Friday, September 22, 2017

High Carb vs. High Fat vs. High Protein Diets



Ketogenic diets are all the rage right now. Even Mark Sisson who has routinely advised against ketogenic diets, is releasing a new book, The Keto Reset Diet.

Alternatively, high carb diets are also making a comeback. Rusty Moore is offering his High Carb Fat Loss course for just $17 if you'd like the lowdown on a high carb diet with many real-world examples, meal plans, etc.

Steve Cooksey, the Diabetes Warrior, is advocating a nearly all-meat diet using intermittent fasting a la The Snake Diet and seeing great results.



If I had to recommend one of these three approaches, it would be Rusty's High Carb Fat Loss. Here's why.

Many people struggle to lose weight and need a more structured diet. My Potato Hack has helped thousands of people lose weight over the past couple years...I know it works if you can stick to the protocol. But for a long-term weight loss or maintenance diet many people need more than the Potato Hack.


Simply cutting calories on whatever diet you are currently eating can have mixed results. SAD dieters are not eating quality foods, so just eating less crap (processed snack foods, fast food, etc...) does not have the desired effect. It makes you grumpy and hungry and unlikely to succeed.

Keto Diets


A high fat diet, sometimes called a "keto" or "ketogenic" diet is, in my opinion, the worst diet plan ever devised. By all accounts, and even the keto-gurus agree, ketogenic diets take several weeks to implement to become a fat-adapted. During the phase-in period, you will get brain-fog, flu-like symptoms, and you will very likely develop breath that smells of ketones, often compared to cat urine.

The biggest drawback of the keto diet is that it's all-or-nothing. If you cheat, you lose your ability to burn fat and must spend several more weeks becoming fat-adapted, a time which make you extremely vulnerable to incipient weight regain. Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint is a low carb, fairly sane way of eating that allows 20% "off-plan" eating...thousands and thousands of people have benefited from the Primal Blueprint over the past decade. Why Mark would abandon this tried-and-true whole food approach is beyond me.

Additionally, the keto diet is not guaranteed to show results. Jimmy Moore, the original keto guru, struggles with body fat and poor metabolic markers. Richard Nikoley at Free the Animal writes about Jimmy frequently, and even has a Facebook page devoted to the lunacy of keto dieting.

High Protein Diet


Steve Cooksey has been eating a carnivorous diet for much of the past year and reporting normal blood glucose readings despite his Type 2 Diabetes. He eats most of his meat cooked simply, very rare, and over a fire. He exercises like a mad-man, possibly even surpassing me in daily pull-ups!

There are no diet books for an all-meat diet. There are no studies describing the effects of meat-only. You just have to take a leap of faith like Steve did.  Down deep I believe this diet will lead to kidney problems and gut issues, but secretly I'm rooting for Steve to succeed. His target audience is diabetics, and he's teaching them that the American Diabetes Association guidelines are not the best way to beat diabetes.

I don't know if an all-meat diet is "all-or-nothing" like the keto diet, but I assume that if one at very high levels of meat and cheated with SAD staples like French fries, cookies, and ice cream, then the results would be a disaster. And I have no idea what all-meat does to the gut...perhaps we can develop a gut flora that is protective of inflammation and produces a health immune system when eating lots of rare meat.  Raw meat is full of glycogen, a form of animal fiber.

High Carb/Low Fat


The Potato Hack is a perfect example of a high carb/low fat diet. This type of diet can also be achieved using any starchy veggie as the base of your meals and augmenting with non-fatty fruit and veggies. You don't even need to shun meat, leaner cuts like chicken, turkey, and fish are complementary to High Carb/Low Fat.

The drawback is that many foods are off-the-table.  Most dairy, fatty meat, oils, nuts, nut butters, and avocados for instance. The plus-side is that HC/LF is not all-or-nothing.  One could cycle meals or days of HF/LC into their normal diet and see results. We are all adapted to burning carbs by default...no reprogramming needed, no cat-pee breath, and no keto-flu or brain-fog.  Where one could get in trouble with HC/LF is when they are not truly LF.  "L" in this instance means very low...like under 30g of fat per day...a handful of peanuts will blow it for you. Most of the foods you eat must have under 2-3g per serving, but preferably 0g.

I've spent the past week eating a HC/LF diet and I am surprised how easy it is. I absolutely love eating beans, rice, or potatoes at every meal and I haven't minded giving up the big servings of meat I've become accustomed to over the past several years. It's made me realize that I eat far too few fruits and veggies and way too much fat. Fat has been about 50% of my daily calories over the past several years. I think it would be easier to maintain a lower weight with less fat in my diet.

What I really love about HC/LF is the effects it has on the gut flora. A diet filled with grains, plants, and fruit is the gold-standard for developing a healthy gut.

If you are looking to shake things up in your life with a new diet...give High Carb/Low Fat a try for a couple weeks.

Conclusion


There are lots of diets out there.  A whole food, wide variety is good, especially if you watch calories and exercise daily. But if you still struggle with weight loss, you are confronted with a plethora of diet strategies that make your head spin.

I would avoid the keto diet like the plague...despite it's selling power, it's a loser of a diet.  If you want to emulate Steve Cooksey and eat nothing but meat, I cannot guarantee the results.  If you are looking for a tried-and-true diet with lots of populations that ate exactly this way (and still do), then look no further than a diet filled with veggies, fruit, and lean meat.

In the end, just about ANY diet is better than the sugar, oil, and processed-grain-filled SAD diet. And bonus points go to those who have a good exercise routine as well!

49 comments:

  1. The problem with very low fat diets is gallbladder issues. I remember somewhere you mentioned that poatatoes activate the gallbladder, but most low fat foods will not. It is one of the dangers of high carb diets.

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    1. Good point...this is why I like to limit the potato hack to 3-5 days. However, the connection with low fat and gallstones is when the diet is also very low in overall calories.

      In this study, 54% of a low fat arm developed gallstones in the first months of a low fat diet while those on higher fat did not. Both arms of the study provided about 550 calories/day. The low fat arm had just 3g/day of fat, and the higher fat arm provided 12g/day. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9665682)

      I cannot recall any other studies showing a low fat vegan type diet causes gallstones, nor have I heard this as a common complaint.

      I developed gallstones a couple years back. I attribute mine to triglyceride lowering meds I was on at the time I first had pain attacks.

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    2. Well, the healthiest, longest lived people on the planet, live in Loma Linda, CA. As far as diet goes, they happen to have the highest density of Vegan and vegetarians of any other population on earth. Maybe they all have gall stones!!!

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    3. The Loma Lindans eat lots of nuts, so should be OK, lol. Did you ever read Blue Zones (http://amzn.to/2yzpsTH)? Great book, looks at diet and lifestyle of all BZs. Common themes: Not much meat, very active, walk lots, lots of friends.

      I saw an interview once of a Blue Zone 100 year old...they asked, "do you eat meat?" He said something like, "Yes! I love meat. In fact, last Christmas we killed a chicken and ate it, it was delicious!"

      And my hero, Jack LaLanne, claimed to be Vegan. When asked about diet, he'd say he eats "fruits, vegetables, chicken, and fish."

      I think it pays to be a very clean-eating Vegan who cheats nearly every day with some meat. I am especially a fan of high-quality seafood and organ meat a couple times a week.

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    4. I did a little search and found that yes gallbladder issues are more prevalent in very very low fat diets (1-5%) eg https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2669662

      However this may not be relevant to your potato hack. I did learn that the gallbladder is activated through the activation of the gut hormone cholecystokinin, the other job of this hormone is to produce satiety. I think that you have mentioned before that potatoes activate cholecystokinin.

      Also on this search I found this - I think they are trying to turn your potato diet into a pill! https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3033477/

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    5. Tim
      Perhaps you should tune in to Rhonda Patricks latest interview of Satchin Panda , mycircadianclock.org, at Salk Institute. He is a fabulous scientist although a really squishy man of the Left.... Getting past that is easy given his knowledge of the "when " of eating and synchronizing circadian clocks, central and peripheral. My point is that they conducted a project in rats who ate horrible diets and good diets , when high fat/carb diet rats put on modest time restricted feeding, their biomarkers resembled that of rats on healthy diets. Basically they limited rats to 10 hours or so of feeding (as much as they wanted) and the rest fasting.

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    6. No doubt interesting research, but I have found over the years that rodent/animal studies rarely scale to human experience. Even human studies usually do not match with what people see due to the stringent wash-out criteria, poor diet design, or unique variables that people have.

      That said, eating from the time we wake up until the time we go to bed is never a good plan, I'm a big fan of a limited feeding window, and it certainly has to do with circadian cycles.

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    7. Well...there is human research and I understand the limits of rodent models, but that is what we use to a great degree.

      A UCSD associate of Dr Panda is head of their cancer prevention program. They did a RCT on women post breast cancer...one group control and another group time restricted feeding.....result...34% decrease in cancer recurrence.

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  2. Can you post a video of the pull-ups?

    If a person is interested in keto, I usually tell them let's use it for a jump-start, and then let's transition you to another long-term plan you'll enjoy and can tweak the rest of your life. I've found the person's motivation for success determines so much of their success. So if that's what they want, I try to use it as a tool to lead them somewhere I feel is known to be more well-rounded for the body.

    I liked The Primal Blueprint too.

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    1. "Can you post a video of the pull-ups?"

      I second this. We need evidence!

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    2. Haha, we'll see. Maybe my drone can spy on me while doing pullups. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBwB5t9d41g

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    3. Tim, while Keto is probably not the long-term panacea some proclaim, it is nonsense to say "If you cheat, you lose your ability to burn fat and must spend several more weeks becoming fat-adapted." In fact short cheat periods were the basis of Kiefer's Carb Night protocol (and lots of body building regimens such as Berkhan's Leangains, carb backloading, etc.), afterwards the body switches straight back to fat burning when the keto diet is resumed. In fact these cheat periods help to maintain the efficacy of the keto diet.

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  3. Back in the 60s, when I was 16 or so, and a fat kid, I put myself on a whole milk and meat diet for a summer, cut out all bread and carbs. I lost 35 lbs., and was no longer a fat kid. A decade or so later I did Atkins, and that was good for a while. But when I've tried it lately, it definitely isn't good--total brain fog. So I've been experimenting with a lower fat higher carb diet, which I never thought would work well, but it is.

    Life without avocados would hardly be worth living though.

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    1. "Life without avocados would hardly be worth living though."

      I would hate to give up avocados too. And I thought that recent studies show that walnuts are good for the gut bugs. Recently I've been making a bread that has no flours in it and it mostly nuts, psyllium, chia, flax, and some oats. I thought I was doing a good thing for my gut health... But since I do struggle to lose weight, perhaps I need to cut that out too.

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    2. I could never advocate a diet that forever bans real, whole foods like nuts, avocados, cheese, beer, etc... My problem with most of the popular diets is that they want you to give up certain foods, or even entire macronutrients (ie. carbs) for the rest of your life.

      No way! I think we all should look hard at how much processed crap we eat...enriched white bread, donuts, candy, pop, breaded/fried foods, fast-food, etc... But for a "forever diet" we need not fear any whole food as long as we achieve balance and can restrain from overeating.

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    3. I think High Fat/Low Carb should only be used as a way to regain health and get weight under control. Seeds, nuts, grains, and avocados are among the healthiest foods on the planet! If you cut them out for a short time, be sure to replace them with other equally high fiber, healthy foods. This is what irks me about keto diets. They cut out most sources of fiber and replace them with BACON.

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  4. Tim,

    taking the cue from what you wrote here: << I absolutely love eating beans, rice, or potatoes at every meal and I haven't minded giving up the big servings of meat I've become accustomed to over the past several years. >>, what's your stance on proteins? How much and how often do you suggest to consume animal based products?

    In my everlasting quest to solve my stomach ailments, I've tried basically every diet under the sun, but proteins are always been a staple in every meal. Not as much as I used to eat, since my digestion is cumbersome, but a staple nonetheless.
    I come from a bodybuilding background, and I've always been pretty active.

    But in light of the latest advances in gut health and microbiome science, I'm starting to wonder if I should reconsider my thoughts and behaviours.

    Thank you!

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    1. I am not dogmatic about meat and think that we are meant to eat everything edible, plants, fish, fowl, insect, fungi. As to how much protein we need, I have no idea, but probably the minimum is about 40g/day from any source and the maximum amount of meat we should eat is about a pound of meat. But if eating lots of high protein plants, then don't need so much meat.

      Most Vegan athletes use pea protein powder to get enough protein, but if you are not an athlete, it's not so big of a worry.

      Frank - What's up with your digestion?

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    2. Thanks for the answer Tim!

      Just to clarify, I'm not vegan at all, nor I'm considering becoming one :). I was just wondering if maybe in all these years I've gone too far in proteins consumption, since I eat a source of animal products at every meal, every day; that's of course including dairy, eggs, fish and organ meat.

      I've been suffering for chronic gastritis and acid reflux for more than five years now. To the point that I lost almost 25 kg (55 pounds), while being very lean to begin with, just because eating has became a pain. Literally.

      Just in case anyone is wondering: I've been to four different gastroenterologists, I've done four endoscopies, and in general I've tried any possible common therapy and suggestion.

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  5. I bought rusty's book - the synchronous nature of life never stops amazing me - i accidentally found myself not eating meat the past few months and was already shifting into more carbs less fat...then two books landed in my lap...

    rusty's/mark k's book which confirms a slew of other books i've read like green living on the nature of plants basically which should be categorized much better to understand how to incorporate them into diets...(a calorie is a rather ignorant way to measure gross energy for human consumption IMRO, thus is why we're all dying by our 70's and we should be so proud /sarcasm)

    the second book which actually came (way)before and is free - namely the essene gospel of peace - its a manual for a long long life...do you remember jesus talking about sticking a reed up the hinterland i think it was (an ancient enema?)...no we didnt, they snipped sections from this into the published bibles...he talks of seven years of unclean living can be undone by a STRICT regime of seven days of rituals in the woods - that enema being ONE of them...

    its basically an optimal blueprint and its wildly simple living...through purification of the temple-bodies which is my basic goal for the past 4 years - to tune up the body in a such way to receive higher frequency messages for living one's purpose in this incarnation...

    simply stated and i believe everyone will have a hard time arguing the other side - eat living foods, not dead foods...and live long and prosper :)

    one love and peace!

    p

    ps - in those two months i lost four lbs of pure body fat w/o trying and i lost .3 lbs of muscle which was probably water weight (water is muscle on the body fat scales)...

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  6. Tim,
    Tell me again why, when eating potatoes and seeing a major glucose spike in an hour or two, is okay? I feel great when eating potatoes and rice, and will loose weight, but the glucose spikes concern me....

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    1. What is "major?" All people experience a rise in glucose after eating a large amount of carbs. If your BG remains above 200 after two hours, you should see a doctor about diabetes. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/expected-blood-glucose-after-highcarb-meal-3529.html

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    2. I'm in the pre-diabetes category. Last time I ate all potatoes, my blood sugar tested 170 two hrs later. This is the only reason I am reluctant to get on board. I agree with you on keto. Doesn't make sense to me.

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    3. I've talked to several fully T2D folks who successfully use the potato hack by eating a maximum of 1/3 - 1/2 pound at a time. They report that after a day or two they see the lowest FBGs they've ever seen and lose weight rapidly.

      Are you truly pre-diabetic, or just believe you are? What is your A1C?

      If you are pre-D, and not willing to try the PH, there are still lots of good, healthy ways to lose weight, if that's your goal.

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  7. Thanks for the feedback, Tim. I have FBG in the 110-116 range over several years. My HbA1c is considered normal. Averages about 5.5 or so (as low as 4.9 & as high as 5.7) tested twice per year. I am on Metformin, because my GP considers me pre-diabetic based upon the FBG #'s. We have debated this for years. Other doctors tell me they think it's silly, since the A1c is the gold standard. I obviously have "dawn phenomena". By the way, I'm about 5'10" and weigh on average 182 lbs. Never been very overweight. Just trying to be healthy. I have read your book, and I have lost weight on the potato hack, just concerned about the glucose spikes.

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    1. So who knows what your A1C and FBG would be if not on Metformin? How long you been on it? A1C of 4.9 - 5.7 is not bad at all.

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    2. Tim Sciacqua, I've been a T2 diabetic since 2001, and my blood sugar levels ALWAYS respond the exact opposite of what is expected. I was put on Metformin and other sulphonylureus but they never helped very much. I think it is all diet related. I have struggled with my weight and dieting over 50 years now, and that it has had its effect on my gut biome. Am now taking lots of fibers and it has steadied my blood sugars quite a lot. I even tested potato starch and a potato and my glucose levels only increased by 2 points mmol/L. It stayed quite steady. In previous years the spike could go up 7 points mmol/L. So the fibers are having a steading effect. My problem was that the immune system was over reacting.

      Jo tB

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    3. 5.7 HBA1c is considered pre-diabetes in the US - if that level of glycation is when you are on metformin, then it is a very clear indication of insulin resistance. 5.7 HBA1c converts to 117 fasting blood glucose, so those figures are probably reliable too. Easy way to test if the elevated fbg is a result of "dawn phenomena" - have your blood drawn late morning by which time it would have passed (if it exists)

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    5. I agree, and does come down a bit later in the morning.

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  8. I've been on Metformin 10 years. You're right, I don't know what it would be off of the medication, but 10 yrs ago it was 126 (and only one time) prior to the minimum dose I'm taking. I might try the potatoe thing again for a few days just to see what it does to my fasting blood glucose levels.

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    1. Were you obese or have other symptoms of metabolic syndrome at the time? Now?

      Metformin is a life-saver, and not a bad drug to be on. Some people take it just for it's life-extension properties. https://www.wired.com/story/this-pill-promises-to-extend-life-for-a-nickel-a-pop/

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    2. Well, I got up to 208 lbs at the high a few years ago. Decided to lose weight by adding fiber and low carb. Never had long term obesity, and my weight came down to 175 in a few months from the high. Since then, stable at around 182. I've studied Metformin and don't believe it has hurt me in any way. May be helpful in other ways, as you suggest. I don't know, but it's cheap and easy, so I continue.

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    3. Jo, you've got it together. Thanks.

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  9. Hi Tim,
    I've done the PH several times with good results. Did try keto and ended up gaining what little I lost back, bad idea.
    A couple months ago I went Starchaterian, a la Dr McDoudall's program. I love it! I'm eating all the veggies, beans and starch I want. Fruit also. This made sense to me after doing the PH and getting good results. Thus far I've dropped 31 lbs and feeling pretty good! Arthritis so much improved.

    Whole Foods is the way to go in mho. I do not consider myself vegan or vegetarian. I do not eat meat or dairy now and who knows, maybe I never will again. But for now, and the foreseeable future, I'm going to stick with what is working for me; real food from plants.

    In Starch! The

    suZ

    I

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    1. That's great to hear, Suz - I think most people's lives would be improved if every meal was based on a staple starch (potatoes, beans, rice, plantains, etc..), veggies, fruit, and then some meat. I also think that "some meat" should be included in any diet. Especially some liver, oysters, seafood, gelatin, from time to time. But stick with what's working!

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    2. Suz,

      Are you peri-menopausal/menopausal? I've been going crazy with peri-menopausal weight gain, and I can't figure out what to do to get it to come off. I eat really good (real food, high fiber, etc.), but I have been thinking recently that possibly I need to focus on having a heavier starch component. I did a potato hack, lost 3 lbs., but then regained it. But, I at least had a loss.

      Any ladies here lose weight being peri-menopausal/menopausal? How did you go about it?

      Kit

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    3. Kit, just might just want to wait it out. Look after yourself now, and once everything settles down post-menopause, it will come off again, easily. That was my experience, as I gained some 25 lbs over a few years (I was slim going in, mind you) and then it all just slid off a few years later with just some tweaks of my diet. Some weight gain is not necessarily a bad thing in midlife. Women who gain a little during the Change have better bone density and heart health afterward.

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    4. That was not what I wanted to hear. :) I was hoping I was just missing a piece of the puzzle. I won't diet though, because it's unhealthy to do so, so I will stick with a high starch/high fiber diet filled with whole foods and let it be what it is. I have been slim most of my life, except for the post baby weight struggles, so it has been frustrating suddenly feeling like my body has been hijacked, and nothing I do seems to make any difference. I don't like the feeling of my body suddenly feeling foreign, and uncomfortable, to me. Thanks for your response. It gives me hope.

      Kit

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    5. Kit - Susun Weed has an excellent book "Menopause the Wise Woman Way" that you might want to read. She's got some pretty helpful advice in there, especially when she's addressing that feeling of being hijacked.

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    6. Kit, are you taking hormone replacement? That can help with weight. Also I recommend Dr. Mache Seibel's book The Estrogen Window.

      Lex

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    7. Lex - LOL Just checked out your recommendation - great site IF women want to have menopause "mansplained" to them!!

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  10. Hi Kit,

    I'm menopausal. What helps me too is eating according to caloric density. I make a big salad with all the good veggies and then have starch, grains, beans etc. This works well for me because I love whole grains, beans, veggies, fruit. I have tried so many things in the past; Weston price, paleo, keto, Atkins and on and on ad nausea my.
    Eating whole food plant based right now is the ticket for me. I do not use oil, sugar, meat or dairy. I honestly have no cravings and do not feel deprived in any way. I get lot and lots of fiber and I feel my gut is sooo happy,

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    1. Thank you! It's encouraging to know that the weight can come off again.

      Kit

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  11. New Diet Taps into Revolutionary Plan to Help Dieters Lose 15 Pounds in Just 21 Days!

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  12. I am wondering if any of the people following here have access to Metaflor probiotic or have used it.

    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/08910600903444267

    Thanks,
    gina

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  13. Tim, you have a typo of LC/HF when you meant HC/LF. It's right before the Conclusion.

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