Forever Strong by Gabrielle Lyons [4/10]

Like many, I am fascinated by the fast-emerging field of functional medicine, according to which doctors assess each patient individually based on recent knowledge of health, genetics, and our plague of modern health ills. Dr Lyons has an impressive pedigree and in Forever Strong: A New, Science-Based Strategy for Aging Well refreshingly addresses the seemingly recent realization that exercise, but specifically muscle mass, profoundly impacts everything from brain function to heart/stroke/cancer risk. Her vigorous championing of the crucial role of weight lifting (it doesn’t have to be “pumping iron”) is most welcome, and I enjoyed much of the book. However, on the question of diet, she goes against all my (admittedly relatively amateurish) understanding of the role of protein in optimizing one’s diet, effectively recommending protein be accorded the central plank of diet and prescribing twice the level of protein all my reading suggests. A decent chunk of the book, setting out how to micro-manage nutrients, exasperated me no end. So, my recommendation? If you are new to the centrality of exercise/muscle to a healthy life, or if you (like many) think protein is more important than (whole food) carbs, then Forever Strong might be a pertinent and engaging read. Otherwise, there are better diet/health/exercise primers around.

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