Book Review: ‘The Fallacy of the Calorie’

Michael Fenster, “Dr. Mike,” cardiologist, professional chef, and author of The Fallacy of the Calorie promises to give the reader clarity. “This is a book for lost souls. For everyone confused by all the contradictory information out there regarding what you eat and how it affects your health.” He does so with the most neon bright expressions and metaphors. This book is as much entertainment as it is pregnant with facts making the mass of information deliciously palatable.

Dr. Mike begins by scrutinizing nearly every piece of nutritional advice you could have heard. Health topics have filled our media, bookshelves and minds as science pursues more studies and health gurus interpret them. The plethora of information can make a person bewildered and sick. Comforting the reader, Dr. Mike reminds us, “Medicine may study populations, but healing is still an individual art.”

The bold and compassionate character of the author transcends the health genius from the early 20th century, Arnold Erhet “the Professor.” Both Erhet and Fenster cut through medical mishigosh to a practical perspective of health. While the former was the vanguard of his time by proclaiming a diet healing system, the later clarifies the present-day nutritional landscape and extracts the real meaning of scientific findings and interpretations of nutritional spin-doctors for a contemporary healing diet.

Being a lay person in the field of nutrition, it took me time to absorb and appreciate the content — details on life expectancy, disease, nutritional values, body composition, calories and the functions of living. With an almost Robin Williams-style of enlightening the reader, Dr. Mike gives visual descriptions to bring facts to life. For example, in explaining the behavioral disorders of eating he states, “Eating lights up our brains like Griswolds at Christmas.” Dr. Mike compares LDL and HDL as different UPS delivery trucks. Then describes the body’s conflict with food substitutes as a NASCAR wreck

In between the comical metaphors referring to Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Scarlett Johansson and Dr. Seuss, are hard facts and reasoning that most of us do not get access to. “A healthy average life expectancy (HALE) is one that is free from major disease and disability. If that is our goal — as it should be — then that value is only 68.1 years,” Dr. Mike writes and then plays on words, “These types of findings hint at the import of the environmental and dietary determinants on the quantity and the quality of our golden years; HALE yes!”

Finally drawing the nutritional information into practical support, The Fallacy of the Calorie provides a well-explained healing diet recommendation. A 10-step 30-day program guides the reader into new habits for lasting health. In the final step Dr. Mike makes recommendations for adding spice to life with a long description of the use of herbs to enhance sex followed by medicinal uses and the general pleasures of herbs.

For the curious and confused The Fallacy of the Calorie has comprehensive education and sound recommendations for fueling yourself to truly live.