Book Review: Wired to Eat by Robb Wolf

I can't remember how I first heard about Robb Wolf. I'm sure I found him by Googling something related to Paleo, as he's kind of a big deal in the Paleo-sphere. I never read his first book, The Paleo Solution, probably because I found most of my information for free via the internet and haven't spent a lot of time reading books about Paleo. I mean, there's only so much you can say on the subject, right? Well, a few weeks ago he came out with a new book, Wired to Eat, which came highly recommended by people who got it early. People who don't like reading books were saying it was good So, when I saw it at Costco, I picked it up.

I have to say that I think this book is one of the best perspectives on the Paleo diet in a modern context that I've seen. It's got tons of biochemistry and nutrition science summarized in a super simple to understand and easy to read format. My one criticism is that his writing style is a little casual, but I can get over that if you are giving me a whole lot of good information! 

My favorite part of this book is the look at personalized nutrition. Robb summarizes a study that looked at how over 800 people tolerated different sources of carbohydrates. There was a lot of variability in the response. Some people tolerated things that we think of as "good carbs" such as bananas better and others tolerated so-called "bad carbs" like cookies better than bananas. What this confirms is that there is not a one-sized fits all approach to nutrition! 

He also outlines a 7 day carb test that you can do yourself to figure out what carb sources you tolerate well and what you don't. Some of the criticisms of this book are that it doesn't outline an approach to personalized nutrition or that the 7 day carb test is ridiculous (the gist of it is that you start your day with 50g of carb from a particular source and then test your blood sugar two hours later). I'm here to tell you that this is actually genius. I can think of almost no other way to actually figure out what your reaction to certain carbs would be without doing it in this way. 

Also, the results of this test hold the key to your personalized nutrition plan. Bananas make your blood sugar spike? Don't eat them. Cookies and pancakes (paleo or otherwise) don't? Eat them often. That's it. It would be impossible to outline anything other that a way for you to test this yourself because reactions are so varied between people and depending on context. 

I also like that he addresses the idea that instead of arguing about whether something is paleo or not (because, does that actually even matter?) we should ask ourselves, "is this food good for me?" And the idea that, while many of us may not be working hard to fix the problem, our broken bodies are not entirely our fault:

The reason we get fat, sick, and broken, and the reason why it’s so hard to change our diet and lifestyle, is simple: our environment has changed while our bodies have not – at least not enough to forestall the development of a host of degenerative disease. Our genetics are wired for a time when our meals were relatively simple in terms of flavour and texture. We only had access to foods that changed with the seasons and we always had to expend some amount of energy to get the goods.

I think this book has a lot of science in very easy to understand language and could be revolutionary to the weight loss and health of many. If you have weight to lose or are just looking to maximize your nutrition, I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book!