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Hawaii Diet vs. ...

High Protein Diets

The resources of high-protein diets is based primarily on the misconception that carbohydrates alone induce weight gain. All of the best-selling high-protein diet books insist that carbohydrates and insulin are the true villains in the battle of the bulge. These programs claim that eating carbohydrates triggers the secretion of insulin, which causes cells to produce more fat. Therefore, they conclude that carbohydrates cause obesity. Unfortunately, these claims overgeneralize a narrow area of published research and careful analysis reveals that their theories don't hold up in the real world.

The truth is, while carbohydrate does trigger the secretion of insulin, there is no research that demonstrates that this leads to obesity. This is true despite evidence that insulin does stimulate the production of fat. In fact, there is research that suggests that carbohydrates cause people to be slim. In a correlation study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition comparing body fat and nutrient intake, it was found that dietary fat was correlated with high body fat and dietary carbohydrate was correlated with low body fat. (Dreon DM, et al.Am J Clin Nutr 1988; 47: 995-1000.)

Consider populations such as in China and Japan where there is very little obesity. These populations eat large amounts of carbohydrates (up to 78% of their calories) and remain slim for lifetimes. There is also metabolic research that indicates that metabolic rates increase when the proportion of carbohydrate in the diet is high. This research would suggest that carbohydrates should induce weight loss not weight gain. And besides, foods that are high in protein, such as meats and cheeses, are also high in saturated fat, which we know will increase blood cholesterol levels if eaten in excess.

High protein diets have always had the reputation of being able to produce quick weight loss. However, quick doesn't mean lasting and most of the initial weight loss from protein diets is water rather than fat. People who manage to stay on a high-protein diet also lose weight because these diets restrict carbohydrate calories such as fruits, vegetables, grains and cereals, and legumes. By eliminating so many foods from your diet, you automatically reduce your calorie intake, resulting in a negative calorie balance and therefore weight loss. Unfortunately, you also reduce your intake of fiber and essential vitamins and minerals.

If you look at populations where people have good health and a long lifespan, you'll find that their eating habits support the wisdom of a high carbohydrate, moderate protein diet which is also low in fat (e.g. Dr. Shintani's diet plan). The Japanese eat a diet abundant in rice and vegetables with only small amounts of protein and have a very low incidence of heart disease.

One of the most important reasons for the popularity of high-protein diets is they work - initially, that is. People lose lots of weight fast, but the initial weight loss is mostly water. Stored carbohydrate contains large amounts of water. Switching to a low carbohydrate diet results in the loss of these stores and the associated water, with an impressive initial weight loss. In addition, if the diet is low enough in carbohydrates (like the Atkins Diet) then the body goes into ketosis, causing suppression of the appetite, thereby you eat and suffer less. These diets simulate metabolic changes that take place during illness-ketosis is a natural state that occurs when people are sick- a time when they shouldn't be gathering and preparing food, but rather recuperating.

Excessive protein in the body over time causes damage to the kidneys. High-protein diets cause serious metabolic changes that lead to bone loss and kidney stones. Red meat, poultry, fish, shellfish and eggs are acidic in nature. Vegetable foods are alkaline by nature. The body guards its acid-base balance (pH) carefully so that all the pH-dependent biochemical reactions take place normally. The diet-derived acid load from high protein animal foods must be buffered. The primary buffering system of the body is the bones which dissolve for that purpose into phosphates and calcium. The alkaline phosphate then buffers the animal food derived acid. This is the first step in bone loss that leads to osteoporosis. The second step consists of changes in the kidney physiology caused by the acid, the sulfa-containing amino acids (found in meats) and the increased solute load, all resulting in a loss of large amounts of this bone material, including calcium into the urine. The presence of this bone material in the kidney system also lays the foundation for calcium based kidney stones.

Low Carb Diets (also see High Protein Diets)

When diets are low in carbohydrates then the majority of the diet must be from protein and fat and often-times there is a weight loss due to the severe caloric restriction to these diets.

Single Food Diets

Single food Diets were very popular in the past, but they are impossible to stay on for very long and they often deprive your body of the vast array of essential nutrients and minerals your body needs to function optimally. The weight loss achieved by these short term diets is almost always temporary and extremely boring and monotonous. An example of a single food diet is the "Grapefruit diet" or "Cabbage Soup Diet" that allowed you to eat as much of only a limited number of foods for a few days. Dr. Shintani recommends that if you are trying to achieve a rapid weight loss for a special event you can do so using his Eat More, Weigh Less Program. What you do is eat foods that are much higher in their EMI (Eat More Index) value than the standard EMI 4.1. You should eat a variety of foods that have an EMI of 5,6,7, or 8 and so on. Once you've achieved the desired weight loss, you should move back down the EMI scale back to 4.1. In this way, you get quick results without compromising your health and nutrition.

Weight Loss Clubs

There are several popular weight loss clubs and many of them provide a good support system for keeping motivated. There is a great deal of value in working with others to support your efforts to control weight The problem is, they really don't teach you the underlying food-related cause of obesity and thus don't show you a complete picture of how to prepare for the rest of you life. Many weight loss clubs require that you purchase pre-packaged food and although this is great if you're in a hurry and don't like to cook, you really don't learn how to select, prepare and cook healthy meals on your own. The cost of these clubs is often-times prohibitive for many people let alone the cost of the pre-packaged food. These clubs are good in providing a good moral support network and a good way to solicit support while on the Hawaii Diet is to let your friends and family know that you are making healthier choices and that you would appreciate their support particularly in occasions when you are dining out or at special events. Having the support and encouragement from your friends, co-workers and family is key to making any lifestyle change successful. E.G. Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, etc.

Over-The-Counter Diet Pills & Supplements

The OTC (over-the-counter) diet pill & supplement industry is a multi-billion dollar business that preys on the fantasy that you can achieve fast and lasting weight loss by simply taking a pill. Anyone who has taken these supplements knows how disappointing it is to find out that it just isn't true. You need to make the changes in your diet and increase your activity level if you want to achieve permanent weight loss- it's just that simple. Dr. Shintani's plan is not a panacea to your weight loss woes, you need to learn the basic principles that arm you with the ammunition you need to make educated food choices. Pills and supplements simply do not work with your natural hunger drive. Think about it, if you eat just 1 or 2 nutrition bars for a meal, that's not enough bulk to fill you up and satisfy your hunger drive so you are left feeling hungry and deprived and those are the 2 worst enemies to trying to eat fewer calories. You finally succumb to the hunger and most people end up bingeing on high calorie, high fat foods. It becomes a downward spiral and weight keeps coming off and on like a yo-yo. You are best advised to save your money and learn how to eat real foods the right way in large quantities as described in Dr. Shintani's Eat More, Weigh Less program. E.G. Dexatrim, Bio Slim, Fat Blockers, Fat Burners.

Sugar Busters™ Diet

This diet, like high protein diets, is based on the belief that sugar is the cause of many health woes. This diet blames obesity on the insulin that is secreted in response to sugar. As I have described in the "Protein Diet" section, this is only true in theory and there is no evidence that sugar causes obesity. In fact, correlation studies suggest that it has no effect on obesity. In addition, there is no good evidence of a direct relationship between sugars to any health problem except that they are difficult to handle for individuals with diabetes and for their role in tooth decay. Indirectly, there are some health concerns such as sugar's effect on the lowering of the "good cholesterol" HDL. In addition, sugars are "empty calories" and cause people to be satisfied calorie-wise before they have eaten enough vegetables and fruit. As for the weight loss effect of this diet, the "Sugar Busters Diet" works temporarily simply because this diet restricts calories, and as we all know, most people cannot do this for a long period of time.

Blood Type™ Diet

Peter D'Adamo's 1996 release of the book, Eat Right For Your Blood Type, gained widespread attention. Dr. D'Adamo believes that type O's are the dominant, hunter-caveman type that require meat in the diet, that type A's are docile vegetarians, while type B's are dairy-eating omnivores. There is not much scientific validation for these claims at all. The literature finds very small differences in heart disease rates and other diseases from one blood type to another. (In other words, the vast majority of type A's, B's, and O's get the same diseases as each other.) The bibliography in this book cites literature from the 1950's, 60's and 70's for their premise. After that, there are few articles on this topic. In fact, in Dr. Shintani's own search of the literature, he found an article on this subject from the Framingham Heart Study which is the most respected heart and nutrition research project in the world. Garrison RJ; Havlik RJ; Harris RB; et al. ABO blood group and cardiovascular disease: the Framingham study. Atherosclerosis, 25(2-3):311-8 1976. The conclusion of the article was that there is no significant difference between the incidence of heart disease and blood type. It's interesting why this type of current and highly reputable literature was not cited in this book.

The Zone™ Diet

Barry Sears' best-selling book called Entering the Zone has received alot of press and has created controversy with many in the established medical community as well as much confusion in the general public. The truth is that the Zone is not widely accepted by the medical community because of many of its faulty claims with no supporting research. This program is basically a high protein, low carbohydrate, semi-starvation diet. For anyone trying to follow and stay on the program, you will find it almost impossible to maintain. In a debate in June 1997 in Las Vegas, regarding high carbohydrate diets vs. High protein diets, here's what happened. Barry Sears claims to have been on the Zone for the past 4-5 years, so he was used as an example of his own program.

Example: Barry Sears weighs 210 lbs. and is 6'5" according to the information in his book. His diet is based on 30% of the calories from protein, 30% fat, and 40% carbohydrate. He says he eats 100 grams of protein a day. He says he is still on the diet because he still needs to lose more weight. If Barry eats 100 grams of protein that translates into 400 calories of protein (1gm of protein=4 calories). Since the proportions of the diet at 30/30/40, this means he also consumes 400 calories of fat, and about 500 calories of carbohydrate. His total calorie intake is therefore 1300 calories per day. A conservative estimate of his actual needs would be over 2300 calories a day, with only sedentary activity. This means every day he is 1000 calories short of his needs. Every week he comes up 7000 calories short, which must be made up from his fat stores. One pound of fat amounts to 3500 calories. Therefore, Barry must lose 2 pounds of fat a week on his diet. Every year by calculation he loses 104 pounds. Since he says he has been on his diet for 4-5 years this means he has lost over 400 pounds! At this point in the debate, Mr. Sears was asked, a) Did you start your diet at over 600 pounds? B) Do you defy the laws of nature? Or c) Is it that you cannot and do not follow your own diet? Like all calorie restricted diets, the Zone diet is next to impossible to follow for very long because it hurts to be hungry. His program is difficult to continue in the long run because the dietary rules are complicated and it is basically a calorie restricted diet. The June issue of Prevention magazine came up with the same conclusions.

Beverly Hills Diet (also see Food Combining Diets)

Created by Judy Mazel in 1981, this is a diet that lasts for 6 weeks and claims that fruit enzymes can burn up calories before they hit your hips, and advocates eating carbohydrates and proteins at different times. For the first 10 days you eat nothing but fruits in generous portions, on the 11th day you eat a half pound of bread, two tablespoons of butter and three ears of corn. Only on day 19 is a complete protein, steak or lobster, included. You can indulge in fats like cheesecake and ice cream. The problem is, there is no scientific evidence that the body processes particular combinations of foods any differently than random ones. The Beverly Hills Diet is very low in vital nutrients and the Journal of the American Medical Association deemed it "the worst entry in the diet-fad derby". It may also cause diarrhea and because it's low in protein, it promotes breakdown of muscles and vital organ tissue if followed for longer than 10 days.

Grapefruit Diet (also see Single Food Diets and Crash Diets)

This diet burst onto the scenes in the 1930's called the Hollywood Diet and it consisted of eating a few select vegetables, small amounts of protein , and grapefruits, believed to contain a special fat-burning enzyme. Since then, there have been over a dozen grapefruit diets. It traditionally lasts for 3 weeks and a typical day has about less than 800 calories per day, a severe calorie restricted diet that is incredibly monotonous and not very healthy. In reality, there are no enzymes in grapefruit that cause obesity. What does work in this program is that grapefruit is one of the highest EMI fruits available. If you understand Dr. Shintani's Eat More, Weigh Less(r) program, you will understand that grapefruit can help you lose weight simply because the mass-to-energy ratio, that is, the high weight to calorie ratio makes you full before you get too many calories. And if you understand this concept, there is no reason to stay on such a restricted single food type diet. You can simply use the EMI table and find hundreds of foods that help to promote weight loss.

Protein Power Plan (also see High-Protein Diets)

This books was written by a husband and wife medical team, Michael and Mary Dan Eades. The book's premise is that food should be used to condition your body, and that fat is a high-octane energy source. They believe that carbohydrates are the cause of a number of health problems including obesity. They cite the rise in national rates of obesity and the fall in national fat intake as proof that low fat diets don't work and that high carbohydrates cause obesity. In truth, the relationship between a reduction in fat link between carbohydrate and obesity is non-existent. In fact, the opposite is true. As described above, correlation studies indicate that the more a population eats carbohydrate, the more it tends to be slim. (Dreon) the health benefits of complex carbohydrates are well documented and supported by the health community. Grain foods such as bread, bagels, tortillas, cereals and pastas are typically low in fat and include essential vitamins and minerals. Because glucose is the only form of energy the brain can use, carbohydrates are of prime importance to all of us.No scientific, peer-reviewed journal has published any article verifying the long-term success of the following high protein diets: Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution, The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet and Protein Power. Quite the opposite is true, in fact. Back in the 1970's the Journal of the American Medical Association soundly criticized the "ketogenic" approach to weight control.

Fit For Life (also see Food Combining Diets)

Published in 1985, is based on the food combing concept and it suggests consuming fruit and fruit juices before noon.

Caveman Diet

The Caveman Diet is a recent addition to the weight loss arena. This diet purportss to help people lose weight based on the foods that the cavemen ate prior to human's ability to harvest grains for food. Followers of this program are allowed to eat meat, fish, vegetables and fruit, but no grain products. It is believed that the grains are the downfall of human's health and that by avoiding them we can live longer and avoid many diet-related illnesses. As with most new diet fads, this does not have enough significant scientific evidence to back up its claims. The emphasis on meats makes many medical experts wary of this diet's effect on blood fat levels, cholesterol and heart disease.

Liquid Diets (also see Crash Diets)

(Optifast, Slim Fast, Nestle Sweet Success, e.g.) Liquid diets either ask you replace your meals with these liquid concoctions entirely or at least for 2 meals a day. Typically, you need to add milk (read about dairy in our tips section) or sometimes they are offered as pre-mixed shakes or candy-like bars. They basically provide a semi-starvation diet. Some people like the convenience of these shakes, but they are often filled with sugar and many times people remain hungry. Once you return to eating solid foods full-time, the pounds will probably return and you never really learn how to eat properly for optimum health and nutrition.

Cabbage Soup Diet (also see Crash Diets)

This crash diet lasts for 7 days and you basically make a big batch of home made cabbage soup and each day you eat as much of it you want and add certain foods each day. Experts agree that this is mainly another crash diet whose weight loss is mainly from water loss. Cabbage has no fat-burning powers, says Xavier Pi-Sunyer, M.D. Director of The Obesity Research Center at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York. Some dieters complain of gas, nausea, and light-headedness on this diet.

Food Combining Diets

Food Combining diets gained popularity in the 1930's, but do not have any scientific validation as to their effectiveness. They are based on the principle that certain combinations of foods, like protein and carbohydrates shouldn't be eaten together and that there are special times throughout the day when eating carbohydrates is more weight loss promoting than eating protein. Some of the more well known food combing diets are Fit For Life and Beverly Hills Diet.

Crash Diets

More and more research points to the fact that most low-calorie dieting (below 1200) is doing to our bodies more harm than good. According to Dr. C.W. Callaway of the Mayo Clinic, when a person goes on a low calorie diet, her metabolism - the food/energy thermostat of the body, actually decreases to compensate for the reduced caloric intake. He states that it can drop by as much as 20% after just two weeks on a low calorie diet, and that more than half of all dieters ultimately gain back more weight than they lose.

For most women under 60 years of age, reduced food intake below 1200 calories is interpreted by the body as starvation. To "survive", the metabolic rate adjusts the systems in the body to function at a lower energy level, and often affects more than just digestion. Some people experience tiredness, lack of energy and water retention. The skin and hair may become drier, while the body develops an intolerance to cool temperatures. These symptoms can be traced to metabolic imbalance which is caused by low calorie or crash dieting.

Crash diets increase the risk of blood pressure problems, coronary heart disease, and can disturb the natural metabolic set point so that it interferes with the distribution of body fat. The body actually experiences malnutrition. This is the result of under-feeding the body, or feeding it the wrong foods . So, what started as a way to prolong life through a healthier body may actually be destroying and shortening it.

The dangers of crash dieting:

On a low calorie diet, metabolism decreases to compensate for reduced caloric intake. As a result, most dieters will gain back more weight than they lose.

Many dieters will experience lack of energy and water retention. Also skin and hair become dry, while the body develops an intolerance to cool temperatures.

Low calorie diets increase the risk of blood pressure problems, coronary heart disease, and can disturb the natural set point so that it interferes with the distribution of fat.

Low calorie dieting is also harmful psychologically. The lack of choice of food becomes frustrating, demeaning and destructive to self-esteem.

Check out some more information about some popular crash diets; Cabbage Soup Diet, Liquid Diets, Grapefruit Diet

Glycemic Index

The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of the blood glucose response to a particular food. Consumption of a food with a high GI value produces a significant rise in blood glucose levels. The theory is that consuming foods with lower GI index value will help to maintain a normal blood glucose level. Most nutritionists find the glycemic index to be of little use. For one thing, equal amounts of foods were compared rather than normal serving sizes. Secondly, when foods are served as part of a meal, along with other foods, this index changes dramatically. Thus, a dinner of carrots alone might cause a surge in blood sugar, but a meal of brown rice, lentils, and carrots will have a very different response. There is much conflicting evidence concerning the glycemic index and for many it is just a theory more than fact.

The satiety index (SI) is a relatively new concept that measures how full or satiated people feel after consuming a given calorie load from a variety of foods. It is measured by asking people to rate how satiated they are after a meal and by how much food they will eat after a 2 hour delay after consuming the test food. So a high SI food would leave people more satisfied after eating a set amount of calories and they would also eat less 2 hours later when given something else to eat presumably because they were still less hungry. It seems likely that a diet made up of higher SI foods would likely lead to less hunger and a lower calorie intake. The notion that high glycemic Index foods lead to obesity ultimately rests on the assumption that glycemic index equals SI. It turns out that the highest SI food tested was the potato which is also one of the highest GI foods. Clearly then, the presumption that all high GI foods lead to overeating and obesity is not correct. Therefore, the theory that high GI goods invariably lead to excessive insulin output which in turn prevents fat burning and promotes fat storage and obesity is of little scientific merit. In fact, insulin output in response to a meal correlates far better with total calories consumed than it does with the relative GI of the various foods in that meal. (Dr. Jay Kenney, PhD, RD)

Fat Blockers (also see OTC pills & supplements)

Here is an excerpt from an article by David Schardt from Nutrition Action Health Letter, Volume 26, number 6 regarding the popular over the counter diet aid that supposedly blocks fat absorption in your body, chitosan.

Chitosan (KITE-oh-san) is a dietary fiber-like substance made from chitin, which forms the hard shells of lobsters, crabs, and other shellfish. "Chitosan binds to fat and substances that are soluble in fat," explains Jan Wadstein of Natural Nutrition, a Norwegian chitosan manufacturer. "Companies have been studying the effect in people," he adds, "because humans don't have the enzymes to br4eak down chitosan." That allows it to pass through the intestinal tract, taking some fat along with it.

In a small, unpublished, company-sponsored study in Sweden, Wadstein fed 12 men and women of normal weight half a cup of cream along with 1,000 mg of chitosan. In eight of the people, the chitosan bound 8 to 14 percent of the cream's fat, preventing about 50 calories - not very much- from being absorbed. Chitosan had no effect in the other four people.

Three studies (all done in Europe) have looked at whether chitosan alone helps people lose weight. Only one found that it did. Ten overweight Italian men and women lost an average of nine pounds after taking 2,000 mg of chitosan and eating 1,200 calories a day for four weeks. Ten similar men and women who ate the same diet but got a placebo instead of chitosan shed six pounds.

But smaller amounts of chitosan didn't help overweight people who ate a low-calorie diet for four weeks in an unpublished Swedish trial, or overweight people who didn't diet in a recent not-yet-published British study. Chitosan-takers did lose an average of ten more pounds than placebo-takers in four small Italian studies. But it was mixed with guar gum, a soluble fiber that may have accounted for some or all of the weight loss.

A handful of small studies with inconsistent results is hardly what you'd call a ringing endorsement. But if you're thinking of taking chitosan anyway, be careful. While it may prevent fat from being absorbed, it can do the same to fat-soluble nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin E, and carotenoids. That's a list you don't want to mess with.

Blood levels of vitamin E dropped quickly and sharply in laboratory rats fed the equivalent of ten to 20 times the human dosage of chitosan for two weeks. And their bones lost calcium and other minerals. "So far, that hasn't been observed in people," says Wadstein. But the human studies lasted only four weeks or less, possibly not enough time for deficiencies to develop. And many of the disease-fighting phytochemicals in plant foods are fat-soluble, which makes them vulnerable to chitosan. Some drugs, including estrogen and contraceptives, are fat-soluble, too.

"These are concerns to be considered very carefully," says Wadstein. "It means you have to take your multivitamins and certain drugs at different times of the day than when you take your chitosan." And it means that you can't take chitosan indefinitely. "People should take it for just 1 or 2 three-month periods, with a break in between," says Wadstein.

Fat Burners (also see OTC Diet Pills & Supplements)

Over the counter diet supplements that purport to help you "burn fat" (i.e. Ultra burn, and CitraLean) contain HCA or Hydroxycitric Acid. Here is an excerpt from an article by David Schardt from Nutrition Action Health Letter Volume 26, number 6.

Citric acid is a key player in the process that turns food we eat into the calories our bodies burn or store as fat. HCA is a modified form of citric acid that "inhibits the enzyme that normally helps convert citric acid to fat," explains John Lowenstein of Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. That means that HCA may be able to temporarily prevent calories from being stored in bellies, hips, and thighs.

In the 1980's we dropped it when we saw toxicities in animals," says company spokesperson Darien Wilson. Among the problems: testicular atrophy (withering). "We never got as far as testing it in humans," adds Wilson. Trouble in animals may or may not translate into trouble in people. It depends on how much of which form of HCA was used and why it caused atrophy. Even so, it's unsettling that the two largest HCA manufacturers -InterHealth Nutraceuticals (Citrimax) and Sabinsa Corp. (Citrin) - apparently were unaware of Hoffmann-La Roche's animal studies.

Is buying HCA products a waste of money? Only two good published studies have tested whether HCA helps people lose weight. (Several other studies combined HCA with different ingredients, so no one knows how much, if any, of the weight loss was due to the HCA).

In Mexico, 18 obese men and women took 1,500 mg of a garcinia cambogia extract each day and were told to eat a 1,000-to-1,500-calorie diet. After eight weeks, they lost nine pounds, significantly more than the two pounds lost by 17 others who were on the same diet plus a (look-a-like but HCA-free) placebo.

But HCA went belly-up last year in a larger and longer study in the U.S. Every day for 12 weeks, 42 obese people took 1,500 mg of the Citrin brand of HCA while 42 other obese people got a placebo. Both groups were told to eat high-fiber diets with only 1,200 calories a day. After three months, the placebo-takers had lot nine pounds, the HCA-takers seven pounds. Statistically, that's a tie. "The company that sponsored the research wasn't happy about the outcome," remembers lead researcher Steven Heymsfield of the Obesity Research Center at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital in New York. "I came under a lot of pressure to not make the story as bad as it seems. It's still possible that HCA works under certain conditions that we haven't discovered yet, since it does cause weight loss in experimental animals at much higher dosages," notes Heymsfield.

Safety aside, with just two decent human studies that show opposite results, the bottom line is murky.

McDougall Program™

John McDougall's diet program is a vegetarian diet plan with a low fat, high complex carbohydrate content. This program is very similar to Dr. Shintani's program except that there are no animal products allowed and he does not base speak directly regarding the natural human hunger drive as Dr. Shintani's EMI, or Eat More Index does. Dr. Shintani's plan does allow for small amounts of non-fat dairy, and lean poultry, seafood and egg whites. Dr. Shintani acknowledges that John McDougall's program is a good way to eat and it is well documented.

Cambridge Diet™

The Cambridge Diet was created in the '60's and is basically a very low calorie diet that most people couldn't possibly stay on for too long. If you follow the program- 3 Cambridge pre-bought foods/meals a day plus "normal"servings of other foods - you will lose weight., but like most any diet plan that relies on shakes, bars and soups- you eventually need to go "off" them. You will not learn how to properly nourish your body and you will be disappointed when you gain all the weight back, which you most inevitably will. You must purchase the Cambridge meals (shakes, bars or soups) at a cost. The total calories for 3 servings (the most allowed in a day) is 420 calories! It is permissible to eat other foods on top of the 3 meals, and it is hoped that you will not binge, because the meals should provide you with the nourishment you need, thereby discouraging any excessive eating.

Scarsdale™ Diet (also see High Protein Diet)

The Scarsdale Diet is another generation of the same high protein, high fat, high cholesterol diet. In the '60's it was the Atkins diet, in the 70's it became the Stillman Diet and in the '80's is has become the Scarsdale Diet. Now it is the Protein Power Plan in the '90's.

Atkins Program™ (also see High Protein Diet)

The Atkin's Program is another generation of the same high protein, high fat, high cholesterol diet. In the '60's it was the Atkins diet, in the 70's it became the Stillman Diet and in the '80's is has become the Scarsdale Diet. Now it is the Protein Power Plan in the '90's.

Stillman Diet (also see High Protein Diet)

The Stillman Diet is another generation of the same high protein, high fat, high cholesterol diet. In the '60's it was the Atkins diet, in the 70's it became the Stillman Diet and in the '80's is has become the Scarsdale Diet. Now it is the Protein Power Plan in the '90's.

Dean Ornish

Dr. Dean Ornish has developed his vegetarian diet plan to be a high complex carbohydrate, very low fat (less than 10%) and moderate protein diet. He does allow non-fat dairy foods and processed or refined foods in moderation. This program is similar to Dr. Shintani's program, although the very low fat content may be hard to follow at times. Ornish's program does not speak directly to the concepts regarding the natural human hunger drive as Dr. Shintani's EMI, or Eat More Index does.

Pritikin™ Program

Dr. Robert Pritikin's program is highly regarded in scientific communities for its research and supports the basic principles outlined in Dr. Shintani's plan, that is, low fat, high complex carbohydrate, non-fat dairy and some processed foods in moderation. Pritikin's program is more restrictive in sodium and thus has less flavor than the Eat More, Weigh Less(r) program. It also does not speak directly to the concepts regarding the natural human hunger drive as Dr. Shintani's EMI, or Eat More Index does.

Prescription Weight Loss Drugs

We're all familiar with many of the prescribed drugs used in treating obesity (PhenFen, Meridia, etc.) You need to get a doctor's prescription in order to be on these medications and many times they are more harmful than they are beneficial. Remember to consider all the evidence before taking any of these drugs, ask your doctor for all the risks involved as some of these medications have been known to cause harmful side effects or interactions with other medications. As with most diets that involve pills, you never really learn how to prepare for a lifetime of eating to stay slim - these are usually always just a quick fix and when you stop taking them you will regain the weight. Many times it is psychologically devastating to put so much trust in a pill to help you lose weight to find that when you stop taking it, you are right back at the beginning.

Larry North's Great American Slim Down™

Larry North's Great American Slim Down Program is another program with very little medical credential to back it up. Although this program is similar to Susan Powter's in that it is a high complex carb program- it is not similar to Dr. Shintani's program in that Larry North allows red meat which has many detrimental effects in weight loss and in cardiovascular health. The number of recipes in the program are minimal as compared to Dr. Shintani's over 200 recipes.

The Hawaii Diet

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About Soy...

Soy: Potent Aid For Athletes

By Dr. Michael Colgan, PhD, CCN

Japanese women have small breasts. Japanese men have small prostates. Compared to Americans, that is, even Americans of Japanese descent. Japanese also enjoy much lower rates of breast and prostate cancer. Unless they migrate to America, that is, where their rates for those cancers rise rapidly towards the whopping U.S. levels.[1,2]

Discovery of these anomalies in the '60s led scientists to search for dietary differences between Japanese and Americans that might be causing certain cancers in America and protecting folk against them in Japan. The data base grew quickly to include colon cancer, endometrial cancer, high cholesterol, heart disease, osteoporosis, menopause and adult-onset diabetes, all in Japan's favor.[1] Despite their overcrowding and high levels of environmental pollution, low rates of these diseases have now made the Japanese the longest-lived people on Earth. They have an average lifespan of 80 years, longer than any Scandinavian country, and five years longer than Americans.[3]

No, it's not a genetic difference between races, because second generation Japanese-Americans suffer roughly the same disease rates as other Americans and live no longer than the American average. To cut a long story short, the only difference that crops up constantly to explain Japan's superior health is the preponderance of vegetable protein in their diets.

The Trouble With Meat

Americans get a surfeit of chicken soup for the soul, but it's not doing our bodies a whole lot of good. Our high animal protein diets, with the highest rates of chicken and beef consumption in the world, are crucifying our health. Let's take the example of cardiovascular disease. Over 96,000,000 adult Americans - that's more than half the total adult population - now have blood cholesterol levels over 200 mg/dl (5.2 mmol/l). Nearly 38,000,000 have levels over 240 mg/dl (6.2 mmol/l).[4] Just to remind you, risk of cardiovascular disease starts to rise at a cholesterol level of 168 mg/dl (4.4 mmol/l). At 240 mg/dl, you are a walking time bomb for a heart attack.[3]

"So what?" you say. "I'm healthy, low bodyfat, train regularly, including cardio. I'm not your average Joe."

No, you're not an average Joe. Bodybuilders ear a lot more animal protein than average Joes. And even though they peel every scrap of skin off their chicken breasts, that extra protein whacks them good. We took a sample off the Colgan Institute computer record of the cholesterol levels of 100 drug-free bodybuilders we have worked with. Average cholesterol was 204 mg/dl (5.3 mmol/l), well into the range of cardiovascular risk. Bodybuilding diets, developed over the last 40 years under the ugly influence of steroids, are not nearly as healthy as you think.

How can this be, when we all eat a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet and exercise enough to bust a gut? We're closer to the US health authorities' advice for heart health than any other group in the nation. Sorry guys, but I have to explode another health myth. Medical thinking and public belief are still stuck on the notion that high levels of fats in food - especially saturated animal fats and trans-fats - are the only causes of high cholesterol worth worrying about. It's all a load of 30-years-out-of-date cobblers.

True, a high-fat diet will send your cholesterol over the moon, but it's not just the fat that does it. The fat may not even be the main cause. The National Cholesterol Education Program Diet, which embodies low-fat, low-cholesterol food, achieves only a modest 10% reduction in high cholesterol levels.[5] I have to tell you that recent evidence shows, it's the animal protein itself that disorders cholesterol metabolism.[6,8]

Those Pesky Hormones

I only have space to give you a taste of the reasons why animal proteins increase cholesterol levels. A big one, that all athletes should know, is that the amino acid structure of the proteins you eat has potent effects on your hormones. Most bodybuilders are familiar with using single amino acids such as L-arginine and ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate to increase growth hormone output. But few that I ask have made the connection between these effects and the amino acids in intact proteins. Knowing just what aminos do cannot only help your heart, but can also save you a lot of grief in the gym.

All the usual meats we eat contain high levels of the amino acid L-lysine but only moderate levels of L-arginine. L-lysine strongly opposes the growth-hormone releasing, muscle-building, fat-reducing effects of L-arginine. In fact, L-lysine acts on your hormones much like a high-fat diet. It increases insulin production and reduces glucagon production by the pancreas. This change in the ration in insulin to glucagon signals your liver to make fat and cholesterol like crazy.[9,10] If you add L-lysine to animal diets, their cholesterol levels increase by over 50%, and they grow plump as Pooh Bear.[9,10]

Now you know why smart guys in sports medicine advocate additional L-arginine or OKG with every animal protein meal. If you've been doing everything else right, but just can't shift that bodyfat, or get your cholesterol down to 150, L-lysine in your meat is one likely culprit.

Soy To The Rescue

As I've documented numerous times, soy protein isolate has a lower biological value (BV) than whey protein concentrate. It doesn't generate near as much muscle as the recently developed whey isolates.[11] But soy has other advantages which makes it a valuable food for athletes. First, soy protein contains a low lysine to arginine ratio than meats. Numerous recent studies show that substitution of 30 grams of soy protein daily for a meat meal reduces the insulin to glucagon ratio, increases blood levels of arginine, and dramatically reduces cholesterol levels.[2] Now you might start to realize why the soy-eating Japanese outlive us.

There are no studies on athletes yet to confirm bodyfat reduction by soy. But most of the fat-reducing claims of the popular Zone Diet is complicated and too high in fat for most athletes. Soy is simple and may do the job in a snap.

Isoflavones For Breast Health

Soy also contains the isoflavones genestein and diadzein, which offer potent protection for athletes against a variety of ills. Here's a sampling of the latest studies, presented at the International Medical Conference on Soy, held in Brussels, Belgium in September, 1996.[2] I will group them in order of the physical characteristics and health advantages of Japanese citizens, noted at the start of this article.

First is breast size and breast cancer. Studies of human breast cells by Dr. Stephen Barnes and colleagues at the University of Alabama show that genestein from soy strongly inhibits breast growth in healthy breast tissue. More important, genestein also prevents proliferation of many types of human breast cancer cells. Dr. Dolores Foth and colleagues at Universitat Griefswald, in Germany, report similar findings in female macaque monkeys fed isoflavone-enriched soy protein isolate. In addition, they found that the soy inhibited both breast and endometrial growth.

An extensive epidemiological study supports these findings. Dr Anna Wu and colleagues at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles studied breast cancer rates of Chinese-American, Japanese-American, and Filipino-American women in Los Angeles and Hawaii. They found that the higher the tofu intake, the lower the breast cancer rate. These and similar finding reported at the Brussels Conference indicate that soy isoflavones may be the major variable in the smaller breast size and much lower breast cancer rates of Japanese women.

I always thought the Western cult of massive mammaries one of the silliest excursions of man's tendency to vulgarize female anatomy. Breast cancer is the most frequent form of cancer in American women. Female athletes can gain potent protection by adding tofu, miso and soy protein isolate to their nutrition.

Prostate Protection

Bodybuilders are always trying to increase testosterone levels, and their levels are a lot higher than the average. By itself, weight training increases testosterone levels, and so does large muscle mass. For muscle and strength it's a dandy idea. For health it's risky business.

Anything that increases testosterone increases the risk of high dihydrotestosterone and stimulation of prostate growth. Overgrowth of your prostate doesn't necessarily lead to cancer, but I wouldn't bet on it. Cancer aside, I've seen too many 35- and 40-year-old bodybuilders driven crazy by prostatitis and other prostate problems. Regular use of soy may be all that they need.

Researchers at the Department of Urology at South Manchester University Hospital in England fed normal prostate cells and prostate cancer cells genestein and diadzein. The soy isoflavones inhibited normal prostate cell growth and completely stopped the cancer cell growth. Soy is likely a major reason why most Japanese men keep their prostates untrammeled for life.

Soy For Bones

Athletes train to extremes these days in order to feature among the elite. In last month's ALL NATURAL MD, I reviewed evidence showing that this training reduces estrogen in women and testosterone in men, and also induces mineral deficiencies. These changes are sufficient to cause rapid bone loss in both males and females, and are a major factor in the high rate of stress fractures in athletes.

As I showed in the article, this bone loss can be inhibited by mineral supplementation. But there's no doubt hormones are also involved. Anabolic hormone supplementation, however, is neither desirable nor permissible for drug-free athletes. Soy may provide an effective alternative.

Multiple animal and human studies presented at the Brussels Conference show that genestein from soy prevents bone loss. Highlights: Dr. Harry Blair at the University of Alabama reported that genestein specifically reduces formation of osteoclasts, the cells that degrade bone. Dr. John Anderson and team at the University of North Carolina showed that genestein saves as much bone as an equivalent dose of estradiol (estrogen), and with none of estrogen's toxic effects. Dr. John Erdman at the University of Illinois showed that 40 grams a day of soy isolate protein, containing 90 mg total isoflavones, significantly increased bone density in post-menopausal women. Soy seems smart thinking as a supplement for bones.

Soy Is Antioxidant

Soy isoflavones have a long reach. They influence many systems throughout the body. One way that genestein inhibits cardiovascular disease, for example, is by inhibiting platelet aggregation and the oxidation of low density lipoproteins [LDL], the starting phases of atherosclerosis. Dr. Norberta Schone from the USDA Human Nutrition Center in Beltsville, Maryland, reports that genestein neutralizes free radicals in blood platelets. Dr. Takemishi Kanazawa of Hirosaki School of Medicine, Japan, reports that soy strongly inhibits LDL oxidation. With the enormous free radical load produced by exercise, athletes need all the food-borne antioxidants they can get.

Soy Is Diuretic

Bodybuilders are forever asking me how to lose water just prior to contests, without getting that flat look that comes from sweating it out in the sauna. I cover various ways of doing it in Optimum Sports Nutrition.[12] One thing I didn't cover is soy. Interesting new evidence comes from R.M. Martinez and colleagues at the Zaragosa Faculty of Medicine in Spain. Following previous reports that soy isoflavones improve kidney function in diabetes and other disorders, they compared genestein with the strong loop diuretic drug furosemide. In rat kidney tissue, the isoflavone produced a diuretic effect equal to that of the drug. No studies exist in healthy humans yet, but it looks promising.

Gender Differences

From its effects on female breast and endometrial tissue, you may have guessed by now that genestein belongs to that class of chemicals loosely called phytoestrogens. This gobbledegook term simply means chemicals from plants with estrogenic activity in animals. This activity has prompted some writers to warn male athletes against soy isoflavones, because they are estrogen mimics that will distort hormone balance and whack hard-earned muscle. They're dead wrong.

Dr. L.J. Lul and team at the University of Texas in Galveston gave men and pre-menopausal women 1000 mg genestein and 100 mg diadzein daily for a month, contained in soy milk. They measured their hormones up, down, and sideways. In these women, estrogen levels dropped by 60%, and progesterone levels dropped by 35%. These hormone changes support the beneficial effects of soy isoflavones in preventing overgrowth of breast tissue and preventing breast and endometrial cancer.

In men, however, both estrogen and testosterone levels remained unchanged, but metabolites of dihydrotestosterone declined by 13%. Other markers of possible pre-cancerous changes in the prostate declined by up to 60%.

These and similar findings in other studies prompt two conclusions. First, they support the evidence that soy isoflavones inhibit the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, and thus reduce prostate overgrowth, and reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Second, they indicate clear gender differences in the action of these isoflavones.

Animal studies confirm these gender differences. Normal male rats injected with diadzein show big rises in growth hormone and testosterone levels and increased muscle gain. Normal female rats show big declines in growth hormone and testosterone levels and reduced muscle gain.[13] Soy isoflavones don't appear to have any detectable estrogenic action in males that is detrimental to anabolic hormones or muscle.

Use The Right Soy

Soy products differ enormously in their isoflavone content. Some soy proteins are cheaply produced by alcohol extraction from the beans. This process removes most of the isoflavones. Modern mass-produced, low-fat versions of traditional soy foods such as tofu also lose more than half their isoflavones in processing.[14] Many soy products that try to imitate Western foods - such as bacon, sausages, and burgers - have been rooted, tooted, roasted, toasted, and chemically lambasted until there's nothing left.

In contrast, traditional Japanese fermented soy foods not only retain their isoflavones, but render them more bioavailable.[15] Good water-extracted soy protein isolate (such as TWINLAB's Vege Fuel) also retains its essential nature.[13] I believe this is the best soy protein available.

You don't have to eat alot. Traditional oriental soy products or Vege Fuel soy protein isolate, yielding 30 grams of soy protein a day, provides everything you need for the isoflavone advantage.[2]


Messina MJ, et al. Soy intake and cancer: a review of the in vitro and in vivo data Nutr Cancer, 1994;21:113-131.

Messina MJ, et al(eds). Second International Symposium on the Role of Soy in Preventing and Treating Chronic Diseases. Brussels, Belgium; 19 Sept. 1996:36.

Colgan M. The New Nutrition. Vancouver: Apple Publishing, 1995.

American Heart Association, Heart and Stroke Facts, 1996. Statistical Supplement. AHA, 1996.

National Cholesterol Education Program Expert Panel. NIH Publication No. 91-2732, 1991.

Wolfe BM, et al. Hypolipidemic effect of substituting soybean protein isolate for all meat and dairy products in the diets of hypercholestrolemic men. Nutr Rep Int. 1981:24:1187-1198.

Potter SM, et al. Depression of plasma cholesterol in men by consumption of baked products containing soy protein. Am J Clin Nutr, 1993;58:501-506.

Wang MF, et al. Antihypercholesterolemic effect of undigested fraction of soybean protein in young female volunteers. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol. 1995;41:187-195.

Kritchevsky D. Dietary protein and experimental atherosclerosis. Ann NY Acad Sci. 1993;676:180-187.

Kurowska EM, Carroll KK. Hypercholesterolemic responses in rabbits to selected groups of essential amino acids. J Nutr, 1994;124:364-370.

Colgan M. The Sports Nutrition Pocket Guide. Vancouver: Apple Publications, 1998.

Colgan M. Optimum Sports Nutrition. Advanced Research Press. New York, 1993.

Wang J. Han ZK. Effects of diadzein on muscle growth and some endocrine hormone levels in rats. In Messina MJ. Et al(eds). Second International Symposium on the Role of Soy in Preventing and Treating Chronic Diseases. Brussels, Belgium:19 Sept. 1996:45.

Coward L. et al. Chemical modification of isoflavones in soy foods during cooking and processing. In Messina MJ. Et al (eds). Second International Symposium on the Role of Soy in Preventing and Treating Chronic Diseases. Brussels, Belgium:19 Sept. 1996:70.

Slavin JL. Et al. Influence of soybean processing, habitual diet and soy dose on urinary isoflavone excretion in humans. In Messina MJ. Et al(eds). Second International Symposium on the Role of Soy in Preventing and Treating Chronic Diseases. Brussels, Belgium:19 Sept. 1996:71.

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