Your Waist to Height Ratio and The Relationship of Diet, Food and Nutrition to Health – Part One of an Autobiographical Book Report by Gary S. Smolker on “Wheat Belly” by William Davis, MD, “The Starch Solution” by John A. McDougall, MD and Mary McDougall, “The Blood Sugar Solution” by Mark Hyman, MD, and “The Virgin Diet” by JJ Virgin, CNS, CHFS.

Introduction

I don’t want to get diabetes or to be overweight.

I have been told there is a relationship between what you eat and health.

I’ve read that nearly all people who are overweight (over 70 percent of adult Americans) already have pre-diabetes and have significant risks of disease and death.  They just don’t know it yet.

In September, 2012, I decided to focus on learning what to eat.

In the middle of September and in the months that followed, I changed my normal day to day diet by following a food plan prepared for me by a professional dietitian.

Later, in January, 2013, I changed what I was eating (I modified the food plan my dietitian had prepared for me in September) by ceasing to consume food containing wheat products. Additionally, I limited the amount of fruit I ate and simultaneously, I increased the amount of meat, cheese, eggs and nuts and seeds I ate, based on what I had learned or discovered from reading “Wheat Belly” by William Davis, M.D.

Later, in early April, 2013,  I further modified what I ate after reading “The Starch Solution” by John A. McDougall.

I ceased consuming nuts and seeds altogether and I also stopped consumption of all dairy products; additionally, I also stopped taking vitamins and supplements based on what I became aware of while reading “The Starch Solution” by John A. McDougall, M.D.

Later yet, at the end of April, after I read in “The Blood Sugar Solution” by Mark Hyman, MD, that “The addition of high levels of fiber to the diet is as effective as diabetes medicine in lowering blood sugar.”  celery became my favorite snack food.

By late April, 2013, seven months after I began to follow the initial food plan prepared by my dietitian for me and after continuing to follow that diet as modified by me after reading “Wheat Belly” and as further modified by me after reading “The Starch Solution”,  and as further modified by reading “The Virgin Diet” and by reading “The Blood Sugar Solution”, I had lost more than 20 pounds.

The level of triglycerides in my blood, according to the most recent test of a blood sample drawn from me, had dropped by almost fifty percent.

I am still losing weight.

In one of the books I review in this autobiographical book report (“The Blood Sugar Solution”), the author Mark Hyman, MD advises that your waist to height ratio is a significant predictor of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and the risk of death, and is a more significant predictor than almost any other number.

In my reading of the books reviewed in this post, I also discovered that currently there are no national screening recommendations, no treatment guidelines, no approved medications and no reimbursement to health care providers for diagnosing and treating anything other than full blown diabetes albeit nearly all people who are overweight already have pre-diabetes and have significant risks of disease and death.  They just don’t know it yet.

Think about that.  Doctors are not expected, trained, or paid to diagnose and treat the single biggest chronic disease in America, which along with smoking, causes nearly all the major health care burdens of the twenty-first century, including heart disease, stroke, dementia, and even cancer.

The things I read in the books I review in this book report convince me that pre-diabetes is not pre anything.  It is a deadly disease driving heart attacks, strokes, cancer, dementia and more.

At least two of the authors believe that the standard of care in the medical community for preventing diabetes and for treating diabetes is abysmal.

  1. In “The Blood Sugar Solution”, Dr. Hyman states: Treating diabetes with medications or insulin is like mopping up the floor while the faucet continues to overflow.
  2. In “Wheat Belly” Dr. Davis states: Years ago I used the ADA diet in diabetic patients.  Following the carbohydrate intake advice of the ADA, I watched the patients gain weight, experience deteriorating blood glucose control and increased need for medication and develop diabetic complications such as kidney disease and neuropathy.  Just as Ignaz Semmelweis caused the incidence of childhood fever in his practice to nearly vanish just by washing his hands, ignoring ADA diet advice and cutting carbohydrate intake leads to improved blood sugar control, reduced HbA1c, dramatic weight loss, and improvement in all the metabolic messiness of diabetes such as high blood pressure and triglycerides.  The ADA advises diabetes to cut fat, reduce saturated fat, and include 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrate – preferably ‘healthy whole grains – in each meal, or 135 to 180 grams of carbohydrates per day, not including snacks.  It is, in essence, a fat phobic, carbohydrate centered diet, with 55 to 65 percent of calories from carbohydrates.  If I were to sum up the views of the ADA toward diet, it would be: Go ahead and eat sugar and foods that increase blood sugar, just be sure to adjust your medications to compensate.  But while ‘fighting fire with fire’ may work with pest control and passive aggressive neighbors, you can’t charge you way out of credit card debt and you can’t carbohydrate-stuff your way out of diabetes.  … To this day, the notion of treating diabetics by increasing consumption of foods that caused the disease in the first place, then managing the blood sugar mess with medications persists.

By the way, Albert Einstein once said: We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

Reading the four books I review in this book report was very eye opening for me.

Among other things, I was surprised to read that taking statins and beta-blockers (I take a statin, Lipitor) cause insulin resistance because the doctor who prescribed Lipitor for treating my “high cholesterol” never informed me of that fact or discussed the possibility or claim that taking Lipitor would or might cause insulin resistance and/or higher the level of glucose (sugar) in my blood serum.

I have been advised that I have what is known as pre-diabetes.

On the topic of having pre-diabetes, here is what Dr. Hyman says in “The Blood Sugar Solution”:

“Many people believe that pre-diabetes isn’t a problem until it becomes full-blown diabetes, that is just a warning sign.  Nothing could be further from the truth. It is an earlier stage of diabesity that carries all the risks of diabetes.  Pre-diabetes can kill you before you ever get to diabetes, through heart attacks, strokes, and even cancer.

“Pre-diabetes can even cause ‘pre-dementia’ or mild cognitive impairment – think of it as early Alzheimer’s.  Recent studies have shown that diabetics have a fourfold increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s, and patients with pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome have a dramatically increased risk of pre-dementia or mild cognitive impairment (MCI).  You don’t even have to have diabetes to have brain damage and memory loss from high insulin levels and insulin resistance,  Just having pre-diabetes can give you pre-dementia.  Recent studies have shown that as your waist size goes up, the size of your brain goes down.

“…So if your doctor has diagnosed you with pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome, don’t think that you are at risk for something ‘in the future,’ such as diabetes or heart attack.  The problems are happening right now.”

People, myself included, are concerned and confused about what food to eat: the relationship between food, diet, nutrition and health.

After reading the four books reviewed here, I now believe heart disease, diabetes, and cancer are lifestyle diseases.

After reading those books and changes my own eating habits, I also believe that high blood pressure, overweight, physical inactivity, high blood sugar and high cholesterol are preventable risk factors.

When I began the diet described and commented upon in this autobiographical book report, I had a lot to learn about the relationship of diet, food and nutrition to health.

As a result of reading those books and performing the dietary experiments described in this book report, I learned a lot, beyond the advice given to me by my dietitian and beyond the advice given to me by my primary care physician.

The books I review here each broadcast, the same message  – We should focus on creating health because:

  1. Disease goes away as a side effect of getting healthy.
  2. Eating whole real fresh food and exercising vigorously will keep your blood sugar low and your insulin needs down.
  3. Food is not just calories.  It is information.
  4. Food is the information that quickly changes your metabolism and genes.
  5. The quality of the food we put in our bodies drives our gene function, metabolism and health.
  6. You lose weight by getting your system in balance, not by starving yourself.
  7. The same things that make you sick, make you fat, so when you address the underlying cause of disease, the weight loss is automatic.

Reading Dr. Mark Hyman’s book “The Blood Sugar Solution” confirmed for me that I must take informed action, as the captain of my own ship, regarding the diet to be on in the future.

  • Dr. Hyman claims: Anyone with a fasting blood sugar level greater than 87 mg/dl is at increased risk of diabetes.  Normal blood sugar level is 90 mg/dl.
  • When I decided to go on my diet my last fasting blood sugar level reading was 87 mg/dl.
  • Dr. Hyman also claim that ideal Hemoglobin A1c (HgA1c) is under 5.5.  According to the lab that performed my Hemoglobin A1c test: A HgA1c level between 5.4 and 6.4 indicates increased risk for diabetes.  A HbgA1c level above 6.4 indicates diabetes. According to that lab report I received: I had increased risk for diabetes.

I read the books reviewed here, performed the research and diet experimentation by modifying what I eat, as discussed in this autobiographical book report, because I don’t want to have diabetes or to be overweight.

My Food Preferences, Changes in Diet, Health and Changes in Health

I am 67 years old.

I love licorice, popcorn, Cheetos, pretzels, Frito Corn Chips, wheat thins, triscuits, ice cream, hot fudge on ice cream, caramel on ice cream, chocolate, fruit (especially mangoes, pineapple, watermelon, cherries, plumbs and grapes), pizza, pasta, Chinese food, Thai food, Persian food, Mexican food, Italian food, Jewish Delicatessen food, smoked fish, Sea Bass, Shrimp, Sand Dabs, Hamburgers, BBQ Spare Ribs, Beef Stew, Steak, hot dogs, baked beans, re-fried beans, potatoes, corn, rice and breads of all kind (sour dough bread, French bread, wheat bread, rye bread, and bagels) and See’s candies, especially See’s molasses chips covered with dark chocolate candy, and  See’s nuts and chews covered with dark chocolate candies.

In September, 2012, I read a lab report which informed me that I have an increased high risk for diabetes due to having a high blood sugar level.

I decided to take positive action, to become pro-active, by taking steps (a) to lower the level of glucose level in my blood (my blood sugar level), (b) to lower my HgbA1c level (average fasting glucose level over a two to three month period), (c) to lower my total cholesterol, (d) to lower the level of triglycerides in my blood and (d) to lose weight.

My primary care physician gave me a prescription to have a series of consultations with a professional dietitian on the staff of a highly regarded hospital (Saint John’s Medical Center) located in Santa Monica, California.

When I began consulting with her (that dietitian), I assumed and was assured she is expert in providing medical nutrition therapy, in providing nutrition and diabetes education, that is what is indicated on her business card.

I got down to the business of trying to protect myself from getting diabetes and losing weight on September 19, 2012, by beginning to attended a series of one-on-one educational consultations with that dietician at that hospital.

At first, I followed all the advice and instructions she gave me and I followed the food plan (ate what was on the food plan) prepared for me by that dietitian, except I ate bigger proportions than specified in my food plan of meat, chicken and fish.

I lost weight and was happy about my weight loss.

However, the meals that I ate for dinner were not fulfilling.  I was still hungry after eating my dinner.

A few months after I had been following the diet given to me by my dietitian, I read “Wheat Belly” by William Davis, MD.

After reading what Dr. Davis said about wheat, meat, eggs, nuts and seeds, I modified my diet (what I ate in the food plan given to my by my dietitian) by excluding all foods containing wheat or a wheat product from my diet (which my dietitian had told me it was okay to eat and had included in my food plan) and I began to eat copious amounts of nuts and seeds albeit my dietitian had told me to eat only a small amount of nuts and seeds.

Eating seeds and nuts made me feel full after eating, satisfied my hunger pains.

My dietitian had advised me that I should not eat more than six or ten nuts at a time.  Dr. Davis advises that you may eat as many nuts and seeds as you want to eat.

Dr. Davis also advises that it is okay to eat as many eggs as you desire and it is okay to eat meat.

In his book “Wheat Belly” Dr. Davis has a chart which specifies:

  1. Foods to consume in unlimited quantities which include vegetables (except potatoes and corn), raw nuts and seeds, meats and eggs, cheese, non-sugary condiments, avocados, olives, coconut, spices and unsweetened cocoa or cacao.
  2. Foods to consume in limited quantities which include non-cheese dairy (including milk, cottage cheese, yogurt and butter), fruit (but be careful of sugary fruits including pineapple, papaya, mango and banana and avoid dried fruit especially figs and dates), whole corn, fruit juices,  non-wheat, non-gluten grains (quinoa, buckwheat, rice, oats and while rice), legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas, white and red potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, soy products.
  3. Foods to consume rarely or never which include wheat products (wheat-based breads, pasta, noodles, cookies, cakes, pies, cupcakes, breakfast cereals, pancakes, waffles, pita, couscous, rye, bulgur, barley, unhealthy oils (fried, hydrogenated, polyunsaturated especially corn, sunflower, safflower, cotton seed), gluten-free foods (especially those made with cornstarch, rice starch, potato starch or tapioca starch), dried fruit (figs, dates, prunes, raisins, cranberries), fried foods, sugary snacks (candies, ice cream, sherbert, fruit roll-ups, craisins, energy bars), sugary fructose-rich sweeteners (agave syrup or nectar, honey, maple syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, sucrose), and sugary condiments (jellies, jams, preserves, ketchup, chutney).

After reading what Dr. Davis says in “Wheat Belly” about nuts, seeds, eggs and meat, I upped the amount of nuts, seeds, eggs and meat I ate beyond the limitations that had been specified by my dietitian.

After reading both “Wheat Belly” by William Davis, MD and “The Starch Solution” by William McDougall MD, I discovered that Dr. Davis and Dr. McDougall disagree on what food should be eaten and which foods should not be eaten.

I came to realize that the dietary and nutritional instructions my dietitian had given me are highly controversial in that those two experts vehemently disagree with different aspects of the food plan developed for me by my dietitian.

I discovered that in every meal my dietitian planned for me to eat there was at least one food that either Dr. Davis and Dr. McDougall warn against eating.

Below is a list of some of the foods my dietitian advised me to eat (which she had included in the food plan she prepared for me to follow) which Dr. Davis and/or Dr. McDougall advise against eating.

  • My dietitian advised me to eat cottage cheese, fruit, cereal,and toast for breakfast (and she included those foods in the food plan for breakfast she gave me) and to drink coffee. In his book “Wheat Belly”, Dr. Davis advises against eating any product containing wheat.  Don’t eat toast, don’t eat any product containing wheat including any kind of bread, wheat bread is dangerous to your health. Dr. Davis also advises to minimize consumption of fruit and of dairy products except cheese.
  • In his book “The Starch Solution”, Dr. McDougall advises against eating any dairy product, i.e., it is not okay to eat cottage cheese, it is not okay to eat any kind of yogurt, it is not okay to drink milk, etc.  Contrary to Dr. Davis’ advice, Dr. McDougall advises that it is okay to consume as much fruit and toast (bread/wheat product) as you want unless you are part of the one percent of the population who has celiac disease.
  • My dietitian advised me it is okay and desirable to have Kashi Autumn Wheat cereal with milk for breakfast (she included that breakfast in the food plan she prepared for me to follow).  She also told me it is okay and desirable to eat yogurt (she included yogurt in my breakfast food plan and in my snack food plan); she also told me it is also okay to eat a limited number of eggs (which she included in my food plan) and to have/consume turkey or chicken breakfast links and toast with my eggs during breakfast. In “Wheat Belly”: Dr. Davis advises against eating any product that contains wheat, i.e. don’t eat toast or bagels.  However, Dr. Davis approves of eating as much meat as you wish.  Contrariwise, in “The Starch Solution”, Dr. McDougall advises against consuming any dairy product, i.e., don’t drink milk, don’t have milk with cereal, don’t eat yogurt.  Dr. McDougall also advises against eating eggs or any meat or chicken, i.e. don’t eat turkey or chicken links with eggs for breakfast.  Contrary to Dr. Davis, Dr. McDougall advises that it is okay and advisable to eat grains such as wheat.
  • My dietitian advised me that I should eat a roast beef, turkey, tuna salad or grilled chicken sandwich (she recommended that my sandwich be on wheat bread) for lunch and she also advised me to eat salads with chicken, steak, salmon, tuna or turkey for lunch.  Dr. Davis, the author of “Wheat Belly”, has no problem with a recommendation to eat roast beef, turkey, tuna or chicken but strongly recommends against eating any product containing wheat, including wheat bread.  Contrariwise, in “The Starch Solution”, Dr. McDougall strongly advises against consuming meat (i.e. roast beef), poultry (i.e., chicken and turkey) and fish.  However, unlike Dr. Davis, Dr. McDougall states that eating wheat containing products is healthy thing to do except if you are part of the one percent of the population which has celiac disease.
  • My dietitian also told me it is okay to eat Almonds and Walnuts and Cashews (6 maximum).  Dr. Davis advises that you may eat as many nuts and seeds as you wish.  Dr. McDougall advises that you should not eat nuts or seeds but if you “must” you show eat only a few.

My dietitian also advised me to take various vitamins pills I was taking with my breakfast meal and to take the cholesterol lowering pill (Lipitor) and the high blood pressure lowering pills (HCTZ and Atenolol) I was taking  before dinner.

In “The Starch Solution”, Dr. McDougall advises against taking any vitamin pills and advises against taking any supplements.  In “Wheat Belly”, Dr. Davis advises against taking Calcium supplements but has no comment/advice on vitamins. In “Blood Sugar Solution”, Mark Hyman, MD advises it is necessary for everyone to take vitamins and supplements.

At one of my early meetings with my dietitian, my dietitian gave me a plate on which three food groups are designated with the portion/size of each food from each food group to be eaten at each meal.

The plate I was given by my dietitian is divided into the following three sections:

  1. Section One has printed in it the word “protein.”  By the word “protein” she was referring to meat, poultry and fish.  Dr. Davis advises that you can eat as much meat as you want.  I also believe he has no objection to you eating as much poultry and fish as you desire.  Dr. McDougall, on the other hand, advises that you should not eat any meat, or any poultry or fish.
  2. Section Two, which is the same size as the Section One, has printed in it the word “starch”, and also the words “potatoes”, “pasta”, “rice”, “corn”, “peas” and “beans.”
  3. Section Three of the plate, which is approximately twice the size of either of the other two sections, has printed in it the word “vegetables.”

My dietitian also showed me figurines which depict the size of a portion of meat, fish or poultry you are allowed to eat at each meal.

My dietitian never advised me that I could get all the protein I needed by eating plants/vegetables, potatoes, beans, etc., i.e. that I didn’t need to eat meat or poultry or fish in order to consume enough protein.

Dr. McDougall advises in “The Starch Solution” that the following foods are never part of a healthy diet, and should be meticulously avoided, if you are to benefit from the diet he recommends in “The Starch Solution”:

  • Meat, such as beef, pork, lamb
  • Poultry, such as chicken, turkey, duck
  • Dairy foods, such as milk, cheese, yogurt, sour cream
  • Eggs
  • Animal fats
  • Vegetable oils, including olive oil, corn, flaxseed, canola, and safflower oils
  • Processed and packaged foods, except for ones containing only permitted ingredients

In “The Starch Solution” Dr. McDougall states that the diet he recommends is not a diet in the traditional sense of restricting how much you can eat. “So long as you choose the right foods, you always eat until you fee comfortably full and satisfied.  If you are hungry again an hour later, eat some more. You need never again feel hungry or deprived.

Dr. McDougall’s diet “… does not require you to purchase prepared foods, count calories or starch equivalents, keep a food journal or exercise log, or eat only specified menus or dishes at particular times.  So long as you eat only the permitted ingredients you can combine them in any way you like, in any preparation, to suit your own taste  You can eat a wide variety or limit your choices to a few simple dishes repeated over and over again.

In Chapter 13 of “The Starch Solution”, claims you the following will occur if you follow his “Starch Solution Diet”:

“Your friends are going to be mighty envious.  First they’ll notice you lost weight; then that you’re looking great. Next they’ll hear that you’ve gotten your blood pressure down so far that your doctor was incredulous – especially because you gave up the meds you were prescribed to control it. They may also hear that your type 2 diabetes is under control for the first time, also without medications, and that you’re eating all the starches that their doctors (and yours) told them to avoid.  They’ll also hear that your cholesterol is down to 150 from 270, and that you’re off those muscle-damaging statins. Your friends will do a double take when they see you slamming balls on the tennis court, or when you zoom past them on foot heading up a steep hill, overtaking them effortlessly while they stop, bend over, and strain to fill their lungs with air.  Oh, no – they are not going to be happy about that.

“Why won’t your friends be happy for you?  You’ve done something you say is simple – you’ve only changed the way you eat.  Yet, for them, the task seems next to impossible.  Give up bacon and eggs for breakfast?  They’d rather lie down and die, right now.  Don’t worry.  It’s not your job to tell they they’re already headed down that path.  That if they want to ensure more time with friends and family, to enjoy their favorite music and even their favorite foods, a very straight forward change can help.”

According to the inside flap of the cover of “The Starch Solution”, Dr. McDougall’s diet is based on a simple swap: By fueling your body primarily with carbohydrates rather than proteins and fats, you’ll feel satisfied, boost energy, and look and feel your best.

One of the important pieces of information presented in “The Starch Solution” is cost data put togerher by Dr. McDougall in “The Starch Solution.”

Chapter 13 of “The Starch Solution” has a section entitled “Keeping Costs Down.”

That section contains tables containing tables entitled “Food”, “Cost per Item” and “Cost Per 2,500 Calories.”  Those tables contain information on the following topics:

  • Food Costs of a Diet Based on Animal Foods: contains cost information per 2,500 calories for (a) beef rib eye, (b) ground beef, (c) chicken breast, (d) salmon, (e) cheddar cheese and (f) milk.
  • Cost of Eating in A Fast Food Outlet: contains cost information per 2,500 calories for eating out at Burger King, (b) KFC, (c) McDonald’s, (d) Round Table and (e) Taco Bell.
  • Cost of Eating a Starch Based Diet: contains cost information per 2,500 calories for eight different items – (a) white potatoes, (b) sweet potatoes, (c) pinto beans, (d) brown rice, (e) white rice, (f) corn tortillas, (g) corn grits, and (h) oats.

In “The Starch Solution”, Dr. McDougall reminds us that for many families food is one of the greatest monthly expenditures.

Using information in the tables referred to above you can easily figure the cost savings of a starch based diet.

According to Dr. McDougall: Roughly half of US food dollars are spent eating out – about 40 percent in full-service restaurants and 40 percent in fast-food establishments.

Dr. McDougall also informs us that at least one in three Americans (adults and children) eats at a fast-food restaurant daily.

According to Dr. McDougall: About $14 per person day is the average cost of eating in a fast-food outlets.  In comparison, a starched based diet with added fruits, vegetables, and condiments will cost you about $3 per person per day.  The typical cost of a home-cooked meal featuring animal foods could easily be $10 per person or even more day.

According to Dr. McDougall:

“The net savings from switching from your 2,500 calories per day from fast foods to starch-based meals is $11 per person, per day ($14 – $3).  Over the course of a year that puts savings in your pocket of more than $4,000.  If you are feeding a family of four, this means an additional $16,000 saved annually on food costs alone…”

By the way, Domino’s Pizza (a fast food enterprise) reported on April 30, 2013 that it had solid first quarter sales and profit, which lifted its shares to anew high.

Domino’s, a pizza delivery and takeout giant, earned 26% higher than last year.

Its revenues grew nearly 9% — the best sales gain in 10 quarters, showing that the chain’s value offerings were enticing cash-strapped consumers.

In a post earnings posting conference call, CEO Patrick Doyle said, “Customers  have gotten a little more conservative about their balance sheet.  We are a good value.  That’s part of the reason we had a strong quarter overall.”

The big picture economic ramifications of the information Dr. McDougall presents in “The Starch Solution” are staggering.

The portions of meat and potatoes my dietitian told me I am supposed to eat are also staggering.

My first reaction when I looked at the size of food portions depicted on the plate my dietitian gave me and in the figurines my dietitian showed me was, You must be kidding. 

The amount of meat I usually ate at a meal before starting my new diet was about three or four or five or six times as much as the portion size represented by the dimensions of the figurine.

The amount of fish or poultry I usually ate at a meal before starting my new diet was about three times as much as the portion depicted in the figurine.

Before starting my new diet, the amount of beans, or rice or potatoes I would eat at a meal were about two or three times the amount shown in the figurine.

I was thankful to be given that plate and to be shown those figurines.

I brought the plate home and for the next few months, looked at it whenever I ate meat or chicken or fish at home.

Over time I was able to eat smaller and smaller portions of meat, chicken and fish and bigger portions of vegetables at dinner.  Eventually, I began to eat a salad with breakfast and to eat vegetables for snacks.

When I first met my dietitian I weighed 187 pounds.

At that time, my dietitian told me I should have as my weight goal to weigh 176 pounds, i.e. to lose 10 pounds.  I told her my weight goal is to weigh 150 pounds, i.e., to lose 37 pounds.

My Life Was Turned Upside Down As A Consequence of Reading “Wheat Belly”

I thought I was lucky to have consulted with my dietitian after listening to my dietitian because she told me it was okay/safe and recommended for me to eat roast beef, or chicken or turkey on wheat bread.  Previously, I had understood it is not okay to eat red meat.

Ever since received a food plan from my dietitian I have followed the diet given to me by my dietitian as best I could.

However, I am always struggling to reduce the portion of meat, chicken, fish, pasta, etc. I eat at meals and am rarely able to restraint myself from eating more than the recommended portion of meat, chicken and/or fish at any meal.

In January, 2013, I began to read “Wheat Belly.”

As a result of reading “Wheat Belly”, I became convinced that I should stop eating any product containing wheat.

Although my weight had dropped from 187 pounds to 173 pounds, on January 17, 2013 I stopped eating food containing wheat products.

Dr. Davis advises, in “Wheat Belly”, Contrary to popular  wisdom there is no deficiency that develops from elimination of wheat — provided that lost calories are replaced with the right foods.

If the gap left by wheat is filled with vegetables, nuts, meats, eggs, avocados, olives, cheese then not only won’t you develop a dietary deficiency, you will enjoy better health, more energy, better sleep, and reversal of every abnormal phenomena we have discussed.  … removing wheat is the first step.  Finding suitable replacements to fill the smaller — remember wheat-free people naturally and unconsciously consume 350 to 400 fewer calories per day — calorie gap is the second step.  If you fill the gap left by excising wheat products with corn chips, energy bars, and fruit drinks, then, then, you will have replaced one undesirable group of foods with another undesirable group; you’ve achieved very little.

If ideal health is your goal, then it does indeed matter what foods you choose to fill the gap left by eliminating wheat.

This is a battle that needs to be fought on all fronts: Turn on the TV and you won’t see ads for cucumbers, artisanal cheeses, or locally raised cage-free eggs.  You will be inundated with ads for potato chips, frozen dinners, soft drinks, and the rest of the cheap-ingredient, high mark-up world of processed food.

A great deal of money is spent pushing the products you need to avoid.  Kellogg’s, known to the public for breakfast cereals ($6.5 billion breakfast cereal sales in 2010), is also behind Yoplait yogurt, Haagen-Dazs ice cream, Larabar health bars, Keebler Graham Crackers, Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies, Cheez-It crackers, as well as Cheerios and Apple Jacks.

One thing is clear: There is no nutritional deficiency that develops when you stop consuming what and other processed foods. But this hasn’t stopped the food industry, and its friends at the USDA, the American Heart Association, the American Dietetic Association, and the American Diabetes Association from suggesting that these foods are somehow necessary for health and that doing without them might be unhealthy.  Nonsense, Absolute unadulterated, 180 proof, whole grain nonsense.

Forget everything you’ve learned about “healthy whole grains.”  Instead, remember the need for “healthy whole grains” is pure fiction.  Grains such as wheat are no more a necessary part of the human diet than personal injury attorneys are in your back-yard pool party.

Let me describe a person with wheat deficiency: slender, flat tummy, low triglycerides, high HDL (“good”) cholesterol, normal blood sugar, normal blood pressure, high energy, good sleep, normal bowel function.

After deciding to stop eating all products containing wheat, I found out that wheat, or a product containing wheat, is in many of the foods I love. I learned “wheat” is ubiquitous.

After I began to look at food labels to discover ingredients, I was amazed to find out that my favorite candy “licorice “contains wheat flour.

If I adopted the diet recommended by Dr. Davis in “Wheat Belly” I would have to stop eating every kind of bread, bagel, pizza, pretzels, licorice, wheat thins and other “thins” in order to go “wheat-less” because they all contain wheat.

Giving up “wheat” (bread, pretzels, wheat thins, etc.) was a great sacrifice for me.  But, I did it.

After I stopped eating “wheat” and all products containing wheat (which I stopped eating on January 18, 2012) my weight continued to drop and drop.

On January 18, 2013 my weight was 173.6 pounds.

By February 18, my weight was 166.8 pounds.

On April 25, 2013 my weight was down to 163.2 pounds. — My weight had dropped by April 25 more than 20 pounds from what it was (187 pounds) when I began my “diet” on September 19, 2012.

When I began my diet in September 2012 I was taking two medications my primary care physician had prescribed to control my blood pressure.

I monitored my blood pressure.

In April, 2013 my blood pressure was consistently normal.

My blood pressure had dropped so much while I was “dieting” that on April 11, 2013 I stopped taking one medication (Atenolol) that had been prescribed to control my blood pressure.  My blood pressure remained in a healthy range thereafter.

On April 17, 2013, I stopped taking the other medication (HCTZ) that had been prescribed to control my blood pressure.

My blood pressure has remained in healthy range after that.

Why I purchased “Wheat Belly”, “The Starch Solution”, “The Blood Sugar Solution” and “The Virgin Diet”?

“WHEAT BELLY” by William Davis, MD

While shopping in Costco I saw the cover of a book entitled “Wheat Belly.”

On the back cover was a picture of two pieces of wheat bread.

Under that picture was the statement: DID YOU KNOW THAT EATING TWO SLICES OF WHOLE WHEAT BREAD CAN INCREASE BLOOD SUGAR MORE THAN 2 TABLESPOONS OF PURE SUGAR?

I purchased that book after reading that caption and the inside flap of the book cover because at that time I was very interested in lowering the level of sugar in my blood and in loosing weight.

The inside book cover states: Since the introduction of dietary guidelines in the 1970s calling for reduced fat intake, a strange phenomena has occurred: Americans have steadily, inexorably become heavier, less healthy, and more prone to diabetes than ever before.  After putting more than 2,000 of his at-risk patients on a wheat-free regime and seeing extraordinary results, cardiologist William Davis has come to the disturbing conclusion that it is not fat, not sugar, and not our sedentary lifestyle that is causing our nation’s obesity epidemic — it is wheat.

In ‘Wheat Belly’, Davis exposes the truth about modern-day wheat, deconstructing its historical role in the human diet.  No longer the sturdy staple of our forebears ground into their daily bread, today’s wheat has been genetically altered to provide processed-food manufacturers the greatest yield at the lowest cost; consequently the once benign grain has been transformed into a nutritionally bankrupt yet ubiquitous ingredient that causes blood sugar to spike more rapidly than eating pure table sugar and has addictive properties that cause us to ride a roller coaster of hunger, overeating, and fatigue. Dr. Davis sheds light on its connection to weight gain and fat buildup, in all the wrong places, as well as a host of adverse health effects from diabetes to heart disease to immunologic and neurological disorders like celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and dementia.  Finally, he presents a compelling argument for eliminating wheat products from the diet entirely, with strategies for making the transition both simple and permanent.

...’Wheat Belly’ is an illuminating look at a familiar food and a positive course of action to regain health and lose unwanted pounds for good.

I purchased “Wheat Belly” because I want to lose weight and lower my blood sugar level.

I was led to believe that if I read “Wheat Belly” I would learn how to do that.

“THE STARCH SOLUTION” by John A. McDougall, MD and Mary McDougall

While following my diet, I learned, by reading the ingredients label, that the 0% fat, Dannon “Light and Fit” Greek Yogurt I was eating contained 7 grams of sugar per serving.

After learning that, I went to a “Whole Foods Market” to see if I could find a yogurt that had no sugar.

While in “Whole Foods” I picked up a book entitled “The Starch Solution” by John A. McDougall, MD and Mary McDougall.

On the front cover is the following endorsement, Dr. John A. McDougall is the dean of medical practitioners in nutrition-centered medicine, because of his incredible accomplishments, knowledge, and courage to stand up for what he believes. Thousands of his patients know him as an icon.  When you read this book, you will too.” – T. Colin Campbell, PhD, coauthor of THE CHINA STUDY.

At the beginning of the book is the following endorsement by John P. Mackey, co-chief executive officer and director of Whole Foods Market, Inc.: “The Starch Solution” is one of the most important books ever written on healthy eating.  As Dr. McDougall shows us in his book, human beings flourish on starch foods from whole food sources.  When combined with healthy servings of vegetables and fruits, we have the perfect diet to prevent and reverse the lifestyle diseases that are now killing 80 percent of Americans – obesity, heart disease, strokes, diabetes and cancer.  The recipes included in the book are easy and delicious.  “The Starch Solution” will change your life.  Read it and live it.”

In the preface, Dr. McDougall writes:

“Whether you are doing now is not working.  That’s why you’ve picked up this book.  Most likely, you’ve tried other diets – probably many of them – but they have failed you.  That’s because most diets make losing weight easy if you stick with them – but because they ask you to suffer a life of deprivation, or make you feel ill, they are not sustainable.  Instead, you lose weight, then you lose interest, quickly gaining al the weight back and more.

‘”The Starch Solution’ is different because it offers a way of eating that keeps you feeling satisfied.  You won’t feel hungry or deprived, because starches are not only healthy, they’re comforting and filling.  This is a plan you can follow indefinitely – even when you stray by not following it 100 percent – and its benefits will be with you for a lifetime.  In other words, this is not an all or nothing approach.

“Beyond shedding excess weight almost effortlessly, you will look better, feel better, function better, and live better.  For the majority of people, blood pressure and cholesterol will drop and digestion will finally work the way it should.  In most cases, you will be able to get off and stay off prescription and nonprescription medications and supplements, saving a bundle and enjoying good health naturally.

“You needn’t worry about getting sufficient protein, calcium, vitamins, or other nutrients.  These ingredients are naturally built into foods.”

I would be happy to achieve those benefits.

I purchased “The Starch Solution” to find out what Dr. McDougall has to say about me being able to eat the foods I love, while regaining my health and losing weight for good.

I would not have not known that Dr. McDougall and Dr. McDougall’s book “The Starch Solution” exist if I had not read “Wheat Belly ” and as a consequence of reading “Wheat Belly” started to read the food labels on the packaged foods (i.e. yogurt) that I ate.

“THE SUGAR SOLUTION” by Mark Hyman, MD

I purchased “The Blood Sugar Solution” because I saw a copy in Costco and read the front cover and back cover.

On the front cover is an endorsement by President Bill Clinton which states: “I hope Dr. Hyman’s new book will inspire you as he has inspired me.”

On the front cover, under the titled “The Blood Sugar Solution” is the statement: The UltraHealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease and Feeling Great Now!”

On the back cover is the following endorsement by President Bill Clinton: “In the last decade, the rise of obesity and diabetes has emerged as a crisis that threatens our families, the global economy, and the success of our next generation.  I’ve made drastic changes to my own diet and exercise routine since my heart troubles surfaces in 2004, and I hope Dr. Hyman’s new book will inspire you as he has inspired me.”

The back cover also contain endorsements by Arthur Agatston, MD (author of The South Beach Diet), Rick Warren (author of The Purpose Driven Life), Deepak Chopra, MD, Mehmet Oz, MD, Dean Ornish, MD, and Jack Canfield( author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series).

“THE VIRGIN DIET” by JJ Virgin, CNS, CHFS

JJ Virgin and her “The Virgin Diet” was featured on a local TV show.

A good friend told me that Ms. Virgin claims the real cause of weight gain is food intolerance and that if you drop 7 foods you will lose 7 pounds in 7 days and then be able to determine your food intolerance.

According to Ms. Virgin the secret to weight loss (a) isn’t calories, (b) isn’t fat, (c) isn’t protein and (d) isn’t even carbs.  Those things are important, but you won’t lose weight if you’re eating foods your body can’t handle.  The key to weight loss is avoiding and overcoming food intolerance.

Food intolerance is a series of physiological responses your body has to certain types of food.  Most people have at least one type of food intolerance, and many have several.

I bought her book (“The Virgin Diet) because I wanted to learn more about what she has to say about food intolerance.

Additional Interesting Facts, Opinions, Theories, Explanations and Claims I Discovered While Reading “The Virgin Diet”, “The Blood Sugar Solution”, “Wheat Belly” and “The Starch Solution”

“THE VIRGIN DIET” by JJ Virgin, CNS, CHFS

In the “Virgin Diet” Ms. Virgin states/claims,

“If you weigh more than you’d like and look older than you’d prefer, you most likely are struggling with food intolerances.

” What’s the solution? Stop eating high Food Intolerance foods and replace them with low Food Intolerance foods: foods that are unlikely to trigger food intolerance.

“Although the total number of calories counts, it is only part of the story.  The source of the calories matters far more.  If your calories come from foods that are causing your body trouble, then it almost doesn’t matter how much or how little you eat.  Even moderate intake of problem foods sets up your body for wight gain.

“Food is information.  Each bite of food that you put into your mouth sends your body a message – maybe several messages.

“Not all calories are created equal.  You might portion out a cookie, a hamburger and a serving of cauliflower so they all have the same number of calories, but each of those foods is going to send your body very different messages.  And its the messages we care about, not just the calories.

“If yogurt, eggs, soy milk, and whole-wheat bread are a frequent part of your diet – and especially if you are eating them every day – your system is overwhelmed with problem foods, and your immune system never really calms down.  This creates a number of problems…

“If you can cut out the top 7 high Food Intolerance foods for just 3 weeks, you’ll see weight loss and beauty results that will have you looking and feeling terrific.

“High Food Intolerance foods not only make you feel tired, unfocused and moody, but they’re also the hidden cause of weight gain, weight-loss resistance and premature aging.”

According to Ms. Virgin the top 7 High Food Intolerance foods are (1) Gluten, (2) Soy, (3) Dairy, (4) Eggs, (5) Corn, (6) Peanuts, and (7) Sugar and Artificial Sweetners.  The Virgin Diet is designed to send only the right messages to your body twenty four hours a day for 21 days.

The Virgin Diet works this way: You take out the foods listed above that might be causing you problems.  You then reintroduce some of the High Food Intolerance Foods – eggs, dairy, soy and gluten – back into your diet.  If you tolerate them terrific.  If you show symptoms, out they go.

Here are some of the symptoms, which according to Ms. Virgin, are caused by you eating foods your body doesn’t like:

  • Sleep issues, such as fatigue, insomnia or waking up in the middle of the night
  • Congestion, sneezing and coughing
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Dull, lifeless hair
  • Skin problems, including acne and rosacea
  • Mood problems, such as lack of focus, brain fog, depression, anxiety or irritability
  • Poor or unsteady energy
  • Weight gain
  • Premature aging

According to Ms. Virgin, “If you are struggling with any of these symptoms, you are almost certainly struggling with food sensitivities and perhaps with other types of food intolerance as well.  Food sensitivity is incredibly common.  It affects 75 percent of us and is a major factor in weight gain and weight retention.”

According to Ms. Virgin: “… weight gain, bloating and fatigue are not just annoying facts of life.  They are your body’s way of telling you that you’re eating foods that aren’t working for you.  Until you get rid of the foods that your body can’t handle, load up on healing foods and supplements that give your body a chance to recover from what you’ve unknowingly put it through, you are likely to gain weight, retain wait and suffer from premature aging.

“If you weight more than you’d like and look older than you’d prefer, you most likely are struggling with food intolerance. … What’s the solution?  Stop eating high food intolerance foods and replace them with low food intolerance foods: foods that are likely to trigger food intolerance.

Here are some of the statements of praise that appear at the beginning of “The Virgin Diet.”

  • You must read this book if you think you’re doing everything right and still struggling to lose weight.  – Suzanne Somers, bestselling author of 23 books, including Bombshell.
  • Eliminates the ‘healthy’ foods that are actually holding your health hostage, so you can lose weight quickly and permanently. – Mark Hyman, MD, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, The Blood Sugar Solution.

In her book “The Virgin Diet”, Ms. Virgin also discusses your poop.

According to Ms. Virgin, poops are a critical part of digestion.

Regarding your poop, according to Ms. Virgin, there are three danger signs: (1) You are moving your bowels less than once a day.  Ideally you should be moving your bowels twice a day. (2) You’re having to really struggle.  Ideally, everything should come out nice and smooth. (3) You’re producing poops that are tiny or don’t come al the way out.

What is a poop you can be proud of?

According to Ms. Virgin:

“It is a well formed poop that you don’t have to struggle with.  It comes out fully – it doesn’t stop halfway through and leave you stuck.  Nor does it dive bomb to the bottom of the bowl.  It sinks to the bottom of the bowl.  It doesn’t mark things up.

“If you have an oily residue or slick slides, you are not absorbing your fat well.  If you have rabbit pellets or you’re straining, you don’t have enough fiber  If you have floating poops, it could be from excess gas, produced by an overgrowth of bad bacteria lurking in your intestines.

According to Ms. Virgin: All you have to do is cut the wrong foods out of your diet (the foods your body doesn’t like) and replace them with the foods your body does like.

The reason Ms. Virgin gives for discussing your poop is because if you don’t eliminate properly, you’ll be bloated and fat and setting yourself up for a permanent problem with both digestion and obesity.  If you don’t have poops you can be proud of, you are holding a toxic mess inside your body every single day: “The uneliminated poop is releasing toxins that are reabsorbed into your body, leading to bad breath, hemorrhoids and acne, not to mention impaired digestion, inflammation and food intolerance.  The net result is that you gain weight that you can’t lose, and you feel sluggish, tired and old before your time.”

In her book “The Virgin Diet” Ms. Virgin invites the reader to take a poop quiz: “JJ’s Poop Quiz”: Skip It At Your Peril!

Ms. Virgin’s Poop Quiz consist of a series of 13 questions.

Ms. Virgin advises: “…none of these symptoms are normal, and you shouldn’t experience them regularly on a long-term basis. … But if you have any of these problems chronically, you need to address them.  And you should be aware that the more questions you answered yes to, the more severe your problem.”

Ms. Virgin then informs the reader, “quite often, removing high Food Intolerant Foods and adding in low-Food Intolerant Foods corrects most if not all of the problems.  Ms. Virgin also provides information on how to fix any remaining poop problems.

“THE BLOOD SUGAR SOLUTION” by Mark Hyman, MD

According to Dr. Hyman: There is one simple concept you need to learn about nutrition.  It will save your life: Not All Calories Are Created Equal.

“Five hundred calories of cookies are not the same as 500 calories of broccoli, an idea that even Weight Watchers and the American Diabetic Association are finally recognizing: they are changing their point system and carb exchange as a result.  If you eat the same amount of calories from broccoli rather than cookies, you will lose weight.

“The source of calories (and the information carried along with the calories) makes a gigantic difference in how your genes, hormones, enzymes, and metabolism respond.  If you eat food that spikes your insulin level, you will gain weight.  If you eat food that reduces your insulin level you will lose weight.  This is true even if it contains exactly the same number of calories or grams of protein, fat, carbohydrate, and fiber.

“Low-glycemic-load diets are the only diets that have proven to work – these diets don’t spike blood sugar and insulin.

“The glycemic load of a meal tells us how much of and how quickly a fixed quantity of a specific food will raise your blood sugar and insulin levels. The slower these levels rise and the lower they are, the better.

“You need to combine protein; fats; and whole-food, fiber-rich, low-starch carbohydrates from vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and a limited amount of whole grains and low-sugar fruit.

“Another way to think about it is to never eat carbs alone.  Combine carbs with protein and fat at every meal or snack.  Have an apple, but eat some nuts with it.  Have a whole grain, but only with a meal containing some fish or chicken, fat and veggies with fiber.

“The key is to have a slow, even burn of food all day to keep your blood sugar and insulin levels stable.

“Choose fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and lean animal protein such as fish, chicken, and eggs.

“You may not realize this, but there are no essential carbohydrates.  There are essential fats (omega-3s) and essential proteins (amino acids), but if you never had any carbohydrates again, you would survive.

“But there are a few things that hang out almost exclusively with good-quality carbohydrates that come from plant foods (vegetables, beans, whole grains, fruits, nuts and seeds).  So unless you’re going to eat the brain, livers, kidneys, and other organs, and chew the bones of animals like the mostly meat-eating tribes once did, carbohydrates are critical for health. Why? Because they include high levels of vitamins and minerals, fiber and special plant compounds with healing properties called phytonutrients, or phytochemicals.  Phytochemicals are medicinal molecules such as curcumin in turmeric, glucosinolates in broccoli, anthocyanidins in berries and black rice, and so on.”

According to Dr. Hyman you should eat slow carbs and not eat fast carbs.  In “The Blood Sugar Solution” he lists which carbs you may eat freely (Green Carbs), which carbs you should eat in moderation (Yellow Carbs) and which carbs you should eat in limited amounts (Red Carbs).

Dr. Hyman advises readers to eat the following for blood sugar and insulin balance and to control hunger:

  • “Beans or legumes.  They are rich in protein and filled with fiber, minerals, and vitamins that help balance blood sugar.
  • “Whole soy products. These include tepeh, tofu, misok and natto.  These vegetarian sources are rich in antioxidants that can reduce cancer risk, lower cholesterol, and improve insulin and blood sugar metabolism.  Don’t use processed industrial soy products, such as those found in deli-meat replacements, soy cheese or typical meal-replacement bars; they are harmful.
  • “Nuts.  Keeping nuts in the pantry is essential.  They have been proven to help weight loss and reduce the risk of diabetes.  They are also a great snack, full of protein, fiber, minerals and good fats.  Buy raw or lightly toasted unsalted nuts.  Avoid nuts that are fried or cooked in oils.  The best are almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts and pecans.  Stick with one or two handfuls for a snack once or twice a day.  They have a tendency to raise blood sugar if you binge on them.  Remember a serving is 10-12 nuts or a good handful.
  • “Seeds.  Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds are all high in fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.  They are a great snack in addition to vegetable, bean, grain, or salad dishes.
  • “Omega-3 eggs or free range eggs.  These are one of the few animal products that are low in toxins and high in nutrients and balance blood sugar.  They contain lots of DHA and they don’t raise your cholesterol; just the opposite.  Enjoy up to eight of these kinds of eggs a week.  Whole eggs are okay; you don’t need to stick to just egg whites.  Yolks contain important vitamins and fats needed for brain and mood function.
  • “Mercury-free fish, shrimp, and scallops.  These are good sources of high-quality protein as well as omega-3 fats.
  • “Organic grass-fed, and hormone-antibiotic-, and pesticide-free poultry.  Poultry raised without hormones or antibiotics is recommended.  Remove the skin from poultry before cooking.  Keep some boneless, skinless breasts in the freezer for a quick dinner.
  • “Small amounts of lean, organic, grass-fed, and hormone-and antibiotic-free lamb or beef.  Buy as much grass-fed organic, hormone-free meat as your budget will allow.  Trim all visible fat from the meat before cooking.  Remember, red meat is a treat.  Lamb is a better choice.  Pork is the worse.  Eat no more than 4-6 ounces of red meat (the size of your palm) no more than once or twice a week.  Excess meat consumption is associated with diabesity, although wild meat such as deer, elk, or kangaroo may reverse it.
  • “When choosing meat products, understand your choices and their impact on your health and the planet.  If you eat meat and drive a Prius, you use more energy and harm the planet more than if you are a vegan and drive a Hummer.

According to Dr. Hyman you should limit your intake of the following:

  • “Starchy, high-glycemic cooked vegetables.  These include winter squash, peas, potatoes, corn, and root vegetables such as beets. Starchy vegetables raise blood sugar more quickly, so they should be consumed in smaller quantities (up to one-half cup a day) and ideally in the context of other foods that reduce overall glycemic load of the meal.
  • “High-sugar fruits.  Melons, grapes and pineapple contain more sugar than the fruits listed above, so they should be limited to a half-cup treat once a week.
  • “Forbidden Carbs: Avoid completely: Processed carbs. Gluten containing whole grains.  Stay away from wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt, kamut, and triticale for the first six weeks of the program. Dried fruit.

In “the Blood Sugar Solution”, Dr. Hyman discusses a six week program which he claims will delight your senses, stimulate your palate and leave you feeling clear and healthy and automatically thinner.

On the six week program Dr. Hyman discusses in “The Blood Sugar Solution”  you are to avoid the following for six weeks:

  1. “Sugars in any form whatsoever.  Examples are agave, maple syrup, stevia and the ‘latest greatest’ sweetener of the day.
  2. “All flour products (even gluten-free).  These include bagels, breads, rolls, wraps, pastas, etc.  They are quickly absorbed and drive insulin sky high.
  3. “All processed food.
  4. “All gluten and dairy.  These are the major inflammatory foods in our diet.
  5. “If you are on the advanced plan, all grains, starchy vegetables and fruit.  Avoid winter squashes, peas, potatoes, corn, and root vegetables such as rutabagas, parsnips, and turnips, and all fruits, except one-half cup of berries for just six weeks…”

According to Dr. Hyman it’s not only the quality of your calories that’s important.  When you eat and the composition of your plate are also important, focusing on when you eat and the composition of your meals can reprogram your metabolism: “It is most important to avoid eating quickly absorbed carbohydrates alone, as they raise your sugar and insulin levels.  And any large meal raises your blood sugar, so smaller meals help keep your blood sugar even.  

According to Dr. Hyman your plate should look like this: One half of your plate should have low-starch vegetables. You can refill this part as much as you want.  You may eat a pound or two of asparagus or broccoli if you like.  One quarter of your plate should have protein: fish, chicken, eggs, shrimp, meat, nuts or beans.  The other quarter should have either one-half cup of whole grains (ideally brown or black rice or quinoa) or one-half cup of starchy vegetables such as sweet potato or winter squash.  “If you have advanced diabesity, you should avoid all grains, starchy vegetables, and fruit until your metabolism resets and you become more insulin-sensitive.  Just make vegetables three-fourths of your plate and protein one-fourth.

“...eat early and eat often.  Keep the fire of your metabolism burning all day, rather than slowing it down during periods of ‘mini-starvation.” Always have breakfast, eat every 3-4 hours, and try to schedule meals art the same time every day.  Your metabolism will work faster and more efficiently.  You will lose weight, have more energy, and feel better.”

Dr. Hyman advised that his basic dietary program can be followed by anyone.

In “The Sugar Solution”, Dr. Hyman makes the following claims about his dietary program: (1) It balances your blood sugar, reduces insulin spikes, balances hormones, cools off inflammation, helps improve digestion, boosts your metabolism, enhances detoxification, and calms your mind and nervous system,  Eighty percent of people following this basic plan will have all the tools they need to take control of their health.

Dr. Hyman advised that his advanced dietary program is designed to help people with more severe/serious biochemical and metabolic imbalances, including all those who have been diagnosed with diabetes.

According to Dr. Hyman it is not necessarily the number of of calories you eat or the the ratio of protein to at to carbohydrate in your diet.  What is important is the quality and type of food you eat and when and how often you eat.

Dr. Hyman recommends that you take measure of yourself then get started.

Measure:

  1. Your weight.  Weigh yourself first thing in the morning without clothes after going to the bathroom.  Track your weight once a week.
  2. Your height.
  3. Your waist size.  Measure the widest point around your belly button.  Track this once a week.
  4. Your blood pressure.  Measure it first thing in the morning before you start your daily activities.  Ideal blood pressure is less than 115/75.  Over 140/90 is significantly elevated.  Track it weekly.

Determine:

  1. Your Body Mass Index (BMI).  This is your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared.  Or use this calculation: BMI equals weight in pounds times 703 divided by your height in inches squared.  Normal is less than 25, overweight is 26 to 29, and obese is over 30.  However you should take in your waist size as well. Also certain ethnic groups, discussed by Dr. Hyman in “The Blood Sugar Solution” have diabesity at much lower BMIs.  Track your BMI weekly.
  2. Your Waist-to-Height Ratio.  Take your waist measurement and divide it by your height in inches.  Move the decimal point two places to the right.  This number tells you if you are fat around the middle.  If you stand sideways while looking in the mirror and have a big belly, or if you can’t see your toes when standing up, then you have a problem.  This number is a better predictor of diabesity, heart disease, and the risk of death than almost any other number.  Measure this number once a week while you are following his six week diet.  Later you can measure it once a month.

Dr. Hyman provides the following information for readers of “The Sugar Solution” to use to interpret their Waist-to-Height Ratio:

WOMEN

  • Ratio less than 35:  abnormally slim to underweight.
  • Ratio 35 to 42:  slender and healthy.
  • Ratio 42 to 46: healthy
  • Ratio 49 to 54:  overweight
  • Ratio 54 to 58:  extremely overweight/obese
  • Ratio over 58:  highly obese

MEN

  • Ratio less than 35:  abnormally slim to underweight
  • Ratio 35 to 43:  extremely slim
  • Ratio 43 to 46:  slender and healthy
  • Ratio 46 to 53:  healthy, normal weight
  • Ratio 53 to 58:  overweight
  • Ratio 58 to 63:  extremely overweight/obese
  • Ratio over 63:  highly obese.

Dr. Hyman recommends testing for everyone who considers following the program set forth in his book “The Sugar Solution”, or is overweight, has diabetes, or has a family history of 2 diabetes.

He recommends that such people get the following tests and provides detailed explanations for each test and how to interpret the results.  He encourages people to become partners in their health, and that includes knowing their numbers and following them over time.

Below is a list of the tests he recommends having performed:

  • “Insulin response test.  This test measures fasting, 1-hour, and 2-hour glucose and insulin levels after a 75-gram glucose load.  It’s like a glucose tolerance test but it measures both glucose and insulin.  Your blood sugar can be normal but your insulin can be sky high. Demand this test.  It is the most important indicator of the presence and severity of diabesity, but is rarely done in medical practices today.  That is why diabesity is not diagnosed in 90 percent of people who have it.
  • “Hemoglobin A1c.  This test measures the average of the last six weeks of blood sugar.  Abnormal is greater than 5.5% of total hemoglobin.
  • “NMR lipid profile.  This test determines the particle size and number of LDL, HDL, and triglycerides.  Small dense particles are dangerous and an indicator of diabesity, even if your overall cholesterol is normal with or without medication.
  • “Lipid panel. 

Dr. Hyman recommends additional specified tests to assess the severity or complications of diabesity.

Diabesity is a comprehensive term Dr. Hyman uses to describe the continuum from optimal blood sugar balance toward insulin resistance and full blown diabetes.

“Nearly all people who are overweight (over 70 percent of adult Americans) already have “pre-diabetes”  and have significant risks of disease and death.  They just don’t know it.  Even worse, while the word “diabesity” is made up of the concepts of obesity and diabetes, even those who aren’t overweight can have this problem. … Currently there are no national screening recommendations, no treatment guidelines, no approved medications, and no reimbursement to health care providers for diagnosing and treating anything other than full-blown diabetes.”

In “The Blood Sugar Solution”, Dr. Hyman goes on to say:

Think about that.  Doctors are not expected, trained, or paid to diagnose and treat the single biggest chronic disease in America, which, along with smoking, causes nearly all the major health care burden of the twenty-first century, including heart disease, stroke, dementia, and even cancer.

“Even if you have perfectly normal blood sugar, you may be sitting on a hidden time bomb of disease called diabesity, which prevents you from losing weight and living a long healthy life.  Insulin resistance is the major cause of aging and death on the developed and most of the developing world.”

“The Blood Sugar Solution” by Mark Hyman, MD is on my “must read list.”

“WHEAT BELLY” by William Davis, MD

The six topics which Dr. Davis discusses in “Wheat Belly” which I found most fascinating are:

  • The fact that the body has an ideal PH balance and what the body does in its attempt to maintain that balance.
  • The impact wheat has on my brain and on your brain.
  • How modern day wheat differs from the wheat in “your daily bread” referred to in the Bible.
  • How ubiquitous wheat is in supper markets and in our daily lives and diets.
  • What acid rain, car batteries and wheat have in common.  According to Dr. Davis: “Wheat is among the most potent sources of sulfuric acid, yielding more sulfuric acid per gram than any meat. (Wheat is surpassed only by oats in quantity of sulfuric acid produced.)  Sulfuric acid is dangerous stuff.  Put it on your hands and it will cause a severe burn.  Get it in your eyes and you can go blind. (Go take a look at the warnings prominently displayed on your car battery.)  The sulfuric acid in acid rain erodes stone monuments, kills trees and plants, and disrupts the reproductive behavior of aquatic animals.
  • The fact that taking calcium supplements is a waste of time and money.  According to Dr. Davis: “…taking calcium supplements is no more effective at reversing bone loss than randomly throwing bags of cement and bricks in your backyard is to building a new patio.

“Wheat Belly” by William Davis, MD is on my “must read list.”

The April 6, 2013 Wall Street Journal Article entitled “When Your Boss Makes You Pay for Being Fat”

According to an article in the April 6, 2013 issue of the Wall Street Journal it has been reported that annual corporate spending on health care is expected to reach an average of $12,136 per employee.

Companies across America are penalizing workers for a range of conditions including high blood pressure and thick waist lines.

Employers are demanding employees share personal health information such as body-mass-index, weight and blood sugar level or face higher health insurance premiums and deductibles.

Michelin North America awards credits towards deductibles to those workers who meet health standards for blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides and waist size of under 35 inches or women and 40 inches for men.  Employees who hit baseline requirements in three or more categories will receive up to $1,000 to reduce annual deductibles.

A recent survey of 800 mid- to large firms found that six in ten employers say they intend to impose penalties in the next few years on employees who don’t take action to improve their health.

According to Dr. Hyman: “Whether you choose vegetarian or animal sources, it is essential that you get protein at each meal and snack.  Eating protein turns up your metabolic fire and ability to burn calories while reducing your appetite.”

Dr. Hyman further states:  “This book will help you identify and reverse this explosive situation for yourself.”

What Is A Healthy Diet?

In “Wheat Belly”, Dr. Davis criticizes diets recommended by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the American Diabetes Association, the American Dietetic Association, and the American Heart Association.

For example, at one point in “Wheat Belly” Dr. Davis states, Part of the prevailing standard of care to prevent and treat diabetes, a disease caused in large part by carbohydrate consumption … is to advise increased consumption of carbohydrates. Years ago, I used the ADA diet in diabetic patients.  Following the carbohydrate intake advice of the American Diabetes Association and the American Dietetic Association (ADA), I watched patients gain weight, experience deteriorating blood glucose control and increased need for medications, and develop diabetic complications such as kidney disease and neuropathy. … ignoring ADA diet advice and cutting carbohydrate intake leads to improved blood sugar control, reduced HbA1c, dramatic weight loss, and improvements in all the messiness of diabetes such as high blood pressure and triglycerides. The ADA advises diabetics to cut fat, reduce saturated fat, and include 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrate — ‘preferably healthy whole grains — in each meal… It is in essence, a fat-phobic, carbohydrate centered diet, with 55 to 65 percent of calories from carbohydrates.  If I were to sum up the views of the ADA toward diet, it would be: Go ahead and eat sugar and foods that increase blood sugar, just be sure to adjust your medication to compensate…. To this day, the notion of treating diabetes by increasing consumption of the foods that caused the disease in the first place, then managing the blood sugar mess with medications persists…Diabetes in many cases can be cured – not simply managed – by removal of carbohydrates, especially wheat.”

In “Wheat Belly”, Dr. Davis sets forth a nutritional approach for optimum health in which he advises us of foods we can consume in unlimited quantities, foods to be consumed in limited quantities, and foods to consume rarely or never.  Among the foods we are allowed to consume in unlimited quantities are meats and eggs – preferably free-range and organic chicken, turkey, beef, pork; buffalo, ostrich; wild game; fish, shellfish, eggs (including yolks); cheese, and raw nuts and seeds. Yum. Among the foods he advises us to consume rarely or never are wheat products.

William Davis, MD states unequivocally, “the advice we’ve been given to eat more ‘healthy whole grains’ has deprived us of control over appetites and impulses, making us fat and unhealthy despite our best efforts and good intentions.” Dr. Davis says, I liken the widely accepted advice to eat healthy whole grains to telling an alcoholic that, if a drink or two won’t hurt, nine or ten may be even better.  Taking this advice has disastrous  repercussions on health. Forget everything you’ve learned about ‘healthy who grains.’ Instead remember that the need for healthy whole grains’ is pure fiction.  Contrary to popular wisdom, including that of your friendly neighborhood dietitian.”

“THE STARCH SOLUTION” by John A. McDougall, MD and Mary McDougall

I was fascinated by everything Dr. McDougall discusses in “The Starch Solution”, including the case studies he publishes in “The Starch Solution.”

The most impressive story/case study he publishes in “The Starch Solution” is the story/case study of Ruth Heidrich, Triathlete in Hawaii, which is told in her own words.

In brief, here is the story she tells.

  • Ruth didn’t know a cancer was growing in her right breast, until it grew to the size of a golf-ball.
  • When the lump was detected she was rushed to surgery to have it removed.
  • While recovering from surgery, she was given the bad news that the tumor was malignant.
  • Later she was informed that the cancer had spread throughout the breast and into her bones and one lung.
  • The prognosis was not good.
  • While paging through the newspaper during her recovery she saw a call for volunteers for a breast cancer study involving diet.
  • She signed up.
  • After meeting with Dr. McDougall in 1982, as part of that study, she left his office with instructions to follow a low-fat, vegan diet.

Here is what Ruth Heidrich reports happened after that:

“That diet changed my life.  I am now cancer free.  Since my diagnosis three decades ago, I have completed the Ironman Triathlon six times, run 67 marathons, won more than a thousand racing trophies and have been declared ‘One of the Ten Fittest Women in North America.’  At age 74 I had a ‘fitness age’ of 32.  I’ve written a book about my recovery: ‘A Race for Life: A Diet and Exercise Program for Superfitness and Reversing the Age Process.”

Here is what Dr. McDougall says about diabetes in “The Starch Solution”: Sugar will not make you fat or diabetic.

“The misconception that carbohydrates are bad is at the root of your avoidance of some of nature’s most perfect foods.  Remember that there are three sources of calories – proteins, fats and carbohydrates – that can be obtained from foods.  Sugar, a carbohydrate, is the primary source of energy for cells throughout your body.  If you avoid carbohydrates you are left to fill your calorie void with fat and protein, most likely in the form of meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, and vegetable oils.

“Studies show that people who eat more simple sugar tend to take in fewer calories altogether, which means less chance of becoming overweight.  One reason for this is that people who eat more simple and complex sugars generally eat less fat, the real culprit in weight gain and illness.  This is because sugar and fat act as a sort of seesaw: When one goes up in a person’s diet, the other goes down, naturally.

“Type 2 diabetes is a direct result of obesity.  Worldwide, the populations with the lowest rates of diabetes are those that eat the most carbohydrate; type 2 diabetes is all but unknown in rural Asia, Africa, Mexico, and Peru, where a high-carbohydrate diet is the cultural norm.  Some of the highest rates of obesity and diabetes are, however, found among people of Hispanic, Native American, Polynesian, and African decent living in prosperous countries, but not because of their genetic makeup or the starch-based diets of their distant ancestors.  These ethnic groups became fat and sick when the adopted the high-fat, high protein Western diet.

“Scientist understand that sugar does not cause type 2 diabetes; the American Diabetic Association recommends that diabetics consume 55 to 65 percent of their calories from carbohydrate, which may include sugary foods.  High-carbohydrate diets based on starches have been shown to help diabetics cure their underlying disease, get off their medications, and improve their overall health.

“That the role of sugar in common diseases has been overrated does not mean that sugar and white flour hold the keys to good health.  As carbohydrates become increasingly refined, they become less efficient in inhibiting weight gain and increasing weight loss.  Refined sugars and flours are referred to as ’empty calories’ because most essential nutrients have been removed in their manufacturing.  Complex carbohydrates in the form of whole starches, like brown rice, whole oats, corn, white potatoes, and sweet potatoes, are the best route to weight loss and good health.

By the way, JJ Virgin warns readers in “The Virgin Diet” that the vast majority of corn and soy (about 90 percent of the crop) available in the United States have been genetically modified.

“The Starch Solution” by John McDougall, MD and Mary McDougall is on my “must read” list.

Soy

According to JJ Virgin:

“Soy has been marketed as the miracle food of all time, maybe because it can be produced so cheaply and some big companies have invested in its production and modification.  If you go to Natural Products Expo West and other big health-food conventions, they seem like one big homage to soy.

“Yet eating soy on a daily basis may create problems, whether in traditional forms like tofu and endamame or in modern incarnations such as soy milk, soy ice cream and soy cheese.  One study showed that a high midlife tofu consumption – high being only 2 servings per week – increased the risk of late-life cognitive impairment and dementia both in men and in women.

“Soy is rich in phytates, or phytic acid, which blocks the adsorption of minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc.  In other words, soy can be an antinutrient.

“Soy is also full of trypsin inhibitors.  Trypsin is an enzyme produced in the pancreas that we need to digest protein.  Trypsin inhibitors can interfere with protein digestion and cause pancreatic disorders.  Not surprisingly, in countries where there is more soy consumption, we find more pancreatic, stomach and thyroid cancers.

“What about soy as a source of protein?  Again, the news is not good.  Although soy is a complete protein, it has very low amounts of two essential amino acids, lysine and methionine, so it is not a quality protein source.”

JJ also discusses that soy disrupts your hormones, including your sex hormones.

According to JJ, soy is also bad for your thyroid.  Soy can depress thyroid function.  She has seen among many of her clients that when they eat soy every day, they tend to have elevated TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) which is an indicator of hypothyroidism.

Genetically Modified Foods

In “The Virgin Diet”, JJ tells/warns us:

“Basically, soy is cheap because the big companies have figured out how to genetically modify it so it can be sprayed with a potent herbicide that kills everything around it with destroying the crop.

“Farmers can now plant a ton of soy and spray the heck out of it.  So where is that poison going?  Into the soybeans – and then into the person who consumes the soy. Or, if the soy is fed to cattle or the farm-raised fish, which is becoming more and more common, then the poison goes into those animals and then into you.  Remember, you are what you eat, ate.

“I don’t think it is an accident that just when genetically modified foods flooded the market – between 1994 and 2001 – food-related illnesses doubled.  Genetically modified foods tend to be more allergenic, antinutritional, carcinogenic and toxic, with special dangers for your gastrointestinal tract, your endocrine system and your immune system.  So we’re going to see more infertility, immune issues and gastrointestinal changes.

“Animals that have been fed genetically modified foods have been known to have bleeding stomachs, damaged organs and immune system problems.  The animals themselves often have infertility problems, miscarriages and premature births.  Their young suffer from lower birth rates, inability to reproduce and altered DNA functioning.  If that is what is happening to them, what’s happening to us?

“In my view, genetically altered foods are anything but innocuous.  When you start to create new genes, you have no idea what the result will be.

“The American Academy of Environmental Medicine recommends that we avoid genetically modified food.  They think it is very dangerous, and so do I.  And so do many parts of Western Europe, where genetically modified foods have bee outlawed.”

“The Virgin Diet” by JJ Virgin, CNS, CHFS is on my “must read list.”

CONCLUSION TO PART ONE: SEE BEYOND THE OBVIOUS.

I am sure each of the four author’s whose books I have reviewed in this post will agree with the following statements:

  1. Nothing under the sun is greater than education. By educating one person and sending him or her out into society of his/her generation, we make a contribution extending a hundred generations to come.
  2. The topic of the relationship of food, diet and nutrition to health is an enormously important topic.
  3. Heart disease, diabetes and cancer are lifestyle diseases.  High blood pressure, overweight, physical inactivity, high blood sugar and high cholesterol are preventable risk factor.
  4. Food is not just calories.  It is information.  Food is information that quickly changes your metabolism and genes.
  5. When getting a “check up”, you and your physician must also consider genetic and environmental factors.
  6. The collective experiences of our lives – diet, toxins, microbes, stress, social connections, thoughts, beliefs – control which of our genes are turned on or off.
  7. The collective experiences of our lives also controls the quality and types of proteins produced by our DNA, as well as what happens to those proteins and how they function once they are produced.
  8. How we eat, how much we exercise, how we manage stress, and our exposure to environmental and food based toxins is important.
  9. The same things that make you sick make you fat.
  10. Your body can heal given the right conditions, including enough time.
  11. Health problems can be caused by not having enough information soon enough and/or by not timely taking appropriate action.
  12. You need the right knowledge and the right plan to solve problems.
  13. If you have a “health problem” you must identify and treat the real causes of that problem.  You must get to the root of your problem.
  14. Ideally, under your physician’s guidance, you will treat the causes of your health problems, not just the risk factors; you will treat your entire biological/biochemical/physiological/neurological/emotional/social and cognitive system, as well as your physical environment, and not just your symptoms.
  15. Symptoms result from problems.
  16. The most important question you can ask your doctor is: “Why?”
  17. Don’t ask your doctor: “Which disease do I have?”  Ask your doctor: “Which systems in my body/life are out of balance?”
  18. Be a forward thinker.
  19. You can’t solve what you don’t understand.
  20. Stop wishing.
  21. Vision without action is hallucination.
  22. There are consequences to choices.
  23. Do your best to be informed and intelligently proactive.

Medicine is food and food is medicine.

More than 2,500 years ago, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, said, “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.”

I believe you only know something if you have a good explanatory theory of which factors affect outcomes and which do not.  Knowledge consists of explanations.

Scientific explanation is an account of what is really out there, what is really happening and why.

Scientists eagerly address interesting problems, conjecture good explanations, test them, and only lastly claim to have induced the explanation from the experiment.  They make a distinction between what does and does not make sense.

There is an objective reality.  Seeking good explanations creates an engagement with reality.

My goal is to find out the truth about nutrition and health, to understand the healthy path to take to have the fullest life.

I wish you good luck in finding, understanding and taking your own personal individually tailored healthy path to have the fullest life.

Sincerely,

Gary

Gary S. Smolker. Publisher
Gary Smolker Idea Exchange Blog
http://www.garysmolker.wordpress.com

Copyright (2013) by Gary S. Smolker.  All rights reserved.

About Gary S. Smolker

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY: No enterprise can exist for itself alone. Every successful enterprise ministers to some great need, it performs some great service, not for itself, but for others. Otherwise, it ceases to be profitable and ceases to exist. Imagination, open mindedness and flexibility are the most important factors in unlocking potential. Those who embrace innovation, improvisation, continuous learning, time management, are action oriented, high energy, passionate, creative, purposeful and intense individuals are best equipped to succeed. We all have ideas and the ability to make progress by sharing information and our ideas and also by changing our ideas when appropriate. We should always be on the lookout for teaching and mentoring moments. We hold time like water in our hands; however tightly we clench our fingers, it drips away. But, if it falls on a seed, a seed may grow to become something that will have a positive social impact. PERSONAL INTERESTS: I have a passion to learn, to innovate, to lead, to mentor and to teach. I seek to write things worth reading and want to do things worth writing about. I enjoy (a) driving a fast car, (b) having intense conversations (c) teaching/mentoring, (d) reading and (e) being involved in productive activity. PERSONAL: I believe in cultivating and backing passionate people, innovation, and old fashioned good ideas. I love making human connections and spreading good ideas. I am strongly motivated to achieve in situations in which independence of thought and action are called for. PERSONAL GOALS: I want to live life vibrantly, to be as sharp as a tack until my last breath and to change the world by being me. My personal goal is to be fully engaged in life, to lead by example, to set high standards and to continue to amass firsthand experience and knowledge in all that interests me. PERSONALITY: I love fun and mischief. I relish absurdity. I have an irreverent, facetious and satiric disposition. I dread boredom. I have spent a lifetime reading. I have no bias against people who have lived successful and/or complicated lives. I write to release tension, to get things off my chest. SOCIAL MEDIA: I post articles on the "Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange" blog at www.garysmolker.wordpress.com, and "Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes" at www.dudesguidetowomensshoes.com. I also post images and comments on Instagram @garyspassion. CONTACT INFORMATION: Gary Smolker, Smolker Law Firm, 16055 Ventura Blvd., Ste 525, Encino, California, 91436-2609, USA. Phone 1-818-788-7290, e-mail GSmolker@aol.com.

Posted on April 30, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Great Articles and Blogs about Diet and the “Wheat Belly” and the damage
    and increasesin blood sugars that too much wheat and carbs in the diet
    causes. I agree!!

    • Each one of those books gives exceptional advice on how to “create health” by identifying and treating the real problems that cause people to be overweight, to have high blood pressure, to have heart attacks and to have diabetes.

      Each author states that your body can heal, given the right conditions.

      Among the important things I learned by reading those books is that heart disease, diabetes and cancer are lifestyle diseases.

      I learned that high blood pressure, overweight, physical inactivity, high blood sugar and high cholesterol are preventable risk factors.

      I also learned that there are physicians who practice functional medicine.

      Functional medicine treats underlying biological, environmental, sociological and emotional causes and mechanisms of diseases, not location in the body or symptoms.

      It was well worth my time to read each of the books I review in this post.

      I wish you good luck in finding, if you have not already found, the healthy path to enjoying the fullest life possible.

  2. Good summary Gary, Wheat Belly and Starch Solution seem to disagree on nuts, dairy and meats. From your review and experience which one do you lean towards?

    • Armando,

      Our bodies are complicated machines.

      Food is medicine and medicine is food.

      What you should eat and what you should avoid eating depends on the condition of your body and the “condition/genealogy” of the food you consume.

      Eating genetically modified grains or soy is different from eating grains or soy that has not been genetically modified.

      Eating meat from cattle full of hormones and antibiotics that been fed genetically modified grains or soy and/or poultry fed with genetically modified soy is different from eating grass fed cattle that have not been treated with hormones and antibiotics or from eating free range chicken that have not been fed genetically modified grains or soy.

      The sugar content of food you consume is also an issue.

      According to his post on the home page of my blog: Since eliminating sugar insofar as possible, Mike McGuinness has essentially eliminated his use of insulin and has not gained back the 40 pounds he lost when he changed his lifestyle two plus years ago.

      Warren Duryea has reported to me (via email) and asked me to post the following personal information about how changing his diet changed his life. His cholesterol level dropped from 210 with medication to 165 without medication when he converted to a high/carb low fat McDougall diet at age sixty six.

      Below are direct quotes from the e-mail Warren sent me a few days ago.

      “Years ago I used to windsurf with Dr. John McDougall (author of ‘The Starch Solution’) and for 30 years had desperately wanted to believe he was somehow wrong and that I could continue gorging myself on beef, cheese and eggs. I bought all the Paleo books and hoped they were right; problem was I still needed my statin. FINALLY, other books like ‘China Study’ by Colin Campbell and ‘Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease’ by Caldwell Esselstyn (a heart surgeon) finally convinced me Dr. John was right all along.

      “When I converted to a carb/low fat McDougall diet at age 66 I dropped my cholesterol from 210 with medication to 165 without medication.

      “I will stick with my high carb/low fat vegan (mostly raw for two meals a day) diet and I will try to keep my total cholesterol low. The high carb diet seems to work for me, even though I would love a really thick medium rare juicy hamburger with lots of blue cheese on top, with some fries on the side.

      “I just finished reading ‘Finding Ultra’ by Rich Roll, a forty year old L.A. area attorney who converted to a vegan diet, lost 50 pounds and three years later was named one of the 25 fittest people in the world. ‘Ultra’ is the Ultraman competition on the Island of Hawaii – a double ironman event over 3 days, limited to 35 competitors so it isn’t well know.

      “My philosophy is that I can eat anything I want any time I want; I just can’t eat anything I want all the time I want.

      “I do believe that the majority of our chronic health problems are diet related. As a country we won’t solve our ‘health care crisis’ until we change the way we eat. That is a long way off considering the money spent by the meat, dairy and poultry industries…not to mention the money spent by the drug industry to ‘fix’ our health problems with just one more pill.”
      ——-
      In “The Virgin Diet” (reviewed in my post), JJ Virgin warns us:

      “Animals that have been fed genetically modified foods have been known to have bleeding stomachs, damaged organs, and immune system problems. The animals themselves often have infertility problems, miscarriages and premature births. Their young suffer from lower birth rates, inability to reproduce, and altered DNA functioning.

      “The American Academy of Environmental Medicine recommends that we avoid genetically modified food. They think it is very dangerous, and so do I. And so do many parts of Western Europe, where genetically modified foods have been outlawed.”

      ————

      Personally, in his book “The Starch Solution”, Dr. McDougall gives good reasons to minimize consumption of nuts and seeds and compelling reasons for ceasing to consume any dairy product.

      I stopped obsessing on nuts and seeds and quit eating dairy products after reading Dr. McDougall’s book.

      I am still gorging myself with meat, poultry and fish.

      I hope what Dr. McDougall says in “The Starch Solution” about consuming meat, poultry and fish does not apply to me.

      If my cholesterol level and blood sugar levels have not dropped when I get my next blood test, I intend to switch more fully over to the diet recommended by Dr. McDougall in “The Starch Solution.”

      I intend to continue to report on the impact of changes in diet have on my health, wellness and state of being diet in a in-the-future-to-be-published Part Two of my Autobiographical Book Report on “Wheat Belly”, “The Starch Solution”, “The Blood Sugar Solution” and “The Virgin Diet.”

  3. From your reviews, and a modicum of common sense, it seems obvious that there is a relationship between food and health. So why is it that doctors are not well trained in nutrition? It is often typical that a doctor only takes one class in nutrition, if any at all, and that class does not include how nutrition can be used to fight disease (See: At Stanford Medicine there is no “nutrition course required”: http://med.stanford.edu/md/curriculum/pdfs_and_docs/Units%20required%20for%20graduation%2003-04%20V3%20on%208-29-05.pdf).

    The authors for each of the books reviewed has an agenda, a message, a point of view. How do these points of view mesh with the real world within which we live? What are they selling? How does the change they propose affect you? your community? and the world? Do the changes they propose make evolutionary sense?

    This last question is critically important. From an evolutionary standpoint, we humans are a relatively recent development in a long chain of evolving humanoid forms, having diverged from our ape-like cousins sometime in the last million or so years. Our evolutionary development is important if only for you to realize the simple fact that we developed into the species we are here on planet Earth. Alternatively, if you believe in creationism, God placed us on Earth and did not transplant us from somewhere else. Regardless of our origins, we belong here on Earth and have, according to fossil and historical evidence, been living and eating food on this planet for at least the last million years. This is interesting because it has only been in the last 10,000 years that we have come to rely on agriculture as a major food source. Prior to that our ancestors were hunter-gatherers. So, in a very real sense, while the advent of agriculture has changed our species in many ways (i.e., socially, behaviorally, and in terms of our physical numbers), we have not caught up to our selves evolutionairily. We do not have built into our bodies the ability to derive all of our nutrition from agriculturally derived grains.

    Our bodies evolved on a hunter-gatherer diet, with energy derived from what we could kill or find within our environment. It was the high carbohydrate foods from agriculture (i.e., principally grains) that have given our species the leisure time to embark on more intellectual pursuits. Carbohydrate is sugar and sugar powers our muscles and brains, but it is the trace elements, vitamins, proteins, and complex sugars found in fruits and vegetables and meats that keep our body working properly. By providing sugar to take the place of hunted and gathered foods, we lessened our dependence on needing to find or kill our next meal.

    Part of what we see today is the result of an over-reliance on agriculturally food products in our diet. Some authors (The Great Cholesterol Con by Anthony Colpo) have suggested that agriculturally derived foods should comprise less than 10 to 20 percent of our diet. The average human diet typically contains twice that amount of grain, much of it provided in a highly processed form. The cereals, breads, pastas, and other grain products have taken on the lions share of our energy needs, but provide less of our nutritional needs. Remember, our bodies are designed by God or evolution to get most of its nutrients from foods collected from hunter-gatherer activities. This makes sense in the light of fad diets (like the Atkins diet) that promoted a return to the hunter-gatherer diet and the minimization of agriculturally derived carbohydrates (i.e., grains). We can see evidence of heart disease in India exploding with the processing of rice in the early 40’s … processing removed the rice hull and thereby removed many vitamins and minerals that are now known to be essential to good heart health. This is the reason why processed rice is supplemented with B vitamins. The point is this …. We are what we eat, but what we eat should be dictated by where we come from, our past.

    More to the point of Gary’s blog, how does a change in ones diet affect short and long-term health outcomes? If the answer to this question was simple, we should expect to see huge changes in disease outcome with simple dietary changes. We don’t. What is clearly in evidence for people consuming the average American diet is a reduction in the incidence of various cancers (the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance Epidemiology End Results database: http://seer.cancer.gov/data/), an increase in body mass and its associated health problems (diabetes, vascular and heart disease, etc.), and increased longevity (we now live longer and in better health than at any time in our recorded history). So, what’s going on ….?

    Take a quick look back over the last 100 years and the answer jumps out at you. As a species, but certainly not everywhere, we have seen the following advances that clearly impact human health:
    – Improved living conditions:
    – sanitation (we no longer live in our own waste)
    – environmental conditions (we no longer live in our own waste)
    – housing (considered a basic human right)
    – societal safety nets (welfare, medicare, medicaid, etc.)
    – access to food (i.e., energy, but not necessarily nutrition)
    – Improved medical diagnosis and treatments
    – saving people from life threatening diseases
    – improving a persons quality of life
    – a pharmaceutical dependent society
    – Improved diet
    – a diet providing more calories (i.e., energy)
    – a diet of reduced/eliminated microbial toxins and hazardous chemicals
    – a diet comprised of better quality, although highly processed, products

    The problem with the modern diet is that we have become extremely reliant on highly processed foods for most of our caloric intake. Processed foods do not contain the nutrition of less processed foods and those lesser processed foods do not contain the nutrition of raw foods. Remember, we come from hunter-gatherers. Our bodies still respond to those foods. We have not evolved to a form where we can consume just sugar (i.e., carbohydrate) and get all of the nutrition our bodies need.

    So, how do you find a healthy diet? Worry less about the numbers doctors throw at you to convince you to join a prescribed course of action and rely instead on trying to fulfill your evolution-derived body with what it needs. Become a hunter-gatherer.

    Regarding toxic substances in your diet. Sugar is perhaps the most toxic substance in your diet. There are more receptors in your body for sugar than for any other substance. In foods, sugar is present in large quantities and from many food stuffs. In the push to eliminate fats and cholesterol (an erroneous push at that), many processed foods supplanted those fats with sugar. During any visit to your local grocery, pick up and read the label of a fat-free product and compare it to a product with fat. You will undoubtedly see the addition of sugar or a sugar substitute.

    The other substances you might worry about in your diet are present in far lower amounts and have far less potential to do your body harm. These are also regulated by industry and governments. To think that someone is fat because of a toxic chemical is to ignore the increasing role of sugar and calories in our diet. I worry more about my sugar intake than my fat intake, but recognize that it is the total number of calories consumed that is responsible for my weight (note: my BMI is and overweight 29, but my waist to height ratio is extremely thin). Huh?

  4. Great discussion of the relationship between nutrition and health. Your personal story is very compelling. Kudos to you for the changes you’ve made and the positive results. I appreciate the review of the four books. Very interesting insights and the comparisons certainly make it clear that there is not one singular truth on nutrition and health.

  5. As a scientist I am skeptical of most scientific claims. I have extensive course work and study in the areas of biology, biochemistry, neurobiology and behavior, and immunology, and have been working as an environmental scientist over the last 25 years, so I tend to be the worst kind of skeptic … I don’t accept blindly the conclusions of another person. I have to research the issue until I am satisfied that the claim makes sense.

    After reading a dozen or so books on the subject of cholesterol and the heart-healthy diet, I am convinced that the current popularized belief that cholesterol somehow causes heart disease or any other disease, is ill founded and contrary to good health. Perhaps the best book on the subject of cholesterol and disease is “The Great Cholesterol Con” by Anthony Colpo. This book has the same message as many others, but extends to the reader a full list of citations that the reader can acquire to more fully vet the authors conclusions. I found that the authors conclusions are generally justified and in some cases even understated. In his book, Colpo concludes that cholesterol does not adversely influence heart health AND may even protect the body from disease (antimicrobial action).

    I know from study in biochemistry that cholesterol is a requirement for proper membrane-bound enzyme function, cellular reproduction, and a host of other necessary cellular events. I also know from personal research as a graduate student that agents that block cholesterol synthesis in the body, at the same rate limiting enzymatic step affected by statins (i.e., HMG Co-A reductase), can result in compromised immune system function (See: side effects of the anti-fungal agent ketoconozole). I know from personal experience with my father and mother that statins have SERIOUS side effects and are often prescribed at the drop of a hat.

    So why take a statin? There is no good reason to take a statin in the doses prescribed to protect heart health. The only documented beneficial effect of statins is an anti-inflammatory effect that occurs at dosages that are far less than the lowest dose prescribed for persons with “high” blood cholesterol. Why take a statin produced by a pharmaceutical company, when Japanese holistic medicine’s red rice yeast can provide the same “statin-like” effect. The fact is that statins and even red rice yeast can cause VERY SERIOUS side effects including death. AND, you have done little to enhance either the length or the quality of your life. One scientist estimated that taking statins all your life would only result, on average, on one extra day of life.

    So, what does cause heart disease? A little touched upon subject dealt with in Colpo’s book and in more detail elsewhere suggests that a diet high in sugar may be the biggest risk factor leading to future heart disease. Other agents can also pose a risk of damage to the heart and vascular system. Kilmer McCully in his book “Heart Revolution” suggests that it is the lack of vitamin B (all of them are important) in the body that results in endothelial damage in arteries that then leads to scar tissue formation and eventually arterial blockage (i.e., a heart attack). Dietary history supports this cause of heart disease, but other factors may also be important (i.e., stress, hormonal status, etc.).

    Anthony Colpo does an excellent job of laying out the argument that cholesterol does not cause heart disease or any other disease, even at blood levels around 400 mg/dl. In fact, he makes a case for persons with higher cholesterol having less morbidity and less mortality than those with lower cholesterol. AND, he explains why. He touches on the major heart studies of the last 50 years and how the flawed cholesterol heart hypothesis has gained ground and who stands to benefit. But please, don’t take my word that this is all true. Get the book yourself and take the author to task. At less than $25, it is perhaps the smartest read on the subject of science and diet in the last 50 years.

    Yes. I take a multivitamin, B-complex, D, and E. I also shy away from carbohydrates of all sorts and especially from processed sugars. I am a firm believer that taking additional B and D vitamins is required of most Americans eating a typical diet. As we age, our ability to absorb B vitamins decreases, so additional supplements may be required for good mental health as well as good heart health.

    Regarding my overall health, I have “high” cholesterol (measured at 265 mg/dl in June of 2011). My father and his father have/had high cholesterol (my grandfather lived to be 93 and died of pneumonia, not heart disease). My doctor advised me to take a statin. I provided her with a copy of Anthony Colpo’s book and declined. She insisted (before reading the book) that I come in for further testing, an EKG, etc. I passed with flying colors. The nurse even asked if I was a runner (low heart rate 39 beats per minute). I am not, and I have the gut to prove it. I golf and work outside as often as I can. Doctors attitudes in this country and around the world are changing. The use of cholesterol as a marker of heart health is flawed and many doctors are coming to embrace the fact that “high” cholesterol is not tolling of the bells for your soul. I urge every one of you to get SMART on the issues that affect your health, whatever they may be, so that you can be an informed consumer of medical technology and practice.

  6. Thanks for the comprehensive review and congratulations on your renewed health! You might enjoy reading ‘Perfect Health Diet’ by Paul Jaminet. It brings a lot of these different ideas into one comprehensive diet/theory. He and his wife also have a blog: perfecthealthdiet.com

    • Thank you.

      I am swimming in an information glut.

      I have read more than 20 books on health, diet, nutrition, how to prevent heart attacks, diabetes, and cognitive decline.

      I am very leery and afraid of prescribed medicine and tremble every time I hear an M.D. tell me he practices “evidence based medicine.”

      I have read numerous scientific articles on the relationship of health to diet-nutrition-exercise-sleep-stress level, as well as on the topic of “death by medicine” – death by medicine is the claim that the leading cause of injury and death in America is conventional medicine.

      I am very interested in people, medicine, the practice of medicine, creativity and the story of people who break the rules to make great things happen.

      I am very interested in creativity and what creative people do who push the boundaries and challenge convention and ask questions no one else is asking..

      What they do in their lives and their careers and what they think is of great interest to me.

      I would like to tell the world about their incredible work.

      Feel free to contact me direct by email.

      Let me know what you are deeply interested in.

      I have an intense extensive on-going world wide set of email conversations on a wide range of topics, which you are welcome and invited to join.

      For example, this morning (September 1, 2014), I received an email which begins with the following sentence, “The most current thinking in many circles is that heart disease and heart attacks are a direct result of inflammation and stress.”

      By the way, I love movies and I am very interested in what film makers have to say about what is going on in the world.

      I will be attending the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, during which I will see at least 20 movies.

      I find the movies shown at that festival to be mentally invigorating, great fun to talk about and great fun to watch.

      My email address is GSmolker@aol.com.

  7. Asking questions are truly good thing if you
    are not understanding anything entirely, except this piece of writing presents fastidious understanding yet.

    • I believe life is a “choose your own adventure detective story.”

      I try to help ambitious people live up to their full potential.

      I encourage them to follow their interests by pushing boundaries, challenging conventions and asking questions nobody else is asking.

      I encourage people to break the rules to advance our understanding or to challenge conventional wisdom with the goal of making the world better.

      I am very interested in people and the story of people who break the rules to make great things happen.

      I am very interested in creativity and what creative people do.

      What they do in their lives and their careers and what they think is of great interest to me.

      I would like to tell the world about their incredible work.

      Feel free to contact me direct by email.

      Let me know what you are deeply interested in.

      I have an intense extensive on-going world wide set of email conversations on a wide range of topics, which you are welcome and invited to join.

      For example, this morning (September 1, 2014), I received an email which begins with the following sentence, “The most current thinking in many circles is that heart disease and heart attacks are a direct result of inflammation and stress.”

      By the way, I love movies and I am very interested in what film makers have to say about what is going on in the world.

      I will be attending the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, during which I will see at least 20 movies.

      I find the movies shown at that festival to be mentally invigorating, great fun to talk about and great fun to watch.

      My email address is GSmolker@aol.com.

  8. I hardly create comments, but i did a few searching and wound up here Your Waist
    to Height Ratio and The Relationship of Diet, Food
    and Nutrition to Health – Part One of an Autobiographical Book Report
    by Gary S. Smolker on Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD, The
    Starch Solution by John A. McDougall, MD and Mary McDougall, The Blood Sugar Solution by Mark Hyman, MD,
    and The Virgin Diet by JJ Virgin, CNS, CHFS. | Gary S.

    Smolker. And I actually do have a few questions
    for you if you usually do not mind. Could it be just me or does it look like some of the remarks appear like
    written by brain dead visitors? 😛 And, if you are posting at additional
    sites, I’d like to keep up with anything new you have to post.
    Would you make a list of every one of all your public sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed,
    or linkedin profile?

    • I write about things I have a keen interested in. “Off-site” I am presently engaged in on-going conversations via e-mail on topics such as (a)”Death by Medicine”, (b) do statins lower testosterone, (c) is low cholesterol associated with greater mortality than high cholesterol level, (d) do statins cause cognitive decline, and the validity of the claim by doctors who claim they practice “evidence based medicine.”

      Many people claim that the major cause of death and injury in the United States is conventional medicine.

      Many people claim that the reports on drug efficacy are “worthless” because they report results on groups but it is individuals that are treated, i.e. what applies on average to a group does not tell you what will happen to you as an individual.

      Many people point out a flaw in most medical advice about the taking of cholesterol lowering drugs is that the rational is a fallacy known to the Romans – post hoc ergo proper hac which translates “it follows this therefore it was caused by that.” Correlation does not equal causation, – those critics claim that medical advice regarding cholesterol lowering drugs appears to be based on correlation.

      I am interested in those types of issues and correspond with people who also care about those issues.

      I am also interested in creativity, how the brain works, why people do the things they do.

      I am particularly interested in people who pushed boundaries, challenged conventions, and asked questions nobody else was asking.

      I am interested in the creative enterprise of seeing connections no-one else sees, the creative enterprise of being willing and able to think beyond the rules, the boundlessness of human potential.

      Certain people break the rules to advance our understanding or to challenge conventional wisdom with the goal of making the world better.

      I am interested in those people and that enterprise.

      I find those people’s stories – what they do in their lives and in their careers – and their work which in some way breaks the rules to make great things happen inspirational.

      I am interested in those people’s stories and in stories about those people.

      I want to tell the world about their work.

      I want what I write about them, their thoughts, their ideas, their findings and my comments to become part of the international conversation about what they have done.

      I want to tell the world about the incredible work they do.

      You may contact me directly by e-mail if you would like to be included in that email correspondence.

      Please let me know your interest and the depth of your interests in topics of interest to you.

      My email address is GSmolker@aol.com.

      Please use a header that will alert me that you are interested in joining one or more of those conversations.

      People in those e-mail conversations are serious people who have an insatiable curiosity.

      For the most part, they look at their lives as their own chosen adventure detective story.

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