Book Review: "The Beer Drinkers Diet"

Thursday, May 3, 2007 - 10:13am

By Donna Feldman, MS, RD

In The Beer Drinkers Diet, author Bradley Scott Cailor throws out a challenge to readers in the first sentence: "Why take diet advice from a ‘regular guy'?" As a confirmed beer drinker and yo-yo dieter, he was frustrated by rigid diet plans that left no room for beer. He did not buy into the notion that beer drinking could not be part of a healthy lifestyle. After years of struggling with his weight, he finally achieved a fit and healthy lifestyle that does indeed include beer. Now, he is out to share the good news with other "regular guys."

The Beer Drinker's Struggle

Although women might find the book interesting, men are more likely to relate to the conversational writing style. A section at the end is even devoted to weight lifting routines and techniques more appropriate for men. Certainly the entire first section chronicles a life most men can relate to. Cailor outlines his personal journey from beer-dinking-pizza-eating college student to sedentary overweight married man, with detailed accounts of all the diets and weight gain through the years. His periodic efforts at weight loss had little to do with health. He was motivated by situations and events (i.e., get buff for a trip to the beach, lose weight to look good in wedding photos). As with most people, rapid weight loss inevitably resulted in more weight gain. When Cailor reached the 100 pound mark (that is, when he became 100 pounds heavier than in college), he realized the crash diet approach was not working. He therefore embarked on a healthier lifestyle, beer included.

Sound Advice

That Cailor's diet plan has worked for him is indisputable. The book has many before and after photos, and he certainly looks fit and trim post-lifestyle change. If photos aren't enough motivation, the second section of the book is devoted to equal parts inspiration and diet advice. This book avoids actual menus and recipes, focusing instead on general advice. Cailor emphasizes common dieting tips like small frequent meals, avoidance of excess sugars and junky snacks, more fiber, and plenty of exercise. Routine exercise and physical activity are a big part of his personal weight control plan, and he is adamant about encouraging readers to get moving. He also warns against "miracle" diet pills and quick weight-loss fads.

The Beer in "The Beer Drinkers Diet"

What about the beer? Strangely, beer receives little mention, and there are no specific recommendations on how much beer is permissible. Readers are encouraged to enjoy beer responsibly and in moderation. Cailor professes to enjoy beer on weekends and warns against binge drinking. The book title might seem misleading to readers who expected more specific tips on including beer in a weight loss plan.

Unconventional Points

Some of Cailor's diet recommendations are unusual. He describes the "caveman effect" as the body adapting to lowered caloric intake with lower metabolism. According to Cailor, varying calorie intake day to day will defeat this supposed effect. In fact, there is no evidence for such an effect. However, varying calorie intake day to day can alleviate the boredom that causes some people to give up diets. Another questionable concept is "reverse calories," foods that allegedly use more calories to digest than they contain. He provides a large list of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat proteins, all of which have well-established calorie contents. If the "reverse calorie" concept were true, it would be possible to starve while eating generous amounts from this list of foods-highly unlikely. Finally, he advocates a very high protein intake: 1 gram of protein to 1 pound of body weight per day. In fact, the recommendation is one gram per kilogram of body weight. High protein intake can help subdue appetite and hunger, a welcome effect for dieters. However, excess protein intake is not for people with impaired kidney function.

Living Proof

The Beer Drinkers Diet is the story of a regular guy who took control of his weight and health without giving up beer. His message is this: You can do this, too. Cailor's personable style and motivational message will appeal to other guys who, too, do not want to give up their nice cold beers, but do need to take control of their weight. It can be done. Bradley Cailor is living proof.