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 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 have 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.
Gina Kolata is a science reporter for "The New York Times" and the author of "Clone: The Road to Dolly and Sex in America." She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.