Synopses & Reviews
As technologies and research in the health sciences have advanced, we have come to lead longer, healthier, even health-obsessed lives. Rarely a day goes by without a public pronouncement of some exciting health-enhancing discovery: a new diet, a new fitness routine, a new drug or alternative therapy, the miracles achieved by genetic mapping. And we are told—by the media, health-care experts, even government—that we should use this information to live a healthier life. But what information can we trust?
In The Cure for Everything, health-policy expert and fitness enthusiast Timothy Caulfield debunks the mythologies of the one-step health crazes, reveals the truths behind misleading data, and discredits the charlatans in a quest to sort out real, reliable health advice. He takes us along as he navigates the maze of facts, findings, and fears associated with emerging health technologies, drugs, and disease-prevention strategies, and he presents an impressively researched, accessible take on the production and spread of information in the health sciences.
Seamlessly switching between his lab coat and his sweat suit, Caulfield doesn't just pore over the research and interview the professionals; he also gets his t-shirt sweaty and his meridians aligned to test out the scientific validity of some of the most influential health and fitness crazes of our day. Bravely using himself as a guinea pig, he goes on a strict diet, endures a rigorous exercise routine, swallows bottles of “natural” remedies, and has needles inserted all over his body. His research and tests pay off, illuminating some solid paths to better health, along with the dead-end detours.
Science is everywhere, but what passes through most people's fields of vision is often wrong, hyped, or twisted by an ideological or commercial agenda. And without good scientific data, bad decisions are made—by doctors and governments, by you and me. Caulfield demonstrates, alas, that there are no quick fixes or simple steps to flat abs, that you will never be able to eat all you want, that no “natural” supplements will lead to better health, that knowing your genetic map will not save you from almost anything. There are no rose-colored lenses here. Caulfield proves that healthy isn’t easy and fit isn’t a freebie. Facing the facts, he concludes with five simple, scientifically sound—yet challenging—steps to take for a longer, healthier life. The Cure for Everything is a tough-love tour through the fads, ads, and five-minute abs to discover the truth about our health.
"We're mercilessly bombarded with advice and products aimed at getting us to look good and feel better. In this entertaining and thought-provoking slam at Big Food, Big Pharma, and our own delusions, Canadian health law and policy researcher Caulfield immersed himself in the world of health science to weed fact from fantasy. He 'exercised like a maniac' including with a trainer-to-the-stars who dished on the unenviable regimes of Tinseltown's most gorgeous celebs and went on an impossibly strict diet during which he shed 23 pounds. Caulfield, a dedicated sprinter, also got his genes tested and 'sulked for days' because they made him an 'unlikely sprinter'; he visited an acupuncturist and tried out a variety of naturopathic and homeopathic 'remedies' including one to soothe his motion sickness only to discover that nothing works as promised. But Caulfield's often hilarious, always fascinating journey unearths a few simple truths: intense exercise is best; eating fewer calories, more fruits and veggies, and no junk is better than any fad diet; and that you need to be 'skeptical, scientific, self-aware and patient' to decipher greed-fueled mixed messages from food, drug, and diet conglomerates. No one says it's easy, Caulfied notes, but the truth never is. Agent: Chris Bucci, Anne McDermid & Assoc., Ltd." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
andquot;An engrossing history of fitness in the United States. . . . A must-read for fitness buffs and beefy enough to whet the appetite of even the most inert couch potato.andquot;andmdash;Kirkus Reviews
"In Making the American Body, Jonathan Black masterfully explores the many twists and evolutions of the fitness industry, from barbells to exercise machines to today's health clubs."and#8212;Jeff Friend, Foreword Reviews
andquot;An interesting history of physical fitness in America.andquot;andmdash;Karen Sutherland, Library Journal
andquot;The antecedents of the American fitness industry are varied and fascinating, and journalist Blackand#160;. . .and#160;does a superb job of chronicling them.andquot;andmdash;Publishers Weekly
and#8220;Making the American Body
is a fascinating and informative sprint through the history of body worship from the classical Greeks to the present-day fanatics of fitness.and#8221;and#8212;Pat Jordan, author of A False Spring
and#8220;Jonathan Black vividly renders the trends and politics of the fitness movement through the decades, and many of the outsized personalities who have defined it. This is a fascinating and comprehensive look at what has become one of Americaand#8217;s defining obsessions.and#8221;and#8212;Charles Gaines, author and director of Pumping Iron
"As a book for a popular audience, it will be of interest to diverse readers."and#8212;J. L. Croissant, CHOICE
A bold look at how commercial agendas distort the real science behind health and fitness studies and misinform the public about how to live a healthy life
Researcher Timothy Caulfield talks with experts in medicine, pharmaceuticals, health and fitness, and even tries out many of the health fads himself, in order to test their scientific validity, dispel the myths, and illuminate the path to better health.
If you thought the fitness craze was about being healthy, think again. Although Charles Atlas, Jack LaLanne, Jim Fixx, Jane Fonda, Richard Simmons, and Jillian Michaels might well point the way to a better body, they have done so only if their brands brought in profits. In the first book to tell the full story of the American obsession with fitness and how we got to where we are today, Jonathan Black gives us a backstage look at an industry and the people that have left an indelible mark on the American body and the consciousness it houses.
and#160;Spanning the nationand#8217;s fitness obsession from Atlas to Arnold, from Spinning to Zumba, and featuring an outrageous cast of characters bent on whipping us into shape while simultaneously shaping the way we view our bodies, Black tells the story of an outsized but little-examined aspect of our culture. With insights drawn from more than fifty interviews and attention to key developments in bodybuilding, aerobics, equipment, health clubs, running, sports medicine, group exercise, Pilates, and yoga, Making the American Body reveals how a focus on fitness has shaped not only our physiques but also, and more profoundly, American ideas of what and#8220;fitnessand#8221; is.
About the Author
As a researcher in health law and policy, Timothy Caulfield has spent almost two decades analyzing science issues and has been involved in science and health-policy decisions related to almost all the topics addressed in this book. He teaches biotechnology in the Faculty of Law and is the editor for the Health Law Journal and Health Law Review at the University of Alberta. He has published close to two hundred peer-reviewed articles in the world's top science journals, including Science, Cell, the Lancet, Nature, and Biotechnology, and in the popular press.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Cookie Conundrum
Sexy Abs and Simple Solutions
Miracle Foods and Magical Weight Loss
The Blueprint to Perfect Health and Happiness
Colon Cleansers, Meridian Alignment, and Wonder Drugs
Looking for the Elixir of Life
Omissions and References