Answer: Because it's the way we are supposed to eat, biologically speaking. We were not evolved to count calories, or to weigh ourselves every day, or to run on treadmills, or to eat oily, sweet tasting pizza dripping with cheese and washed down with a coke that is loaded with fructose. We WERE evolved (or designed if you like that approach) to eat lots of fresh vegetables, fruits when they're in season, a few nuts and roots when we could find them, and even a slow-running rabbit or two, if we could catch them. And, over the last two hundred thousand years, our big brains grew from simply eating lots and lots of fish and oysters, shellfish like clams and muscles from the inland waters of lakes and streams.
Eat what nature intended you to eat and... guess what? It's easy! Everything works like a Swiss clock.
Question: Telling people not to eat beets or carrots is COMPLETELY against what people have been told their whole lives. Why can't we eat carrots?
Answer: Carrots and beets have been considered "low glycemic load" foods by some authorities. This thinking may be great for researchers, but it's bad advice for folks in the real world, especially overweight people suffering from metabolic syndrome, chronic low-level inflammation or diabetes.
Carrots and beets are sometimes called "low glycemic load" foods, because they are thought to be eaten in small quantities. The problem is that they are in fact HIGH STARCH, HIGH SUGAR FOODS, with a very high "glycemic index". In fact, carrots are higher than white bread in GI (71 vs. 70). However, the published GL glycemic load for carrots is very low (3.8). This results from the average serving size being set to the ridiculously small 2-ounce (only 55 gram) serving size. Dieters do not stop at only 2 ounces of cooked carrots. And, they almost always put some other no-nos into the pot with cooked carrots to compensate for the bitter taste. We think most people who are dieting end up eating 8, 10 or 12 ounces of cooked carrots when served as a vegetable (and even worse, they often add sugar, salt and butter to them while cooking). When people think they can eat these legally in a healthy diet, they gorge on them. Our experience is that most foods that are fast and easy to digest like white bread, carrots, potatoes and rice should simply be avoided. We need to get our anti-oxidants like the beta-carotenes, the Vitamin-A nutrients in carrots, from other sources like peppers, berries, apples, cherries and tomatoes. If you absolutely insist on eating them, do not eat them like a vegetable. Instead, use them like a spice -- chop them finely and sprinkle on salads and veggies and meats for color and flavoring.
Link to the International Table Of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load, 52 Pages:
Be sure to view very small serving sizes of dangerously high GI foods with
extreme skepticism. High GI foods are just that, High. They are dangerous!
You should be very careful with any food above 40 to 55 on the GI scale,
no matter how low their GL loading value is reported to be on the official research lists like that linked above. Think twice before adding any low
GL food that is shown to have a high GI (above 55) to your diet. Remember that the value for carrots is 71.
Using the GI/GL research as a model or guide for dieting is controversial among some dietitians and physicians. See this PDF
If you've been avoiding white bread, you should consider also avoiding carrots, beets and other foods with a high glycemic index (above 55 usually). If you do use them, use them for flavoring like spices, not as menu items.
Question: You say to avoid eggs, but don't seem to address egg whites. All the people I know, especially the ones that are into training, consider egg whites the greatest thing (they're protein, not fat). What about egg whites?
Answer: Egg whites are excellent sources of proteins. They will be featured in many of our diet plans and menu recipes. People who are allergic to eggs should avoid the whites just like they avoid the whole eggs. For people who are not allergic to eggs, we have some great suggestions for healthy omelettes made with egg whites, vegetables, chicken, fish, turkey, with herbs and spices. Pour on the spices, and whip up some creative sauces, too. There are even a couple of them made with berries and fruits for an enjoyable twist - coming soon!
Question: I know that soy sauce and teriyaki sauce are loaded in sodium (and often sugar). Lots of seasonings have salt. Most people say turkey and chicken are bland unless you fry it, or soak it in high sugar or hi fat sauces. Since we can't do that on your diet, what spices do you recommend?
Answer: Spices are the mega-stars of every healthy kitchen. There are dozens of them that should be on everyone's list. They make any healthy diet enjoyable, and add vital anti-oxidants and phytonutrients to your daily regimen, without piling on more pills! High on my list are -- Cayenne, Chili Peppers, Chili Powder, Red Pepper Flakes, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Yellow and Red Curry Powders, Fenugreek, Cloves, Allspice, Nutmeg, Bay Leaf, Sesame Seeds, Flax Seed, Almonds, Walnuts, Hazelnuts, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Garlic (non salted), Parsley, Mint, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Basil, Oregano, Onion Flakes (non salted), Poppy Seeds. There are dozens more. You should always avoid the high salt, cooked or toasted kinds of seeds and spices. Best types are fresh, frozen, or dried, powdered and chopped. Try for the fresh types from your grocer's fresh produce department, usually in the salad area above the lettuce and carrots.
More Highly Flavorful Additions -- They're bold and beautiful! These can act like flavor enhancers and will perk up any meal: Apples, Pears, Grapefruit, Colorful Berries, Peaches, Plums, Cherries, Pomegranates. The variety is endless. Be creative! Have fun. Get them fresh, frozen or dried; without sugar or salt of course. Chop them up, or blend and mash them into a sauce. Sprinkle them over meats and fish or vegetables, with a dash of your favorite spices above. You'll be amazed at the creations you come up with!
Question: You said on your "Foods to Avoid" page to avoid "Flax Omega" products - but can't we eat some flax oil products like the great tasting Omega-2 Flax bar made by Organic Food Bars -- will eating flax seed oils hurt us?
Answer: Flax Seed Oil certainly shouldn't harm you, but may not help much, for many people who suffer from metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance or inflammation. Here's why...
There's nothing wrong with flax oil (used to be called linseed oil and was used for furniture polish so they say). Problem is that the Linoleic Acid it contains has to be converted into Gamma Linolenic Acid using Delta-6 Desaturase D6D enzyme, which is made inoperative by high levels of insulin (duh), alcohol, pollutants, and high levels of Omega-6 Fatty Acids from vegetable oils and fried foods, trans-fatty acids, etc. Also D6D becomes less available anyway as we age. There is evidently a genetic mutation that makes people into diabetics, by family groups of course. That is basically simply a mutation that makes people not as capable of making D6D as "normal" people. It is felt that this mutation is probably the true cause of inherited type-2 diabetes. And since it leads to Type-2 Diabetes it is also very likely the major contributor to most other inflammatory diseases and metabolic syndrome, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, arthritis, and many other conditions that used to be though of as unrelated.
It's based simple digestive enzyme deficiency, which is possibly inherited among up to 40-50% of people or sometimes even more in some regions (apparently about 90% of the Pima Indians in Arizona, for example). Who'd a thunk it!
NOTE that D6D is required in both of these two processes above. Unfortunately, D6D is often not available for type-2 diabetics and many people who suffer from insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome. In fact, D6D delta-6 desaturase is either deficient or not working properly in a high percentage of tested adult Americans, according to many studies.
By the way, if you eat the wrong stuff and D6D stops working, then Omega-6 oils become Arachidonic Acid (AA), which leads to making Series-2 Prostaglandins... those are the bad guys involved in most inflammatory disease states. Omega-6 oils include most of our popular diet; corn oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, and many more. In our opinion this process is one of the main reasons we Americans are suffering from so much chronic inflammation, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.
We want to boost Series-1 and 3 Prostaglandins, and lessen Series-2. We're manipulating our diet to get that to happen. That's most of our strategy. We have other health goals in our Level 1 Diet, but these are at the top of our list.
The idea is to make an end run around the missing or not-working D6D. Fish oils give you EPA and DHA without relying on D6D. Borage oil gives you GLA without using D6D. So the answer is simply to add both fish oil and borage oil into your diet.
NOTE -- Sensitive people may need to add one or two capsules per day until they get to the desired dosage.
Both these oils together will get you more of the ANTI-inflammatory prostaglandin series-1 and series-3 molecules. And you don't get as much of the PRO-inflammatory series-2 prostaglandins, which you might get from other oils.
If all of that complex chemistry stuff is confusing, just take our word for it. A capsule or two of flax seed oil probably won't hurt you, and it may help you. However fish oil and borage oil should ABSOLUTELY HELP YOU. Take them instead.
Question: You say you weighed over 370 pounds at 50+ years old, and of course you were really sick from lots of things. But I'm much younger, and I'm in pretty good health with only a few, relatively minor problems. Why should I go on YOUR diet?
Answer: Interesting point. Actually, I'm not recommending that YOU go on MY diet. Instead, I'm recommending that most of US heavy people go on YOUR diet (the healthy diet).
Of course, that assumes that you are actually
healthy. When we're young, we can look healthy
and be in big trouble. So, we are recommending that
people of almost every type, young or old, skinny or
fat, go on the Level 1 Diet -- that's the diet that
by definition, we likely had at some point in our
lives (hopefully). And, that's the diet that will
help us all get healthy again, or if we are already
healthy, to stay that way.
With only minor differences, the human
metabolism works just like many other mammals,
and especially the primates. Among us Americans,
the needs of our systems are ideally only slightly
different... when we are healthy.
Our diet, not activity level, sets the limits of our
metabolic health - with some help from our genes, especially
with the added molecule inserted into the gene
that controls the Delta-6 Desaturase production --
see this fascinating report:
"A nucleotide insertion in the transcriptional regulatory region of FADS2 gives rise to human fatty acid delta-6-desaturase deficiency..."
Gene Discovered Controlling Delta-6 Desaturase Deficiency
Journal of Biological Chemistry, Vol. 274, Issue 1, 471-477, January 1, 1999
Diet dictates not only your physical health
and activity levels, but it also controls your
mood, your mental alertness and your ability
to control your actions and to perceive and
interact with the world around you.
Your brain is not nearly the center of the
universe that it thinks it is. The center of
the universe is closer to the liver, stomach
Given the right nutrients, your brain can be
very powerful in the determination of your
destiny. Deprived of them, whether by chance,
environmental factors or as a "lifestyle
decision" personal choice, the brain cannot
do much to help you.
Take crack cocaine and see how much will power
can do to kick that dietary experience. High-fat,
high sugar diets are not a lot kinder, especially the
high fructose sugar and high fat diet.
I was under 190 pounds when I was 29. I have pictures.
I was active, played inter-mural sports, rode cross
country bikes, walked, went scuba and swimming a lot,
etc. All during that year, I GAINED 40 pounds in ONE YEAR
and then 5-7 pounds a year for 25 years.
That first year, I was sick (acute inflammation) from
chronic bronchitis. Hospitalized for 9 days. Sick
for 3 months. Still have scars in my throat from
it. That is what precipitated the weight gain.
Inflammation. Ask your fat friends... were they sick
during the year before they got fat? It may take some
digging around in their memory. You'll find what
epidemiologists already know. Inflammation precedes
AFTER the weight gain, I had to slow down the exercising.
No more cross country bike riding for me. In fact,
I broke an expensive Ghirelli racing bicycle in half riding it
around a 30-mile course one weekend. I bent the wheels double, while
going around a turn. I was simply too heavy to ride.
Later I became too heavy to run, then too heavy to walk.
But I went on walking. I refused to stop. But it was hard.
You gain weight, then you stop exercising.
Weight gain precedes the sedentary lifestyle, at
least initially. Of course, something causes the
weight gain... read on below.
The reason so many people have it the wrong way
around is that they are not looking carefully at
exactly WHEN the weight gain started, and therefore
Instead, they do big population studies of which
lifestyle factors are CURRENTLY associated with
obesity. And, guess what... fat people don't move
around much. Golly.
Anyway there are many studies now looking at the
ONSET of obesity and they're finding out what
I've known for decades. People don't get fat from
lack of exercise. They stay fat that way, but they
didn't get fat that way.
They almost always GOT FAT from dietary imbalances
combined with infection, which caused massive inflammation. As the
researchers report: Weight gain onset is secondary
to inflammation. And, lack of activity is secondary
Here is the new understanding of the etiology of
many disease states we're talking about. Each
stage can be weeks, months or years apart. In some
people, they can be separated by only 2-3 weeks
for each stage, or even less. Others may take years
between each stage:
Note where the obesity shows up in this progression. In the middle.
By the time you or your doctor or family and friends notice that
you're overweight, you have usually been sick with inflammation or insulin
resistance for a long time.
Can people get obese without being insulin resistant?
Yes, but not many do. Can we get fat without having low-level
chronic inflammation? In theory, yes, but the chances of a fat person
not FIRST developing inflammation are slim.
Now we know not only that inflammation precedes obesity, but that
obese people get fatter largely because the fat tissue actually
produces lots of "pro-inflammatory cytokines" that tend to keep
Once inflammation helps make us fat, our fat will keep us
inflamed. It's a vicious cycle.
In the Level 1 Diet -- We will start with the right foods, supplement them with vital
nutrients to super-charge your anti-inflammatory power, and then
add in exercise to make it work even better.
There is a revolution happening in medicine. We are not causing it.
We're merely representative of thousands who know about it. And, we care enough
to report about it.
We hope that explanation helps you understand why a young,
healthy person should be concerned about monitoring these
factors relating to inflammation, insulin resistance and
metabolic syndrome. These developments can often be
detected in young adults in their late 20's or early 30's.
In some cases (about 12 to 15% today) the inflammation,
insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome or even morbid obesity
is present in teenagers or younger children. This is a crisis, a true
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