The Skinny Rules: The Simple, Nonnegotiable Principles for Getting to Thin

Author: Bob Harper with Greg Crister
Publisher: Ballantine
Date: May 2012

Claims: With so much conflicting weight-loss advice out there to confuse your efforts, it’s no wonder you haven’t been successful losing weight and keeping it off. But with Bob Harper, co-host of NBC’s The Biggest Loser, as your coach, you can finally shed the pounds—whether you want to lose two or 200.

Synopsis of the Diet Plan: The authors present 20 rules designed to help readers change basic behaviors (referred to as “defaults”) and explain each rule in a separate, succinct chapter so readers can decide if and how the rule may apply to them. The book also includes recipes, an index and a notes section with scientific references to support the rules.

Nutritional Pros and cons: Based on a combination of science and common sense, the rules are straightforward and simple, if not always easy to follow. Some rules are nothing new but certainly worth reiterating, such as “drink water before every meal” and “learn to read food labels.” other rules (no carbohydrates after lunch and eliminate white potatoes, for example) may seem controversial or too restrictive. However, the explanations behind the attention-getting “headlines” deliver more balanced advice such as “only certain types of carbohydrates are allowed after lunch” or “choose sweet potatoes over white potatoes more often.” While some of these rules may not have hard science backing them, the rationale is clear: to help people decrease their intake of excess calories while still eating a nutrient-rich diet. Unlike traditional sample menus often found in diet books, these meal plans provide a list of options that may be more appealing to readers for the very fact that it offers choice. The recipes focus on whole foods that most people are familiar with and simple preparation steps that even novice cooks can follow.

Bottom Line: This plan could be beneficial to someone who doesn’t want to follow a specific diet, but who may want to cultivate some healthier habits that collectively could result in weight loss.

Food & Nutrition Magazine
Food & Nutrition Magazine publishes articles on food and diet trends, highlights of nutrition research and resources, updates on public health issues and policy initiatives related to nutrition, and explorations of the cultural and social factors that shape Americans’ diets and health.