Books & Literature

Book Review: A Fat Lot of Good, by Dr Peter Brukner OAM

The Australian Cricket team’s physician, Dr Peter Brukner, offers new ways to tamper with your diet with practical tips that will help the reader implement his plan.

Is your stomach a bouncer? Would you prefer a flat wicket? In A Fat Lot of Good, the Australian Cricket team’s physician, Dr Peter Brukner, offers new ways to tamper with your diet.

Another diet book, you ask? What will this one let me eat? I am confused enough already! Much of this confusion comes from the daily feast of nutrition tips that flood our newsfeeds.

In a world where anybody armed with an Instagram before-and-after transformation is deemed qualified to proffer wellness advice, separating the gluten-free organic wheat from the chaff has become hard work. Dr Peter Brukner, as a health expert with decades of experience and half a cricket team’s worth of acronyms after his name, is well-placed to separate the facts from the fads.

A Fat Lot of Good isn’t a pioneering or innovative work. The central thesis that fat has merit and that sugar is demonic has been circulating for almost a decade, first on the fringes and then increasingly in the mainstream. Given Brukner’s stature though, it is likely that his synthesis of recent scientific research will be more effective at shifting the nutritional status-quo.

Importantly, A Fat Lot of Good is not an extremist, one-size fits all manifesto. The abundance of unsustainably strict fad diets in recent years has resulted in a rise in eating disorders and body image neuroticism.

Brukner advocates a traffic light system of eating: some foods are given the green light, while others should be eaten with caution or stopped, save for special occasions. He acknowledges that there must be a degree of flexibility and that healthy eating habits are those that can be sustained over the long term.

Importantly, Brukner fills A Fat Lot of Good with practical tips which will help the reader implement his plan. He tackles almost every conceivable concern: What about eating out? Isn’t eating healthy more expensive? What tests should I seek from my doctor? What about exercise and lifestyle? What are some recipes to get started?

The science of nutrition, as with all fields of scientific endeavour, is still in a state of evolution. A Fat Lot of Good is a handy and reliable evaluation of the best current knowledge on how to eat, but not necessarily the final word.

Reviewed by James Murphy

Rating out of 10:  7

Distributed by: Penguin Random House Australia
Released: April 2018
RRP: $34.99 trade paperback, $14.99 eBook

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