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    Archive for the ‘food combining’ Category

    Who Said It?: Reveal

    The_Fat_Flush_Plan_Ann_Louise_Gittleman_abridged_cassettes“Vegetables and fruit should not be consumed together, nor milk and meat.”

    That statement can be found on page 76 of the The Fat Flush Plan by Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman (which, red flag alert, promises to “melt fat… in two weeks”).

    The “reasoning” behind that piece of advice is that the combination of fruits and vegetables (or milk and meat) in the same meal slow down, or inhibit, the “fat flushing” process.

    This is a perfect example of inaccurate and impractical advice.

    The notion that adding tomatoes (a fruit), avocado (a fruit), sliced pear, or Granny Smith apple slices to a salad is detrimental to health is absolutely preposterous.

    If anything, adding a fruit rich in vitamin C to a salad is a wonderful way to increase iron absorption form dark leafy greens like kale and chard.

    I don’t understand why some nutrition and weight-loss authors (mostly those with very little knowledge of how the human body works) think our digestive systems are unequipped to digest different foods at once.

    These rules simply promote neurotic fanaticism at mealtime, and make mountains out of caves (forget molehills!).


    “But That Lady on TV Said It!”

    3716_GoodMorningAmerica_logoLast weekend, Good Morning America did a segment titled “What To Eat When.” For it, they booked Kimberly Snyder, a self-proclaimed nutrition expert who, in this particular instance, spouted off a variety of inaccurate facts and misleading information.

    Even more disturbingly, several magazines have recently turned to Miss Snyder for nutrition tips.  SOS!!

    Watch the video (linked above) first, and then read my detailed response below.

    Protein bars are unhealthy because they contain soy protein isolate, a heavily processed ingredient than can impair thyroid function.

    Yes, soy protein isolate is processed, but the main reason to limit protein bar consumption is because they are high in added sugars, generally low in fiber, and do not offer the same amount of nutrition real foods do.  While soy can exacerbate already-existing thyroid problems, it does not cause them.

    100% fruit snacks are not the best choice for children because they are too dense.

    I agree that 100% fruit snacks are not as healthy as they sound (they are basically pure sugar), but what on Earth does her critique of “it’s too much density” mean?  The problem isn’t that fruit snacks are calorically dense, it’s that they offer very little nutrition.

    “Peanut butter has a lot of sugar.”

    WRONG. You can find plenty of peanut butter brands that do not add sugar.  Additionally, even the ones that do add sugar do not add a lot (two grams, or half a teaspoon, per serving is the average).

    Almonds are better than peanuts because they have vitamin E and protein.

    Absolutely misleading.  Peanuts have just as much protein and vitamin E.  Besides, both almonds and peanuts contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and plenty of mineral and phytonutrients.

    Artificial sweeteners score high on the glycemic index.

    Wow.  Absolutely incorrect.

    Besides, if this ‘expert’ is so worried about the glycemic index of foods, why does she then recommend watermelon, which has a very high glycemic index?

    “An acidic body tends to hold on to more weight.”

    Oh, no — not that school of thought!

    No fruit after dinner — it sits in your stomach on top of what you ate and bloats you.

    Pardon me while I repeatedly smack my head on my desk.  This is absolutely false.  The human digestive system can handle a piece of fruit at any time of day.

    Good Morning America producers, you’ve got some ‘splaining to do!


    A Stroll Down Diet Lane

    It may seem like a new diet is introduced to the masses every other day, but many of today’s fads are simply reheated versions of oldies.

    I recently came cross a brief timeline of fad diets (dates and names only) compiled by The American Dietetic Association.

    It’s quite interesting to see that many current bestsellers originally popped up decades ago!

    The first documented low-carbohydrate diet, for instance, appeared in Jean Brillat-Savarin’s Physiology of Taste back in 1825.

    The no-frills (and no-nonsense) counting of calories was first written about in in Lulu Hunt Peters’ 1917 book, Diet and Health, with Key to the Calories.

    Food combining — the completely baseless concept that mixing carbohydrates and protein in the same meal results in weight gain — originated in the 1930s.

    The ever-popular grapefruit diet? It first appeared in the 1950s.

    Then there are the truly bizarre fad diets.

    My favorites?

    There’s Horace Fletcher’s 1903 low-protein diet plan which urged dieters to chew food 32 times — not 31 or 33! — before swallowing.

    Not surprisingly, he quickly became known as “The Great Masticator”.

    In 1925, the Cigarrette Diet came along, in which tobacco companies happily advertised the appetite-suppressing powers of their “magic” cancer sticks.

    One popular tagline? “Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet.”  Yeah — especially if your lungs have a death wish!

    1961 brought along Dr. Herman Taller’s — don’t laugh — “Calories Don’t Count Diet”.

    According to the good doctor, all you had to do was eat as much as protein as you wanted (he claimed these calories literally “didn’t count”) and immediately follow that meal with one of his special vegetable oil pills.  Sounds like a combination of Gary Taubes’ carbphobia and Kevin Trudeau’s shamelessness.

    The Sleeping Beauty Diet, which promoted heavily sedating patients so they slept for several days and therefore did not consume any calories, emerged from some sicko’s mind in 1970.

    The ridiculousness is far from over.

    Just last year, Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret claimed two keys to weight loss were ridding yourself of the belief that food makes you fat and taping a piece of paper with your ideal weight on it over your scale’s display screen, in order to allow “the universe” to create a new reality for you.


    Celebrity Diet Secrets: Suzanne Sommers

    Suzanne Sommers — and a handful of other Hollywood starlets — proclaims that the secret to weight loss and overall well-being lies in “food combining”.

    In other words, they do not eat protein, carbs, and fat during the same meal.

    Otherwise, they claim, stomach acid is neutralized and unable to absorb nutrients. In turn, food sits in the stomach, rots, and builds up as toxic material in our colons, resulting in weight gain.

    Followers also believe that about three fourths of calories should come from fruits and vegetables, and the rest from carbs and protein. Dairy is not allowed. Oh yeah, and you can eat nothing but fruit until noon. Furthermore, if you want protein, you have to wait a few hours following your “starch only” meal.

    I’m all for Hollywood stars entertaining us, but why do some feel the need to become “experts” in subjects they just don’t have a clue about?

    First of all, every bite of food we eat goes through our digestive system and ends up getting excreted at some point.

    If, by chance, someone is constipated and waste IS temporarily stuck, the easy solution lies in consuming more insoluble fiber (the type found in whole wheat products as well as the skins of fruits and vegetables) and water, not by eating a steak at 2 PM and potatoes at 4 PM.

    Secondly, apart from fruit (which is 100% carbohydrate), oils (which is 100% fat) and animal meat (which is 100% protein), most foods are made up of a mixture of nutrients.

    For instance, 2% milk has fat, carbohydrates, and protein. Whole grain breads have a little fat, some protein, and mostly carbs. Even lettuce has traces of protein!

    Let’s analyze some claims made by Spice Williams, a proponent of food combining:

    “Fruits (especially tropical fruits) have God-given digestive enzymes that will help to clean out the residue left over from the food you’ve eaten the night before. “

    What helps to clean out residue from our digestive systems is fiber, not digestive enzymes. Besides, digestive enzymes are already in our bodies; we don’t need to get them from food.

    While fruit is one way to add fiber to your diet, so is sprinkling flaxseed in a smoothie, or topping a whole grain English muffin with natural peanut butter. And those are just as God-given, in case anyone of faith is wondering.

    “Fruits seem to have magical healing and cleansing powers. They travel through the digestive tract very quickly (within an hour) which is why it’s so important not to eat them with any other food group. When you combine a fruit with, say for instance, cereal or waffles, it ends up getting held up in the stomach, unable to move through the “pylorus” (the exit opening of the stomach) and into the small intestine where it undergoes the little digestion it requires. When this happens, bacterial decomposition follows, and the fruit begins to ferment and turn into wine!”

    If I were a betting man, I’d bet my life savings that Ms. Williams has never taken a biochemistry class. First of all, there is nothing magical about fruit’s “powers”. They have a variety of antioxidants and phytochemicals along with a high fiber and vitamin content, so of course they are going to help our bodies’ systems be healthy.

    And yes, because fruits are simple carbohydrates, they travel quickly. All that means is they are a great snack to have about an hour before exercising, because their fuel is pretty much instantly up for grabs.

    Lastly, our bodies are not wine-making factories. Our cells don’t go around stomping on fruit in little barrels with spigots.

    I also wonder if Ms. Williams even took a basic nutrition course, seeing as how she lists “milk” under proteins. Anyone with two eyes can read a nutrition label and see that all milk contains protein as well as carbohydrates (and fat, unless it’s skim).

    “When you mis-combine your meals by mixing animal protein with, say, carbohydrates high in starch, your stomach begins pouring in both alkaline and acid, and unfortunately they neutralize each other. It’s a stalemate, and since the stomach maintains a 104 degree temperature, what you end up with is sort of an “oven” where the undigested meat and starch begins to ferment, rot and putrefy, causing the undesirable symptoms of gas, flatulence, headaches, bloat, sleepiness, diarrhea, constipation, etc. We’re talking about a real mess, and if it continues over the years, undigested food will begin to pile up and ultimately clog your colon and intestinal tract (your life lines to health).”

    Our stomach is the same temperature as the rest of our bodies — approximately 98.6 degrees (not 104 as Spice claims, or 115 as other food combining advocates point out). Even if it were, since when does heat make food rot?

    Additionally, flatulence is a normal human process. Passing gas (regardless at which end of the body it happens) several times a day is not a symptom of illness or food rotting in your stomach.

    And one more thing — if, according to these food combining followers, food that is incorrectly combined piles up in our colon, then wouldn’t many of us supposedly have decades’ worth of food stuck in our colons? That’s physically impossible!

    I’d also like to let Williams know that sometimes combining foods helps with nutrient absorption. For instance, vitamin C (found in many fruits) helps us absorb non-heme iron (found in beans, grains, and vegetables).

    Our bodies are smart. They can tell the difference between proteins, fats, and carbs, and activate the necessary enzymes to absorb the required nutrients.

    We have evolved to the point where we can eat different kinds of foods in one sitting without worrying that we are giving our bodies just too much to do. What isn’t smart is to follow a fad diet that is very low in vitamins D and B12 as well as iron and zinc, and is based in fiction.

    The only reason why anyone would lose weight on this diet is because they are being severely restricted with their food choices.

    When it comes to weight loss, the main concept to always remember is: a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. Two hundred calories are two hundred calories, whether they come from peaches or pizza, whether you eat them standing up or sitting down, or at 7 AM or 1 AM.

    As for Suzanne Somers — nutrition expert is one role I would never hire her for.


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