Some parts of the country (and world) seem better equipped to fend off the food temptations and poor eating habits that have contributed to health problems and obesity crises in America and elsewhere. Thankfully, there are experts who’ve done us the service of plumbing the secrets wisdom of these locales and delivering it to audiences in book form. Below we’ve rounded up the best diets based on locations, from Colorado to China and more.
Owing to its outdoorsy culture and a campaign by governor John Hickenlooper to make it the healthiest state in the country, Colorado has become a standard-bearer for nutritious eating and active lifestyle in recent years. Now, in “State of Slim,” weight loss researchers James O. Hill and Holly R. Wyatt have designed what they call the “Colorado Diet.” From their research facility in Denver, Hill and Wyatt (along with co-author Christie Aschwanden) investigated why, despite a nationwide trend toward obesity [link to Mika], Colorado remained one of the leanest states in the country. Their book lays out a six-step weight loss plan based on the Coloradoan lifestyle, with an emphasis on long-term metabolism repair and reinforcement of healthy habits.
Miami-area physician Arthur Agatston originally developed “The South Beach Diet” after seeing his patients try diet after diet without being able to keep weight off and, more gravely, without lowering their blood sugar and cholesterol levels. A major contribution to the “anti-carb,” movement, “The South Beach Diet” consists of three phases that wean participants off indulgent “goodies” and adjust their palates to healthy foods that maintain trim waistlines and vitality. With a number of spin-offs—”The South Beach Diet Quick & Easy Cookbook,” “The South Beach Diet Gluten Solution” and others—Agatston’s programs have continued to draw readers in with the allure of south Florida’s beach-bod lifestyle.
According to former Clicquot CEO Mireille Guiliano, the women of France don’t diet—they freely chow on baguettes and chocolates and enjoy large meals—but they don’t generally pack on excess weight, either. What’s their secret? Guiliano, who was born in France and now splits her time between Paris and New York, says it’s all in their attitude: “There are two selves in each of us: the one who wants to be slim and healthy and the one…who wants pleasures aplenty.” Achieving one’s goal weight, she says, is “based on learning how to be a bit narcissistic while also being a bit hedonistic—two notions that are not as bad or even as contradictory as many Americans suppose.” Guiliano followed the bestseller with “The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook,” which offers a variety of recipes that satisfy palates while whittling waistlines.
T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell II’s groundbreaking book “The China Study,” based on research into the dietary habits and lifestyles of people living in 65 rural Chinese counties, brought to light the health risks associated with an animal-heavy diet. In discovering that the average Chinese participants’ cholesterol was 100 points lower than the average American’s, the authors argue that those who stick to a vegan or plant-heavy diet have a reduced risk of developing many diseases—such as heart disease and cancers of the breast and lung—that afflict many Westerners. While “The China Study” is more health study than diet book, the authors did follow up their bestseller with “The China Study Cookbook,” which lays out recipes and eating programs that incorporate their study’s findings.