The HD Diet by Karen Gilbert

The HD Diet (hydrophilic diet) is simple: eat foods that absorb water and have high fiber, expand in your stomach (e.g., oatmeal, chia seeds), and thereby fill you up and create satiety. At the same time, avoid IF foods (infrequent foods) that inhibit your ability to lose weight when eaten too frequently (e.g., desserts, fried foods, alcohol, refined carbs, cheeses, etc.). The book mostly concentrates on weight loss rather than lifestyle and has a specific meal plan with recipes as well as motivational aids to help readers achieve goals.


The book breaks down as follows: Part 1: Your Decision (Hydrate and satiate: The HD philosophy; Deciding to live in HD; Daily HD decisions – uncovering your current habits; Put it in writing – your HD work). Part 2: The 12 week HD Plan (Eating in HD – the HD plan guidelines and core foods; start strong in HD – daily checklists and menus; Still focused and adding IFs). Living in HD (Healthy HD alterations; Curing excusitis; Meal prep in HD; The HD recipes). Appendices (My HD contract; HD food log; Weekly goal tracker; Navigating the supermarket).

The diet is focused on the cleansing effects of water/fiber in the system as well as creating a sense of fullness and satisfaction through the bulk of ‘water loving’ foods. Chia seeds really do seem to be the heart and are probably the single most important component in the diet. You’ll be eating them daily in the meal plan and all throughout the recipes. The other water-friendly foods include okra, oatmeal, pears, barley, brussels sprouts, kidney beans, chickpeas, oranges, and agar. If a reader dislikes one or several of these foods (called a ‘block food’), the author suggess people learn to like them if they want to lose the weight. There is an implied “illogically stubborn dislike” as the core reason for not liking that particular food. It’s a strong stance not found in most diet plans.

The psychological aspect is well covered here, with a contract for weight loss, food log charts, weekly goal tracker, examples from the author’s clients who have lost weight, and examinations of different dieter types (e.g., the busy mama, on the go gobbler, the social person).

The meals are simple but likeable; made for those who don’t want to spend a lot of prep time and are quick/easy to make. Since the diet is more about adding water-friendly foods rather than eliminating food types, the recipes are accessible and fairly normal – an egg or oatmeal for breakfast, for example. So it isn’t too onerous unless you don’t wish to sprinkle chia seeds into everything.

A detractor for me is that it did feel gimmicky with a lot of made up terms (‘hydrophilic diet’ or ‘excusitis,’ ‘water friendly’). And then taking the acronym HD and turning it into “Healthy Diet” or “High Definition” felt like marketers were reaching a bit. It almost steered what is a deceptively simple and easy diet with a unique concept into fad territory.

The HD Diet definitely has a unique angle I haven’t seen before and I am looking forward to trying it out for the 12 week period. I may not love pears and haven’t figured out a use for agar, but I can definitely start sprinkling chia seeds and watching my portions better.

Reviewed from an ecopy provided by the publisher.

This entry was posted in ARC, Book Reviews, fitness/diet, non fiction and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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