HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >


The Ultimate in Healthy Eating, Nutritional Diet, and Food-Body Wellness

There seems to be a lot of controversy regarding the best, most healthful ways to eat. I don't want to open the doors to those arguments because the debate can go on ad infinitum (et nauseum)...! But I do want to know:

Where do you go for the best nutrition information on healthy eating?

Best / favorite / most helpful / reliable / most medically / scientifically-supported resources?
- Books & writers
- Articles
- Nutritionists
- anything else???

(Sure, it can depend on several diverse factors such as allergies, body types & lifestyle goals. I don't care about that. Irregardless of specific needs, I would like to know what has worked best for you!)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I generally try to go for plant fat over animal fat, and I try to get some protein and fiber into my meals and snacks. Separating fat and carbs by a few hours seemed to work for me, although I'm not sure whether that's been scientifically proven. I pretty much ignore everything else. I'm not willing to eat things that taste bad, so I read a lot of recipes and blogs and bookmark recipes that look appealing.

    1. Sort of all of the above and yet none of the above. I'm aware of the ideal/perfect diet based on the most up to date data, but I don't follow it, because I'd be miserable if I followed such a diet. And, we just don't know. The French Paradox is a good example. The French diet is unhealthy, but the health of the people doesn't reflect the diet. What's going on? We don't know.

      The best dietary advice I've come across, and one that will probably always be true, is the one from the Japanese government, which says to eat 33 different things a day.

      18 Replies
      1. re: ediblover

        33 different things a DAY? Wow! I know my Doc pushes eight veggies a day. But, I need to look into this.

        1. re: JerryMe

          Hehe. I know exactly what you mean. I consider it a good day if half my food intake is "healthy". And it does seem to be true that many people can ignore all the rules and just eat small portions.

        2. re: ediblover

          I think the "French paradox" is more about how they get away with drinking wine and eating cheese/chocolate/etc. that some of us(not me) consider "bad", not so much that it is unhealthy as a whole. If the French diet were truly unhealthy, the people would not be healthy. Also we do know; the French have ONE glass of wine or a small piece of cheese/chocolate along with their veggies and reasonable servings of protein. Fruit and yogurt are healthy. It's not really a paradox if you think about it.

          1. re: Fromageball

            Don't forget the Swiss paradox; lots of full fat dairy from alpine grass fed cows, good heart health. Good chocolates, too.

          2. re: ediblover

            Forgot to add that I received a lot of good advice from the book French Women Don't Get Fat. Basically she emphasizes to enjoy and savor your food so you don't wolf it down mindlessly, and eat good quality foods so you are satisfied.

            1. re: ediblover

              We definitely do know what is going on with the French diet. It simply isn't unhealthy. And they don't overindulge.

              Wine in moderation? Actually good for you. Ditto with dark chocolate. Cheese? Absolutely fine. They eat huge amounts of many different kinds of vegetables and a large amount of meat. Seafood is also relatively common. Lots of eggs. All good for you.
              The biggest flaw in their diet is probably the amount of grain they eat in the form of bread and pastries.

              1. re: timoftheshire

                Tim, and the Japanese eat vegetables, sea vegetables, fish and rice and yet are among the world's healthiest...would you say that the rice is a flaw also? I'm just trying to understand this "grains are bad for you" thing, that's all...no animosity here at all...thanks!

                1. re: Val

                  What i am really, really curious about is statistics of type 2 diabetes in France or Italy (compared to the US), where people eat a BOATload of carbs - pasta being one of the mainstays on the menu, as well as rice, and lots of white bread. Neither diabetes nor obesity seems to be much of an issue in either country....


                  1. re: linguafood

                    Italy is bad, France not so much. Both better than U.S.


                    I think smaller portions and red wine with each meal matters in France, where they do not eat by the boatload the way U.S. folks do.

                    1. re: mcf

                      That's really interesting! Thx for the statistics.

                      1. re: linguafood

                        Did you take a gander at China and India? Japan is a lot worse than most folks would imagine, too. I've read about this before, and in China, two very opposite groups have the most increased diabetes and heart disease; the city dwellers eating in a more Westernized way and the poor rural folks who are dependent upon rice and are thus very malnourished, in addition to having greater physical demands in their daily lives.

                        In India, there are a lot of vegetarians, a lot of fat drenched starches and desserts so sweet that I find them literally impossibly uncomfortable to take a taste of them... added to the prestige that, for some, comes from doing no physical work, it's a recipe for disaster.

                        Here's a more concise overview:

                        1. re: mcf

                          I was blown away by the number for Russia, too. And I was surprised how low they are for Ireland.... potatoes must not be as bad, I guess.

                          1. re: linguafood

                            Oh, but they are, actually. Higher GI than table suger, IIRC. But they also eat them with a fair amount of protein, which keeps blood glucose much lower, post meal.

                            Another interesting map, somewhat off topic, is the Nations study of LDL cholesterol levels and cvd mortality; NO RELATIONSHIP. Some of the highest LDL countries have the lowest CVD mortality, and some of the lowest LDL countries have the highest. But there's a lot of money to be made convincing folks otherwise. The Pan Asian study proved that LDL was not a good predictor of CVD, either.

                    2. re: Val

                      The Japanese eat very small portions, too, and have a very significant diabetes problem.


                      1. re: Val

                        See the links below with WHO statistics; Japan has one of the top five highest in terms of diabetes cases in the world.

                      2. re: timoftheshire

                        Those aren't bad guesses. In fact, many of those were areas of research. But, years (possibly decades) and millions of dollars haven't resulted in anything conclusive. And, there's a huge difference between finding a conclusive result and forming a good, educated hypothesis.

                        On the subject of it being unhealthy, the traditional French diet, when compared to (the extremely unhealthy) American diet, has 2-3 times the amount of saturated fat, which in all the diet circles I'm aware of, is a big no-no. In fact, it's the high amount of saturated fat (higher cholesterol, likely higher cardio issues) that drew the attention of researchers in the first place.

                        It's good to think about issues, but claiming something as factual, when research hasn't shown that to be the case, is a tad reckless, even in cases where we can be fairly sure about something. That is to say, think and discuss, but please don't make 100% claims (unless it actually is, but there aren't many in biology).

                        One note about the traditional diets - It's just that, traditional. For example, if you took the traditional Mediterranean diet, it's considered to be healthy by most professionals. But, that's not really the case with what the folks there eat now. That's a big, but overlooked factor.

                        1. re: ediblover

                          I think there's plenty of conclusive evidence against grains and glycemic load, particularly when we examine clinical and even demographic outcomes.

                    3. I really like Dr. Andrew Weil...yes, he SELLS vitamins but he's been an MD who has believed in alternative medicine for years...and the advice on his website is free, you don't HAVE to buy anything from him, I don't. His anti-inflammatory diet seems very wise and good for ME, not saying it's for everyone but hell, my blood test numbers are excellent, my carotid scan was immaculate 2 months ago, I have no pain, no stiffness, I have good energy every morning and have not taken a sick day in 7 years at work at age 53. Inflammation is the beginning for so many chronic illnesses, too.

                      *WorldsHealthiestFoods.com is also a great resource for me and has been for years

                      * I also like a registered dietician by the name of Andrew Bellatti, I follow him on FB, much younger than Dr. Weil with some VERY very good health tips--he and Dr. Weil disagree on the benefits of coconut oil!, LOL; he has a blog called Small Bites and I think someone here on CH mentioned his blog to me a while ago, love him!
                      * ScienceDaily.com has some fabulous health tips too with some great science behind the articles. AND I LOVE to cook!!! So where does that leave me?? It's all about balancing, I think!

                      23 Replies
                      1. re: Val

                        I follow several ... like Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. Joe Mercola, and Dr. Arthur Agatston ... and they disagree with each other on a number of things, but in understanding where their differences come from, one can wade through the rationale. For example, I suspect Weil is anti coconut oil because he focuses on an anti inflammatory diet, and coconut oil has a highly inflammatory effect on the body (but has other health benefits).

                        1. re: CocoTO

                          I also really like Andrew Weil, he seems to do a good job of balancing modern medicine and science with alternative medicine. It bothers me a little that he sells vitamins but his articles are Not pushy about it.

                          My personal mantra is this, eat only real foods (nothing synthetic or processed) in moderation, lots of fruits and veggies, and get some exercise every day. Try not to worry too much about your health, stress kills ;)

                          1. re: Honestly Good Food

                            just a comment on the vitamin selling ... I saw Joe Mercola interviewed and he explained that, at least in part, it is to fund the free website. He says that the website costs about $500,000 per year to maintain (all the researchers etc.) so he had to make a choice. His choice was to sell things that he believes are beneficial. I imagine that Andrew Weil has the same issue. It costs to give "free" advice, so it likely offsets some of that (and yes, they're not a charity either). So while, I do my own research on supplements etc., I also appreciate having a place I trust to buy some of my supplements ....

                            1. re: CocoTO

                              You know, I'm not buying that. $500,000 per year to maintain the website? He funds research? I'm very skeptical.

                              1. re: sueatmo

                                It's a pile of BS. There are plenty of well formulated and carefully manufactured sources of those supplements. Only reason to stick one's name on them is to grab a big piece of the pie.

                                1. re: mcf

                                  mcf, just wondering...and I ask this respectfully and am not attacking here: you know Jack LaLanne got into selling juicing machines, right? Plenty of other juice machine companies out there...too...was he being greedy (which I believe means "grabbing a piece of the pie") to market his own juicer?

                                  1. re: Val

                                    Not if he didn't lie about why he was selling it. I don't fault Eade's for selling, either, but it means one has to exercise great diligence in verifying any claims for a product a medical person both sells and recommends. There are states in which that is illegal for ethical reasons in medical offices, for example.

                                    If someone unapologetically lets you know that they're making a living and a profit selling stuff, that's more ethical in my book. I don't believe the claims that the web site is that costly or that it goes to research not connected to devloping more products to sell.

                                2. re: sueatmo

                                  I don't think he's running the website out of his house. And just employing half a dozen reasonably educated people, with reasonable pay and benefits can easily get a business to $350M+. Not talking about funding research ... that would be in the millions ... don't think it's productive to assume someone is lying just because you're not familiar with their business model.

                                  And everyone in the medical profession is making money or receiving some form of incentive. Doctors are regularly wooed by the pharmaceuticals, as one example.

                                  1. re: CocoTO

                                    I have no direct knowledge of where he's running his web site or whether he's paying anyone to do anything other than ship out supplements from an off site warehouse. Do you? I actually do find it productive to understand the incentives of people I do business with, even more so if I put my health in their hands.

                                    I don't begrudge anyone a living; I just want them to be up front and tell the truth; "I'm selling this to make money." Doctors and pharma are an excellent example of the perversion of health care by profit motive; thanks for making my point.

                                    1. re: mcf

                                      ... I am not intending to be argumentative. But yes, if you go to his website and see the plethora of articles he compiles and shares for free, yes, he has to be employing people to do it. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/New... And he doesn't hide the fact that he makes money.

                                      And I totally agree with you that one must do their own due diligence ... accepting the word of one source on something important is contrary to good sense.

                                      1. re: CocoTO

                                        BTW, I know a LOT of people who intensively research and post scientific articles for free. It costs them nothing but time and effort.

                                        1. re: CocoTO

                                          Per his website: "All of Dr. Weil's after-tax profits from royalties from sales of Weil Lifestyle, LLC, licensed products go directly to the Weil Foundation."

                                          It is a qualified 501(c)(3). Per its website "Since its inception in 2005, the Weil Foundation has given out more than $2 million in grants and gifts to medical centers and other non-profit organizations nationwide."


                                          You can read their financials here: http://www.weilfoundation.org/finance...

                                          You can read their IRS form 990 (what nonprofits file instead of a tax return) here: it's a matter of public record. In 2009 Weil himself (who serves as the Chairman of the foundation per statement 5, pt 8) personally contributed about $700K to the foundation (per sch B) and receives no salary or other compensation (per that same statement 5). I assume that $700K are the "profits" from the vitamins and other products. He is also the foundation's only contributor, at least in 09.

                                          They have about $30K in investment income, about $60K in administrative expenses, and gave $5K to a charity. They seem (for 2009 anyway) seem to be sitting on their pot of money. They came into the year 2009 with a $250K an unconditional promise to give of $250K and ended it with $500K. So they are at least awarding funds to other nonprofits and/or research facilities. It seems in 2009 that they just plopped another $250K unconditional promise to give on top of what they came into the year with. Per their website, in prior years it seems that they actually spent some of that money. Presumably (and hopefully) they paid out the $500K in 2010. Their 2010 return (which isn't due yet) will be interesting.

                                          I don't see who they are awarding their money to, but on the surface it all seems pretty legit. I see their financial statements are only reviewed (not audited) and they don't seem to have 2009 financials on their website at all. For 2008 the version that is on the website is an unsigned one, presumably a draft, which doesn't give me the warm fuzzies. That's a little loosy-goosy and I'm surprised their accountants allow it. The prior year statements are signed. Appears to be a small local firm.

                                          According to their financials, in 2007 they granted $1MM to a single nonprofit to be paid over 5 years. My guess is that's the UofA's Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine http://integrativemedicine.arizona.ed..., based on this story. http://www.biztucson.com/biznews/cove... I find these stories in local business journals to be incredibly unreliable, they basically print whatever they are told by the principals without much verification, so take it with a grain of salt.


                                      2. re: CocoTO

                                        I remain skeptical. I took a look at his website. It doesn't look like an operation that employs 6 people, unless they are sales people. I guess they have some sort of phone support. They also offer wholesale opportunities! Imagine that!

                                        In one of the newsletter articles water fluoridation is attacked. If that's where this guy is coming from, I don't find him believable.

                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                          To be fair, a recent publication came out reporting that flouride in water is discoloring and mottling teeth due to excess collection of it in them. Mainstream.

                                          1. re: mcf

                                            Fluoride has been added to our water supply locally for 30 or 40 years. I have heard of no mottling here. What Mercola was saying is that fluoride is a poison. I am old enough to remember that people actually thought that fluoridation was a Communist plot. Really I have no patience with this.

                                            1. re: sueatmo

                                              Look, we're all free to believe whatever we choose, but my original comment wasn't to debate the merits of his views, but to share why, in his words from the interview I saw, he chose a business model where he sells selective health products.

                                              A few facts (as independently measured) are that his website has 1,586,893 subscribers; it is the number 1 most visited natural health site in the world; it is the number 3 most visited overall health site which puts it ahead of the Mayo Clinic site. So please believe what you want, I'm not trying to convert you to his thinking, but I do believe that his site does merit having a half a dozen people to support it.

                                              1. re: CocoTO

                                                All of the info I'd ever seen on his site was stuff I'd already found by myself for free.
                                                Better yet, Taube's books and articles are free at the library. And the supplements are much more cheaply available at various sellers from good quality producers.

                                                When someone mixes information that's half reliable and half wild eyed speculation, it becomes impossible to know when to trust and when to dismiss it. That's why I quickly stopped reading Mercola after finding his site years ago.

                                                Your mileage may vary.

                                                1. re: mcf

                                                  "All of the info I'd ever seen on his site was stuff I'd already found by myself for free.
                                                  Better yet, Taube's books and articles are free at the library."

                                                  ... all of Mercola's info is free too. I am going to stop communicating on this now because I'm really not trying to change your views, but I'm sorry, I can't let the implication that there's a fee for his info stand ....

                                                  1. re: CocoTO

                                                    I never said there was a fee. I stated that I take a dim view of specific supplement recommendations, frex, from someone selling them, whether online or brick and mortar.

                                              2. re: sueatmo

                                                Sue, the U.S. Health and Human Services recently issued a warning on current levels of fluoridation and resultant damage to teeth. I don't make stuff up!

                                                1. re: mcf

                                                  I don't think you do. I'll read your link (promise) a little later. Its just that I can't pay attention to everything. I still am not interested in Dr. Mercola.

                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                    No interest in Mercola from here, either.

                                  2. re: CocoTO

                                    I never take medical advice or services from anyone with a financial incentive or product to sell as reliable, period.

                                3. Good question. I started being interested in nutrition probably 20 years ago, when I purchased Jane Brody's Good Food Book. I still have it, and use it for recipes once in a while.

                                  I've bought a few books, or borrowed them from the library. But I guess most of my knowledge comes from general reading from various sources. Usually, I'll check up (using the internet) on any information that sounds not quite right. With respect to specific foods, I do check labels. And I've gotten good stuff from Chowhound, of course, such as my love of Fage Yogurt.

                                  Websites that I use for healthful recipes are EatingWell.com and CookingLight.com. Also, I'm a runner, and have gotten Runner's World magazine for years. That has a lot of useful information that generally suits my activity level and eating patterns.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Lexma90

                                    I do like Jane Brody too! And yes...I never would have known about Fage if it hadn't been for CH...LOVE the Fage!

                                  2. Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes, best book about diet ever written

                                    22 Replies
                                    1. re: redfish62

                                      I am about halfway through this and it has already revolutionized the way I think about a healthy diet. Taubes does an excellent job with the science. The book can be a bit dense (and I am a scientist, though not a biologist/chemist/physiologist), but it's thorough and extremely well documented. One might want to read the original article that sparked his book:


                                      Sadly, I still love carbs. Just don't eat as many of them as I used to (and I've cut WAY down on the refined ones).

                                      1. re: nofunlatte

                                        He has recently come out with a "lite" version of the book that is an easier read, but I still think the original book is the way to go. I am a liberal arts major so it wasn't an easy read but it's worth the effort.

                                        I gave it to a friend who needs to lose 80 pounds, took him 9 months to get around to actually reading it but it totally convinced him.

                                        The results I've gotten:

                                        Weight went from 220 to 170
                                        Started lifting weights for first time since 1995, can bench press 225 for 12 reps, do over 200 pullups and chinups per week
                                        Running a total of 25 miles a week after not running since 1995

                                        Didn't happen overnight, took two years, but the results were pretty miraculous.

                                        Also I've learned to cook a little bit cause I don't eat the processed crap anymore.

                                        1. re: nofunlatte

                                          That is a very, very interesting article.

                                          1. re: jvanderh

                                            It is, it's part of the book. If you liked that, you might be equally interested in this one:


                                            1. re: mcf

                                              That's from my alma mater! :-)

                                              I do have to point out that correlation does not equal causation. We may be eating more carbs and less fat now, but we're also eating at least a couple hundred more calories per day than we were in 1970 and probably exercising the same or less. It seems like there's compelling evidence for people with diabetes or heart disease to at least give low carb a shot, but I'm not sure the data support it for overall weight loss. Studies seem to show that low carb wins early on, but it evens out with the low fat group over the long term.

                                              1. re: jvanderh

                                                Carbs create more hunger, so those aren't separate issues. I used to be hungry on a full stomach an hour after eating. Numerous studies have found increased caloric intake in the meal following a high carb one. Data support low carb for more weight loss on 50% more calories.

                                                Weight loss is more similar the longer the study, but carbs are also increased later on in low carb diet plans, which accounts for a lot. That plus newbie losses; it works spectacularly well in insulin resistant folks and reverses it, add that to the initial water loss, and you front load much higher losses.

                                                1. re: mcf

                                                  Can you email me re: the 50% more calories study?

                                                  1. re: jvanderh

                                                    which one? it's been noted in more than one. first I recall was the Schneider Children's hospital obese peds study. Journal of Pediatrics, 2003, Sondike et al

                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                      That study doesn't have calorie restrictions for either group - and the low carb group had water intake requirements and was given fiber supplements. It was also short term.

                                                      I think the data do support that low carb works really well in insulin-resistant people.

                                                      1. re: jvanderh

                                                        It works really well in anyone, though at those low carb levels, hypothyroid folks can have a problem due to reductions in T3 hormone, same as happens in very low calorie diets. Happened to me briefly the first time I tried extreme low carb, which I tolerate just fine now, years later.

                                                        I have read it in so many studies, I can't recall which ones they are, but it's often discussed and excuses made like "it's all water loss, etc." I used fitday to document every crumb I ate for years. Anecdotally, I can tell you it was exactly 50% more calories to maintain my weight on low carb vs. low fat/high carb. I suspect it's because fat stimulates neither insulin (fat storage hormone) nor glucagon (raises bg, opens fat cells to storage). Sorry I don't have the full text; I do recall a press release in which they discuss the fact that the low carbers ate 50% more and lost, IIRC, twice as much weight.

                                                        Here's an interesting discussion of why different calories matter differently:


                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                          So the data AND ghg support the theory. It's pretty much bulletproof, isn't it? :-P

                                                          I'm relatively willing to accept that a calorie is not a calorie. At the very least, there's sufficient evidence that our food intake can affect our metabolism, so I think it's entirely plausible that different configurations of the same calories can have different effects. I think eating 3,000 calories in a sitting four times a week with no food in between would cause you to gain more weight than eating a few hundred calories every few hours. I trust you when you say that you could eat 50% more calories. But if you exhibited insulin resistance, that doesn't necessarily extend to the population in general. And I wouldn't be surprised to see studies that show people can eat 50% more on low carb, but I bet they're short studies.

                                                          1. re: jvanderh

                                                            I was extremely IR, brought on by the Ornish diet, when I went lower and then low carb, definitely. But it's over 10 years later, I have exquisitely low fasting insulin and can still eat much more than I could on the other diet. So as an N of one, it's not the short term gain at work here, it's the way your calories influence your hormonal status.

                                                            1. re: jvanderh

                                                              So the data AND ghg support the theory. It's pretty much bulletproof, isn't it? :-P
                                                              ha! thanks for the vote of confidence :)

                                                              believe it or not, your 3,000 kcal example probably *wouldn't* cause weight gain in someone whose body & hormones had adjusted to it. many of the people in this country are over-fed, so anything above a certain threshold in one sitting can lead to fat storage and weight gain because their bodies just don't need to metabolize that much energy or absorb those nutrients for survival or proper function - that's why i usually tell my clients to limit *any* meal to 500 or 600 kcals max unless they're training for an event or have the metabolism of a growing teenager, Lance Armstrong or Michael Phelps. but if you're *only* feeding it the way you proposed, the body can adapt to make the most of what it gets, and if you measured it over a period of time you most likely wouldn't see weight gain in the person in question.

                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                I guess that makes sense. If your body is used to eating on any schedule, even an unusual one, it can learn to produce insulin on that schedule. Although the observation by many weight-loss people that overweight people tend to starve and binge seems to be true.

                                                                So, IS there any hard-and-fast, irrefutable evidence that all calories are not created equal?

                                                                1. re: jvanderh

                                                                  That's actually exactly how insulin production works; your body produces for meals based upon expectations, or priming by earlier meals.

                                                                  If you look at the variable effects that protein, fat, and carbs have on hormone secretion, it's very evident that there's no way to make a case for all calories meeting the same fate.

                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                    So if protein and fat don't cause as much insulin secretion as carbs, how does that explain the phenomenon?

                                                                    1. re: jvanderh

                                                                      It's not entirely that simple with protein, because it does cause a very strong insulin response, but not a sudden gusher the way carbs do, it's sustained over hours as protein very slowly converts partially to glucose over hours. It actually improves diabetic control for this reason. Fat makes the case in the clearest way; it doesn't stimulate insulin or glucagon, so it neither raises bg nor insulin secretion, hence the two combined create the low carb metabolic advantage with higher thermogenesis and lower fat storage, simplified to my lay understanding.

                                                                  2. re: jvanderh

                                                                    So, IS there any hard-and-fast, irrefutable evidence that all calories are not created equal?
                                                                    there sure is...and it's right there in your body. there's a unique metabolic pathway for the breakdown and storage of each major macronutrient requiring a specific combination of hormones, cofactors, and types of energy transport and synthesis. each one behaves and impacts the body differently, so it logically follows that consumption of each type nets a different end result.

                                                            2. re: jvanderh

                                                              I think the data do support that low carb works really well in insulin-resistant people.
                                                              i'm walking proof of that :)

                                                              1. re: jvanderh

                                                                They did record caloric intakes.

                                                  2. re: nofunlatte

                                                    Thanks for the NYT link - very interesting.

                                                  3. re: redfish62


                                                    Gary Taubes is my personal hero.

                                                  4. Medline/PubMed in general and the journal Nutrition and Metabolism in particular. Ignoring popular advice and conventional health wisdom, reversed diabetic kidney and nerve damage over a decade ago, and have tightly controlled diabetes and maintained those improvements ever since eating low carb, high fat and protein, lots of veggies, wild fish, grass fed meat and dairy, etc. NO medications.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                                        Thanks! It was gradual, I came to low carb against my will at first, hanging on to my Pasta Prom Queen tiara for dear life! ;-) But the benefits were so dramatic, they reinforced it. Two of my doctors switched to it after they saw my lab results.

                                                    1. Irregardless [sic] of specific needs, I would like to know what has worked best for you!
                                                      yes, but specific needs dictate what will and won't work for each of us, so i don't see how you can discount them.

                                                      i think what you're asking isn't necessarily what has *worked* for each of us, but rather what has been educational in an informational sense to help each of us determine what suits our individual needs...?

                                                      10 Replies
                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                        Thanks everyone for the feedback. This is great. I will definitely check out these suggestions.

                                                        and to respond:

                                                        Sure. I suppose ghg if it helps for you to answer my question by looking at it like that, then yes, please let me know "what has been educational in an informational sense to help you determine what suits your individual nutritional/dietary needs," if anything?

                                                        I mainly wrote what I wrote because
                                                        a) it was much faster than what you wrote, and
                                                        b) because I don't assume there is one umbrella diet that is going to work for everybody, and individual needs/differences are a common universality and therefore become moot (in the scope of my question/search).

                                                        I did not want to waste my time with conversations on the epistemological nature of nutritional debates because, as I said, I really don't care about that.

                                                        So if what you wrote helps you to answer my question, then great! But I'm not sure if it did because... well... you still didn't answer...?

                                                        1. re: summersupper

                                                          argh!!! i just typed an absurdly long reply, and the stupid internet ate it. i didn't answer you in my first post because i wanted to be sure i understood what you were asking to avoid giving you useless information :)

                                                          okay, let's try this again... Good Calories, Bad Calories is probably the best book on diet & nutrition for the layperson, so i agree with everyone who suggested it. Taubes turns conventional "wisdom" on its ear, and it's a great primer on the basic science of metabolism and how food *really* impacts weight and health.

                                                          the number one thing you can do for optimal nutrition and health is to learn as much as you can about ingredients and cooking techniques. i've become a walking encyclopedia about food, and it's my secret weapon for maintaining my health and wellness, and that of my clients as well. i prepare about 95% of my meals, and rarely eat any sort of packaged snack food...and i haven't eaten fast food in about 15 years. i know that's a bit too ambitious for most people, but even if you manage to hit about 75%, you're better off than most people. knowing what you're putting into your body is incredibly empowering, and makes all the difference when it comes to health. plus, it usually TASTES better when you make it yourself!

                                                          some of my favorite books & online resources about general nutrition, eating & food:
                                                          "What to Eat" by Marion Nestle
                                                          "Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition, and Health" by Marion Nestle
                                                          "Eat, Drink and Be Healthy" by Walter Willett
                                                          "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan
                                                          "Rethinking Thin" by Gina Kolata
                                                          "Mindless Eating" by Brian Wansink

                                                          some of my favorite cookbooks that are more about ingredients & technique than recipe dogma:
                                                          "How To Cook Everything" and "Food Matters" by Mark Bittman
                                                          "A New Way to Cook" and "The Improvisational Cook" by Sally Schneider

                                                          as far as websites & blogs for healthy recipes, there are great suggestions here:

                                                          people ask me all the time what i "do" to stay healthy and in such good shape, and i always laugh, because there's no simple answer. i know what i know after a lifetime of voracious reading and self-enlightenment, graduate education in nutritional science, and many years as a private nutritionist. but if i had to distill it down into a few general tenets that anyone can - and should - follow for better health:
                                                          - eat the rainbow every day - people tend to stick to only a few colors of food, and you really miss out on the full spectrum of nutrients
                                                          - ignore the food pyramid - it's one of the primary reasons most Americans are fat and/or unhealthy
                                                          - eat LESS - portion sizes in this country are inappropriately large. it helps if you use smaller dishes, glasses and utensils.
                                                          - eat REAL food - if it comes shrink-wrapped or in a paper bag with a mascot or logo on the front, it's probably not good for you.
                                                          - reduce your carb intake - yes, even the so-called "good" ones. your body will thank you, inside AND out, if you replace some of those carbs with healthy fats.
                                                          - eat MINDFULLY. sit at the table, put your food on a plate or in a bowl, and pay attention to it while you're eating. mindless munching straight from a bag or box in front of the TV is *never* a good idea.
                                                          - get enough sleep. insufficient sleep has been linked to a host of health problems, including weight gain.
                                                          - keep track of what you eat, at least for a little while. write down EVERYTHING that goes into your mouth for a few days, and be as detailed as you can about amounts and ingredients. you can even make notes about how you felt before, during, & after eating each item...it's an incredibly eye-opening experience for most people to see how much they really are eating - it's always more than you thought.
                                                          - MOVE. people are so lazy! if you hate the gym, go for a walk. take the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car at the far end of the parking lot instead of trying to snag the spot closest to the door of your destination.
                                                          - meditate and/or do yoga. learning how to calm and center yourself and ease stress can help regulate your blood pressure, weight, hormones, sleep patterns...it's powerful stuff.

                                                          i know there was more in my original post, but my brain is fried. i hope this is somewhat helpful to you!

                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                            I think Marion Nestle, Gina Kolata, Jane Brody (not mentioned here), Mark Bittman are some of the worst folks to listen to about foods and health, though Bittman is good for beginning cooks. They seem to lean toward epidemiology and bad science for their recommendations, rather than real metabolic science, and most important, clinical outcomes.

                                                            Of all the lay books out there making things plain for most folks, I think the Eade's Protein Power books are the only ones accurately reflecting the good science, with citations and updates as research evolves. Taubes is superb, but way over the interest level and attention span of any non food geeks already steeped in the literature. He still gets my vote for best nutrition/diet/metabolism writer in the popular press.

                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                              i'm more a fan of Nestle & Kolata for their willingness to address the politics. i think you & i have discussed Eades before - i prefer Taubes, but you're right, the science can be a bit heavy for people who aren't nuts like you and i are ;)

                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                The problem is that the diet stuff they support is a RESULT of the politics. Eades and Taubes are on the exact same page, Eades is just much more accessible to lay folks. I don't like it when folks have stuff to sell, but having read the science and keeping up with Eade's blog, I know he's on point wrt scientific evidence. And they keep their bibliography updated. PP is the only place I saw the suppression of T3 issue by ketosis addressed, many years ago.

                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                  PP is the only place I saw the suppression of T3 issue by ketosis addressed, many years ago.
                                                                  yeah, but as you pointed out earlier, only geeks like us pay attention to details like that ;)

                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                    Not so! Think of all the hypothyroid folks struggling with weight loss, or borderline T3 folks who don't lose, or, like me, years ago, gain on very low carb for that reason... hypo thyroid folks are especially working on weight loss so often. No one else that I read covered that base. It plunged me into a paralyzing depression, very unlike me, that responded within days to Cytomel. It was VERY serious, dangerous and should be standard info.

                                                                    We are, probably, the only two people besides Lyle McD who know the calorie counts for different fiber types, though. :-)

                                                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              I went from 95% fast food and highly processed foods to over 95% making all my own food myself. It takes some getting used to but it sure makes staying fit a heck of a lot easier, and after a while I actually started enjoying it.

                                                              1. re: redfish62

                                                                Wow, QUITE a lifestyle change...good for you!!!!

                                                                1. re: redfish62

                                                                  that's awesome! :)

                                                                  and i should have mentioned earlier that one of the keys to adopting this type of lifestyle successfully is to find ways to *enjoy* it. if you're resistant or resentful, or see it as a burden, you'll just make yourself miserable and end up reverting back to your old ways.

                                                          2. Writers: Marion Nestle
                                                            (and her blog - Food Politics)
                                                            Books: I really enjoyed Nestle's 'What to Eat' and 'Food Politics', as well as Robert Cohen's "Milk: The Deadly Poison" (which, somewhat counterintuitively, is a great insight into food policy)
                                                            Favourite sources - Nutrition Data will tell you everything you need to know
                                                            My Daily Plate is very good for planning your diet and/or understanding the caloric load of what you consume.
                                                            Best Dietitian (as the title "nutritionist" has no legal or academic backing) - Dominique Adair
                                                            (she's one of my mentors - a charming, self-effacing, humorous but staggeringly erudite individual)

                                                            17 Replies
                                                            1. re: willow_leaves

                                                              ooh yes! THAT was what i forgot to re-add to my second post - the calorie count/nutrition data sites. Daily Plate is a good one - here's the link for the OP:


                                                              and a couple of comprehensive sites for the nutritional info of packaged & restaurant foods:

                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                  One reason I don't trust some of those sites is that they make erroneous recommendations about inflammation level or dietary value, devaluing fats and valuing lower fat and carbier foods, IME.

                                                                  I downloaded the USDA nutrient data base app to my desk top; I use it to get objective nutrient data, which I then filter through my own personal research.


                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                    I guess this is as good a place as any to ask this: do you believe that the low carb diet would work best for everyone? When Mr. Sueatmo went totally low fat, he lost weight rapidly. I, who was doing the cooking for us both, lost nothing. Isn't it possible that there are iterations of carb sensitivity among people regarding weight loss or weight gain?

                                                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                                                      Losing weight rapidly needn't necessitate fat loss. Much of that weight could have been water, combined with muscle mass.

                                                                      Simply put, it is much harder for calories from fats and proteins to work their way into your fat cells - insulin, one of the main actors for fat storage, works on sugars in the blood. Further, fat and protein do not stimulate insulin production to the same extent carbohydrates do.


                                                                      1. re: timoftheshire

                                                                        Protein actually causes a very strong insulin response, but a healthy, sustained one. Fat does not. Check out the insulin index of foods. Beef causes the highest insulin response, among proteins, IIRC.

                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                          Partially correct - however, protein consumption also stimulates the production of glucagon, which counters the effects of insulin to a certain extent.

                                                                          Moreover, unless your body converts the protein you are eating to glucose, it cannot be stored as fat. Amino acids are not stored in fat cells.

                                                                          1. re: timoftheshire

                                                                            I know all that. I was countering your statement that protein doesn't stimulate insulin production to the same extent carbs do. It's not true. It stimulates it differently, but more strongly than carbs do.

                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                              mcf: "It stimulates it differently, but more strongly than carbs do." - Not true. You either stimulate insulin production or you don't.
                                                                              "As far as raising your insulin levels, glucose has the biggest effect, and fructose is bad because it induces insulin resistance, which requires you to produce higher levels of insulin to handle the same amount of glucose. Protein requires insulin but less than glucose and there is some insulin response to dietary protein. There is no insulin response to dietary fat. All three require some basal insulin for normal metabolism."

                                                                              see here: http://www.paleonu.com/panu-weblog/20...

                                                                              1. re: timoftheshire

                                                                                Look up the insulin index of foods. You are either working from bad references or you don't understand them.


                                                                                Beef and fish both have high insulin indices.

                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                  I'm not disagreeing with you. Protein does stimulate insulin response, but LESS than carbohydrate, in addition to stimulating glucagon production

                                                                                  Beef: 51
                                                                                  Eggs: 31
                                                                                  Cheese: 45

                                                                                  Bananas: 81
                                                                                  Grapes: 82
                                                                                  Apples: 59
                                                                                  Oranges: 60

                                                                                  Nor do the graphs show a higher insulin response from protein sources. Can you refer me to a specific page?

                                                                                  1. re: timoftheshire

                                                                                    You really had to cherry pick the insulin index to ignore the carbs that are lower than beef and fish, which you left off, too. I'm done now.

                                                                                    Anyone interested in seeing accurate information about cereals with insulin index of 40 and beef and fish at 51 and 59 can follow this link.

                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                      4 of the 7 cereals tested had a HIGHER IS (insulin score) than fish, which is higher than beef.

                                                                                      6 of the 9 tested "Carbohydrate Rich Foods" also had a higher IS than fish.

                                                                                      The lower scores being all-bran (32), porridge (40), and muesli (40), along with white (40) and brown (40) pasta, and rye bread (56).

                                                                                      That is about as just of a representation as you can get without posting the entire table.

                                                                                      Furthermore, one of the co-authors of the study concedes in her 2003 book that: "At the present time, we don't know how to interpret this type of response (low glycemia, high insulinemia) .... Until studies are carried out to answer these types of questions, the glycemic index remains a proven tool for predicting the effects of food on health."

                                                                                      That quote is from the webpage you cite.

                                                                                      Further, the conclusion of their paper states: "Additional studies are needed to determine whether the IS [insulin score] concept is useful"

                                                                                      With respect, I am not the one cherry-picking here.

                                                                                      1. re: timoftheshire

                                                                                        Yes you are: I posted the entire chart. You only posted a few items. The rest of what you say about it is a red herring. Fact is that protein has a strong insulin stimulating effect. It's just not damaging in the way that carb spikes and glycemia are.

                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                          I agree with you: protein does stimulate insulin production. I also agree that it is not in a damaging way.

                                                                                          Your claim is that protein stimulates insulin production "more strongly" than carbs do (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7648...).

                                                                                          The evidence you offer in favour of this (http://www.ajcn.org/content/66/5/1264... and http://www.mendosa.com/insulin_index.htm) does not support that claim. In neither of those sources is there a sentence along the lines of "Protein was found to elicit a stronger insulinogenic response than carbohydrate on a gram-to-gram basis (or even on a calorie-to-calorie basis)."

                                                                                          In the study you cite in the AJCN, Figure 1 (the mean glucose and insulin scores by group) shows that the mean insulin score for breakfast cereals is comparable to that of protein-rich sources, while the mean insulin score for carb-rich sources is much higher.

                                                                                          Furthermore, the mean for the protein group is raised by the extreme value for baked beans (120), which is more than double the score for the next-highest food.

                                                                                          This is even stated by the authors of the article themselves! The abstract states: "Overall, glucose and insulin scores were highly correlated (r = 0.70, P < 0.001, n = 38). However, protein-rich foods and bakery products (rich in fat and refined carbohydrate) elicited insulin responses that were disproportionately higher than their glycemic responses. Total carbohydrate (r = 0.39, P < 0.05, n = 36) and sugar (r = 0.36, P < 0.05, n = 36) contents were positively related to the mean insulin scores, whereas fat (r = -0.27, NS, n = 36) and protein (r = -0.24, NS, n = 38) contents were negatively related."

                                                                                          I.e., what the study DOES show is that the insulinogenic effect of protein-rich foods is disproportionately higher than their glucose score, especially in the case of fish and beef (28 vs 59; 21 vs 51).

                                                                                          To interpret the study as showing anything else is incorrect.

                                                                                          1. re: timoftheshire

                                                                                            "However, protein-rich foods and bakery products (rich in fat and refined carbohydrate) elicited insulin responses that were disproportionately higher than their glycemic responses."

                                                                                            I'm saying that it's not the fact of insulin stimulation that's necessarily behind the benefits of protein vs. carbs. And, in fact, protein stimulates more post meal insulin than numerous carbs do. I should have stated, "some carbs" since I know that to be true.

                                                                                            But it's obvious that the benefits of low carb eating don't depend upon amount of insulin secretion alone.

                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                              Agreed, 110%. However, I would rephrase that as "SOME protein stimulates more insulin production than SOME carbs do" as if you discount the outlier (baked beans), the mean of the protein group will drop to below the breakfast cereals mean. If we also remove lentils (which are only really a good source of carbohydrates and antinutrients), then the mean will drop still further.

                                                                                              Further, the glycemic score of the other protein sources (i.e., other than beef, fish, baked beans, and lentils) was very very close to the insulin score - so not many conclusions to draw there.

                                                              1. Also, yes, there is "controversy", but I don't know how or where exactly is there ground for that 'controversy' to take root.
                                                                Once food stops sounding like food - that goes both for the impronounceable things on the back of cheez doodles and the low-carb/no-carb malarkey - it's safe to say that we've lost the plot.

                                                                [To say nothing of processed food being mostly not-food, everyone knows that.]

                                                                Real (yes, scientifically-warranted) dietary advice is always simple - eat produce, season sparingly with whatever else.
                                                                (meaning that if you really yearn for two or three strips of bacon in your otherwise very wholesome black bean soup, you need not feel guilty about it)
                                                                Ketosis, metabolism (which doesn't change unless you seriously starve or turn your fat-to-body ratio arse over face) is muddling the water, creating confusion where none should be.

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                1. re: willow_leaves

                                                                  Protein and fat are the only two essential macro nutrients in human biochemistry/nutrition. There is no such thing as an essential role for produce in human nutrition. You can survive without produce; without fat and protein you will die. Horribly.

                                                                  My diet is mostly fat and protein by calorie count, and loaded with low sugar, non starchy produce, but only the fat and protein are required for health.

                                                                  We seem to be working from different information on metabolic function. It's extremely sensitive to dietary and caloric changes.

                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                    Vitamins, micronutrients of all shades.
                                                                    Lest we forget, we evolved as herbivores and occasional omnivores.
                                                                    (and the omni- in that equation was more rodents and insect larvae than mammoth butt)

                                                                    It's possible to live on meat alone (presumably that's where your fat and protein come from), but it's a miserable existence.

                                                                    Would it be wrong to ask what drove you to this lifestyle?

                                                                      1. re: willow_leaves

                                                                        We "evolved as herbivores and occasional omnivores"? Where is this information coming from?

                                                                        That is 110% wrong.

                                                                        "In this review we have analyzed the 13 known quantitative dietary studies of HG [hunter-gatherer, i.e., evolutionary human] and demonstrate that animal food actually provided the dominant (65%) energy source, while gathered plant foods comprised the remainder (35%). " - Cordain L, Eaton SB, Brand Miller J, Mann N, Hill K. The paradoxical nature of hunter-gatherer diets: Meat based, yet non-atherogenic. Eur J Clin Nutr 2002; 56 (suppl 1):S42-S52.

                                                                        Found at: http://thepaleodiet.com/published_res...

                                                                        "Miserable existence"? The Canadian Inuit eat a diet almost 100% composed of meat. Before grains and other neolithic foods arrived, they were without acne, tooth decay, heart disease, and many other diseases of civilization. There was not a single hunter-gatherer society that subsisted solely on plants.

                                                                        "rodents and insect larvae"? One of the things that drove our increase in cranial capacity pre-Agricultural Revolution was our ability to work in teams to bring down large animals many times our size. Plains Indians were using buffalo runs for thousands upon thousands of years.

                                                                        The things that drove mcf to that lifestyle are likely a decrease in hunger, controlling his diabetes and his weight, more energy, and improved body composition, among other things.

                                                                        1. re: timoftheshire

                                                                          "The things that drove mcf to that lifestyle are likely a decrease in hunger, controlling his diabetes and his weight, more energy, and improved body composition, among other things."

                                                                          Um thanks, but you don't know me, and I'd prefer you not answer for me. For one thing, I'm not a him, I'm a her.

                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                            My apologies for the confusion. Those are my experiences transitioning into a diet that is very similar to yours, and ones reported in every such transition I've read about. While I am not diabetic, you did mention your diabetes and your remarkable success in controlling it.

                                                                            Success stories are always great to hear :) Best of luck sticking with it!

                                                                  2. Nourishing Traditions by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon

                                                                    Weston A. Price Foundation


                                                                    You must take time to read all of this.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: shoo bee doo

                                                                      +1 on that recommendation shoo be doo

                                                                      1. re: CocoTO

                                                                        Absolutely! This is a great book for the person with common sense, lots of ancient traditions that also taste terrific. I like her commentary on food science research too. Interesting, thought provoking stuff.

                                                                    2. I personally believe all disease and illness comes from emotions/emotional imbalance. Like ance for example, is anger that is not being delt with or recongized. So if you deal with the inside, the outside will follow. Overeating, stuffing down emotions or not wanting to acknowledge something that is bothering you.

                                                                      Otherwise..It's pretty simple, I dont think you need a book or diet plan. Though it can be helpful, dont get me wrong.

                                                                      Eat mostly vegetables and fruits, aswell as protein and carbs (and things you enjoy!)
                                                                      Avoid things that are man made and come from a packet
                                                                      Move more, do more excerise
                                                                      Do things that bring you joy and things you love, surround yourself with positive people
                                                                      Moderation in everything, smaller poritions, stop when full or satisfied

                                                                      then theres other things like..

                                                                      Enjoy the moment
                                                                      Meditate, spend time alone and in silence
                                                                      work on yourself
                                                                      Reminds me of that song..slow down your going to fast, got to make the moment last etc etc

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: dinnerwithfox

                                                                        "I personally believe all disease and illness comes from emotions/emotional imbalance."

                                                                        There are no other contributing factors to the development of disease and illness? None?

                                                                      2. Many comments here are (negatively) reflective of the general discussion on nutrition, in that there are too many absolutes. The reality is that we're not really sure. You'll find that most, if not all, studies conclude with how this "may" affect that and that further studies are needed. All studies are essentially a few snapshots of the dozens (if not hundreds) of processes that go on when we eat. So, it's impossible to say with certainty what's what. There are very few statements on nutrition that are beyond debate and they're all of the common sense variety, which may or may not be good. Examples are:

                                                                        1. Energy input needs to match the output. If you consume x calories you should burn off y calories.

                                                                        2. Cover all your bases. Since we keep discovering about this and that factor, eat a variety of foods to start.

                                                                        3. Too much off a good thing. Any food, if consumed in excess, is bad for you.

                                                                        4. And, from good Churchill: "Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." The best healthy diet is the one that actually works for you. Others, no matter how great they may sound, suck if you can't keep it up.

                                                                        It's important to be humble (accept that, unless you live long enough for technology to advance far enough, we will never have definite answer) and skeptical (Always think about what wasn't covered and how it can be a factor). Ultimately, the most important part in all this is your own rationale ability, to sort things out, to not be biased, and to be realistic.

                                                                        1. Not sure if anybody's mentioned this, but Paleo is the way to go.

                                                                          The paleo diet, or the Primal Blueprint (Sisson, see below), or the hunter-gatherer diet, or the Stone Age diet, or whatever you want to call it, is based on two ideas: a) over the course of more than 2 million years of eating a diet solely consisting of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and all parts of animals of all kinds, the human digestive system genetically evolved to process these food groups in an optimal fashion, and b) the "neolithic" foods, such as grains, legumes, added sugar, etc. have only been around since the Agricultural Revolution at the earliest - 10,000 years ago - and thus our digestive systems are not evolved to deal with these food groups.

                                                                          In short, many foods that now make up much of the standard American diet are actually poisonous.

                                                                          There is some debate over dairy, and the exact amount of saturated fats we should be eating, but the general consensus is dairy is okay if you tolerate it and your body will guide you to the correct amount of saturated fats.

                                                                          There are a bunch of sites, google paleo diet and you'll find lots. Here is a brief list of my faves:


                                                                          Want to try it? Here are three basic resources:

                                                                          The Primal Blueprint - Mark Sisson
                                                                          The Paleo Solution - Robb Wolf
                                                                          The Paleo Diet - Loren Cordain
                                                                          Why We Get Fat - Gary Taubes
                                                                          Good Calories, Bad Calories - Gary Taubes (heavy and thick but worthwhile


                                                                          (Some) Original Research:

                                                                          My favourite of all these resources is, by far, the Primal Blueprint. It's reasonable and holistic, covering everything from sleep to diet to exercise.

                                                                          I've been paleo for nearly 3 months now, having transitioned from an already very healthy diet and exercise regime in mid-November. I've lost weight and put on lean muscle (I'm a hockey player training 4x a week, this is remarkable for me), have more energy, less hunger pangs, sleep better, and I don't miss grains at all.

                                                                          Try it for 30 days. I guarantee you won't go back :)

                                                                          15 Replies
                                                                          1. re: timoftheshire

                                                                            "Not sure if anybody's mentioned this, but Paleo is the way to go."

                                                                            Paleo is one way to go. It's not THE way.

                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                              IMO, eating the foods we evolved to eat is the way to go. I think a lifestyle similar to that of a hunter-gatherer is the ticket to optimal health, and there is a growing body of evidence supporting that.

                                                                              1. re: timoftheshire

                                                                                I think it's clear that you've decided it's "the way to go" for you. Frankly, unless you're getting a huge physical workout hunting down, killing your food and dragging it home, laboring over it to make it edible, you're not experiencing a paleo diet. ;-)

                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                  Lifestyle =/= diet.

                                                                                  A paleo diet is one without neolithic foods. Easily attainable - simply cut out dairy, grains, legumes, processed foods of all sorts, and added salt.

                                                                                  A truly paleo lifestyle would indeed be impossible. However, we can get close enough with lifestyle to see some significant health benefits - read The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson.

                                                                                  1. re: timoftheshire

                                                                                    I have no plans to give up dairy, but it's perfectly okay with me if you do.

                                                                            2. re: timoftheshire

                                                                              I appreciate your good review and shared good experience with the Paleo diet. In my wanderings around eating systems, I remember reading that the blood type B group evolved at about the time of the neolithic period when humans introduced dairy into the diet then. I really don't know if this is valid, but according the blood type diet, those of us with that type can have dairy, although we are not to have grains as I remember. I think spelt bread was recommended. I never knew if there was any truth to the eating plan, but obviously your experience does validate eating low carb. I think the Paleo diet would be great for people who have problems with gluten.

                                                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                IMO the blood type diet is pretty silly. I think 2.5 million years of evolution is far more indicative of what we should eat than is blood type.

                                                                                As for gluten issues, one study estimated that 1/3 of Americans have a clinically detectable sensitivity to gluten (via the presence of an antibody in their stool), which is massively more than the 1/133 ocurrence of Celiac's. Gluten is only one of the problems with grains - besides gluten, grains contain lectins and phytates, so-called "anti-nutrients" which prevent us from absorbing vitamins and minerals from the foods we eat.

                                                                                See: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/why-gr...

                                                                                The more reading I do about diet (from every source), and the longer I stay with being paleo, the more I become convinced that it's the way to go. I think a lot more research needs to be done as to dairy and saturated fats, especially, but the basics are pretty clearly agreed upon.

                                                                                1. re: timoftheshire

                                                                                  Tim, it seems to rely heavily on meat protein...eesh! Which would make it kind of hard on kidneys and liver, isn't it? For some of us? I'd be sick, I think...not knocking you and the success you've had, though! Also, the paleolithic folks didn't live very long...so right there, seems like not a great fit, for me, anyway!

                                                                                  1. re: Val

                                                                                    Protein does not damage liver or kidneys, that's a myth. In fact, it's glucose from carbohydrate that damages them, hence diabetes as the cause of kidney damage.
                                                                                    I reversed my kidney damage on a high fat, high protein diet, and have maintained the improvements for over a decade on it.

                                                                                    The life span argument is completely off base as well; humans were prey, and didn't have antibiotics, died in childbirth, etc.

                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                      I agree mcf. Lifespan then is vastly different than now because lives are vastly different.

                                                                                      I frankly do not want to give up dairy. But I have begun to recognize that I should be eating more meat. The protein seems to work well for me regarding stamina. Funny, for years now I had been decreasing my meat consumption.

                                                                                      I am not sure that the hunter gatherers ate meat as a large percentage of their diet. I have read that the gathering women might have provided the bulk of the calories through their foraging, which was every day. The kill came infrequently, or at least not every day.

                                                                                      But I don't know how to evaluate that.

                                                                                      I think D'Adamo had a decent idea about blood type eating, but I've never encountered anyone who changed her life with it.

                                                                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                        The best estimate of plant-animal calorie sources comes from a Cordain paper found here: http://thepaleodiet.com/published_res...

                                                                                        On average, approximately 65% of H-G daily calories came from animal sources. To provide enough calories from foraging, you would have to literally forage all day and then consume all of it. We're talking pounds upon pounds of vegetation, here.

                                                                                        If we'd evolved being mostly herbivores, then our guts would have the capacity to process plant fibres into calories. Many monkeys have this capacity - gorillas, for example.

                                                                                        "In this review we have analyzed the 13 known quantitative dietary studies of HG and demonstrate that animal food actually provided the dominant (65%) energy source, while gathered plant foods comprised the remainder (35%). " -Cordain L, Eaton SB, Brand Miller J, Mann N, Hill K. The paradoxical nature of hunter-gatherer diets: Meat based, yet non-atherogenic. Eur J Clin Nutr 2002; 56 (suppl 1):S42-S52.
                                                                                        (paper 21


                                                                                        Dairy is a grey area - the consensus is if your system tolerates it (i.e. you aren't lactose intolerant), then it is okay in moderation. Full-fat products like cheese and cream are preferrable as they contain less lactose and milk proteins.

                                                                                        Frankly, from an evolutionary perspective, I can't see how blood type would have any comparable impact to the availability or unavailability of certain food groups. There is stacks of allegorical evidence and a growing body of scientific evidence (reviews and randomized experiments) behind paleo-style diets. I doubt there is even one review study behind a blood-type diet and if there is, I would love to see it.

                                                                                        1. re: timoftheshire

                                                                                          So, these papers are all written by Paleo diet proponents?

                                                                                          I am always glad to hear when someone has found a way of living that maximizes his or her health and well-being. I don't think humans are mostly herbivores at all, but probably not mostly meat eaters either. Omnivore describes humans as far as I can tell. It may well be that most of the early H-G peoples ate meat more than any other food. I have no way of knowing. It is also possible that many of the diseases that animal husbandry gave to humans were not around to kill the earliest humans. But I suspect disease did wipe people out. It is difficult to believe that many of our very ancient ancestors lived very long, esp. if they bore a few children. And I can't believe that we can know if very many of them did.

                                                                                          The thing is, the diet agrees with you. And I applaud the fact that it is low carb and protein based.

                                                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                            Yes, and specifically they have all been co-authored by one man, Loren Cordain, who holds a professorship at Colorado U. The notable thing about his body of research is that the bulk of them have been published in rather prestigious, peer-reviewed journals, such as the American and British Journals of Medicine. Not all of them are lengthy and jargon-laden, indeed, many of them are quite readable to the layperson.

                                                                                            I would agree with you that humans are omnivorous - that's simply what our digestive system is designed to do. Even the Arctic Inuit consumed vegetation when it was available, though their winter diet was almost 100% animal-based, for obvious reasons.

                                                                                            Infectious disease was, up until the advent of more modern medicine, indeed the prime killer of human populations. However, average life expectancy for HG societies was around 40 years, up until the Agricultural Revolution. Further, during this time, about 20% of the population lived to be 60 or older.

                                                                                            Once grains started making up a large portion of our diet, several effects can be seen in skeletons quite quickly: a decline in average height, an increase in markers indicating infectious disease, and decreased cranial capacity. Life expectancy also fell dramatically: as late as 1667, average life expectancy in London was only 18.

                                                                                            Beyond all this discussion of life expectancy, is the fact that life expectancy is not the best way to evaluate the efficacy of a diet or lifestyle. Modern economic growth and public health developments have a far greater impact on life expectancy than does diet. Even morbidly obese people suffering from diabetes, failed kidneys, and atherosclerosis can live far into old age.

                                                                                            Because of this, the impact of diet and lifestyle on quality of life is far more telling: this being measured by markers such as body composition, reported energy levels, fasting blood sugar, resting heart rate, inflammation levels, bone mineral density, etc.

                                                                                        2. re: sueatmo

                                                                                          In certain climates, there would be nothing to forage for for months at a time. Some places would have more fish and small game, and some regions would have more big game.

                                                                                      2. re: Val

                                                                                        There was actually a significant selectionary advantage to having elders in the tribes - someone to pass down wisdom, babysit, and help with food prep, among other things. It was not uncommon for some HG (hunter-gatherer) societies to have elders living to 60+ years of age.

                                                                                        The keys were being lucky enough to dodge being eaten by something much bigger than you and avoiding stupid things, like running off a cliff.

                                                                                        see: Eaton SB, Cordain L. Evolutionary Health Promotion. A consideration of common counter-arguments. Prev Med 2002; 34:119-123.
                                                                                        paper 17

                                                                                2. So this is a tiny bit tangenial to strictly nutrition, but I just finished Anti-Cancer: The New Way of Life by Dr. Servan-Schreiber, and was rather blown away. I didn't read the book for any reason other than curiosity, and expected the usual pablum about exercise and eating vegetables.

                                                                                  It turns out the doctor accidentally found out that he had brain cancer (now twice), when he put himself in an MRI machine when a test subject failed to show. While he treated it mainly conventionally, he churned through a mountain of research on cancer and nutrition. Cancer is a multi-headed beast and each type requires a multi-pronged approach. However, there are some solid insights and recommendations pertaining to diet that may or may not make all the difference.

                                                                                  In discussing the typical Western diet, the changes in farming and raising animals post WWII, he makes an astute observation that about 60% of the foods we eat today, did not exist 100 years ago. Sugar and white flours dominate our diet and raise rapidly the level of glucose. Insulin and IGF-1 are released to allow glucose to enter cells.and promote inflammation which is a large factor in leading up to cancer.

                                                                                  He touches on a vast amount of nutritional research, from turmeric (should be mixed with black pepper), to resveratrol in red wine, to anti-oxidants in green tea (two cups a day, ideally sencha or matcha). But he doesn't stop there and addresses a multitude of other factors that help to look at why some people develop cancer and others never do.

                                                                                  Overall I found it to be more informative, practical and interesting than expected, and I'd wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone interested in nutrition.

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: tatiana131

                                                                                    Tatiana...cancer runs in my family...so this is a subject I'm very interested in...regarding the green tea, have you also learned that adding citrus (lemon is best) to the green tea enhances the bioavailability of the catechins... you might google "Purdue study" on that. I've heard and read about the turmeric with black pepper also. (finding ways to include more turmeric is a bit of a challenge to me to be honest--it's kind of gritty! lol!) Lastly, have you seen Dr. William Li's TED video on angiogenesis? Fascinating!

                                                                                    1. re: Val

                                                                                      Hi Val,

                                                                                      No I haven't - to both, but like I said, I've never really had a reason to really research cancer. I am fascinated by it now, and will check out the info you provided - thanks!

                                                                                      As far as turmeric, it's easiest to add a bit to soups, stews, curries, pilafs, etc where it's not really noticed, and a small pinch is easily hidden in salad dressings. Speaking of doses, he was careful to only specify anti-cancer foods in 'human consumable' quantities - i.e. perhaps eating 40 lbs of spinach is good, but it can't be done, so everything he mentions is in real portions.

                                                                                      1. re: tatiana131

                                                                                        Here's the TED video--fyi...GREEN TEA..TURMERIC ... also on his "good" list along with many other vegetables and fruits: