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If This Is How I ‘Eat To Live,’ Then Kill Me Now

Weight loss is such a touchy subject in this country which is why we Americans think we need to try diet after diet thinking somehow we are missing something about health and nutrition. As obesity continues to grow into a bigger and bigger problem (quite literally, in fact!), we are being simultaneously inundated with books featuring diet programs designed to help shed the pounds.

Eat To Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman is another one of the thousands of weight loss plans out there on bookshelves today. But will it work for you?

As someone who has lost nearly 200 pounds, I understand the desperate feeling that people have when it comes to the idea of losing weight forever. You feel so hopeless and helpless thinking you will be stuck being fat for the rest of your life. It’s a sickening feeling that can haunt you as you cry out for help in every direction to see if anyone will throw you a float to keep you from drowning in the sea of obesity. Is anyone listening?!?!

While I fully support the idea that people find a nutritional approach that works for them, apply it exactly as it is outlined by the author of that program, and then implement it for the rest of their lives, I cannot help but urge people to beware of the Eat To Live diet plan because it certainly doesn’t seem to have your health in mind. After reading through this diet book, the only conclusion I can draw is that Dr. Fuhrman is yet another stealth vegetarian who is attempting to spread his anti-meat agenda to the whole world by disguising it as a healthy “nutrient-dense” way of eating. Don’t you just wish people would be honest about what they are doing instead of resorting to such pretenses?

Don’t get me wrong, you CAN probably lose weight by applying the principles of this book just like you will very likely lose weight on virtually any diet plan out there. But where the Eat To Live diet breaks down is the fact that it is just another one of those low-fat, low-calorie, portion-controlled diet that hasn’t worked for so many of us already despite being highly recommended by our government and health officials for the past three decades! Why are they STILL promoting low-fat despite the fact that obesity is getting worse? That sounds like the classic definition of insanity if you ask me!

Dr. Fuhrman describes his Eat To Live principles as “revolutionary” because they will bring about “fast and sustained weight loss” to the tune of “20 lbs or more in 6 weeks.” WOW, that’s quite a claim. And I have no doubt that the weight loss can and will happen if people follow this low-fat, mostly vegetarian plan. But then what? How do you keep that weight off forever? Do you keep on eating rabbit food for the rest of your life? Is that what you want and expect from a healthy eating plan?

Well, not me! When I weighed over 400 pounds, I never really thought much about food except to stuff it in my mouth as fast as I could so the next bite of high-sugar, carb-loaded food would be able to get in there. It’s pathetic to think about how I used to eat, but too many people have chosen to eat to pleasure themselves with food which leads to obesity, disease and even death. Thankfully I have now found a healthy eating approach that helped me lose weight, improve my health and avoid certain death. I most certainly eat to live a long and healthy life because I’m livin’ la vida low-carb.

However, I’ll give you just one guess to figure out which nutritional approach Dr. Fuhrman chooses to put in his crosshairs in his Eat To Live book.

Low-fat? No.

Low-calorie? Nope.

Portion control? Uh uh.

The one diet plan that he describes as the “dangerous weight loss scheme” is none other than low-carb.

The Atkins diet, Zone diet, and Protein Power diet are all specifically named by Dr. Fuhrman in a chapter called “Are You Dying To Lose Weight?” In that chapter, he criticizes these programs as anti-establishment and giving people false hope about finding a way to lose weight because they include too many delicious foods containing higher amounts of fat than he would recommend. Awww, is somebody jealous that he can’t eat this way, too? Poor baby!

Regarding the Atkins diet, Dr. Fuhrman claims it is leading to higher rates of cancer and other diseases despite the weight loss because followers avoid eating fruits and vegetables. Does this man even know what he’s talking about? Apparently not since you get to eat LOTS of fruits and vegetables as well as other nutrient-dense foods on Atkins. What a dope!

Next he targets Dr. Barry Sears’ The Zone diet calling it “the danger zone” because Dr. Fuhrman thinks Dr. Sears puts too much emphasis on how carbohydrates are leading to obesity rather than fat. In a word, Dr. Fuhrman — WRONG! Americans ARE eating too many carbs in the form of sugar, white flour, processed foods, and starchy foods. This overconsumption of unhealthy foods is making obesity much worse than it needs to be and I think Dr. Sears has nailed this problem. Anyone who denies this obvious contributor to the obesity problem is apparently too blinded by their own agenda. I
s that you, Dr. Fuhrman?

To his credit, Dr. Fuhrman also criticizes Weight Watchers, Lean Cuisine, and Jenny Craig for not being low enough in fat to make a real difference in weight loss although they offer smaller portions than what the Standard American Diet (SAD) entails. He said Americans have become way too accustomed to having the foods they want to eat and then still expect to lose weight. He describes this expectation as unreasonable and concluded that people should start eating more vegetables, beans and fresh fruits immediately while eliminating virtually everything else from their diet.

“Any other program is an insult to your intelligence,” Dr. Fuhrman boasts.

Oh really! I think it is insulting to MY intelligence to have you lecture me about what is the right diet plan for me to follow, Dr. Fuhrman. I tried eating like you prescribed in Eat To Live and it just about drove me crazy in 1999. Sure, I lost weight and lots of it, too (170 pounds in fact!), but most people can only keep up that way of eating for just so long before they get so incredibly frustrated with it that they finally throw their hands up in the air and give up. I was too hungry, irritable, and experience such wild mood swings to notice I was skinnier. Hmmm, low-fat weight loss or sanity? I’ll choose sanity!

That’s why the low-carb lifestyle has been so effective for people like me who can’t stand being hungry when we are losing weight like we did on those thousands of low-fat diets we have been on. Eating lots of healthy greens, fresh foods, antioxidant-rich berries, protein-packed nuts, and even delicious cuts of meat not only helps us with weight loss, but also keeps the weight off forever (2 years and counting for me!) while experiencing miraculous improvements in our health. Low-carb was a godsend to me and nobody will ever convince me otherwise.

Can Dr. Furhman’s diet plan work for you? Perhaps. But if this was the way I would have to Eat To Live for the rest of my life, then I say kill me now to put me out of my misery! The good news is there are better ways than this.

5-1-06 UPDATE: Dr. Joel Fuhrman responded to my review of his book today.

Jimmy-

Thanks for reading my book, and I’m glad that you were able to lose so much weight eating similar to the way I recommend in my Eat To Live book.

It seems that we do not disagree about everything. We both agree about the benefits of healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, and seeds etc (by the way I have nothing against health fats in avocado and raw nuts and seeds). We both agree that there are health benefits to minimizing processed foods, sugar, and white flour.

We even agree that including some meat isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just a question of how much.

A lot of “experts” have found that there is great profit in advocating a high meat diet-style in recent years, and there has been a lot of pressure to develop research to support the idea that it is safe for your long-term health. But the evidence is overwhelming (and countless respected researchers agree on this point) is clear that getting the vast majority of your calories from meat has lots of negative long-term effects.

Some people may simply want to eat a lot of meat–and that’s fine! It’s a personal choice, and I hope you will choose to eat in a way that makes you happy. We are all different, and we all make different choices about how we want to live. I think that’s a good thing. But as we make those choices–especially important choices that affect our long-term health–we should do so with the best information possible. For example, I know some people choose to smoke. Severe as the health risks of that decision might be, as long as they have good information and know about the risks they’re taking; of course that’s their personal choice. But to smoke, or to eat lots of meat and cheese, with the idea that it’s good for your health? That’s just not working with the best available information, and it would be a real shame for a person to lose years of life to decision making based on fraudulent health claims and from people promoting bad information like that.

I have no specific political or social agenda, but I am a physician who wants each person to make responsible decisions based on the best evidence. I do not offer nutritional advice to please the animal rights advocates. In fact, they refuse to mention my work in their publications because I allow the consumption of animal products in my books and at drfuhrman.com and include them in some of my recipes. But, I do have a mission to spread a message that nutritional excellence can defeat heart disease and win the war against cancer. So I object to the false health claims regarding high protein diets, not to your freedom to eat any way you choose. And, for many people (I realize not you) who decide to “heart-attack-proof” their body and want to lose weight in the healthiest way possible and learn how to make a diet low in animal products taste great and eat as much food as they desire, while living into their nineties without the fear of heart disease, stroke or an premature death from cancer, I urge them to come to diseaseproof.com (or read Eat To Live) and read more about the science and logic of this diet-style.

-Joel Fuhrman, MD

Well, at least he was cordial in his reply to me even if I’m not buying his explanation. Thoughts anyone?

6-29-2006 UPDATE: Well, here’s at least one other blogger who agrees with my book review.

  • Joel Fuhrman MD

    Jimmy-

    Thanks for reading my book, and I’m glad that you were able to lose so much weight eating similar to the way I recommend in my Eat To Live book.

    It seems that we do not disagree about everything. We both agree about the benefits of healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, and seeds etc (by the way I have nothing against health fats in avocado and raw nuts and seeds). We both agree that there are health benefits to minimizing processed foods, sugar, and white flour.

    We even agree that including some meat isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just a question of how much.

    A lot of “experts” have found that there is great profit in advocating a high meat diet-style in recent years, and there has been a lot of pressure to develop research to support the idea that it is safe for your long-term health. But the evidence is overwhelming (and countless respected researchers agree on this point) is clear that getting the vast majority of your calories from meat has lots of negative long-term effects.

    Some people may simply want to eat a lot of meat–and that’s fine! It’s a personal choice, and I hope you will choose to eat in a way that makes you happy. We are all different, and we all make different choices about how we want to live. I think that’s a good thing. But as we make those choices–especially important choices that affect our long-term health–we should do so with the best information possible. For example, I know some people choose to smoke. Severe as the health risks of that decision might be, as long as they have good information and know about the risks they’re taking; of course that’s their personal choice. But to smoke, or to eat lots of meat and cheese, with the idea that it’s good for your health? That’s just not working with the best available information, and it would be a real shame for a person to lose years of life to decision making based on fraudulent health claims and from people promoting bad information like that.

    I have no specific political or social agenda, but I am a physician who wants each person to make responsible decisions based on the best evidence. I do not offer nutritional advice to please the animal rights advocates. In fact, they refuse to mention my work in their publications because I allow the consumption of animal products in my books and at drfuhrman.com and include them in some of my recipes. But, I do have a mission to spread a message that nutritional excellence can defeat heart disease and win the war against cancer. So I object to the false health claims regarding high protein diets, not to your freedom to eat any way you choose. And, for many people (I realize not you) who decide to “heart-attack-proof” their body and want to lose weight in the healthiest way possible and learn how to make a diet low in animal products taste great and eat as much food as they desire, while living into their nineties without the fear of heart disease, stroke or an premature death from cancer, I urge them to come to diseaseproof.com (or read Eat To Live) and read more about the science and logic of this diet-style.

    -Joel Fuhrman, MD

  • Ugly Naked Guy

    Jimmy:

    Congratulations on your success in the weight loss department! I was glad to find your blog because I was trying to find some negative press about “Eat to Live” and your’s was the first I found. My wife is on the diet (though not super strictly) and has done very well. I just wanted to find out more about it because there are so many diet plans out there and so many experts that I am not ready to believe Mr. Furman just because it sounds logical to a layman like me. If you have any more sources to point to, please let me know. (The one you linked above is pretty weak; the guy has really nothing bad to say about ETL except that it may not be for him.)

    -eric

  • Jimmy Moore

    Hey UNG,

    I don’t have any links to other columns about Dr. Fuhrman’s specific book, but I do have a link to a well-written piece by independent researcher Anthony Colpo about the vegan lifestyle (which Dr. Fuhrman strongly supports!) that is heavily promoted by the book that has become the holy grail of veganism, “The China Study.”

    Click here to read Colpo’s review which will cover many of the aspects of Fuhrman’s diet that your wife is on. I’m glad to hear your wife has been successful on the “Eat to Live” program, but I hope she can keep it up. Take care and thanks for writing!

  • Elijah Lynn

    That was really professional of Dr. Fuhrman to comment like that.

    It is true that neither the meat eaters nor vegans will mention support him because he does not totally condone animal products nor totally promote them. Studies have shown that anything less than 10% of calories from animal products do not increase risk of disease by any significant percentage compared to those who consume 0% animal products.

    It is true he does not have a political agenda in that aspect.

    Thanks for posting his response, you are cool for for doing that!

  • Jennifer

    I was glad to find your article. I bought Eat to Live at the end of December, and I just reposted it to resell on Amazon. It just didn’t work for me. I was in actual pain — tons of bloating and stomach gas, probably from the fiber. I didn’t lose a significant amount of weight and was very hungry. The book made sense when I read it, but it just didn’t work for me. Plus the grocery bills were so high.
    I linked to your article from my blog (it’s brand spanking new as of yesterday, so not much content yet, forgive me.) http://lifehackmom.com/?p=7
    Thanks again for taking the time to write this review. I’m switching back to low-carb dieting and just trying not to overdo the calories this time.

  • John

    Jimmy and other posters:

    I read Eat to Live nearly 5 years ago and it has changed my life. I lost nearly 50 pounds and have not gained a pound of it back. My cholesterol dropped by a lot as did my blood pressure. I enjoy eating food as much as I ever have. I do not miss the meat and cheese I used to love (in fact it repulses me at this point).

    The problem with a lot of diets is that they seem to make some sense and are often written by doctors. But few of them are based on real research. Dr. Fuhrman’s diet is based on a ton of research (not by him) and many many peer reviewed studies. These studies have shown that cultures and groups of people who eat high amounts of fruits, veggies and whole grains AND limit or eliminate their consumption of animal protein have much lower levels of disease, longer life spans and lower body mass indexes. This is a fact shown again and again and again. Read the China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell for more on the research studies.

  • Jimmy Moore

    John, CONGRATULATIONS on finding what works for you and doing it. But a high-carb, low-fat vegetarian lifestyle as Dr. Fuhrman advocates is not for everyone. There’s plenty of research showing the health BENEFITS of animal fat as well, so it’s all a matter of what fits your personal tastes. THANKS again for writing and best wishes on a happy and healthy life.

  • Kylie

    Jimmy –

    First let me congratulate you on finding a meal plan that worked so well for you! As someone who struggles with her weight even to this day, and is trying to find her own method in this madness, I am glad to hear any success story.

    I recently purchased the Eat to Live book based on the recommendation of a good friend of mine and her mother. They did the program together, and over that time it drastically improved their health, their energy levels, and their eating habits. So I am going to be giving the program a try as soon as I finish the book.

    The one thing you don’t seem to take into consideration in your review is that different people need different programs. You touch on it, but don’t seem to give this program it’s due as a truly viable option, and instead accuse Dr. Fuhrman of an “anti-meat” agenda.

    While I have no intention, in the long run, of abandoning my omnivorous instincts in lieu of a totally vegetarian diet, I realize that at this point in my life, I am addicted to eating unhealthy amounts of meat, as well as high-sodium and high-sugar/artificial sweetener products. So what I am hoping that, like my best friend and her mother, this diet helps me adjust my eating habits to be more tolerable of a higher quantity of vegetables in my diet, and helps purge my body of an unhealthy addiction to excessiveness in my eating habits.

    I also notice you equate his program to a high-carb, low fat lifestyle, which I believe is a bit misleading. Dr. Fuhrman limits you to one cup of whole oats daily, as well as limiting the amount of starchy vegetables you’re supposed to consume. Which I understand that fruits and vegetables do contain natural carbohydrates, Dr.Fuhrman has eliminated the processed carbohydrates that so many Americans consume in excess today, such as pasta, white rice, refined sugar, etc.

    Like all weight loss programs, Dr. Fuhrman’s must be taking with (pardon the pun here) a grain of salt. However, I think you were a bit harsh in your critique of his work, and most importantly, his motivations.

    Perhaps you can try to approach future reviews in a more unbiased light, instead of assuming everyone has a political agenda behind their advice.

    Sincerely,
    Shana from Kansas City

  • Jimmy Moore

    THANK YOU for your comments Kylie! I can appreciate where you’re coming from and I totally agree with you about being open to different methods for different people. Anyone who regularly reads my blog knows one of my basic philosophies for people looking to implement a lifestyle change for weight loss and health is to find a proven plan that works for them, follow that plan exactly as prescribed by the author and then KEEP doing that plan for the rest of their life. If that’s the EAT TO LIVE diet, then so be it. The point is to not pigeonhole yourself into thinking there’s only one way. That’s why we have rampant obesity and disease in the world today because people like Dr. Fuhrman and Dr. Dean Ornish, for example, are of the mindset that everyone needs to eat more carbs and less fat for health. That’s just not true for people like me and many others who frequent my blog. We NEED to eat low-carb to control our weight and health. The proof is in the success I’ve seen in my own life and the lives of countless others. THANK YOU for your comments and we are not in disagreement at all.

  • Joe Ardent

    Hi, Jimmy,

    I’m not sure that it’s accurate to characterize the Eat to Live diet as “high carb”. Just because it is low in animal protein does not make it high carb. By percentage of calories, it’s between 20 and 30% protein. The carbs that remain are all very low GI, and very fiber-rich, as they are unrefined and typically not from grains.

  • Anonymous

    Jimmy, Congrats on your weight loss, but I fear that you’ve lost out on nutrition, as well. I’m well-read and well-versed on this topic, and have found precious little to negate the data Dr. Fuhrman has presented. He’s not against animal protein, though he advocates eating as little as possible because it causes disease; he’s not against carbs – just the empty calorie ones, and for nutrient-dense carbs. I’m so grateful for his book – I’ve read “The China Study” too, and have found the information contained in both books compelling and life-changing. How can you ignore the data regarding consumption of animal protein, and the damage it causes? I wish you well, Jimmy… but to do that, you’ll need to get off Atkins and embrace the highly nutritional way of life Dr. Fuhrman suggests.

  • Jimmy Moore

    I’m eating healthier than I ever thought possible, anonymous. So I think I’ll be sticking with my Atkins low-carb lifestyle. THANKS! :)

  • P

    for Jennifer –

    Take a look at fructose intolerance. Like lactose intolerance, it can certainly cause gas and bloating, as well as migraines and even hypoglycemia (a good reason for being hungry all the time). When I increased my fruit intake following a plan similar to Fuhrman, I had gas, bloating, diarrhea, pain, constant hunger not being able to go an hour without eating, irritability, and fainting.

    Switching to lower fructose fruits and lower-fructan vegetables cured all of these symptoms. If you limit or eliminate such things as apples, pears, and grapes and keep tomatoes, corn, and carrots to a moderate amount, someone with mild fructose intolerance can still follow Furhman and be comfortable.

  • Anonymous

    The Atkins diet craze ended, ultimately, because dieters found it no easier to stay on a low-carb high-protein diet than to follow Ornish or McDougall.
    Didn’t Atkins itself declare bankrupcy?

    Maintaining regimens that are far out of step with the standard american diet isn’t easy for most of us.

    Having read extensively on the subject I truly believe that high levels of animal protein in the diet is harmful for more people than it helps. Refined carbs and white sugar to excess may well be worse, but not by much.

    I also will note that no one yet has found a magic diet that will add decades to life.

    Exercise and total calories may matter more than anything else.

  • Jimmy Moore

    I could not disagree with you more on every single point you made, anonymous. If you keep reading my blog, then you’ll find out why. :)

  • Anonymous

    Hi Jimmy,

    It’s amazing that you lost so much weight. Good for you!

    Having read Eat to Live, I guess I have to say that I do find Dr. Furhman’s findings and recommendations far more compelling than the information you’ve presented on your blog. While eating low-carb may indeed work for individuals to lose weight — I have no doubt about that — those personal anecdotes just don’t have the weight of thousands of scientific studies behind them about which eating style is the most healthful. They certainly don’t convince me that high-protein (i.e. meat)/low-carb, especially the Atkins diet, is the healthier way to live, regardless of weight loss.

    The best and brightest scientific minds today are starting to realize that we have been very arrogant in assuming we know much at all about nutrition — we arrogantly decide this vitamin or that is the “magic” in spinach or blueberries, when, truly, it is the synergy of whole, natural foods that is magical. And looking at nutrition from this perspective, it can hardly be argued that a plant-based diet is, for human beings, simply the best one. I’ve read dozens of volumes on the topic, from many different perspectives, which have led me to this conclusion.

    We each find our own path. I just wanted to present mine.

    Best of luck on your continued journey!

  • P

    Anonymous 7/04/2008 —

    It is truly amazing to read so many different doctors and experts saying the same thing. I have been reading books lately about reversing heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes; about boosting leptin to lose weight; about anti-inflammatory foods to reverse rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, diabetes, and other chronic inflammation diseases; foods to reduce our impact on the planet/environment; foods that are lower in pesticides and other chemicals; and they’re all saying the same thing. Primarily a plant-based diet. Increase the leafy greens, deep coloured fruits and veggies, beans, and whole grains. Greatly reduce or eliminate sugar, salt, flour, added fat, processed foods, and animal products.

    (I have not read a lot of Atkins, so I can’t speak to the low-carb lifestyle, but I agree with both Jimmy and Dr. Fuhrman that the problem is not just fat. It is sugar and flour and other additives too. Fuhrman recommends lots of leafy greens and not so much grains or starchy vegetables, which I believe fits with Atkin’s recommendations as well.)

  • Brenda

    HI Jimmy,
    Congrats on your weight loss. I am still struggling with mine. I have done Atkins and it did work for me for a period of time. I do still think it is good for some people. I think that the people who dismiss it don’t really understand it at all. When following Atkins you do eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, it is not just meat.
    I am going to try Fuhrman but I am still going to add in some meat protein as well.
    Wish me luck!

  • Jimmy Moore

    A better plan than Fuhrman’s is PROTEIN POWER by the Eades or DR. ATKINS’ NEW DIET REVOLUTION by Atkins. There’s too much low-fat nonsense in the EAT TO LIVE plan, so you might want to avoid it.

  • Nelly

    Jimmy,
    I think its great that you have lost so much weight! Going from over 400 lbs to where you are now is awesome and by far healthy.
    However, I am an advocate of the vegan lifestyle, a no, not because I’m a PETA freak, but because I believe that it offers the best nutrition possible in the long run. I do own Dr.Furhman’s book and I think that his information is presented well and researched properly. I have also read the China Study and think that it is amazingly well done and you can’t really argue with the largest epidemiology study that was ever done stating the side effects of meat in diet.
    I think that losing weight is a plus no matter what (with the exception of an eating disorder). But even the raw food diet, which I have personally tried and am in love with, has so many successes. Just look at Angela Stokes, she was just as heavy as you and she lost all of that weight in a miraculous time and continues to keep the weight off and looking beautiful!! I hope that whatever you do with your diet in the future works for you, but I think that the many, MANY positive reviews about Eat to Live states that it is well worth a try, not to mention its low carb.
    Actually, that brings me to a question, as I have visited your blog before and read your statements on veganism. Since you are low carb, and that is what has helped you lose so much weight, then what is wrong with going low carb on a vegan/vegetarian diet?? It is certainly possible and can be done with a good amount of healthy fats in the diet too. Just wondering…

  • Katy

    From Anonymous, July 4:

    “While eating low-carb may indeed work for individuals to lose weight — I have no doubt about that — those personal anecdotes just don’t have the weight of thousands of scientific studies behind them about which eating style is the most healthful. They certainly don’t convince me that high-protein (i.e. meat)/low-carb, especially the Atkins diet, is the healthier way to live, regardless of weight loss.

    The best and brightest scientific minds today are starting to realize that we have been very arrogant in assuming we know much at all about nutrition — we arrogantly decide this vitamin or that is the “magic” in spinach or blueberries, when, truly, it is the synergy of whole, natural foods that is magical. And looking at nutrition from this perspective, it can hardly be argued that a plant-based diet is, for human beings, simply the best one.”

    Thousands of scientific studies? Really?? Where? Performed by whom? And based upon these mythical studies, “it can hardly be argued” that plant-based diets are best?

    Most vegetarians I know are pathetic, ill creatures with no muscle tone; they’re pale, have allergies, skin problems, digestive problems, anxiety problems, and osteoporosis. Their children suffer with the same issues. Granted, factory farms need to improve their methods of raising animals, but rather than working for this goal, they think the situation will improve if they ruin their health?

  • Anonymous

    Jimmy –
    Please clarify one point. You don’t seem to appreciate Dr. Fuhrman’s diet but yet you indicate you lost 170 lbs following his diet back in 1999. Is that correct? I thought you had lost most of your weight following Atkins?

    Actually, that’s not correct. I’ve NEVER done Dr. Fuhrman’s diet, but I did do a low-fat diet in 1999 and lost 170 pounds. If you read my book Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb: My Journey From Flabby Fat To Sensationally Skinny In One Year, then you’d know that low-fat diet didn’t last because I was STARVING all the time. So I gained it all back and then some ballooning up to 410 pounds just prior to starting Atkins in 2004. I then went on to lose 180 pounds on low-carb and most of that weight has stayed off for over five years. THANKS for your comment!

    –Jimmy

  • Anonymous

    Jimmy -
    Thanks for the clarification about which diet you followed. So is your main criticism against Fuhrman’s diet that you would be starving? I am asking because that’s a key point in Fuhrman’s book. He says you will not starve because you can eat as much as you want as long as you eat what he tells you to eat (mostly fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds). So your concept of starvation does not appear to be valid. You may not enjoy the food as much because it’s low fat but you can’t say you are starving. What am I not getting? You said you’ve NEVER done Fuhrman’s diet but yet you have a strong opinion against his advice. Why don’t you try it for a month or two? Maybe it’s not as hard as you think if you give it a try. This will give you a lot of credibility if you prove your audience that not only you think it will not work for you, but you actually proved it by trying.

    This was a review of Furhman’s book and nothing else. The main problem I have with his plan is it would unnecessarily spike my insulin levels while depriving my body of the fat it needs. I don’t have anything to prove to my audience regarding low-fat–it’s already failed me and low-carb triumphed to help me shed 180 pounds and keep it off. That’s all the proof I’ll ever need.

    –Jimmy

  • http://www.lowcarbcurmudgeon.com Dana

    I don’t know about Jimmy, Anonymous, but my own experience with low-fat meals is that even if you eat enough to be full at the table, half an hour later you’re rummaging in the fridge again. There are some very solid biochemical reasons for this phenomenon. If you eat enough to meet your energy needs and that energy isn’t coming from fat, then it’s going to come from glucose, either from protein through gluconeogenesis or from carbs by breaking down digestible poly- and disaccharides. (That’s complex sugars.) While the glucose spike and resulting insulin release are going to happen more slowly from protein, they’re lightning fast from glucose and first you spike, then you drop, then your stomach is growling like crazy.

    Been there, done that. Hate it. Want to do something with my day besides think about food, kthxbi.

    And the problem with depending on protein as an energy source is that if you don’t back it up with adequate fat intake (and by “adequate” I mean “more than twenty percent of your total caloric intake–by far”), you wind up eating too much protein in order to achieve satiety, and then you wind up with too much ammonia in your system, and you come down with rabbit sickness. While animal protein is perfectly fine for you (if it kills people, explain the traditional Inuit and Maasai–and it isn’t a special adaptation because outsiders can adopt their diets and do just fine), eating anything out of proportion to the rest of your diet is not exactly healthy for you no matter what it is.

    So your best choices are carbs or fat. And speaking of which, you wanted to know what’s wrong with doing a low-carb version of veganism. I’ll tell you what’s wrong with that. Number one, every single protein source in the vegan diet is backed by too high a carb count with the exception of nuts, soy, and wheat gluten (seitan). You can’t overdo nuts; you’ll make yourself sick. You shouldn’t overdo wheat gluten because even people who aren’t obviously sensitive can injure their gut lining that way. You definitely should not overdo soy even if it’s fermented (and if it’s not fermented, you shouldn’t be eating it!) because too much estrogen, even phytoestrogen, isn’t good for anyone.

    Number two, if you tried a high-fat version of veganism then your fatty acid ratios would be way off. It is likely you’d get too much omega-6 and omega-9, you sure wouldn’t get enough DHA (the human body does conversions poorly, esp from vegetable oils), and without adequate saturated fat in your diet your cell membranes will suffer, to say nothing of your central nervous system. (There’s coconut and palm oil, but their production is ecologically problematic if it’s supposed to support the entire world population, and they’re expensive to boot.) I recommend reading Mary Enig, PhD if you have any further questions about this one. You will get an earful. She was sounding the alarm about trans fatty acids decades before it became trendy to warn Americans away from them, so you might want to take her seriously.

  • Anonymous

    Jimmy – I have a difficulty following and understanding your argument “The main problem I have with his plan is it would unnecessarily spike my insulin levels while depriving my body of the fat it needs.” In your review of Fuhrman’s book, you indicated he is wrong about Atkins, one of the reasons being because “you get to eat LOTS of fruits and vegetables as well as other nutrient-dense foods on Atkins.” So why are you so worried about spikes in insulin levels with whole fruits and vegetables if Atkins says it’s ok – we’re not talking white flour, white sugar and highly processed carbs here, we’re talking whole natural plant foods. Are you implying one would overload on veggies and fruits by following Fuhrman, which would trigger spikes in insulin, which then will make that person fat and unhealthy?

    Because Dr. Atkins identifies which fruits and vegetables will NOT raise your insulin whereas Furhman does not. Eating too much sugar and carbs that turn to sugar in the body (i.e. bananas, potatoes, starchy veggies, sugary fruits), whatever the source, insulin will rise and blood sugar will spike. Not good. I’ll be happy to keep my levels well under control by livin’ la vida low-carb.

    –Jimmy

  • ak

    lol @ rabbit food

    my brother calls it that too

    I’ve been vegetarian for ten years and I do the vegan thing from time to time but I have been both overweight and unhealthy at times. When I was in college I ate pizza 75% of the time. Vegetarian, but the cheese and oil increased my cholesterol levels. After following the main parts of Dr. Fuhrman’s book, I lost about 20 pounds in two weeks. My health is better than it has been in years. I look younger.

    The diet isn’t a diet. It is an all you can eat regiment. The whole thing is six weeks which includes a couple of weeks in which you have to eat vegetarian but the plan itself isn’t vegetarian. It just stresses that salad is the main dish.

    Healthy dark greens heal us and feel us up. When we are full we don’t desire more food. Junk food doesn’t fill us so we eat more and more. Anyway, the diet includes all you can eat of many many foods. I like beans, broccoli and fruit (smoothies) but the diet includes snacks and desserts like ice cream, fruit , salad, trail mix, soup, etc. Great foods that kill off the sugar addiction.

    Most of us can’t diet because we are addicted to the wrong foods. We want to cheat. With this diet, there is no need to cheat because you can eat as much as you want of so many alternative foods.

    Anyone striving to improve their health and/or want to lose weight should avoid bread, potatoes, rice, refined sugars, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup and salt and fried foods.

  • gert steyn

    IS there any , prof,doctor , please i need help , im starting to go mad,
    why, why why , is there no cure for diabetes ,why .
    IM 22 ive had this diabetes for seven years now, , i hate this insulin,
    and just want to know what will happen , ive never used my insulin like the doc said i
    must ,sumtyms i skip for like 2 weeks no insulin , i eat and drink what i want , noyhing has ever happend to me,
    thank God, but will this ever end, im willing to go 2 a lab to test sum cures or what ever , please give me sum advice any1, thank you

    • http://www.livinlavidalowcarb.com Jimmy Moore

      Hey Gert, thanks so much for writing. While there may not be any physical cure for a diagnosis of diabetes, there is a clinical “cure” that will rid you of most and maybe all of your diabetes. Read Dr. Richard K. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution book and you’ll learn all about how restricting carbohydrate and eating plenty of fat will lower blood sugar levels, lessen your dependence on insulin, and bring your A1c down to where a non-diabetic is. It works, my friend, so give it a try!