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Sunday, 18 December 2011

Comments

Mike, for what it's worth, I have read article summaries (one step removed from the primary literature) stating that humans (and rats, mice, etc) seek a diet that has at least 15 or 16% protien. Less than that, and people eat lots of carbs until they make up the deficit through incidental amounts of relevant amino acids in their carb loaded food.

Congrats on getting your diet working for you. I will take your experience to heart.

Hey Mike glad that it works for you. Our bodies adapt relatively fast so at one moment you will stop seeing any progress and than you’ll have to change something in your eating habit again. You have to let your body guessing. Something like with cameras, you wouldn’t but you have to upgrade.

Kili (125kg to 90kg in 24 months)

This diet sounds very similar to The Four Hour Body diet. Interesting book and effective diet.

Good for you! My diet goal over the past 18 months is to cut down on processed foods as much as possible. I would say we're 90% successful, the only regression being an occasional bowl of boxed cereal (plain Cheerios). Combined with a concerted effort to walk at least a few miles every day, I'm happy to report that I'm back to my high school weight. Hopefully it will stay that way.

DIET stands for Did I Eat That!

I think a lot of diets start with what is essentially a political view that the diet's creator then attempts to justify on nutritional grounds. I may be wrong.

I am on a diet which is essentially vegetarian, although I am not a philosophical vegetarian. I have heart problems, though they are quite mild, so far. After I developed them (essentially arteriosclerosis) I went looking around to see if there was a way I could reduce the problem, other than by taking pills (which I nevertheless take.) I found what's called the "reversal" diet, the one Bill Clinton's on, which attempts to minimize fat intake. I eat almost no fat, I eat no meat, I eat a lot of fruits, vegetables and cereals and beans and fat-free yogurt, etc. In doing this, I've dropped 20 pounds, and my *total* cholesterol has dropped to ~128.

The thing is, I don't think it's a particularly healthy diet. I think a real healthy diet should include some animal fats and protein, and a balance of other foods. But, my diet isn't specifically a weight-loss diet -- it's a heart-repair diet. I may be taking losses in other areas, in order to crank my cholesterol down.

But I certainly do think that eating the high-fat, high protein diet is mostly bad for your health. The thing about a real "paleo" diet is that they didn't eat much meat, either, as shown by contemporary "paleo" peoples. The only reason for a paleo diet is that some of them, like the Miami diet, have shown that over a short time you can lose weight. If your health problem is weight (but not heart) it may be a way to get the pounds off. If you heart is also a problem, as it is with many heavy people, then eating a high-fat diet may exacerbate the problem.

As for frankenwheats. I hate the kind of thinking represented by that word. After it runs through your gut, starch all gets absorbed as simple sugars. It doesn't make any difference whether it's frankenwheat or einkorn, it goes into your bloodstream as sugar. But condemning out of hand things like "frankenwheat" is to condemn a food-growing process that has saved literally billions of lives around the world.

Dear Mike, while I'm very happy for you and wish I had the same success with my dieting, please note that eggs are hardly dairy. You know, what with cows being the quintessential mammals and chickens being more or less reptiles with insulating scales.

(Can you tell I find birds disgusting? Probably.)

About a year ago my wife began a similar diet to counteract some nasty medication side effects. I went on the no wheat/sugar/dairy diet to support her. We've both lost a lot of excess weight and have not felt this good for years.

Just sayin

welcome, sir, to the discovery of what it takes to eat in the way we were designed to eat :) Excellent. I'm so glad for you. It only gets better! It becomes effortless to maintain what you're doing.

Sounds similar to the green faces diet. If it's green or ever had a face, you can eat it.

Hi, the sort of diet you are following is a dangerous one. Avoiding sugar is very good indeed. But avoiding grains and eating a lot of fat is asking for trouble. Your fatty acids levels in blood can go up, even if the tests would show lower cholesterol levels. It can play havoc with your blood vessels. In other words it can kill you. That is the last thing we want.
It is a sort of paradox. The cholesterol levels come down but levels of heart disease go up. All because the levels of free fatty acids go up. Plenty of whole grains, nuts, legumes, fruits and fresh vegetables with a small quantity of fish (at least three times a week) is the right diet for healthy living. Reducing the levels of fat and refined sugars is the key to healthy diet. Please check up on Ornish diet. It is the way to go (with bit a of modification).
Ranjit Grover.
India.

It looks from your writing above that you consider eggs to be dairy...?

"No fruit?"

Kevin,
Very sparingly--too much sugar.

Mike

Rangit,
Note that I said fat is "uncontrolled," not that I'm eating a lot of it. I'm actually not eating much fat. The meats I eat tend to be lean, and I tend to eat small portions, and the "eggs" I generally prefer are a fat-free egg substitute called "Egg Beaters."

John,
As far as any foods being the same "after it runs through your gut," I've rejected that whole class of conclusions on empirical grounds. It seems to me that nutrition science is in a sort of early, dark-ages phase. Science just doesn't know much about nutrition. Comma, in my opinion!

I'm simply performing a series of modest experiments, using myself as the subject. I'm trying different things to see if they make a difference for me. I'm not endorsing any claims or making any claims--I'm not even asserting that I'm going to stay on the diet I'm on now for any length of time. I just intend to try it for a while and see how it works. If it makes me less healthy, I'll figure that out sooner or later. If it makes me feel better, I hope I'll be able to figure that out too.

Mike

Mike: no matter what you do with your diet, but "uncontrolled fat" is a very bad idea. Trust me,

And there is NOTHING wrong with fruits: the have sugars, yeah, but natural sugars. AND there is nothing wrong with natural sugars either.

We humans are making this story (feeding) very complicated, when it is painfully simple to make a good simple diet: a little bit of everything, and some sport on a regular basis.

But miracle diets do never work. Never. And internet myths ("no sugar", "no fat") are simply that: myths. In the natural diet of monkey, they have always eaten all kinds of food, including sugars, proteins, and fat. All of them are necessary for a balanced diet. And there exist no miracle absences making your diet perfect.

Thanks, Cateto/Jose, but there is one thing I've learned about all this if I've learned anything: everyone has their opinion. Especially, people who have learned about nutrition and diets and cooking and eating have their opinions. And for EVERYTHING anyone says or claims, you can find people all along the spectrum of belief on that issue, from wholehearted agreement to violent opposition (including indifference in the middle). As I said above, I'm just in the process of trying various experiments on myself. I'm not hurting anyone else, not making any claims, not recommending any procedures or practices to others. Just seeing what various diet modifications do to me, over shorter or longer periods. So far I've learned a few things. Doubtless, I have a lot more to learn. What I've described is just what I'm trying now. I'm under a doctor's care. I'll keep you posted.

Mike

Three meals a day, within specific timeframes.

I've noticed that's exactly what makes me put on weight. Plus, I don't consider cakes to be an addition to a meal — they can be a standalone meal.

Interesting article. One thing we should all realise as we enter middle age (I'm 51) is that we need to start taking our health seriously. Getting the diet sorted is an important part of that. I avoid processed food as much as possible and also all animal products. I eat a lot of vegetables, fruit, rice and nuts. My main meal is a stir fry - lightly cooked vegetables and rice.

Mike,

do NOT be dissuaded by the "naysayers." They know not whereof they speak. Davis' book is about as well researched as any I've read, save perhaps for Taubes' "Good Calories, Bad Calories"

Hi Mike,
Keep an eye on two things:
1) types of fat you eat - you should try to use ideally only 3 types of fat in cooking/seasoning, namely extra virgn olive oil, organic butter and virgin coconut oil. The Virgin coconut oil in particular has lots of amazing properties, and among them, it tends to increase your metabolism, therefore it will keep you leaner. It is reputed to be the healthiest fat available, in fact it is very similar to the fat present in human milk.
2) I have been on a similar diet for several months now, because of digestive issues, and I have just discovered that I've developed kidney stones. High protein and high oxalate diet (oxalate is present in many dark green vegetables, and some fruits, but also in black tea) helps the formation of the stones, and the best remedy is to make sure you drink a lot of liquids, at least 2 1/2 liters a day, out of which the main part should be water.
Merry Christmas.
Marek

I have given up on "diets". This past year I decided to try something new.

My approach for the last year has been to keep my weight as nearly the same as I possibly can. After all, if I can't keep my weight stable, how do I expect to keep off any weight I lose?

From Thanksgiving to Thanksgiving, I varied my weight, from min to max, by less than 5%. I think the last time that happened was more than 25 years ago (senior in high school).

It was quite instructive. My biggest problem was snacks. I realized that I tend to overeat when I snack because I eat quickly and mindlessly. I solved that by making snacks peanuts in the shell. That slowed down my eating long enough for me to register what I was eating and stop before overeating.

The next step is to increase my exercise and make a subtle drop in caloric intake.

My goal is to drop out of the "obese" BMI category and be a "fit" "overweight" person for the remainder of my days.

(OK, my fantasy goal is to be svelte again but...)

You might want to look at the Eat to Live diet (http://www.drfuhrman.com/library/foodpyramid.aspx)...my wife and I started it two weeks ago to try to address both excess fat and her diabetes of 15 years...after only one week her glucose has returned to non-diabetic levels with less than half the medication; we anticipate complete elimination of meds to control glucose within the month. I should note that her present glucose levels have never been achieved by medication in 15 years. Amazingly healthy diet with plenty of room to cheat from time to time. Between us we have lost about 15 pounds of (mostly) stomach fat in the two weeks and both feel great.

I think you are forgetting to mention the most important part of any good diet—exercise!

It doesn't have to be difficult, or require expensive equipment or membership fees. Actually, it is best if it doesn't.

Get out and walk briskly for at least one-half hour >every day<. No excuses! It can be around the block or around the mall (in really inclement weather).

[I always slip my Pentax K-5 over my shoulder when I walk, night or day.]

And, if you haven't already mentioned it, the big mistake we make with dieting is that we view it as a temporary activity to achieve a goal. There be dragons there!

Mike,

I am very open about different ideas regarding diet, as I think each of us has a different body and thus different requirements, which also change based on climate, season, and activity. I personally believe that exercise and diet are inextricably linked, and that the two cannot be considered separately.

I found this series of articles about food reward fascinating:

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2011/10/case-for-food-reward-hypothesis-of.html

Basically, the hypothesis is that highly 'rewarding' foods–a category in which much modern and all processed foods fall into–stimulate the dopamine channels in our brain, creating cravings, overeating, etc.

The whole series is easily accessible as a list of direct links in the middle of this article:
http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2011/11/brief-response-to-taubess-food-rewad.html

Lots of evidence is provided and linked, so there is plenty of further research one can do from there.

Anyway congrats so far and best wishes for continued success with your diet!

Best,
Ben

Yeah, eggs don't come from cows.

But they DO come from the "dairy case" in the supermarket. Classifying them that way is pretty much traditional.

Tell you what, Mike. I won't blather on about the optical elements in lenses, if you promise not to regurgitate (and I use the term advisedly) stuff about the number of chromosomes in wheat. It is true that bread wheat has six sets of chromosomes, but it always has had. Even those legacy grains were hexaploid. There are "ancient" wheats (usually lumped as hulled wheats) that have either two or four sets of chromosomes, but I'm willing to bet those aren't the legacy wheats William Davis is talking about.

That's not to say that you might be feeling better for not eating wheat; I can't say. But I very much doubt it has anything to do with the ploidy of the wheat you used to eat.

"I think you are forgetting to mention the most important part of any good diet—exercise!"

Tyler,
I disagree. Exercise by definition isn't part of any "diet," which is defined as "the usual food and drink of a person or animal." It also makes very little contribution to weight loss, at least to the degree that most of us practice exercising.

I think that the current cultural norm of tying diet and exercise together is really a bad idea, and torpedoes a lot of peoples' attempts to make lifestyle changes. You can work really hard exercising and not see any result at all in terms of weight loss. The reason is that that's like reading a lot and expecting it to result in a salary increase. The two things just aren't very closely related, and if people are measuring results from the one thing by looking at the other thing, they're likely to be disappointed.

Where you're right, of course (and I'm sure this is what you meant!) is that exercise has a LOT to do with health, in all kinds of ways, most especially cardiovascular health, but not limited to that. It's also, clearly, absolutely essential. As such it's really the next hurdle for me. I'm not "there" yet but I'm gearing up for yet another lifestyle change on that score....

Mike

Dr. Davis does not advocate a "diet" in his book, rather a healthier way of eating. That is common sense, not a fad. He asks the question, if wheat (or frankenwheat, if you like) isn't the miracle food that has "saved" billions around the world, how do we tell that to starving people in Third World countries who rely on it? Considering the apparent adverse health effects of "healthy whole grains" those answers may not be very palatable.

I've dropped 15 pounds since October, with regular resistance training + irregular cardio (but not actual "training") and NO wheat. Joint aches? Gone in ten days. No cravings. No yawning in the afternoons. More enjoyment of the foods I do eat (I can taste them!). And no looking back...

I've heard from a couple of places lately that fat (the naturally occurring kind anyway) has gotten a bad rap in the last few decades and that cutting it out completely as some people try to isn't such a hot idea after all. Obviously "all things in moderation" applies here.

My wife and I switched away from low fat products, without any change to the amounts consumed. Neither one of us suffered any ill effects and I even lost a little weight. She's nearly 5 years out from a gastric bypass and highly processed foods often sit badly with her. Low fat/no fat foods are often highly processed and laced with ingredients I can't pronounce. The low fat butter substitute we once used got canned after we made garlic bread one night and some of it dripped, finding its way onto the heating element of the oven; the result smelled exactly like burning plastic.

A low meat (notice I didn't say vegetarian) high plant diet can add years to your life. Fruits are powerful anti-cancer foods. I would seriously consider monitoring animal fat intake and adding more low glycemic fruits. You don't need more than 10-15% of your calories to be protein.

If it's weight loss you're after, use a food tracking program (My fitness pal, Loose it!, etc...) For weight loss, a calorie deficit is the only way to make it happen.

Veggies, beans, and a calorie tracker to keep you honest are the key. I lost 30 lbs in 4 months by sticking to a highly nutritious, but totally flexible 1600 calorie a day diet.

These are the foods I eat:
http://www.whfoods.com/foodstoc.php

I've stumbled upon a diet that is very similar to yours via the work of Gary Taubes. People keep saying that high fat diets are very bad for you, that the science supports that. Taubes has found precious little actual science (controlled studies) to support that belief. In five years of research, he was able to find 7 studies. The few studies that have been done had at best mixed results and about half of them showed that the high fat diet is better for you.

I started my diet mostly because I was in a desperate search for something to make what I thought was my MS to calm down. There has been some chatter about low carb diet helping, so I tried it out. I no longer have the dizziness and lightheadedness that plagued me. Plus, I'm losing weight. Taubes is quick to point out that the "science" is inconclusive for both high and low fat diets. One of his insights resonated with me because of its similarity with MS. Everyone is different. We have different hormone levels and different sensitivities to things like insulin. So what may work well for one person may kill someone else.

After doing a little research, I've lumped nutrition in with macroeconomics as psudeo-science, there are very few actual facts out there...Oh, and yeah, eggs don't come from cows so they aren't dairy. Don't feel bad, I once had to correct an observant Jew on the same thing. He was gobsmacked when he realized that he had been avoiding lots of egg dishes for years...

You're exercising too right? Even a quick 20 minute walk everyday (with camera, of course) does wonders.

We photographers tend to be fairly active this way. But, we also spend a lot of time in front of the computer editing. Don't sit for more than a half hour to an hour at a time before getting up and stretching.

About a month ago, I realized I hadn't seen my neighbor and fellow photographer Howard in awhile so I gave him a call to check in. Turns out, I hadn't seen him because he had been in the VA hospital with blood clots in both legs, a very serious situation. The VA doctor asked him if he flew a lot. Howard answered no, but he did sit at his computer for several hours on end. The doc advised him to get up frequently and put him on warfarin (Coumadin).

So, stay active my friend.

When I objected to the phrase "frankenwheat," and referred to it as saving bilions of lives around the world, wasn't exaggerating or even saying those billions have a healthy diet -- I was simply saying that genetically modified grains (which formed the basis of the "green revolution") in wheat, corn and rice, ended the starvation cycles for literally billions of people. A bad diet is better than starvation, IMHO. Others may have a different opinion, and place more value on a diminution of tummy upset on the upper west side.

I have no problem with Mike's bad diet as a running experiment on himself, given certain other conditions (too much weight but generally good heart health.) There are several different diets that I think might profitably be adopted by different people depending on their personal health status, and those diets may not be generally regarded as "healthy." But I think they should be recognized for what they are -- prescriptive, in the sense of a medical prescription. I take Plavix, a drug, which poses a certain danger to me, but not taking it poses a greater danger. So, I take it. Some diets are like that. I think a high meat, high fat diet over a long term will be dangerous. Over a short term, I think it's widely recognized that fat and protein will help diminish appetite, and make it easier to lose significant amounts of weight, and that may be important. But once the body is where it should be, there should be a shift to a healthier diet, which I think is one that is carefully balanced.

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