The book is framed around a university-sponsored weight loss study, a highly controlled and supported experiment to see which of two diets results in more weight loss. Around this framework, Kolata takes you through the history of the diet and weight loss industry (it's much older than I thought!), and an examination of the available scientific evidence about weight loss.
Kolata's examination of the data brings her to these conclusions:
When I wrote about eating disorders, experts were beginning to see data that supported these ideas. I waited for the news to filter down to the general public - and kept waiting. It never happened. Rethinking Thin explains why.
It's a short book and easy to read. Some of the science was a bit beyond me, but that was a minor part, and didn't affect my overall understanding.
The conclusions of Rethinking Thin are certainly controversial. But before anyone dismisses them as hocus-pocus, I would read this.