OBESITY … it’s NOT what YOU THINK it is!


”Our relationship with food is broken. Consequently, so is our health.” In OBESITY … It’s NOT what YOU THINK it is!

Richard Fast boldly challenges traditional beliefs about weight and well-being, positing that the prevalence of highly processed, nutrient-deficient foods in our modern diet lies at the heart of the global obesity epidemic.

With an exhaustive exploration spanning from the evolution of dietary norms to the marketing tactics of the food industry, Fast reveals the true culprit behind the crisis and presents a roadmap for restoring health and vitality. Fast argues that obesity transcends mere physical appearance, constituting a profound health emergency affecting millions worldwide. He dismantles the misconception that only visibly overweight individuals grapple with obesity, stressing that even ostensibly slender individuals can suffer from metabolic obesity due to poor nutritional intake. By exploring the adverse effects of processed foods on cellular health, Fast underscores the critical need to reassess our dietary habits.

A standout feature of the book is its incisive critique of the food industry’s role in shaping dietary preferences. Fast exposes the manipulative tactics deployed by corporations to promote convenient yet nutritionally deficient products, underlining the dire consequences for public health. Through compelling anecdotes and empirical evidence, he unveils strategies reminiscent of those employed by the tobacco industry, sowing doubt and evading accountability.

Furthermore, Fast examines the addictive allure of ultra-processed foods, elucidating their pervasive impact on eating behaviors. Drawing upon scientific research, he challenges conventional notions of calorie counting and advocates for approaches to weight management rooted in nourishing the body rather than restrictive dieting.

By advocating for a return to wholesome, unprocessed foods and fostering awareness of the NOVA classification system for processed foods, Fast empowers readers to make enlightened choices for optimal health. His emphasis on personal accountability and the imperative to challenge societal norms accentuates the transformative potential of individual agency in combating the obesity crisis.

OBESITY … It’s NOT what YOU THINK it is!” by Richard Fast is a thought-provoking manifesto that disrupts conventional wisdom surrounding weight and health.

Through a meticulous examination of industry practices, scientific research, and cultural paradigms, Fast presents a compelling narrative of the obesity epidemic and inspires readers to reclaim their well-being through informed dietary decisions.

If you enjoyed The Obesity Code by Jason Fung, Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss, and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, then you will absolutely love OBESITY… It’s NOT what YOU THINK it is! by Richard Fast.

It is the best book I have read about health and wellness. 

Reviewed By: Romuald Dzemo

Wellness Coach’s Unique Perspective on Health and Obesity

What’s It About

Despite what we’ve been told, obesity is not a weight issue, it’s a health issue, and it’s resulting in the greatest health crises we’ve ever faced. “Obesity” examines the culprit, the cause, and the cure of this global epidemic.

Are you kidding? Is it just me, or are you also amused by a book on better understanding obesity written by a guy named “fast”?

Actually, for anyone who has fallen for the myth implied above, that the easiest way to combat obesity is to stop eating, then it is highly suggested that you read this book, Obesity…It’s Not What You Think It Is, by Richard Fast.

The Global Obesity Epidemic

On the subject of obesity, Fast can hardly ignore the matter of food and its effects. In fact, he opens his chock-full-of-info book with the line, “Our relationship with food is broken. Consequently, so is our health.”

And that’s the essence of this most unique work, in its engaging tone, mountains of advice, and observations about how savvy marketing and an avalanche of media misinformation have led us astray.

“The media has become a never-ending stream of studies, warnings, contradictions, conspiracies and retractions,” Fast writes. “What was good for us a few years ago suddenly isn’t. What wasn’t unexpectedly is.”

Yet obesity is real. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, worldwide obesity tripled between 1975 and 2016. In 2017, one in five adults in America was classified as “morbidly obese.”

The Cause, the Culprit and the Cure

Fast breaks down his book into three segments: The Cause, The Culprit and The Cure. Is the culprit any big surprise? “The global obesity pandemic is a direct result of what we eat — too much ultra-processed, nutrient-void garbage.”

Any diet that revolves around “cheap, fast and convenient” can’t be all that good. Fast argues that Big Food (like Big Tobacco) tries to give us the illusion of social responsibility but not at the expense of their own bottom lines.

The book is loaded with research reports, scientific studies, charts, graphs, quotes, product information, corporate strategies and personal observations of how we got to where we are. While the findings are often harrowing, Fast presents them in a compelling and entertaining manner.

A Change in Perspective

But he doesn’t stop with history lessons and societal influences.

In part three, The Cure, Fast reemphasizes his focus on health rather than weight. And while he talks about a number of ideas and strategies, underneath it all is the belief that the solution lies in the proper mindset, or perspective. And you can’t get there with gimmicks.

Fast says he experienced both sensational success and colossal failure, but that failures are the greatest teachers. “After enduring a string of them because of horrible decisions, I was determined to discover if there was an identifiable cause of poor choices or if it was merely the result of genetics, circumstances, and maybe just random luck.”

He notes how he tried everything from willpower to hypnosis to acupuncture to nicotine gum, exercise bikes, New Year’s resolutions, you name it, only to find he came out the other end as the same person. It was not until he viewed things from a different vantage point, changing his beliefs, that he could hurdle his obstacles.

A Powerful Wakeup Call

In the end, while Fast can help educate readers, the decisions as to what choices they make are strictly up to them.

“The obesity pandemic is no illusion. We urgently need to wake up from our ‘food’-induced trance because whether we realize it or not, we’re in a fight for the highest stakes possible… our health and the future health of our children.”

Some powerful food for thought. Obesity…It’s Not What You Think It Is might be the best wakeup call you’ll find.

OBESITY … It’s NOT what YOU THINK it is!

OBESITY: It’s NOT what YOU THINK it is!  is a fascinating and highly informative look at how to get healthy and stay that way by making wise choices about what we eat and why we eat it. It also explores how we got ourselves into an obesity predicament and more importantly, how we can get out.

This book is divided into four main sections or parts. Part 1 is The Problem.Part 2 is The Culprit. Part 3 is The Cause. Party 4 is The Cure. 

Part 1 explains how people can be overweight and undernourished at the same time. It includes a look at the one common factor that could cause nationwide weight gain. (It’s not what you think.) We soon learn that the global obesity pandemic is a direct result of eating too much “ultra-processed, nutrient-void garbage.”

The author explains what this is and how most Americans got hooked on this type of “food,” beginning in the early 20th century. Also how processed and packaged foods became a “cornerstone” of the average American diet. It’s eye-opening, informative, and educational. Some readers may get a little confused with the inclusion of “Big Food” and “Big Tobacco” tactics. Be patient. It makes sense later. An example is the Coca-Cola Employs The Best ‘Scientific’ Studies Money Can Buy! Section. This lays out how Coca-Cola launched a misleading ad campaign for its product. It will get your attention. And possibly make your blood boil. The section on How to Get a Planet Fat discusses the causes and consequences of rising obesity rates around the world. 

Additional sections discuss the “war” between two food systems – a “traditional diet” of real food once produced by farmers vs. the producers of “ultra-processed food.” The latter is designed to be over-consumed and may be addictive, says the author. He also shows us how and why food consumers are “conned” and “addicted” to Big Food’s advertising and food manipulation.

Part 3, The Cause, is fascinating, informative, and illuminating. One of the most interesting and eye-opening sections is UPFs (Ultra-Processed Foods): Tasty, Cheap, Ubiquitous and oh So Profitable. Ditto Why Are Ultra-Processed goods so Hard to Resist and Understanding ‘Real’ Food.

Part 4, The Cure, includes thinking in terms of total health. This starts with developing a better appreciation of “real food.” The author shows us how and why to do that. He winds down with, “Our children have been conned, addicted and manipulated. The Big Food companies are getting fabulously wealthy by selling us slow-acting poison. Is that acceptable?” He then urges readers to take ownership of their food choices and health. “It begins with awareness,” he writes. This book is a good place to start.

There are a lot of data in this book. It includes many references to various food campaigns, programs, advertising, studies, and research, etc. You don’t have to have a medical degree or be a board-certified nutritionist to assort this out or follow the bouncing ball. It’s laid out in clear language that’s easy to follow. Additionally, the entire book clocks in at just over one hundred pages. So it’s not overwhelming or overly technical.

In fact, OBESITY: It’s NOT what YOU THINK it is! is straight-forward and easy to understand. Numerous charts, graphics and photos illustrate key points throughout the text. These are helpful and eye-catching. Each section concludes with an extensive list of references. Be sure to check out the About Me section at the end of the book.

Finally, I have a close relative who’s struggling with obesity. The information in this book will no doubt be helpful. You might also want to grab a copy before your next trip to the grocery store. It’ll make you think twice. Or maybe thrice. And that’s kind of the whole point.

OBESITY … It’s NOT what YOU THINK it is!

In this straightforward, eye-opening guide to eating healthy, Fast offers an informative and honest exploration of rising obesity rates—and what can be done about it.”

The cure for obesity is not to focus on weight; it’s to focus on health,” Fast writes.

With a high focus on actual consumption over calorie counting and exercise, Obesity is a no-nonsense exploration into food, health, and the human relationship with it. Highlighting the culprits, the causes, and the cure, Fast shares much practical advice, plus interviews with big food companies, examinations of the impact of “ultra-processed foods” (which Fast notes are “NOT food” at all), and scientific case studies with real results about food intake and its subsequent health impact.

Correlating one’s intake of processed foods and the effects of addiction, Obesity sheds light on how processed foods can create an addictive type of craving in the human body and rewire the brain to want more, simulating the effect of never feeling fully satisfied.

Citing the easy access people have today to processed foods, Fast makes the case that it’s not how much one eats that determines weight gain but what one is eating. The key, explored in clear, inviting language, is eating whole, natural foods, as opposed to processed foods, which lack natural nutrients, can drastically change one’s health and overall body composition. Obesity also delves into the business of “big food” companies, such as Coca-Cola and Nestle, whose profits can come at the cost of consumer health. 

From 1985, when no state had an obesity rate over 15%, to 2020 when 35 states had an obesity rate over 30%, Fast shows through data and research the alarming trends in obesity rates while digging deeply into their causes. Blending the polemical with pragmatic self-help, Obesity showcases steps to becoming healthy through eating high-nutrient foods and changing the way one views what one eats. This is a helpful guide for anyone in need of a health overhaul or those interested in well-researched food studies and how it pertains to weight gain.

Takeaway: A no-holds-barred look into the rising obesity rates and ways to get healthy.

Comparable Titles: Jason Fung’s The Obesity Code, Jonathan Engel’s Fat Nation.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A-
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A

 My take on OBESITY: it’s NOT what YOU THINK it is! 

Weight loss could very well be one of the greatest debates across the world. Everybody wants to be in shape, and everybody wants a quick way to do so, which is why there are so many books, YouTube videos, influencers, and so on, offering people the fix they need. However, this also comes with a cost: the fact that a lot of those guys are just charlatans who want to sell you a product instead of doing what is best for you. 

In that regard, it is understandable if people hold this belief for Richard Fast’s book. At this point of the game, there are tons of books that are focused on weight loss, and many of them aren’t all that, which is why a big part of the audience is already tired of these products. But is worth pointing out that this book has something very special. 

Fast does something that is very unique compared to a lot of books in this area: he analyzes every stage of the process with a lot of care. This is very important because a lot of books only focus on the solution while this author creates a lot of context, which can help a lot of people to understand their current state of affairs. 

On the other hand, I found the writing quite easy to digest. While the author has to explain a lot of different things to the reader, he does it in a way that is easy to digest (pun intended), and that plays a big role in helping people understand what the problem with weight loss usually is. Vocabulary and writing are very important when communicating your ideas, and Fast does a very good job in that regard. 

The solutions are interesting and simple. You can tell that Fast is very knowledgeable on this topic and delivers the information in a way that isn’t overwhelming at all, and that plays a huge role in the way that things are handled. This is a very interesting book because is not developed in the traditional sense, offering multiple insights that conventional weight loss books don’t do. 

This is a major selling point for the project because it flows very well and adds to the experience, which is something worth taking into account. There are several tips and advice that the author states in the book that make it a very worthwhile experience while being easy to understand. 

It is true that there are no perfect books and that weight loss as a concept is not the most complicated thing in the world, but part of this book’s appeal is the fact that it shows the entire journey to the reader. While is true that is up to every single person to make a change in their lives, this book is a very strong companion in that particular experience, and the author definitely knows what he is talking about. 

A very good book and one that, hopefully, gets the attention it deserves because it has a lot to offer to the general public. 

 Obesity … It’s NOT What YOU THINK It Is! 

Richard Fast  – 29 Days Publishing, 123 pages, (paperback) $16, 9780987919397 

(Reviewed: September 2023) 

Food has become both friend and foe, says longtime author and health and wellness coach Richard Fast. Obesity has exploded worldwide, but the usual suspects – lack of physical activity and personal responsibility for dieting – are not the prime reasons for this rise, he writes. Three in four Americans are considered obese, Fast maintains, but food companies still reject the link between consumption of ultra-processed foods and the obesity epidemic. 

Although the author has no medical credentials, intense research cited in the text, plus practical knowledge and first-hand applications, convinced him that worldwide obesity is a result of typical Western-style diets. Writing with a thriller’s “what happens next” flair, Fast pulls in the reader, starting with the first packaged breakfast cereals, which replaced the eggs/bacon/porridge of decades ago. 

Attractively illustrated and clearly expressed, the author builds to an indictment of processed foods and the Big Food industry. The plot thickens with the introduction of cheaper and larger food portions, fast food outlets, high-fructose corn syrup sweeteners and sophisticated marketing – in short, today’s addictive, ultra-processed convenience foods. 

Avoiding a dry recitation of medical studies, Fast makes his point with easy-to-understand research and anecdotes. In one study, a physician subjected himself to a month of processed foods, including pizzas, fried chicken and sugary cereals and gained 15 pounds. When Fast cites the fictional Dr. Faust’s deal with the devil, he connects fiction and reality: “Let’s recognize it for what it is; a carnival of trickery and deceit that generates billions of dollars in profit for Big Food at the expense of our declining health.” 

While Fast makes a convincing argument that changing to unprocessed fare will show an almost immediate health benefit, the reader must look elsewhere for details on how to purchase and prepare these foods. As the author connects processed foods and the food industry to the obesity epidemic, however, he validates the need to change our food consumption to improve overall health. 

Also available as an ebook. 

OBESITY … it’s NOT what YOU THINK it is!

Fast highlights how world obesity is rising due to ultra-processed food consumption and industry strategies fueling this unhealthy eating in this nonfiction work.

The author, an entrepreneur and wellness coach, was in his mid-50s when, “for the first time in my life, I began to understand the challenges of weight loss” and “like the ardent researcher I am, I began investigating weight loss and obesity.”

“We urgently need to wake up from our ‘food’ induced trance,” writes Fast, serving up an effective wake-up call with this well-researched appeal.

While Big Food’s dastardly tactics have, of course, been well covered elsewhere, the author offers an engaging, eye-opening tour through suspicious or misleading propaganda and scientifically valid findings. Best of all, his book provides support and vision regarding the “surprisingly simple way” that Fast himself lost 30 pounds and regained vitality and health.

A compelling argument to question food industry–sponsored studies and focus on eating whole foods.

OBESITY … It’s NOT what YOU THINK it is! 

… by Richard Fast is a groundbreaking exploration of the global obesity epidemic, challenging conventional wisdom and shedding light on the true culprits behind the pervasive health crisis.

Fast discusses the evolution of the modern diet, tracing its trajectory from locally sourced, whole foods to mass-produced, ultra-processed products. He paints a stark picture of the Faustian bargain consumers have struck with Big Food Companies, where convenience comes at the expense of health.

The book meticulously dissects the role of corporate social responsibility within the tobacco and food industries, revealing the insidious tactics employed to promote harmful products while masquerading as benefactors of society.

Fast exposes the cynicism behind initiatives like the Smart Choices Program, which purportedly labels foods as ”healthy” while endorsing products laden with sugar, salt, and fat.

In the second part, Fast unpacks the multifaceted nature of the obesity epidemic, arguing against oversimplification of its causes. He highlights the ubiquitous influence of ultra-processed foods, which have permeated diets worldwide and contributed to skyrocketing obesity rates. Drawing from Brazil’s experience, he underscores the link between increased consumption of ultra-processed products and rising obesity levels, offering insights into the nation’s revolutionary approach to combatting the crisis.

The book discusses the science behind ultra-processed foods, revealing their addictive nature and detrimental effects on health. Fast presents compelling evidence from scientific studies, challenging prevailing notions about weight management and highlighting the critical importance of focusing on overall health rather than just weight loss.

The author offers a comprehensive guide to reversing obesity by prioritizing health. Fast emphasizes the need for a paradigm shift in our relationship with food, advocating for a return to whole, unprocessed foods. Through candid interviews and personal anecdotes, he provides practical strategies for making lasting lifestyle changes and achieving optimal health.

OBESITY … It’s NOT what YOU THINK it is! is a must-read for anyone dealing with weight or health issues. Fast’s compelling narrative and well-researched insights offer a refreshing perspective on the obesity epidemic, empowering readers to take control of their health and well-being.

This book is a wake-up call to reclaim our food choices and prioritize nourishment over convenience, ultimately paving the way for a healthier, happier future.

  • Reviewed By: Franklin Bauer
  • Reviewed Date: April 1, 2024
  • Category: Non-Fiction – Health & Fitness