietary value whatsoever. Then, in Chapter 22, he comes back and discusses the various sweeteners in depth. I was very pleased to read that studies have finally concluded that Aspartame is not responsible for causing Alzheimers, Parkinsons and other dread diseases since I use it exclusively as my sugar substitute!
One thing that irritated me slightly is that as usual, it’s very “American-centric” so everything is related to the United States only. The research, the statistics, where to find fish that don’t contain high levels of mercury (he lists fish only found in the oceans around the States), are some examples.
I also would have preferred a more up to date version than 2015 - a lot can change in the space of a few years, especially in the field of scientific research.
The only other thing that I found a bit annoying was the fact that the author devoted so many chapters to the “Myths” and “Tricks” sections. One whole chapter under the “Myths” section focuses on the polygraph (lie detector) test. I am still confused as to why this would even need a mention in a book like this. My personal opinion is that most of the topics under these two sections could have been covered in a few chapters at most, as I felt like the book would never come to an end.
I found a few minor errors throughout, but other than this it appears to have been professionally edited.
Despite the issues mentioned though, I am rating Health Tips, Myths and Tricks a solid 4 out of 4 stars, as I think that the information contained in this book is invaluable to most of us! I know I will most certainly be referring back to this one on a regular basis.
Health Tips, Myths, and Tricks
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