Who you gonna call, Part V top-secret advice!

So I just wrecked the pedestal underneath the Fat Diet Docs and celebs, the personal trainers, the network marketers’ pills, potions, and juices, and the blood type and metabolic typing docs.

I hope you’re not feeling without answers.   Moms write me and tell me they read about nutrition and go to bed in tears because of all the complexity and confusion, and that’s heartbreaking.   Who can blame them?   There is no subject wherein the most educated among us are more confused than the field of WHAT TO EAT.

But answers are usually easy and pure.   Remember the Biblical story of the man Jesus told to go and wash his eyes in the river?   The man cost himself a cure because it was too simple.  In an age of technology, complexity, and an excess of information and opinion, we expect the answers to be hard.   But the answers, when it comes to what fuel to put in our body, are so simple that they’re (ironically) hard for a modern mind to comprehend!

It’s hard, I know, to let go of the idea that you have to eat a bunch of pills every day. The calcium! The fish oil! The hair-growth formula! It’s endless, and it’s just a variation on the drug approach to health, really.  Here’s the secret:  

Eat simple food that grows in the dirt.   Wash it first.   Cook it as little as possible.   Drink lots of clean water.

An orange is better than a two-ounce drink of magic juice (pasteurized, in a really sweet-lookin’ bottle that costs $30) from the tip-top of a mountain range some peasants climbed barefoot to harvest, in a remote part of a country you’ve never heard of.   If you are going to pay for foods not quite in their original form, as much as possible, make sure they’re

not heated above 100 degrees

not changed, concentrated, or adulterated in any way

devoid of chemicals, sweeteners, and fillers

That makes  a rather short list of things that are worth your hard-earned money.

Who you gonna call, Part VII the guys telling you to eat for your “type”

Joe Mercola’s been hyping his metabolic typing program to his 1.5 million readers.   You, too, can pay big bucks for it, as soon as he’s done creating it.   He continues to tell people to eat lots of whey protein powder (which he sells) and avoid eating  grains, despite a massive body of evidence  telling us otherwise.   (Mercola’s a great watchdog and right on so many other things, though.)    Peter D’Adamo has already sold millions of copies of his book Eat Right for Your Blood Type.   He prescribes a certain diet to follow for A, B, AB, and O blood types.

People following the plan quit eating wheat and dairy and think that it’s the blood type diet that helped them feel better.   In fact, it’s eliminating foods that many people are sensitive to that makes a difference, because no scientific evidence underpins D’Adamo’s recommendations.    Those recommendations have just made us all more anxious and confused.   And they’ve led more people down a path of eating a death-promoting diet rich in animal products like the Diet Docs recommend.   (Unless you’re Blood Type A–D’Adamo says you folks are supposed to be vegetarian!)

Joel Fuhrman, M.D., methodically took D’Adamo’s entire theory apart, using the  body of scientific literature easily accessed in medical databases.   D’Adamo says Type A people should eat vegetables since they’re more prone to heart disease and cancer.   Problem is, they’re not, when all types of heart disease are examined.   Any slight differences in a few studies don’t warrant radically different nutritional recommendations.   Type O, B, and AB folks get PLENTY of heart disease and cancer, and sending them down the track toward more disease is a travesty.

All the other blood types are supposed to follow D’Adamo’s specific recommendations for lots of cheese, or lots of meat, or both.   It’s all underpinned by terribly flawed logic and gross misunderstandings of human physiology and nutrition.

We do have some variations in our genetic makeup and needs (especially as more and more people develop sensitivities and allergies to good foods).   But many genetic factors affect your risk for various diseases, blood type playing only a small role at best.   Please don’t trouble yourself to buy/read/follow this misguided program, yet another of the false gods of nutrition at whose altar we worship.

Tomorrow I end  this “false gods” series  and sum it all up, just before leaving town for the rest of the week to collect some Vitamin D watching my son play baseball in a sunny place.   Yesssssss!

Who you gonna call? Part III: nutrition advice from personal trainers

My friend Cheryl told me at the gym the other day that she got online with a “Virtual Personal Trainer.”   This guy has quite a following here locally and helped a friend of Cheryl’s.  

She  said to the trainer, “I’m trying to be vegan.   Can you help me increase my muscle mass and get more toned?”   (Don’t know why–Cheryl is turning 50 and is a size 3–she’s incredibly fit and looks about 34.)

 He said, “Sure, you can do that, if you’re willing to eat a lot of soy or whey protein powders.”   Cheryl’s pretty educated and knows why BOTH of those are a rotten idea.   If you don’t, see my Nutrition Manifesto Myth #1 on the GreenSmoothieGirl.com home page (and my “Soy Is A Health Food” myth is coming soon in  a free e-letter).  

Cheryl told him she didn’t want to eat that stuff.   The trainer told it would be impossible for her to get more toned, then–she simply HAS to eat chicken or fish or protein powders.   One of my personal-trainer friends is eating a 60 PERCENT animal-protein diet right now in preparation for a powerlifting competition!   I spend a lot of time at the gym, and every single trainer I know is pounding the protein bars and powders and slabs of dead animal carcasses (that’s what my vegetarian daughter calls them, lol).

Again, like most medical doctors and dieticians, like the Diet Doctors and Celebrities, personal trainers just aren’t a good source for nutrition information.   The vast majority of them accept the mainstream position wholesale, and the only thing they know about nutrition is to MAXIMIZE PROTEIN.  Thank goodness for that rare M.D. or dietician who does extracurricular homework.   And props to bodybuilders like Jason Ferruggia, Stephen Arlin, and athletes I blogged about last month.  They show you CAN be fit–even huge and ripped, if that’s the goal–eating a plant-based diet.   I’ll run a blog in a couple of days with good stuff from Jason Ferruggia.

 Ask a personal trainer how to lift weights.   Just please don’t ask him what to eat.

Who you gonna call? Part II: I have more stuff to say about the diet docs

I thought I was done taking down the high-protein, fad-diet, doctor-scam-artists.   But I want to say a bit more, starting with this quote from “Dr. Atkins’ Health Revolution”:  

“Imagine losing weight with a diet that lets you have bacon and eggs for breakfast, heavy cream in your coffee, plenty of meat and even salad with dressing for lunch and dinner!”

I don’t know if Atkins knew he was hurting millions with this outrageous “advice,” or if he somehow studied the human heart for all those years and remained ignorant of the effects of globs of fatty, cholesterol-dripping junk on your faithful, trusty heart and and arteries.  The brilliance of Atkins’ (and Sears’, Agatson’s, and others’) approach is that they got to tell people what they wanted to hear.   People WANT to eat eggs and bacon for breakfast.   They want to eat a steak for dinner.   It’s the fantasy diet of the Southern United States, right?   And an M.D. told them they could.

Problem is, like every other diet, Atkins is really just another calorie-restriction program.   Add up the caloric intake of a day on the program, and you have about 1,200 calories.   If you eat 1,200 calories on ANY diet, you’re going to lose weight.   Then you’re going to gain it back when your mind, body, and spirit get sick of being deprived.

And this “ketosis” thing that Atkins tells you to trick your body into?   I find the whole idea of tricking or manipulating your body offensive–that would only come from somebody who subscribes to the drug theory of health (a contradiction in terms if there ever was one).   No one has studied the long-term effects of “ketosis,” but it’s a highly unnatural state.  Don’t trick or manipulate your body.  Take good care of it, nourish it, love it: it has served you all these years, and you get only one.

Joel Fuhrman, M.D. accurately calls cancer a “Fruit-and-Vegetable-Deficiency Disease.”   And yet what do Atkins and the other protein-mongers ban and criminalize?   Most all the foods with the phytonutrients, the insoluble fiber, the power to prevent cancer and heart disease–fruit and most veggies.  Campbell’s research in China showed that vegetarians can eat several hundred calories a day more than meat eaters–and are leaner!  

Tomorrow I’m moving on, away from the Fat Diet Doctors and onto more of the false gods of nutrition . . .

Who you gonna call? Part I: fat diet doctors and celebs

This starts a multi-part blog about the false gods we worship in the field of nutrition.  

First, I often wonder why people buy diet programs from overweight doctors in poor health.  The worst offender is Dr. Robert Atkins.   I would say “was,” but of course his  company and family are still raking in millions of dollars by damaging millions of people’s health.   I have a friend who has made the Atkins “diet” a lifestyle–for 18 months now (not because the weight has been kept off, but because it yo-yos).  

One doctor who treated Atkins for many years estimated him to be 40-60 lbs. overweight.   If you follow his diet (which is up to 60 percent fat), you can count on digestive problems, constipation, and foul breath right away.   Down the road a bit, you’ll be at risk for heart and kidney disease, cancer, and osteoporosis from the excesses of animal protein and fat and the  a dearth of fiber and nutrients.   The American Dietetic Association calls the high-protein diets like Atkins “a nightmare.”

 Dr. Barry Sears authored the Zone diet (another high-protein scam) that sold millions.   He states in his own book that he’s overweight.  

Then we have Dr. Agatson who authored the South Beach Diet.   His program is the third in the triumvirate of high-protein crimes against the public health.   He has admitted to taking aspirin and a statin drug every day because he’s terrified of heart disease.   He’s a cardiologist, so you’d think that if he were designing a trustworthy healthy diet, he could come up with something that doesn’t require drug dependency.

 Now Dr. Phil is getting in on the $40 billion industry with his own diet book: he’s 6’4″ and 240 lbs., which is clearly overweight on any body-mass chart.   But he says his weight is “age appropriate.”   What age is it “appropriate” to be overweight?   Over age 40? 60?   And why?   Why is an overweight psychologist in the business of  telling people what to eat?

Kirstie Alley has abandoned Jenny Craig, gained back much of the weight she lost as its spokesperson, and announced she is starting a new diet program!   She’s neither a health-care specialist NOR successful at weight loss and health.   Who wants to be first in line to buy her program?   That decision would be approximately as rational as buying books from the dudes listed above.  

If you’re gonna sell health, doesn’t it logically follow that you should be HEALTHY?   One of two things is going on here with four multimillionaire doctors and one celebrity–Atkins, Sears, Agatson, Phil, and Kirstie.   One, their diets don’t work.   Or two, the authors are hypocrites and don’t “walk the talk”–they want you to do as they say, not as they do.   Maybe both.    In any event, Americans ought to spend that $40 billion instead on whole plant foods–that just might put the Diet Doctors and Diet Celebrities, a whole lotta doctors and insurance companies, and Big Pharma out of business.