Always Hungry?: Conquer Cravings, Retrain Your Fat Cells, and Lose Weight Permanently

Always Hungry?: Conquer Cravings, Retrain Your Fat Cells, and Lose Weight Permanently

Renowned endocrinologist Dr. David Ludwig explains why traditional diets don't work, and presents a radical new plan to help you lose weight without hunger, improve your health, and feel great.For over two decades, Dr. Ludwig has been at the forefront of research into weight control. His groundbreaking studies show that overeating doesn't make you fat; the process of getti...

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Title:Always Hungry?: Conquer Cravings, Retrain Your Fat Cells, and Lose Weight Permanently
Author:David Ludwig
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Always Hungry?: Conquer Cravings, Retrain Your Fat Cells, and Lose Weight Permanently Reviews

  • Stephanie

    As someone interested in the political food landscape of our country, this book really impressed me! I devoured the science at the beginning, got menu ideas and loved the political ending with advice on how consumers can help make the needed changes in our current food culture. Great read even for those of us who aren't always hungry!

  • Ed

    With Always Hungry?, there are two things to review: the book as a book and the book as an eating system.

    The eating system has been working great for me. In the month I’ve been on it, I’ve lost 10 pounds without feeling like I’m dieting and no “white-knuckling” it to the next meal. But more importantly, I’m feeling healthier and happier than I have in years and I’m cooking & eating delicious food.

    The book lays out science behind the eating system clearly. It can get fairly in the weeds in s

    With Always Hungry?, there are two things to review: the book as a book and the book as an eating system.

    The eating system has been working great for me. In the month I’ve been on it, I’ve lost 10 pounds without feeling like I’m dieting and no “white-knuckling” it to the next meal. But more importantly, I’m feeling healthier and happier than I have in years and I’m cooking & eating delicious food.

    The book lays out science behind the eating system clearly. It can get fairly in the weeds in some chapters, but it convincingly explains all the problems with processed carbohydrates dominating a diet. The scientific principle of changing your diet in order to change biology which then, in turn, changes your cravings and, as time passes, change your weight set point is a bit counter intuitive at first, but once you get past that, the ideas go from surprising to revelatory and then are so natural that it’s easy to forget I ever thought otherwise. I liked his focus on improving health through diet with weight loss just a side effect.

    In addition, the book’s recipes are great. The food plans are fairly easy to follow, but I found that the simplified food plan (available for free as a PDF on his website) worked better for me.

    My main criticism is that when Dr. Ludwig expands beyond the nutrition science and diet recommendations, the book starts to falter. While his explanation of the perverse incentives of food companies is correct, he only begins to scratch the surface of how capitalism’s profit imperative kills our health. I think he missed an opportunity to tie toxic food in with the toxic stress and overwork that comes from capitalism’s drive to maximize profits at all costs. Similarly, his policy analysis ends up being naive and incomplete due to a combination of a desire to appeal to conservatives as well as his technocratic (albeit goodhearted) liberalism. We can't begin to solve a systematic problem without systematic revolutionary change.

  • Kirsten

    For most of my life I’ve approached eating somewhat skeptically. I was not raised in a household that entertained even a curiosity about nutrition, to say the least. It took until I was nearly twenty before I had the palate to even choke down a green salad. The body can be capable of handling a lot, but as all of us learn at some point, the body has limits. For me, it had become more that my body

    my limit - or more, my relative size was not something that occupied conscious space, but rather

    For most of my life I’ve approached eating somewhat skeptically. I was not raised in a household that entertained even a curiosity about nutrition, to say the least. It took until I was nearly twenty before I had the palate to even choke down a green salad. The body can be capable of handling a lot, but as all of us learn at some point, the body has limits. For me, it had become more that my body

    my limit - or more, my relative size was not something that occupied conscious space, but rather I could intuitively feel that I was

    .

    I’d like to qualify this review by saying this is the first time I’ve ever followed a formalized, long-term eating plan in my life. I completed the first 3 weeks of the plan exactly as laid out - which means, I followed the suggested menu

    . The first 3 weeks also happen to be the amount of time in which you have a comprehensive, detailed, down-to-the-ingredient-shopping-list plan laid out for you to follow.

    I would like to start at the place I feel is most helpful - which were the challenges.

    If you do not already spend a lot of time in the kitchen, the amount of work this program demands might come as a bit of a shock.

    While each of the individual recipes tend to be fairly simple, you are eating homemade breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. Every. Single. Day. It adds up to time spent in the kitchen, and a

    of dishes.

    If your food budget is bare bones, this plan will probably not work for you. Items like miso paste, flax oil, avocado oil and whey protein are not cheap - and if you don’t live in a city, I’d imagine they may be hard to find. Beyond the initial investment required in some of these ingredients, the plan otherwise consists almost entirely in fresh fruits and vegetables, and quality proteins including beef, chicken, fish and tofu - which means if you want to do this plan right, you should be buying wild-caught fish, and pasture raised meats whenever possible. There is a vegetarian version of the plan (which could plausibly save a lot of money, even if you’re not vegetarian) but you have to be prepared to eat a lot of tofu and tempeh.

    I don’t know about you, but if I’m already prepping and cooking food every single day, this is kind of a lot.

    Beyond the minor annoyance of occasional dislikes of ingredients chosen (such as discovering it’s possible to love avocados and still want to gag every single time you catch a hint of the flavor of avocado oil), these were the biggest pitfalls of the plan.

    Now, the advantages.

    Each meal and snack was satisfying on a level beyond taste, by which I mean, I felt incredibly sustained and thus really able to focus a lot more energy on what matters.

    The entire idea is that you are taming the body’s insulin response, which in turn calms the rest of your body from an angry, uninhabitable planet type-vibe to a relaxed, functional, well-oiled and productive machine. Which feels a lot more incredible than it sounds. It’s tough to understand just how much certain foods affect you until you get a sense for what it feels like to live, and happily, without them.

    I know that doesn’t sound like an advantage at first - but it actually kind of is. When you’re busy, spending time and energy on what you’re going to eat can easily veer from being a pleasure to being an emotional drain and a major time sink.

    I appreciated the tools that the plan provides - it made it easier for me in ways that allowed me to save energy on the actual work of making the food. But again, having the time and energy to make the food, and to be able to afford the markup to order my groceries, speaks to a sort of privilege that is not necessarily available to everyone.

    Again, because you’re buying a ton of it. But in addition to this having physical implications, there’s actually research out there that says eating 7 servings of fruit and vegetables per day is actually linked with peak mental health, as well as physical health. Which means that if you can do it, chances are, you’re going to feel amazing.

    Even as I write this review from a really earnest place, I can’t help but feel gimmicky about it. It’s impossible to turn a corner in this country without someone trying to tell you how to eat, and so it feels loaded for me to approach yet another book, and plan, that is doing basically that. There are a lot of systemic issues that contribute to poor access to proper nutrition in this country - and a lot of interests that stand to gain from that lack. Other than potential book sales, I couldn’t think about what David Ludwig - a medical doctor, and Harvard researcher both - might stand to gain, other than actually advancing our knowledge in the field of how to better care for our bodies by starting at proper nutrition.

    I’m writing this from the remove of a bit of distance - I’ve had both successes and failures with the plan as laid out, and at this point in time, I’ve only completed the first 3 weeks of the plan. During that time, I lost 9 pounds and 2.5 inches from my waist, and I felt amazing. Incredibly at home in my body. Even after only the 3 weeks spent, following the regimen exactly as it was laid out, my physical well-being and mental acuity have both improved to a degree I would never have imagined possible. After 3 weeks, I decided - in part due to laziness - to return to my old ways. After that week, I not only feel considerably worse than I did during those entire 3 weeks (now that I know the alternative), I feel even more motivated than before to return to it, because now I know what is possible. It takes work, but as they say, nothing worth having necessarily comes easy. But in this particular arena, the work does not always amount to reward. In this case, it absolutely does, simply by virtue of the ways it puts you back in touch with your own body.

    I feel I can confidently say this book taught me how to eat for the first time in my life.

  • Caroline

    It works.

    I have been following this eating approach since the beginning of the year and have lost almost 30 pounds without suffering. The key is to find a system that will work for you that you can follow for the rest of your life, not 'while you're on a diet.'

    Part of why this works for me is the research and logic Dr Ludwig brings to bear. He starts with the question 'why has America gotten progressively more obese since it began low-fat diets?', and then explains the metabolic effects of suc

    It works.

    I have been following this eating approach since the beginning of the year and have lost almost 30 pounds without suffering. The key is to find a system that will work for you that you can follow for the rest of your life, not 'while you're on a diet.'

    Part of why this works for me is the research and logic Dr Ludwig brings to bear. He starts with the question 'why has America gotten progressively more obese since it began low-fat diets?', and then explains the metabolic effects of such a diet. The solution: full fat products, no simple carbs, don't count calories but eat mindfully. Result: weight loss, energy, better skin, less arthritis pain (less inflammation). Once I had some logical basis for the plan, and satisfying foods and recipes, I could stick with it.

    I understand that there are several books promoting this research out there; this one was a good combination of research, plan, recipes, and timing.

  • Jason Pettus

    (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

    The bad news about Dr. David Ludwig's newest book,

    -- and this is only minor bad news at most -- is that what he calls "revolutionary" information is not actually that revolutionary, essentially repeating the same story from half a dozen other nutrition books I've read that have been publish

    (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

    The bad news about Dr. David Ludwig's newest book,

    -- and this is only minor bad news at most -- is that what he calls "revolutionary" information is not actually that revolutionary, essentially repeating the same story from half a dozen other nutrition books I've read that have been published in the last year or two. But that's the good news about this book as well, which is much more important, that Ludwig is preaching a message here that has essentially been confirmed by all the other medical professionals who are currently writing about the absolute newest things science has learned about health and eating in the last couple of years; that the way we've been taught for decades about weight management is essentially worthless BS, that there is no such thing as a simple math formula for "calories in" and "calories out" of our bodies, and that the key to weight loss is not

    food one eats but rather

    of foods you're putting into your system.

    Specifically, Ludwig (a longtime professor at Harvard Medical School) is confirming something that's becoming more and more of an accepted reality in the 21st century -- that the main reason the US has seen an epidemic in obesity rates since the end of World War Two is because of the growing amount of corporate processing we've been doing since World War Two to the food we eat, innocently begun in the Mid-Century Modernist "Plastic Age" years but that has turned into an overwhelming tragedy by now, with the main culprit being the way that we are now systematically stripping nearly every carbohydrate in our diets (flour, wheat, pasta, rice, chips, potatoes, corn, breakfast cereal, etc) of the things nature puts in those grains to make them slower to digest, and therefore easier to burn off at a small and regular rate over the course of an entire day. The lack of such elements makes our bodies convert these carbs into sugar much faster, which makes our insulin levels go through the roof, which means we burn off that food frighteningly fast (think for example of the crash you experience a couple of hours after a lunch at McDonald's), which in turn sends signals to our fat cells to "hoard" those sugars because it mistakenly believes we're not getting enough to eat (but see this book for a more detailed explanation of that process). Eliminate this processed stuff from your diet, Ludwig argues -- basically, all fast food and all frozen dinners, plus "white" versions of any of the things listed above -- and you're already 95 percent of the way towards a healthy diet that will bring you back to your genetically "natural" weight, whatever that might be; the only thing left at that point is to balance out the food that remains to levels that we as contemporary Americans are usually a little off from, including a little more protein than what most of us typically get right now, and a substantially greater amount of what nutritionists call "good" fat (found in things like nuts, olive oil, fish, avocados, and the unprocessed versions of dairy products, i.e. the "full fat" versions of milk, butter and yogurt).

    The book is conveniently laid out in two distinct halves; so for people like me who are mostly just interested in the theory of it all, the first half is devoted to nothing but that, but for those who are actively overweight and are looking for an actual practical diet plan, the second half of the book is devoted exclusively to that, including literal day-by-day menu plans for the first month of the program (with accompanying recipes), templates for recording your process, and plenty of appendices giving you nutritional information about nearly every food involved. Combined with some very simple lifestyle advice to go along with the diet (get more sleep, exercise a bit each day, reduce your stress level through things like mindfulness), it's a pretty comprehensive and convincing plan for not just temporary weight loss but a profound and permanent change in the way you live your entire life; and the only reason it's not getting a higher score today is that you have to be very specifically into these subjects in order to find the book of any interest at all. For those who are, it comes recommended, although with the warning that there are at least another dozen similar books on the market right now that you could read instead.

    Out of 10:

    , or

    for those interested in nutrition

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