Dr. Paula Baillie-Hamilton is a British medical doctor who also has a doctorate in human metabolism from the University of Oxford. As a Visiting Fellow in Occupational and Environmental Health at Stirling University and an adviser to the Soil Association in England, she is an acknowledged expert on the information covered by this book.
Dr Baillie-Hamilton's research has revealed that our bodies' natural weight-regulation system can be severely damaged by toxic chemicals we encounter in our everyday lives in our food, water, air, cosmetics, household products and the packaging of consumer items. These toxins interfere with our metabolic and appetite-regulating systems and make us fat by causing us to store more fat than we would if our bodies weren't invaded by toxins.
Since fat is the major place where toxins are stored in our bodies, the doctor offers an eating plan that will take off weight slowly through mild calorie reduction to avoid flooding the bloodstream with poisons that were stored in fat, which can sometimes lead to "detoxifying" symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea and headaches. In addition, the doctor's eating plan consists of three main factors: (1) Try to eat only organic foods, but if you can't, use the food lists the doctor provides which rate foods by how compromised by pesticides they are and/or prepare your food in a way that removes as many toxic chemicals as possible; (2) drink filtered water; (3) avoid using toxic chemicals in your home (e.g., pesticides, chemical cleaning products, strong perfumes and dyes, smoking), and air out your house to avoid toxic air buildup.
One of my favorite parts of the book is an extremely well-done section on common environmental toxins and how they get into our food supply, including: (1) the class of chemicals called organophosphates were initially developed for biochemical warfare and are now used as one of the most common pesticides on fruit and vegetables as well as routinely fed to livestock to fatten them up; (2) carbamates are used as fungicides and pesticides on fruits and vegetables and are also used to fatten up livestock; (3) anti-thyroid drugs are banned in England (she makes no mention of banning in the US) for direct use in livestock to suppress the function of the thyroid so they will get fatter, but similar compounds are still commonly used in the UK and US as pesticides on fruits and vegetables--which people and livestock eat; (4) steroids fatten up livestock by causing water retention and creating a ravenous appetite for carbohydrates--recently banned in Europe, they are still widely used in the US; (5) antibiotics aren't merely given to livestock to wipe out disease, they are also purposely routinely given in minute dosages in order to destroy weight-control hormones and greatly lower metabolism, both of which cause livestock to store excessive fat; (6) organochlorines are extremely toxic pesticides whose most deadly forms (DDT, lindane, PCBs) have been banned in Europe and the US, but they are still almost universally present in animals and humans in North America and Europe for two main reasons: they have not been banned in many countries from which produce is imported into the US and Europe, and animal and human bodies find it almost impossible to throw them off, causing them to persist in fat tissue for decades.
This book is clearly written, flows logically from topic to topic, and provides a detailed table of contents, an index, an appendix of toxic chemicals, a glossary, a comprehensive list of references, and a list of referral websites, including the author's. I especially applaud this book's "hook," that being environmentally poisoned can make you fat. Hopefully this approach will catch the attention of a large number of the millions of dieters in this country who currently are only wanting to lose weight for vanity's sake, rather than for health reasons. Fortunately for them, if they follow this book's recommendations, they can kill two birds with one stone, satisfy their mirror and stave off future health problems, too.
For those people who aren't just overweight but have health problems as well, particularly an inflammation-based disorder (a tip-off you have this is that your doctor is prescribing anti-inflammatory medication), I highly recommend reading in addition to this book the following: The Inflammation Cure : How to Combat the Hidden Factor Behind Heart Disease, Arthritis, Asthma, Diabetes, & Other Diseases, by William Joel Meggs, et al., and The Inflammation Syndrome, by Jack Challem. They cover a vital issue regarding environmental toxins which Dr. Baillie-Hamilton does not: toxins in food, water, air, etc. not only make you fat, they also create an inflammatory process in the body which can lead to many serious diseases. In addition, obesity itself can become an inflammatory condition--very likely because bodily fat, as Dr. Baillie-Hamilton points out, it is a storehouse for toxic chemicals.
Finally, there is one toxic chemical found in our air, water and food (it is yet another fattening agent given to livestock) which neither Baillie-Hamilton, Meggs nor Challem directly discuss: the estrogen-like compounds called xenoestrogens. These toxins also store in body fat and wreak havoc on both female and male endocrine systems--they are linked in females to onset of puberty as early as age nine and breast cancer later in life, shrinking sexual organs and loss of potency in males, and sterility in both sexes. Fortunately, the recommendations of this book will also defend you from xenoestrogens, but if you want further information, and even more protection, I highly recommend any of the several books by Dr. John Lee who has written extensively about using natural progesterone to counteract the damage of xenoestrogens to the body. His books are directed at women, but mention is made in them that men can use natural progesterone, too, to combat xenoestrogens. Dr. Lee's work will also make clear why some women find that when they lose weight they experience distressingly heavy menstrual flow--this can sometimes result due to a too-rapid release into the bloodstream of xenoestrogens previously stored in fat.