I love books. For real. And I even like writing book reports, so when I found out that I could obtain continuing education units for my nutritional therapy certification by writing book reports, I was all in!
The book that I reviewed was Dr. Kellyann's Bone Broth Diet by Kellyann Petrucci, MD, ND. I chose this book for several reasons. First, many of my clients want to know how to lose weight, and some of them are ready to take drastic measures to drop some pounds. Second, it's cold here in the mid-Atlantic, and a cup of hot bone broth sounds really good on a rainy 30 degree day. Third, I've heard Dr. Kellyann on a number of podcasts, and she seems very relate-able plus she looks AMAZING, so she must be doing something right :)
Diets promising the loss of major pounds in a minor amount of time usually set off the warning bells and alarms in my head...if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Those diets often have negative effects on metabolism, physiology, and mood. This diet is a bit different...if you put a crash diet in a blender with intermittent fasting, bone broth, and sound, whole-foods nutrition advice, the result would be this book. Bone broth can aid in digestion, and given that 95% of serotonin (a neurotransmitter closely tied to anxiety and depression) is produced in the gut, healing the gut can improve anxiety and depression...not a bad side effect! In addition, properly prepared bone broth provides a readily absorbable source of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Adequate mineral levels (especially magnesium) are associated with lower depression (Yary, 2016). So, whether you choose to use bone broth as a diet tool or not, bone broth can be a healthy way to warm you up and improve your mood. My go-to quick and easy crockpot broth recipe is from 100daysofreal food: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2012/01/24/recipe-overnight-chicken-stock-in-the-crock-pot/
And now, here is the "official" book report.
Yary, T., Lehto, S.M., Yolmunen, T., Yuomainen, T., Kauhanen, J., Voutilainen, S., & Ruusunen, A.. (2016). Dietary magnesium intake and the incidence of depression: A 20-year follow-up study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 193, 94-98.
Dr. Kellyann’s Bone Broth Diet is marketed as a diet book with the express purpose of helping its readers lose weight (up to 15 pounds in 21 days); however, this book is more than just a diet. The book provides information on the benefits of whole-foods nutrition and lifestyle modifications to reduce stress. Dr. Kellyann Petrucci begins the book with a brief outline of the benefits of nutrient dense, properly-prepared bone broth and advocates for two days of “mini-fasting” which has the benefits of hormone optimization, gut-healing, and inflammation reduction. The Bone Broth Diet is three weeks of healthy eating using foods and recipes included in the book. Per the diet’s prescription, two days of each week are mini-fasts consisting of only bone broth or bone broth and a 7:00pm snack. Between the mini-fast days, the reader will consume a healthy diet devoid of common inflammatory foods (e.g., gluten, soy, dairy, etc.).
Essentially, the mini-fasts described in this book are a form of intermittent fasting which has both benefits and drawbacks. The book warns of the “carb flu” when beginning the diet, which is comparable to a Herxheimer Reaction to a new health protocol, consisting of headaches, irritability, and fatigue. The author details common negative reactions and thoughts that might occur through each day of the three-week diet. Testimonials and pictures of clients who have completed the diet and short articles from relevant health professionals (e.g., Dr. Mary Hyman, Dr. Alan Christianson) supporting the science behind the diet protocol are interspersed among the educational materials. Dr. Petrucci provides a mix of science and practical tips for getting through the 21-day diet and continuing beyond that. Approximately half of the real estate in the book is dedicated to food preparation guidelines and recipes. The last portion of the book addresses stress management and lifestyle changes (to include exercise).
This book will likely appeal to the consumer looking for a rather quick method of losing weight. Dr. Petrucci provides the science to support her methods, and the before and after pictures from real-life, relatable clients likely entice the reader to try and stick with the diet. Although bone broth is likely a great option for most, if not all, it is important to consider that fasting might not be appropriate for some people to include those with adrenal and/or blood sugar regulation issues. In addition, before undertaking a fast, the reader should consider current medications to determine how, if at all, the medications might affect the body differently in the absence of food.
Although the purpose of including articles from health professionals and client stories was likely to keep the reader interested in the book and in the program, I felt that the articles and client testimonials made the book feel choppy and, at times, difficult to follow. If the book had been organized to include the science, followed by testimonials, followed by the plan and recipes, it would have been easier to follow and easier to locate answers to specific questions.
Overall, this book provides a science-backed method for losing weight that incorporates nutrient-dense whole foods coupled with intermittent fasting. The book addresses how to resume a healthy diet following the 21 days, but like other “diets,” if the reader resumes a standard American diet following the 21 days, the benefits of the diet will quickly evaporate. This book would likely be most useful for clients who are determined to lose weight quickly, who do not have blood sugar and adrenal issues that could be exacerbated by intermittent fasting, and who are dedicated to taking time to properly prepare foods both on the diet and beyond the 21-day diet as a long-term lifestyle.