Book Review: Health Tips, Tricks, and Myths by Morton E. Tavel

August 7, 2017 Book Reviews, Fall, Spring, Winter Reading 0

I received this book for free from Online Book Club in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Health Tips, Tricks, and Myths by Morton E. TavelHEALTH TIPS, MYTHS, AND TRICKS: A Physician's Advice (Snake Oil Book 2) by Morton E. Tavel
on July 21st 2015
Genres: Non-Fiction
Pages: 241
Source: Online Book Club
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Dr. Tavel is a physician and internist/cardiologist, who has managed patients for many years. Holding a faculty position (clinical professor) at Indiana University School of Medicine, he regularly instructs medical trainees at all levels.
While the general public clamors for good, sound medical advice, they often find that advice from companies that sell products on television, or from individuals who promote treatments stemming from self-serving agendas. Information obtained this way is often faulty, unbalanced, and, sadly, blatantly fraudulent. Surrounded by all this noise, mainstream physicians are seldom heard from; moreover, few are willing to devote the time necessary to expose those ubiquitous misconceptions, and to provide countering advice stemming from sound scientific research.

Making matters even more treacherous are the various branches of “alternative medicine” that feature untested or worthless treatments, placing patients at risk of being exploited, losing their money, and damaging their health. Although such alternative methods are largely employed by non-conventional and unlicensed practitioners, occasional wayward “real” doctors step across these boundaries and promote dubious methods to large audiences on television and other media.

Dr. Tavel now steps across those boundaries in his latest hard-hitting work of medically sound advice and insights:

1.TIPS about health and wellness that can be incorporated into one’s daily life that, hopefully, will create a healthier and longer physical outlook, less waste of money, and maybe even lower body weight (if you are one of those many with excess fat storage).

2. The second section concerns the subject of MYTHS, that is, common misconceptions about almost anything regarding our physical makeup and how we relate to the world around us.

3. The final section, TRICKS, is devoted to various stratagems that are designed to take your money in exchange for useless—or dangerous—Snake Oil products or information.

Despite the division into three sections, there is in fact much overlap, because if one believes many of the myths, this may cause one to forego measures (tips) that may have afforded better health. On the other hand, mythical beliefs may cause us to fall easy prey to those dreaded scams, and the Snake Oil that we all desire to avoid.

Dr. Tavel has drawn from an eclectic collection of material that includes his personal biomedical background, scientific publications, media reports deemed accurate, and many other trustworthy sources from the most reliable, and scientifically documented information.


After that long synopsis you may not even need a review! But this one was interesting in a variety of ways. There were parts I enjoyed and parts, sadly quite a few, that I did not.

I love reading books like these because there is a lot of information out there and it is getting very difficult to wade through it all. Science can be difficult to understand but by taking one myth at a time Morton E. Tavel is able to look at the science behind many myths and weigh in on the matter. Many of these myths I have been curious about but have not read scientific articles to either back up or deny, so I was already quite curious with what he found.

First of all, this is a very short book. Coming in at under 250 pages you would think it would be a breeze to get through, but it took me a full month. Partially because I wanted to fully digest the information contained within, think it over, find other articles, and then continue, instead of just breezing through without remembering any information. Still, there is a lot of information here and even with slowing my reading progress down a great deal, I still cannot remember all the tips and tricks!

The few that did stick with me are those that I have been curious about for a long time. Things such as coffee not being bad for you but what is bad for your body is the amount of sugar and milk that we add. He specifically mentions a Venti White Chocolate Mocha like he’s taking a dagger and stabbing me in the heart! I only get this drink about once every two months or so, and as a very wonderfully sweet treat, but he wants his readers to know just how much sugar we are ingesting on a daily basis. It’s not good!

There were other very interesting studies such as organic foods versus genetically modified foods. I am on the fence about this because once again I have not done enough studying to come up with a valid answer (for myself), however I did not think with everything he said enough about genetically modified foods to change anyone’s mind if they are already firmly set.

With many of the tips, myths, and tricks the author adds in many details about why the thing is good or bad, but some of the tips do not have that type of information. Being a lover of science, even if I do not fully understand everything about it, I would want more data on why these tips are good or bad. And the scholarly scientific reasons and evidence behind why or why not.

The main case was aspartame. There is another case that I know was false, vaccinations. I saw the study and how it was done to be biased against vaccinations and I was able to find this information through scholarly evidence. Aspartame is one where he mentioned that the studies against aspartame were false, however unlike many of his other myths I feel like there is not enough information derived from the positive studies to make me change my mind and start eating anything with aspartame.

There was also an almost pretentious sound about how the information was given. Yes, I’m here to learn but the minute anyone starts speaking down to me, they’re going to lose me. The author mentions how anyone can get a doctorate and not to trust every person out there but here he is trying to spread his very own ideas, sometimes without evidence. It seemed hypocritical at best. In one instance he is even patting himself on the back for being a doctor and knowing all this information that the little people do not know. No, those were not his exact words but that was the feeling that I derived from the book. The reason I stuck with it is because I’m a curious person. I wanted to find more information about questions I have had about certain studies.

In short: it was a good book chock full of information but could have used more evidence to back up his ideas.

Rating Report
Writing Style
3 / 5
Personal enjoyment
3.5 / 5
3 / 5
Overall: 3.2 / 5













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