Reading Journal Entry: The Omega Diet, by Artemis Simopoulos and Jo Robinson

Another diet book today. Why am I reviewing all these diet books? Because last month my doctor told me I might be insulin resistant. I've had a fasting blood sugar test and it says I'm fine. But I do need to lose weight, and I don't really trust the numbers anyhow.

The two diets that the doctor mentioned were the South Beach Diet and the Omega Diet. I've read South Beach, and I've conceived a violent hatred towards Dr. Agarson for lying about the desserts his plan allows. This week I got around to reading The Omega Diet.

Artemis Simopoulos is Greek, and a major theme of the book is how awesome the Greek diet (and European diets in general) and how awful the American diet is. "In Greece, when I was growing up, we would start the day with eggs that had just been pulled out of chicken's behinds, fried in olive oil that we hand-wrung into the pan right before cooking, and wild greens that my grandmother picked while taking care of the herd of goats that lived in the living room," etc.

This, the 'original' Omega Diet book, was published in 1999, and it's frsutratingly behind the times. Simopouls devotes an inordinate amount of time arguing against 'conventional' diet advice that is no longer accepted wisdom. Slightly condescending , oversimplifications are mixed with insta-techno discussions of the details of omega-3 fatty acids versus omega-6 fatty acids. Simopoulos spends a lot of energy on the 'ratio' of omega-3 vs. omega-6, but this is misleading; her real goal is to increase the amount of omega 3 acids in the diet. The 6 acids are everywhere, and will take care of themselves.

The diet plan at the back of the book includes variations for maintenance, weight loss, and swift weight loss, which is nice. And the meal plan is surprisingly moderate. You get to eat white flour, etc. In fact, this isn't a 'glycemic index' diet at all. The meal plan as given is very 'low GI', but the '7 principles' that Simopoulos lays out don't deal with that at all. In fact, she hardly mentions sugar or refined flour at all.

The recipes look wonderful, and I would not hesitate to use some of them. I won't be following it, but it's one of the better diet plans I've read.


Maxine said...

Trust me, I am a scientist. And a woman with a weight problem. Only one diet works, which is the equation calories in (less than sign) calories out.
I have lost a great deal of weight in the last few months using this equation, spurred on by blogging (good mental health and keeps me too busy typing to eat).
Any book (and I mean any book) that encourages you to cook or prepare food to lose weight, does not get my vote. The only way to lose weight is to find some way not to think about food.
Well, that's my unique perspective on it! I appreciate not everyone would agree, but please note, a lot of people are making millions out of the diet industry, when the solution is actually staring us all in the face without the need for any books, pills, potions or other quackery.

Leigh said...

No, I don't entirely agree with Maxine. Yes, I accept calories in vs calories out as an equation BUT thats not a diet. I'm sure calorie counting works well for some people, but it doesn't for me - call it an allergy to numbers. I need a diet with simple, healthy guidelines, and simple, healthy recipes.

The only diet I've tried in years thats worked for me (so far) is the Rosedale diet, which is designed to control hunger & insulin resistance (its low carb).

It sounds like many of the recipes in the Omega diet would fit in well for Rosedale which also encourages Omega 3s - lots of seafood, nuts, etc. But white flour would be a no-no for Rosedale, & I dunno about the goats in the living room!