Marilyn Shieh is a physician with a private practice in California. Her daughter, Michelle Shieh, has a bachelor degree in biology. The younger Shieh struggled with childhood obesity, whose treatment is a passion for both women. Though not geared toward childhood weight problems, Getting Healthy With The DeVIP System offers an abundance of quality general information and the occasional mention of the special issues faced by overweight children. That said, one could find dozens, if not hundreds, of diet-related books that do a better job of educating, motivating, and entertaining those who want or need to lose weight. Beyond childhood weight issues, the Shiehs endeavored to cover every base, which did not work, as the book simply has too much redundant, elementary, and questionable content.
In twenty-six chapters, Getting Healthy With The DeVIP System covers an extremely wide swath of hard and soft scientific research on nutrition, biology, dieting, psychology, and more. “Are You Really Fat?,” for example, is filled with ideal body weight and BMI charts and other methods of determining when excessive body weight becomes a health issue. “The Food Groups” and “Vitamins” offer easy-to-read, in-depth explorations of mostly conventional knowledge, though again containing far more information than the average reader wants or needs. “What Are Serving Sizes?” and “I Hate Counting Calories! Guess What? Me Too!” are chapters that provide simplistic, but potentially useful insights into two important and often overlooked aspects of dieting.
One has to wait until page 240 to learn about “The DeVIP System.” Surprisingly, beyond a photo on the front cover featuring an odd assortment of different types of vinegar and a few random pills and capsules, the Shiehs stick to mainstream diet and exercise advice until they finally explain what DeVIP means: “sugar Detoxification, use of Vinegar, high Protein diet, and Physical activity.”
Unfortunately, the system is more of a dud than a bombshell. The Shiehs have developed a protocol that uses standard dieting advice (with the addition of small doses of daily vinegar) as a means of turning belly fat from hard to spongy and accelerating weight loss, albeit quite slowly and inconsistently. To show the efficacy of vinegar as a weight-loss tool, the Sheihs use unsubstantiated small studies, anecdotal stories pulled off the Internet, and several testimonials and case studies from the elder Shieh’s medical practice. In fact, there is literally no solid, scientifically validated research cited for DeVIP, and the value of the protocol seems random and faddish.
Getting Healthy With The DeVIP System does provide many useful charts and lists of serving sizes, meal plans, calorie counts, motivational content, and much more that one could use to help with dieting. To their credit, the Shiehs are passionate about their subject and write from the heart.