The Special Carb Guaranteed to Improve Your Health and Weight Loss

The Special Carb Guaranteed to Improve Your Health and Weight Loss

We’re often told these days that carbs are bad for us. That carbs – or carbohydrate foods – will make us fat, and that we should limit their consumption. We’re also told that it’s protein foods that fill us up – not carbs. Well, I’m here to tell you this is completely wrong.

What if I told you that there was a special carb only found in plant foods that is guaranteed to:

  • Help you feel full for hours
  • Aid in digestion
  • Reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and high cholesterol
  • Help flush fat out of your system
  • Add texture to food
  • Keep you regular
  • Has no bad side effects
  • And, (maybe best of all) contains ZERO calories?

Would you want to get some of this? What would you be willing to pay for this magical food ingredient, which sounds almost too good to be true?

green okraAs it turns out, not only does this fantastic food component exist abundantly in nature, it costs you virtually NOTHING! So what is this magic ingredient, the big F-Bomb for health and weight loss? The answer is simple: fibre (or, if you’re in the US, fiber).

According to research published in The Journal of Nutrition the ‘secret’, proven way to prevent weight gain or even encourage weight loss without dieting is, of course, to consume more fibre.

As reported in a recent ‘Eating Well’ article, researchers at Brigham Young University in Utah followed the eating habits of 252 middle-aged women for nearly two years and found that those who increased their fibre intake generally lost weight. Women who decreased the fibre in their diets gained weight. The research scientists found that increasing fibre by 8 grams for every 1,000 calories consumed resulted in losing about 4½ pounds (2kg) over the course of the study.

While it helps you feel full, “fibre has no calories,” says Larry Tucker, Ph.D., lead researcher and professor in the Department of Exercise Sciences at Brigham Young.

How Much Fibre Should You Eat?

The USDA recommends 14 grams of fibre for every 1,000 calories consumed by healthy adults. So a person eating 2,000 calories a day should aim to get at least 28 grams (or more) of fibre daily.

Most Australians do not consume enough fibre. On average, most Australians consume 20–25g of fibre daily, whereas the Australian Heart Foundation recommends that adults should aim to consume approximately 25–30g daily.

Dr Neal Barnard of the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) advises that “Fiber plays a key role for digestion, weight loss, and cancer prevention, and can even increase lifespan!…I recommend a dietary intake of 40 grams of fiber per day—while most Americans are only getting 10-15 grams.”

You could easily meet or exceed the recommended amount of daily fibre by eating the following healthy plant foods over the course of a day:

  • ½ cup oatmeal (3 grams fibre)
  • 1 small banana (3 grams)
  • ½ cup cooked red or black beans (7 grams)
  • 1 small apple (5 grams)
  • ½ cup lentils (8 grams)
  • and ½ cup blueberries (3 grams)

Dangers Of A Low-Fibre Diet

The current fad for high-protein high-fat diets promotes reduced consumption of healthy plant foods such as beans, whole grains and fruit. Reducing the amount of fibre-rich, whole plant foods in your diet is dangerous to your health. Disorders that can arise from a low-fibre diet include:

  • Constipation
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Diverticulitis
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Heart disease
  • Bowel cancer

Note that animal products have no fibre at all, so the more meat, dairy and eggs you consume, the less room in your diet for this important food component.

What Is Dietary Fibre?

Dietary fibre is a type of complex carbohydrate made up of the indigestible parts or compounds of plants, which pass relatively unchanged through our stomach and intestines. Other terms for dietary fibre include ‘bulk’ and ‘roughage’, which can be misleading since some forms of fibre are water-soluble and aren’t bulky or rough at all.

Unlike other food components such as fats, proteins or carbohydrates that your body breaks down and absorbs, your body doesn’t digest fibre. Rather, fibre passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine, and colon, and out of your body.

Types Of Fibre

According to Nutrition Australia, there are three different types of fibre, which have different functions and health benefits:

  • Soluble fibre – includes pectins, gums and mucilage, which are found mainly in plant cells. This type of fibre dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. One of its major roles is to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Good sources of soluble fibre include fruits, vegetables, oat bran, barley, seed husks, flaxseed, psyllium, dried beans, citrus fruits, carrots, barley, lentils, peas, and soy products.
  • Insoluble fibre – includes cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin, which make up the structural parts of plant cell walls. A major role of insoluble fibre is to add bulk to faeces and to prevent constipation and associated problems such as haemorrhoids. This type of fibre promotes the movement of waste material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, which helps with constipation. Good sources include wheat bran, corn bran, rice bran, the skins of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, dried beans and whole-grain breads and cereals.
  • Resistant Starch – passes through the small intestine and proceeds to the large intestine where it can assist in the production of good bacteria and improves bowel health. Resistant starch is found in under-cooked pasta, under ripe bananas, oats, cooked and cooled potato and rice.

Health Benefits Of Fibre

ALL types of fibre are beneficial to the body and most plant foods contain a mixture of different types. However, the amount of each type varies in different plant foods. To receive the greatest health benefit, eat a wide variety of high-fibre (whole plant-based) foods.

Individuals with high intakes of dietary fibre appear to be at significantly lower risk for developing:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • and certain gastrointestinal diseases.

Increasing fibre intake lowers blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels. Increased intake of soluble fibre improves glycaemia and insulin sensitivity in non-diabetic and diabetic individuals.

Why Fibre Is Important For Healthy Weight Loss

  • High-fibre foods require more chewing time, which gives your body time to register when you’re no longer hungry, so you’re less likely to overeat.
  • A high-fibre diet tends to make meals feel larger and linger longer, so you stay full for a greater amount of time.
  • High-fibre diets also tend to be less “energy dense,” which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.

Your Best Food Choices For Fibre

Your best choices for fibre are healthy whole plant foods. These include:

  • Whole-grain foods, including wholegrain breads and cereals
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Beans, peas and other legumes
  • Nuts and seeds

Remember, fibre is only found in abundance in relatively unprocessed, whole plant foods. Refined or processed foods such as canned fruits and vegetables, pulp-free juices, white breads and pastas, and non-whole-grain cereals are lower in fibre. The grain-refining process removes the outer coat (bran) from the grain, which lowers its fibre content, as does removing the skin from fruits and vegetables. As Dr Greger advises, it’s much healthier to get your fibre from whole plant foods, rather than from supplements.

6 Ways To Fit Fibre Into Your Food

  1. Bulk-up at breakfast. For breakfast choose a high-fibre breakfast cereal such as rolled oats or a whole-grain cereal. Or try baked beans on whole wheat toast
  2. Have the whole grain. Choose breads that list whole wheat, whole-wheat flour or another whole grain as the first ingredient on the label. Have brown rice, wild rice, barley, whole-wheat pasta and bulgur, instead of white rice and pasta.
  3. Vegify your meals. Add fresh or frozen vegetables to soups and sauces. For example, mix chopped frozen broccoli into prepared spaghetti sauce or toss fresh baby carrots into stews.
  4. Love your legumes. Lentils, beans, and peas excellent sources of fibre. Use lentils and beans in curries, stews, salads, Mexican dishes and soups.
  5. Go fruity. Apples, bananas, oranges, pears and berries are all good sources of fibre.
  6. Plant-power snacks. Instead of cookies, cake or chocolate, snack on fresh fruits, raw vegetables, low-fat popcorn and whole-grain crackers. An occasional handful of nuts or dried fruits also is a healthy, high-fibre snack, although be aware that nuts and dried fruits are high in calories.

High-fibre foods are not only important to assist and sustain weight loss, but they’re good for your health. Be careful adding too much fibre to your meals at once, however, as this can lead to intestinal gas, abdominal bloating and cramping. Gradually increase your dietary fibre over a period of a few weeks. This allows the natural bacteria in your digestive system to adjust to the change.

Finally, drink plenty of water. Fibre works best when it absorbs water, making your stool soft and bulky.

Enjoy loads of fibre-rich plant-foods. You won’t go hungry, you’ll feel great, and you won’t stack on excess weight either!

Further Information sources:

Tom Perry

7 Ways Plant Foods Help You Lose Weight – Without Counting Calories

7 Ways Plant Foods Help You Lose Weight – Without Counting Calories

Losing weight is easy!

person runningLosing weight is easy, right? I mean, if all those fat people just ate a bit less and got off their big butts to do some exercise they wouldn’t be fat anymore…or would they?

The basic fact is that if you consistently consume less energy than you expend, you will lose weight. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Then why do we spend literally billions on weight loss programs every year? (for example, Americans alone spend more than $60 billion annually on weight loss foods, products, and services.)

It’s all your fault

hungry manIf you’ve tried the fad diets and failed, it’s all your fault, isn’t it? If you’d just stuck to that diet, kept attending that gym or exercise classes or using that dinky exer-gadget you’d look like the ‘after’ and not the ‘before’ photos, wouldn’t you?

According to UK researcher Dr Kevin Hall “somewhere between 50% and 80% of dieters will put weight back on.”

I’m here to tell you that not only is it not your fault, but you were likely set up to fail. You were set up to fail so that companies selling the latest diet regime or exercise craze could keep taking your hard-earned. If you could maintain a healthy weight and food intake without all these products, they would be out of business, right? They want you to keep trying and keep failing so you keep buying. It’s a harsh economic truth.

So, what’s the alternative?

Calorie restriction vs Calorie density

eating watermelonEssentially, there are 2 main ways to lose weight with diet. And unless you’re able to do some serious exercise like the plant-powered ultra-marathon superstar Rich Roll – for most people diet is more important for weight loss than exercise.

The first way is calorie restriction. This means focusing on the amount of calories you consume, rather than what you eat. You could even eat McDonalds every day and lose weight, if you take in less calories than you burn (though I definitely do not recommend it!).

Just ask John Cisna a high school science teacher in Colo, Iowa, who says he lost 56 pounds only eating McDonalds . However, if a diet of strictly Macca’s, or only eating tiny portions or counting calories religiously doesn’t do it for you, there is an alternative.

As Dr Michael Greger of Nutrition Facts and author of ‘How Not To Die’ recently explained in one of his excellent videos, calorie, or energy density is the reason a study showed participants lost an average of 17 pounds within 21 days while eating a greater quantity of food. Although participants in the study ate more food, they still lost weight. If this sounds too good to be true, stay with me. I’m not a doctor or a dietitian, but the facts and the research speaks for themselves.

By eating foods with a lower energy density people in the study were still eating less calories, but not by reducing the quantity of food. It was the quality, the energy density of the food that made all the difference.

The Calorie-Density Approach to Health and Weight Loss

Jeff Novick is a dietitian and nutritionist with over 30 years of experience in nutrition, health and fitness. In 2012 Jeff wrote an excellent article for the ‘Forks Over Knives‘ website about the calorie density approach to nutrition and weight management.

As Jeff writes, “Calorie density is the simplest approach to healthful eating and lifelong weight management. This common sense approach to sound nutrition allows for lifelong weight management without hunger; more food for fewer calories, and is easy to understand and follow. In addition, by following the principles of calorie density, you will also increase the overall nutrient density of your diet.”

Essentially, the idea is that you can eat a substantial amount of food and still lose excess weight by choosing low-calorie or low-energy-density high-nutrient plant foods. Jeff provides some general principles of the low-calorie-density eating plan:

  • Eat only till you are full – don’t stuff yourself
  • Don’t drink your calories – eat and chew healthy, solid whole foods
  • Start all meals with soup, salad or fruit
  • Dilute meals with low-calorie vegetables, fruit, and whole grains
  • Avoid use of high-calorie fats and oils
  • Limit high-calorie-dense foods

What Determines Energy Density?

Energy density is the amount of energy (or calories) per gram of food. Energy density is determined by 3 main factors:

  1. the amount of macro-nutrients in food, that is, protein, fat or carbohydrate;
  2. the amount of zero-calorie water in food
  3. and the amount of zero-calorie fiber in food.

vegetablesAs prime examples, fresh vegetables and fruit have lots of water and fiber, and so are low energy-density foods. Ice-cream, on the other hand, has little water, no fiber, and lots of fat and sugar, and so is packed with calories, or energy, even for a small serving size. Notably, fruit and vegetables, while low in energy density, are very high in nutrient density, providing the best of both worlds.

The theory is, if you fill up on low-energy-density foods you’ll automatically consume less calories. Conversely, if you eat mainly high-energy-density foods, you’ll take in loads of extra calories from food that will take a greater volume to fill you up.

How does this work in practice?

Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that people in the study consumed a similar amount of food (by weight) across the three conditions of energy density – low, medium and high. Significantly more energy was consumed by people following the high energy density diet, but, crucially, there were no differences in hunger or fullness before or after meals.

gnocchi pesto saladIn a recent clinical trial a group of obese women was asked to include satisfying portions of low-energy-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and broth-based soups, and to choose and prepare foods with less fat. Another comparison group was advised to limit the portions of all foods and to reduce their fat intake.

After 6 months, the women who were asked to eat more low-energy-dense foods had far more low-energy-dense fruits and vegetables than the comparison group. These dietary changes were associated with a 40% greater weight loss in the reduced-energy-density group than in the comparison group.

Contrary to standard advice which says people should eat small portions to lose weight, a strategy to eat satisfying portions of low-energy-dense foods was more successful for weight loss.

In a research brief prepared by the US National Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion on Low-Energy-Dense Foods and Weight Management, it was noted that while:

…strategies [to limit portion sizes or food groups] can help moderate calorie intake, particularly during the short-term, they do have limitations. These approaches may compromise diet quality or cause feelings of hunger and dissatisfaction, which can limit their acceptability, sustainability, and long-term effectiveness.”

The research brief referred to a recent study which:

“…found that among a nationally representative group of U.S. adults, men and women who reported eating a lower-energy-dense diet ate fewer calories yet consumed more food by weight than people who ate a higher energy dense diet.”

PCRM – Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine – published research showing that a health plant-based vegetarian diet helps you lose weight without counting calories. This meta-analysis, conducted by PCRM, was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on Thursday, January 22, 2015.

A total of 15 studies were reviewed, that were conducted with 755 participants in Finland, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the United States. The studies, some short as four weeks, with others last as long as two years; showed an average weight loss of 10 pounds over a 44-week period.

I will leave the final word with Neal Barnard, M.D., lead author of the study, president of the Physicians Committee, and an adjunct associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, who was quoted as saying:

“The take-home message is that a plant-based diet can help you lose weight without counting calories and without ramping up your exercise routine. We hope health care providers will take note and prescribe this approach to patients looking to manage their weight and health.”

How Do You Calculate Energy Density?

According to the British Nutrition Foundation, the energy density of food can be measured by the following criteria:

  • Very low energy density foods = less than 0.6 calories/gram
  • Low energy density foods = 0.6 to 1.5 calories/gram
  • Medium energy density foods = 1.5 to 4 calories/gram
  • High energy density foods = more than 4 calories/gram

The energy density of packaged food can be calculated easily by using information that is readily available on the Nutrition Facts Panel of food labels. All you need to know is the weight of a serving of the food (in grams) and the amount of calories that serving contains.

The energy density of a food is the number of calories divided by the weight. For example, if a food is 215 calories per 300 g, its energy density is 215 kcal/300g = 0.7, which is in the low range.

The advice from the British Nutrition Foundation is to eat mostly foods that are very low, low or medium in energy density, and consume higher energy density foods in small amounts.

According to the Foundation, foods with a lower energy density (less than 1.5 calories/gram) include fruit and vegetables and foods with lots of added water, such as soups and stews. Lower fat foods, including whole grains, beans and legumes, also tend to have a lower energy density. These foods should make up most of what we eat.

High energy density foods, on the other hand, tend to include foods that are high in fat and have a low water content, for example biscuits and confectionery, crisps, peanuts, butter, bacon and cheese.

Low-energy-dense Foods Boost Your Metabolism

bread onion tomatoWhen it comes to losing weight and burning fat, most people think of going on a diet, eating fewer calories, and working out daily like a gym-junkie. But what if you could continually burn extra calories just by changing what you ate? What if you could boost your metabolism, and your cells ability to convert food into energy simply by choosing the ‘right’ foods, without starving yourself or exercising? Well, you can.

In a study recorded by nutrition expert and physician, Neal Barnard, MD, best-selling author, clinical researcher, and founding president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a group of older people with chronic weight problems had their metabolism measured. Then, these people were asked to stick to a plant-based or vegan diet with little or no fats or oils. When their metabolic rates were measured several weeks later, not only did their calorie-burning speed increase by an average of 16 per cent after a meal; but that extra burn was significantly higher than it had been when the study started. Instead of storing food as fat, they were converting food into energy. (Source: 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart, by Neal Barnard, MD).

The important point here is the increase in metabolic rate happened for 3 hours after every meal. That means after breakfast, lunch and dinner the increased metabolism burned more calories every time, giving these people an extra edge to help them trim off excess weight.

Why fibre is important for healthy weight loss

A key ingredient in low-energy-density diets is the magic ‘F’ word: fibre (US: fiber). Dietary fibre is important for sustained weight loss because:

  • High-fibre foods require more chewing time, which gives your body time to register when you’re no longer hungry, so you’re less likely to overeat.
  • A high-fibre diet tends to make meals feel larger and linger longer, so you stay full for a greater amount of time.
  • High-fibre diets also tend to be less “energy dense,” which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.

Your best food choices for fibre

Your best choices for fibre are healthy whole plant foods. These include:

  • Whole-grain foods
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Beans, peas and other legumes
  • Nuts and seeds

corn cobRemember, fibre is only found in abundance in relatively unprocessed, whole plant foods. Refined or processed foods such as canned fruits and vegetables, pulp-free juices, white breads and pastas, and non-whole-grain cereals are lower in fibre. The grain-refining process removes the outer coat (bran) from the grain, which lowers its fibre content, as does removing the skin from fruits and vegetables.

As noted, eating less calories than you expend will enable you to lose weight, and doing physical exercise is highly recommended for a healthy mind and body. But that’s not the whole story. It turns out that WHAT you eat is a key factor to not only help you lose those unwanted pounds, but to keep hunger and cravings at bay for the long term because you’re not dieting!

I think you’ve gathered by now that I don’t subscribe to ‘dieting’, including cutting out or severely limiting whole food groups, or not eating regularly or skipping meals or cutting down portion sizes. It doesn’t work in the long term, because even if you lose weight by constantly depriving yourself, your body won’t let you starve forever. Once your hunger and food cravings take control (as they inevitably will) you will start scoffing and undo all the hard-won gains you made.

7 Ways Plant Foods Help You Lose Weight Without Counting Calories

Here’s the 7 ways whole plant-based diets work to help you lose weight without counting calories:


1. The main ‘secret ingredient’ of whole plant based diets can be summed up in one important F word: FIBRE

Or for those in the US – fiber. Fibre is a special type of carbohydrate found only in plants that cannot be digested by the body. It is naturally low in calories, yet it helps fill us up, and is critical in preventing or combating such conditions as high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, cancer and heart disease.


2. Choosing whole plant foods means you avoid consuming foods made with white, refined flour and sugar, which tend to be calorie-dense but nutrient-poor

This means consuming mostly whole vegetables (raw and cooked – especially dark leafy greens), whole fruit, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, such as oats, brown rice and protein-rich quinoa. Avoid foods that are processed to the point where they lose most of their fibre and other micro-nutrients (such as fruit juice). Choosing whole plant-based food means choosing plant food that is in, or close to, its natural state.


3. If you eat mostly, or all whole, natural foods, you don’t have to worry about getting too much (or not enough) fat, carbs or protein

The beauty of healthy, whole plant foods is that they are balanced in all the very best nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and phyto-chemicals, and, (not to mention; again) fibre.


4. Whole plant foods are mostly low in fat, which has more than double the calories of protein or carbohydrates

With the exceptions such as raw nuts, seeds, avocado and whole olives (not oil) which are healthy sources of good fats, essential omega 3, omega 6 and protein. Several studies have also shown that eating small amounts of nuts helps with weight loss because the fibre and protein help you feel full longer.


5. Whole plants foods are naturally low in salt and sugar

Even the natural sugar in fruit is of the low GI variety, as the fibre in whole fruit ensures as low release of the energy.


6. Plant foods provide a kaleidoscope of colours, tastes, and textures that add interest, flavour and variety to food – without piling on the pounds!

Instead of mixing fatty, creamy sauces and dressings, or adding lots of butter, cheese or refined oils, you can utilize the vast range of natural herbs, seasonings and spices that add both zest and healthy nutrients to your dishes – without adding extra calories.


7. Whole plant foods are non-addictive and health-promoting

Foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar (think cheese, pastries, sweets, fried food, processed meats) tend to over-stimulate our palate, and can lead to food addiction, or at least over-consumption. Fast, or ‘junk’ food is a prime example of this. Sugary white buns, fatty meats and cheese, rich sauces and condiments, ice cream, fried chips – all these type of foods are loaded with calories, are not very filling, and can have a devastating effect on our health.


Seek Medical Advice

Please note, this article is based on research and information from medical and nutritional authorities. However, I am not medically trained, and if you’re planning on making major changes to your diet, or particularly if you have chronic medical conditions and take medications, it is important to seek advice from your doctor, and a registered dietitian (which I did when I had high cholesterol and high blood pressure). In Australia, I recommend The Human Herbivore, Amanda Benham. For those in the US, I advise you to consult Julieanna Hever, The Plant Based Dietitian.

To your health and happiness,

Tom Perry

Dr Fuhrman’s Weight Loss Starter Kit

Dr Fuhrman’s Weight Loss Starter Kit

Product Review: Dr Fuhrman’s Weight Loss Starter Kit

Dr Joel Fuhrman is a best-selling author, board-certified physician, plant-based nutrition expert and creator of the ‘Nutritarian way of eating and healthy weight loss. One of his popular products (that I have purchased and used) is a suite of books and DVDs known at the ‘Weight Loss Starter Kit.

nutritarian productsThe Weight Loss Starter Kit

The Weight Loss Starter Kit is a multimedia program. It consists of a suite of books and DVDs:

  1. The End of Dieting book (hardcover, signed by Joel Fuhrman)
  2. Nutritarian Planner & Journal (spiral-bound)
  3. Secrets to Healthy Cooking DVD
  4. Eating Like a Nutritarian DVD
  5. 1 FREE month of GoldPLUS Membership for new members

The program centres around nutrition and healthy eating and offers solutions to people who are:

  1. Trying to lose weight and keep it off
  2. Hoping to get off the endless fad diet money-go-round that never seems to achieve lasting results
  3. Looking for a weight loss solution that not only is sustainable, but will deliver excellent nutrition to help combat high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other common ailments

In this review I will summarise each of the component of Dr Fuhrman’s Weight Loss Starter Kit based on my own personal experience and break it down to help you understand how the program works.

One of several books of Dr Fuhrman’s that I have read is a key part of the ‘Weight Loss Starter Kit’ – ‘the End of Dieting. ‘The End of Dieting’ aims to help you break the cycle of endless fad or restrictive diets, and protect yourself with all the dietary and nutritional advice you need.

Key Principles

Central to Dr Fuhrman’s philosophy, as explained in his other, highly-recommended and best-selling book The End of Dieting, is his simple health equation:

Health = Nutrients / Calories

In other wend of dieting bookords, your health is predicted by your nutrient intake divided by your calorie intake. This means that you are advised to consume foods that have the highest nutrient value, with the lowest calories available. Essentially, this means natural high-fibre low-calorie whole plant foods.

In ‘The End of Dieting’ Dr Fuhrman catalogues many case studies where people have broken free of their food addictions, dramatically improved chronic health conditions, and lost huge amounts of weight.
People like Kathleen, who found herself weighing 228 pounds with severe osteoarthritis with total knee replacement at only 47 years old. After working with Dr Fuhrman’s food addiction counselor, and following Dr Fuhrman’s prescriptions for a healthy diet filled with vegetables, fruit, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds, Kathleen lost 163 pounds and feels lighter and much healthier. Or husband and wife Cassie and Dave, who lost 111 pounds and 145 pounds respectively, embraced a fully plant-based lifestyle and exercise routine, and experienced transformations in their physical and mental health.

The End of Dieting explores a number of topical issues:

  1. The effects of ‘toxic hunger’ and food addictions, caused by eating unhealthy, low nutrient, addictive foods
  2. The Three Habits of Health– eating high-nutrient low-calorie foods, exercise and positive mindset.
  3. Debunking diet myths, including:
    • The Standard American Diet (SAD) which is centered on chicken, red meat, cheese, processed grains and sweets;
    • The Mediterranean Diet, with its over-emphasis on unhealthy olive oil and pasta;
    • The Paleo Diet (and all its high-protein-low-carb predecessors), which, as Dr Fuhrman says, leaves you “dead – like a caveman”;
    • The ‘Wheat Belly’, and various versions of calorie and portion-controlled diets.

secrets of healthy cooking dvdDr Fuhrman urges us to ditch all these diets. He calls for an end to fad diet extremism in all its forms, and instead focuses on health first, by maximizing consumption of crucial micronutrients, and weight second.

Dr Fuhrman’s key message is to have a balanced diet we should eat lots of vegetables, especially green vegetables, fruits, including berries, beans, legumes, whole grains, mushrooms, seeds and nuts. His advice is to stop looking for diets and just eat has healthfully as possible.

To obtain the best possible concentration of healthy plant foods, Dr Fuhrman employs a simple acronym: G-BOMBS. This stands for Greens; Beans; Onions; Mushrooms; Berries and Seeds. Why these particular foods? Dr Fuhrman promotes G-BOMBS as foods with the most powerful immune-boosting and anti-cancer effects, and raw salad vegetables to help you lose and control your weight.

The Nutritarian Program

nutritarian plateAfter detailing all the benefits to weight control and protection for chronic disease that whole plant foods have to offer, Dr Fuhrman outlines his whole Nutritarian program to help you make a start.

As Dr Fuhrman says, the Nutritarian diet style “enables you to lose weight and keep it off permanently, without experiencing hunger or depriving yourself of food.” Not only does counting calories and eating less not work for long-term weight loss, as Dr Fuhrman explains, it isn’t supported by advances in nutritional science or clinical evidence. A low-calorie diet that is nutritionally unsound is doomed to fail because it “increases your cravings and hunger signals.”

This book concludes with a healthy eating plan, weekly meal ideas, and recipes. Rather than focus on the foods you can’t eat, Dr Fuhrman encourages you to enjoy the kaleidoscope of plant foods that you can eat in abundance.

The End of Dieting’ – six basic guidelines for everyday eating

  • eat a large salad as your main dish;
  • eat half a cup to a full cup of beans;
  • eat one large serving of lightly steamed green vegetables;
  • eat at least one ounce of nuts and seeds; eat mushrooms and onions,
  • and eat at least three fresh fruits a day.

Dr Fuhrman has provided an online daily checklist to help remind you of these guidelines, and to help you further I have created my own ‘Nutritarian’ shopping list based on Dr Fuhrman’s guidelines (see below).

Dr Fuhrman’s DVD guides

Dr Fuhrman’s Weight Loss Starter Kit includes two very helpful DVD guides to planning your Nutritarian meals.

eating like a nutritarian dvdThe first DVD, ‘Eating Like a Nutritarian, is filmed at Whole Foods Market, but could be set at any green grocers, organic store, or produce section of your local supermarket. Dr Fuhrman takes you through the high nutrient (plant) food aisles to show you what to buy and how to prepare all the super foods that your body needs: vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, and the right fats and proteins.

On this DVD Dr Fuhrman also addresses the biggest dietary myths we have been told, ranging from misconceptions about olive oil to the truth about snacking. You’ll learn about the science behind why these foods help you to burn fat and achieve optimum health, and why it’s important to limit, or avoid animal products in your diet.

The second DVD, ‘Secrets to Healthy Cooking, features Dr Fuhrman and his wife, Lisa. They take you into their kitchen to demonstrate the techniques and principles behind preparing delicious super plant foods. You’ll learn how to prepare great tasting and high nutrient recipes, and Dr Fuhrman reveals his favourite recipes and general formulas for making:

  • Salad Dressings & Dips
  • Soups & Stews
  • Main Dishes
  • Vegetable Smoothies
  • Ice Cream & Sorbets

And as an added bonus, a recipe booklet is included with this DVD to help you get started on your Nutritarian journey.

The Weight Loss Starter Kit also includes an attractive spiral-bound Nutritarian Planner and Journal. A daily journal is useful tool to help you change your current diet and lifestyle. If you keep a food diary and record your health and weight loss goals, this will assist you to take control over your lifestyle choices.

Dr Fuhrman’s Nutritarian Planner & Journal encourages you to:

  • Keep track of your progress
  • Commit to your dietary and exercise goals
  • Document your feelings, both the triumphs and the difficulties

Dr Fuhrmans Weekly PlannerIf you buy the Weight Loss Starter Kit you can choose this as a ‘stand-alone’ item, or you can elect to sign up (as I did) for a monthly membership (for new members you’ll receive a free month’s Gold Plus membership). The benefits of being a member of Dr Fuhrman’s online community include:

  • Nutritarian recipes and menus– view, search and print over 1,500 recipes, rated and reviewed by other members
  • Recipe of the Day email– recipe suggestions delivered to you daily via email
  • Healthy Times Newsletters and Position papers– browse a library of previously published newsletters and papers on various topics in nutrition and science
  • The Health Tracker– an easy way to track your progress
  • Webinars and Teleconferences– access to an archive of recorded webinars and teleconferences on a variety of topics in science, nutrition, and health

The Downside

The downside of Dr Fuhrman’s Weight Loss Starter Kit is that it requires you to invest significant time and effort in reading, planning, and preparing for transitioning to a healthy plant-based diet. If you’re looking for a ‘quick-fix’ diet, like, say, the 5:2 diet, where you eat normally for 5 days and ‘fast’ for 2 days on only 500 calories a day, or a restrictive regime like Paleo diet, where you can’t eat dairy products, grains, or legumes, but eat lots of meat, you will be disappointed with Dr Fuhrman’s Nutritarian eating plan.

Although all the foods Dr Fuhrman promotes are plant-based, it is not strictly speaking a low-fat vegan diet, such as Dr Barnard’s 21-day Vegan Kickstart (which I have also done, bought and read the book, and personally endorse).

What I think

Tom with bookBy adopting and adapting Dr Fuhrman’s Nutritarian eating and weight loss plan I have experienced some weight loss (about 7-8 kilograms/15 pounds so far), and, most importantly to me, this has helped me to bring my cholesterol, triglyceride and blood pressure levels down from dangerously high to well-within safe levels.

I have a family history of vascular disease and stroke, and my doctor has diagnosed me with ‘familial hypercholesterolaemia’, which is a fancy term for a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol levels. Despite this, with medication and dietary changes to a healthy low-fat vegan ‘Nutritarian’ style diet, I have defied my genes and gone from a high-risk to low-risk of dying from heart disease. Not only do I feel lighter and fitter, I am less worried about being around to look after my family and kids as I grow older. Is that worth the US$49.99 for The Weight Loss Starter Kit? I say yes, every penny of it.

The Nutritarian diet style requires a lot of time, commitment and immersion into the program. This might put you off, but I believe it’s worth it.

I don’t follow the Nutritarian guidelines 100% of the time, and occasionally I’ll consume a bit of refined or junk food, or even a glass of red wine (or two)! So don’t worry if you think you can’t follow this always: I don’t. I’m not perfect, and that’s fine. I still want you to enjoy life, but I also know that to see permanent improvements to your weight and health, you have to be prepared to make significant changes to your diet and lifestyle. This program provides a clear and comprehensive road-map to achieving your weight and health goals for (potentially) the rest of your life.

If you really want to lose weight and keep it off, and improve your health at the same time, I highly recommend Dr Fuhrman’s weight loss program. The Weight Loss Starter Kit is super comprehensive, educational and quite an investment for your future health and longevity.