Title: Mad Diet
Author: Suzanne Lockhart
Publisher: Coronet
Genre: Non-fiction, Health – diet
Book format: Paperback
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Description: Are you depressed or struggling to lose weight?  You are not alone.  1 in 4 people are suffering from mental health problems and two thirds of us are obese or overweight.  Something is clearly very wrong.  Mad Diet lifts the lid on what is really going on with our food and provides an easy guide to restoring your mind and waistline.
Mad Diet provides a fresh new approach to healthy eating, in a market full of ‘gurus’ who don’t have the scientific knowledge to back up their claims, Suzanne Lockhart provides an accessible, scientific and empowering approach to healthy eating.
By detailing how harmful the Western diet is, and showing you how to eat better for your body and your mind, Mad Diet enables you to change your outlook on food with positive outcomes for your mental health.

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:   This is a brilliant book and one that everyone should read. Plenty of us are struggling everyday to lose weight and so many of us are suffering a myriad of different mental health problems with depression being one of the biggest. This book gives a valuable insight into why we are overweight, why we are depressed and how simple and easy diet changes can change both out waist line and our mental heath for the better.

I love this book, I really do! I’ve always felt that diet plays a significant part in both our physical and also mental well being and this book shows us exactly how. The book begins with a brief explanation of how the food we eat is making us both mad and fat. This introduction helps you to connect with the author and I like the simple easy tone that the book takes. The first chapters that follow are really interesting as they explain all about the growth of the food industry since the Second World War and the rise in the use of developed medicines in the modern world. I found this information very valuable as it really gives you a true insight into how things have changed and how powerful some global companies have become. We also learn about the author’s own personal past struggles with her mental health.

The next part of the book, the largest section, explains about all the different things in our current diet which are either helping or harming our health. I found this part of the book the most useful and although I’ve read books on this subject before this particular book goes on to explain more than just why something is good or bad for your health but also explains exactly how that nutrient is affecting your body, often on a cellular level. I found this fascinating and the author’s easy to read style meant I never found it hard to understand anything she says. Towards the end of the book we are given additional ways of supporting ourselves which aren’t diet related and also information on how it’s possible to come off of antidepressants for good.

I really enjoyed reading the whole book and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in improving their mental health. It does however require that people are open to the information the author gives and I’ve read quite a few negative reviews that clearly show that some people aren’t. While the book does advocate coming off of antidepressants in the long term (the author admits to doing this without her doctor’s support which she admits was reckless) this book does not advocate doing this without the support of a GP, and only if the reader is comfortable with the idea and wants to go ahead.

Some other reviews also complain about the way the book talks about the pharmaceutical companies and big food industries as a whole, suggesting it’s scare-mongering. However having read through the book entirely this isn’t the case. About thirty pages at the back of the book are all studies or various other evidence that you can look up for yourself online, in fact the author suggests doing your own research and making your own conclusions from your own research rather than relying only on what’s written in the book.

Although this is, on the whole, very interesting and easy to read I did find it strange that the wording is often targeted towards women readers rather than men.  This book is likely perhaps to be read by more women than men but I would have preferred a more neutral tone to the book, gender wise as mental health, weight and diet in general affect both men and women.  There is also an occasion or two in the book where the author insists that a certain substance such as fish oils should be a supplement that even vegans and vegetarians should take, however as a vegetarian (and now going vegan) this did annoy me a little as I’m obviously not going to follow that advice! There is one use of the s swear word in this book but nothing else offensive.

Overall, despite my criticisms, I still find this book fascinating to read and keep looking at it over and over again. There are plenty of things I’d never heard of before such as the benefits of iodine and the easy to read style the author takes makes it easy to connect with her. What makes it even more interesting for me, and makes me feel that the comments on ‘big food’ are valid, is the fact that the author has worked in the industry before and seen some of the practices behind the big food companies first hand. This is a brilliant book that really does shed some light on how we are all making ourselves sick and fat with the diet we eat. If depression has other causes then of course it will take more than just simple diet changes to be able to come off of antidepressants, but this book goes a long way to show us how we can all improve our mood and wellbeing to some extent, whether fat, mad, and even for those that are neither. A book I’d definitely recommend!

-Review frist appeared online February 2018 – now (slightly) edited and republished here.

Do you struggle with mental health problems or problems around diet and weight?  Do you think a change in your diet might help you?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂