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Rethinking Thin

The New Science of Weight Loss--and the Myths and Realities of Dieting

Gina Kolata

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

In this eye-opening book, New York Times science writer Gina Kolata shows that our society’s obsession with dieting and weight loss is less about keeping trim and staying healthy than about money, power, trends, and impossible ideals.
Rethinking Thin is at once an account of the place of diets in American society and a provocative critique of the weight-loss industry. Kolata’s account of four determined dieters’ progress through a study comparing the Atkins diet to a conventional low-calorie one becomes a broad tale of science and society, of social mores and social sanctions, and of politics and power.

Rethinking Thin asks whether words like willpower are really applicable when it comes to eating and body weight. It dramatizes what it feels like to spend a lifetime struggling with one’s weight and fantasizing about finally, at long last, getting thin. It tells the little-known story of the science of obesity and the history of diets and dieting—scientific and social phenomena that made some people rich and thin and left others fat and miserable. And it offers commonsense answers to questions about weight, eating habits, and obesity—giving us a better understanding of the weight that is right for our bodies.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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1

Looking for Diets in All the Wrong Places

If you met Carmen J. Pirollo, you might not realize that he has a weight problem. He’s a square-jawed, animated man, who talks in exclamation points, favors preppy clothes, and—the big hint that he’s a bit self-conscious—sometimes doesn’t tuck in his shirts. Yet while you may notice his abdomen under that shirt, he is not what you might think of as obese. He does not seem to have any trouble moving, and when he sits down, he does not spill out of his chair. He’s not like one of the subjects in those insulting,

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REVIEWS

Praise for Rethinking Thin

"An incisive, thought-provoking examination of a subject that concerns us all. This book will educate and illuminate those seeking solid information about the struggle to lose weight."   --Dr. Jerome E. Groopman, author of The Anatomy of Hope: How People Prevail in the Face of Illness and staff writer at The New Yorker


"Kolata commands the intelligent curiosity, well-honed reporting techniques and smooth prose style of a top science reporter." --Beryl Lieff Benderley, The Washington Post

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Gina Kolata

  • Gina Kolata is a science writer for The New York Times and the author of five previous books, including Ultimate Fitness and the national bestseller Flu. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
  • Gina Kolata Andrew Brucker
    Gina Kolata
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Rethinking Thin

The New Science of Weight Loss--and the Myths and Realities of Dieting

Gina Kolata

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