Fad Diets Fail. So Just Eat Less.

Guess what! Fad diets don’t cut it. A new study in yesterday’s New England Journal of Medicine showed gimmick diets, such as high-protein, low-carb and low-fat, aren’t as good as simply cutting calories. The participants, 811 overweight adults, were randomly assigned a diet and each person was encouraged to cut calories, exercise 90 minutes a week, keep a food diary and meet with a nutrition counselor. At the end of the study, no diet came out ahead, people lost an average of 13 pounds over six months, but all groups gained back their weight after a year; the Associated Press reports.

Quick, let’s break it down. Low-carb is bad, too much cancer and heart disease-promoting saturated fat. Plus, a recent study showed low-carb diets make you dopey. High-protein is equally stupid. According to Dr. Fuhrman these fat or meat-centered diets are unquestionably associated with obesity, not weight-loss. And the low-fat diet, as most Americans know it, is what made us all fat in the first place.

Here’s a better choice—coincidently, it jives with the new study—Dr. Fuhrman’s nutrient-dense diet, i.e. lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans, makes it easy to maintain a healthy bodyweight, specifically green veggies. Green vegetables are packed with fiber and low in calories, meaning you can eat lots of them, fill your stomach quickly and still lose weight. How’s that for a sale pitch!

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Human Torch Turned Green, Gives Up Veggies...

I don’t like the Fantastic Four. They’re too wimpy for me. I’m a Batman guy. So it didn’t surprise me when the Human Torch, aka Chris Evans, star of the new movie Push, quit being veggie after his friends said he was turning green. Evans, who’s normally very pale, said he went vegetarian because a girlfriend convinced him it was the way to go, but soon after they broke up, plus the razzing of friends, he went back to burgers; via Ecorazzi.

Sparky also complained he was getting too skinny. But he was probably eating a lot of junk. Just not eating meat, doesn’t make your diet is healthy. Vegetarian junk foods, like processed soy meats and sweets, aren’t good. As for the color change, if you eat a lot of veggies you may get a little yellow, due to beta-carotene, but green? I think not.

Now, Batman star Christian Bale might be hot-tempered and a tiny bit crazy, but the dude’s ripped, not green and vegetarian. So man up flame boy!

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Nutrition Labeling, Better than Portion Sizes...

In 2007, a study showed people eat until they’re full and portioning food does not affect calorie intake. And now, new research in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association claims consumers associate portion sizes with daily nutrient requirements and not the appropriate amount of food to eat. Among the participants, 33 normal weight people given a randomized meal ranging in size, the portion of food had no impact on fullness or how much total food participants ate. Leading researchers to believe better nutrient labeling would be more helpful to consumers than portion sizes; via FoodNavigator.

Don’t worry about portions. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with nutrients, but they’re also packed with fiber! And high-fiber foods, like spinach and beans, are low in calories, eating them fills you up quickly, meaning you can eat a lot and still lose weight.

Sure beats plates and Tupperware that tell you how much to eat! Yes, very stupid.

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Study Compares Veggie Diets vs. Low-Carb --UPDATE--

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Steven Acocella, MS, DC, DACBN and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of DiseaseProof or Dr. Fuhrman.

At the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Maryland and published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association researchers evaluated the short to medium term weight loss results of popular diets. Popular diets: correlation to health, nutrition, and obesity grouped the most popular diets into categories based upon the prescribed ratios of energy for each macronutrient. If you remember from Nutrition 101, caloric energy comes from only 3 sources, fat, carbohydrate and protein. For example, diets such as The South Beach Diet and The Atkins Diet derive 50% or more calories from fat while Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat to Live derives the majority of energy from natural, unrefined carbohydrate.

The study looked at food intake over a 2 year period and included several hundred participants who followed the various diet styles compliantly. They then analyzed the relationship between a reduction of Body Mass Index (BMI), the diet style and the Healthy Eating Index (HEI).

The Healthy Eating Index scores were highest for the vegetarian or near vegetarian diet style and lowest for the low carbohydrate, high fat diets. Conversely, energy intake was highest for the Low Carbohydrate group, often exceeding the average accepted recommendations of 2000 Kcal/day or men and 1500 Kcal/day for women. This is strange considering these were weight loss eating plans that were followed intently.

The weight loss results were no surprise. The healthiest body mass was seen in the vegetarian group. A direct, proportional relationship was seen with a rise in the percentage of calories derived from fat and BMI. As the percentage of fat calories increased so did those subject’s BMI. Total calories were also directly related to the percentage of dietary fat with the average daily energy intake for the vegetarian or nearly vegetarian group consuming 1450 Kcal/day and the high fat diet group consuming 2200 Kcal/day. Researchers noted the relationship between the Healthy Eating Index verses calorie and fat percentages were inversely related.

Putting all this together, this important study using an excellent group of subjects has made the following observations: diets low in fat have the highest Healthy Eating Index scores and are generally the lowest in total calories. Those subjects on these diets enjoyed the most favorable BMI measurements and other biomarkers of health. Conversely, the high fat, low carbohydrate diet styles have the lowest Healthy Eating Index scores and those that consumed this diet style had poor BMI measurements and other indicators of health.

It is worth mentioning that the authors of this study discuss a review of the literature suggests that weight loss is independent of dietary composition and is solely a result of total calories consumed. They suggest that their findings, although supportive of this confers that successful, healthy weight loss over time is a function of quality as well as quantity.

UPDATE: Dr. Fuhrman had some thoughts on Steven’s post:

My health equation, Health = Nutrition / Calories is almost entirely ignored by the scientific community. If the micronutrient density index of a particular diet was published along with the other characteristics researchers would place less emphasis on the relative macronutrient composition and more on the micronutrient composition. Nevertheless, the long-term health potential of a given diet is based so much more on its micronutrient profile rather than its macronutrient profile.

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Low-Carb Diets Make You Dopey

Despite the fads, “carbs” are not the enemy of health. Unrefined carbohydrates, like those in beans and fruit, are essential. According to Dr. Fuhrman, our brains are designed to run on carbohydrates. That’ll explain why new research in Appetite reveals eliminating carbohydrates, which are broken down into brain-fueling glucose, makes people more forgetful. Low-carb dieters actually preformed worse on memory-based tasks than participants on a reduced-calorie balanced diet; WebMD reports.

Eat for Health: Fighting Cardiovascular Disease

This is an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health.

The dietary recommendations contained in this book and the elements that make a diet cardio protective have been tested in multiple studies. The evidence here is overwhelming. Let’s first look at the LDL cholesterol lowering effects of various dietary plans, as documented in published medical journal articles.

Eat for Health puts together many different qualities that make a diet cardio-protective and cholesterol-reducing. It’s not just a low-fat or vegetarian way of eating that makes a diet ideal. This eating-style has such dramatic benefits because it is very high in mixed fibers and vegetables and has sterols and other compounds from beans and nuts. This is the only dietary intervention shown to lower cholesterol as effectively as cholesterol-lowering medications. Though the low-fat vegetarian diet did lower LDL cholesterol 16 percent, triglycerides were actually 18.7 percent higher and the LDL/HDL ratio remained unchanged. The results of the study that patterned the recommendations of Eat for Health differed in that the LDL cholesterol was more significantly lowered without unfavorable impact on HDL or triglycerides, reflecting sizable improvement in cardiac risk factors. I have hundreds of patients in my medical practice who have witnessed dramatic reductions in their blood lipids, especially LDL cholesterol, without drugs.

Keep in mind that cholesterol lowering does not adequately explain the protective effect of Eat for Health in cardiovascular disease since the diet has powerful anti-inflammatory and other beneficial biochemical effects. Even though drugs may lower cholesterol, they cannot be expected to offer the dramatic protection against cardiovascular events that nutritional excellence can. The aggressive use of cholesterol-lowering drugs does not prevent most heart attacks and strokes and does not decrease the risk of fatal strokes.7 That is, in clinical trials a significant percentage of patients on the best possible statin therapy still experience events; however, lowering cholesterol with nutritional excellence can be expected to offer dramatically more protection and disease reversal compared to drug therapy, without the risk or expense of prescription medication.
 

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Dairy Council Says Dairy Burns Fat...

Apparently, the news that milk does NOT work for weight-loss really peeved the National Dairy Council. Because they’ve just unleashed a new study, that they funded, claiming dairy foods boost fat-burning.

The “research” appears in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism. Reuters reports:

The study didn't find that eating the recommended three servings of dairy food each day made any difference in helping people keep off the weight that they had lost, but it did show that they were able to consume more calories without gaining weight compared with people who consumed less than one dairy serving daily.

Wow! Eat MORE dairy and you’ll be okay. Clever ploy National Dairy Council, if that is your REAL name! That’d be like Atkins publishing a study saying their dangerous diet is healthy. Oh wait, that happened.

So I guess we’re supposed to ignore the fact that dairy promotes Crohn’s disease and cancer, burdens the environment and harbors deadly bacteria!

No, Caffeine Isn't Healthy

Yesterday I found this article on WebMD. It debunks "diet myths" like eating at night makes you fat and drinking water helps you lose weight. For kicks, I passed it along to Dr. Fuhrman.

Now, their claim about caffeine NOT being unhealthy, really set him off. Here's what he said:

They ignored the downside and gave a one-sided view. Caffeine is a mild drug, addictive and like other drugs, can have both risks and benefits. In higher dosages the risks, such as irregular heart beat is potentially dangerous.

But because some people with the potential to abuse caffeine, like young people, are sensitive to rationalizations that promote caffeine and justify their addiction. This advice could be potentially dangerous and even fatal due to life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia.

Dr. Fuhrman is right. Especially about young people! All those super-caffeinated energy drinks are aimed POINTBLANK at kids, prompting many states to crackdown on energy drinks.

And yet, some company still thinks it’s a good idea to put caffeine in soap! Nope, its not a joke. 

The 6-Word Diet: An End to Complexity

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Jim Foster of Diet-Blog and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of DiseaseProof or Dr. Fuhrman.

Do you ever feel baffled, overwhelmed, and fatigued by all the diet advice that’s out there? Over the last few decades we’ve seen books that cover a bewildering array of nutritional combinations. Some become instant bestsellers – while others are thrown in the bargain bin before you can say “revolutionary new plan“.

It becomes mind-numbingly banal after a while – and in my view most people simply want to get on with life - enjoying their food and experiencing good health. Following rigid plans can feel empowering for a while – but in an ever-increasingly hectic life – simplicity begins to look very attractive.

Today’s information highway is strewn with 30-point plans for achieving better bodies. We have more assistance and guidance at our fingertips than ever before. How much of that knowledge we actually retain is up for debate.

Let’s distill all the complexity down into one easy sentence. It won’t lose you “4 pounds in 7 days”. It won’t “melt fat”, and it is no “revolutionary secret”.

Here we go, 6 words: Eat more fruit and fibrous vegetables.

Don’t stress, don’t strain. Don’t count, don’t obsess. Focus on which fruits and veggies you enjoy. Buy (or grow) them. Eat them.

Life is too short to spend it on angst and worry.

You may be surprised at the number of positive follow-on affects from simply focusing on fruit and vegetables. It’s more helpful to focus on foods you can add rather than stressing about what you have to avoid. If you’re stomach has filled up on broccoli – you’re unlikely to binge on a tub of ice cream.

Keep it simple. Keep it positive.

Dairy, Wrong for Weight-Loss

Last year, the dairy industry DUMPED a harebrained campaign promoting milk for weight-loss. Because NO science supported it! Experts assert it’s counter-intuitive to associate fat and calorie-laden foods, like milk and other dairy foods, with weight-loss.

And now, new research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows dairy supplementation FAILED to alter fat metabolism and energy expenditure in overweight individuals; via the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Milk and dairy are NOT your friends. Dairy products cause disease. Previous reports link cow’s milk with diabetes and Crohn’s disease and both milk and meat INCREASE prostate cancer-risk. Not mention, milk-production STRAINS the environment!