Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Rule Two: Back to Basics

Over the last few decades, the population at large, has slowly been indoctrinated to fear dietary fat; to limit intake of dietary cholesterol; and to limit consumption of foods rich with saturated fat like meat, whole dairy, butter and eggs. This happened despite little evidence that such an approach to eating provided a long-term health benefit, or ability to maintain weight. But, with decades of reinforcement in the popular thinking, it's understandable how the second rule in the Rules of Induction is the most misunderstood and maligned of them all.

Let's take a look:

Rule 2:
  • Eat liberally of combinations of fat and protein in the form of poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs and red meat, as well as pure, natural fat in the form of butter, mayonnaise, olive oil, safflower, sunflower and other vegetable oils (preferably expeller-pressed or cold-pressed).

Is it any wonder that, when a diet comes along and allows these foods, in complete contradiction to decades of fat phobia propoganda, it is vehemently opposed by the leading health organizations and government agencies? That we're innundated with dire warnings of consequence to health, heaped upon us in a concerted effort to discredit and dismiss anyone who says differently; despite scientific evidence and data supporting not only the inclusion of these foods in the human diet, but their inportant contributions to the human diet!

Ignore the man behind the curtain Dorothy....ignore that in the noble attempts to improve the health of our population, researchers and clinicians were lead astray by what we now know was half-truth data, published in the fifties and sixties.

They know it, we know it, but still it's difficult to come to grips with that fact and reverse direction after decades of building the foundation of a "truth" only to find it terribly flawed. It's often easier to continue on in the lie than face the fact you're wrong; moreso when the entire group and community you exist within endorses the continuation of the established dogma, despite the evidence to the contrary.

It's easier to "kill the messenger" than kill the flawed paradigm that hold these foods are to be limited, heck, even avoided at all cost.

To admit such is akin to killing thyself and the core set of beliefs one holds to be true.

Dramatic license here?

Sure, but it does speak of something critically important one must do for their long-term health when they begin to, perhaps for the first time in their life, establish good eating habits for the rest of their life.

Simply put, the second rule of induction grants us permission to dismiss everything we've been told and taught to hold as truth about eating, macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein, fat) and a "balanced, healthy" diet; allows us to re-learn what it means to be human and eat food; and encourages us to enjoy the experience of truly eating a healthy diet while losing weight and then continue to do so along the way to finally, once and for all, maintain that weight well into the future.

I'm quite the optimist aren't I?

Seriously, don't studies tell us again and again that dieting to lose weight fails, that all we really ever do is get good at losing weight, but we're never quite able to master maintaining our weight in the long-term?

Let's start by examining the very base reason most folks even begin a diet to lose weight - they're overweight or obese and have decided it's time to do something about it.

So they begin, they are off to a good start, they're motivated and continue to be motivated with each incremental decline they see on the scale.

Problem?

Absolutely - the focus is on the scale; the number on the scale matters most and damn the torpedos, no matter how inconvenient, stressful or annoying it is to weigh, measure and count every calorie, the individual is in a battle against their bathroom scale to reach a desired number in the shortest period of time possible.

Millions have mastered this task, only to have to repeat it again and again throughout their life. I apolgize now if this sounds crass, but anyone can lose weight with even just a small level of effort; it doesn't take an Einstein to eat less for weeks or months to reach a number on the scale; most will put up with high levels of discomfort to reach that goal - hunger, moodiness, irritability, stress and counting, measuring and weighing anything they consider putting in their mouth.

In the short-term, such measures do work; in the long-term they fail because the person has been mistakenly led to believe "if only..." they do this, measure that, control this and avoid that over the short-term, somehow that alone will enable them to maintain their new lower weight without much more than keeping on keeping on; except the keeping on part is next to impossible!

That's because the very dogmatic recommendations we're repeatedly told are balanced and healthy to lose weight are scaring people away from the very foods that we need to eat to thrive as humans; this forces an unnatural eating patten across the population due to a deeply flawed fear of dietary fat and cholesterol and leads to failure in the long-term because it is not only unsustainable, it's incompatible with true health in the longer term.

The heart and soul of our metabolism is the endocrine system - when it dysfunctions, a cascade of health problems follow - insulin resistance, high blood pressure, dyslipidemia, diabetes, and other chronic and debhilitating diseases.

Why then are we specifically told to avoid the very foods that fuel the proper function of this system?

The current recommendations not only scare us from healthy food, they make simply eating way too stressful for an average person - measure this, weigh that, watch this, avoid that, don't eat this, that's better, blah, blah, blah - who wants to deal with that much stress each day? Sure, a motivated person, desiring weight loss will submit to such stress to reach a goal - but then what happens? They do what is natural and human - they do what they need to do to relieve the stress and relax, are then an easy target to point to as someone lacking willpower, someone just not commited to sticking with it; someone who simply doesn't care and is lazy!

Anyone who has attempted to lose weight only to regain it can relate - no matter how hard you try to stick with a diet that is, for lack of a better phrase, "high maintenance" to follow each day for the rest of your life - sooner or later you find the "benefit" (weight on scale) isn't worth the time and "stress" (weighing, measuring, going hungry, chastising yourself for wanting to eat, etc.).

As I said in my last post, what if the problem isn't you or your "willpower," but a deep flaw within the recommendations that lead not to success, but failure in the long-term?

Here's the rule again:

Rule 2:

  • Eat liberally of combinations of fat and protein in the form of poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs and red meat, as well as pure, natural fat in the form of butter, mayonnaise, olive oil, safflower, sunflower and other vegetable oils (preferably expeller-pressed or cold-pressed).

The short and long-term secrets within this rule include:

1. Eating "liberally" is not the same as eating until you are stuffed and goes hand-in-hand with rule 6, which we'll look at later this week. This rule is also a natural extention to rule 1 to eat regular sized portions.

2. You're allowed to eat animal foods such as meats, poultry, fish and eggs provides you with combinations of both fats and protein - necessary for health, losing and maintaining weight on a carbohydrate restricted diet.

Note that in the rule, no one is told they must eat "fatty meats" or must consume "bacon, brie and oodles of t-bone steaks." No, instead they're to eat foods that provide both fat and protein; they can choose whatever cuts they like, whatever combinations suit their tastes; whatever they prefer.

Want boneless skinless chicken breast? Allowed.

Want a filet mignon? Allowed.

Want some eggs? Allowed.

Want some dark turkey meat? Allowed

Want some salmon? Allowed.

This "allowance" of all things that provide a good fat-protein combination reinforces our mindfullness not to fear food, food is not the enemy!

Adding to this is that using fats and/or oils as part of your meals is allowed - from sources of natural, good fats and oils; with those natual oils being preferentially from expeller-pressed or cold-pressed sources.

Why are the animal products with combinations of fat and protein and the use of natural fats & oils so important?

By integrating both into your meals you are also beginning the process of balancing your essential fatty acid ratios in your eating from the fats found in these sources, and perhaps for the first time, consuming adequate protein, thus adequate essential amino acids.

Important too is to choose quality, eat well and enjoy your food and meals. Don't worry each day about how much fat is in a particular food or meal at this stage, over time you'll be able to "tweak" as you go and learn better how to nourish your body and eat what really is a well-balanced, healthy diet.

With fat and protein providing the vast majority of "essential" nutrients, this liberal approach at the start of your weight loss diet takes you "back to basics" and with time, provides you the opportunity to not only learn how to eat well for the long-term, but to actually enjoy your meals again - without fear that you're killing yourself with every bite!

11 comments:

  1. Anonymous12:41 PM

    Amen. If I hear one more time that "animal fats are bad, vegetable fats are good," I think I'm going to scream.

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  2. You wrote:
    "Note that in the rule, no one is told they must eat "fatty meats" or must consume "bacon, brie and oodles of t-bone steaks." No, instead they're to eat foods that provide both fat and protein; they can choose whatever cuts they like, whatever combinations suit their tastes; whatever they prefer"

    This is certainly true, of course. The bacon, sausage, and hot dogs might be okay if they didn't contain nitrites and nitrates. However, I don't think we know enough about the positive effects of fat in our diet. Since I am an endurance runner, I tend to view this in the chapter where he deals with the myth of carb loading. There, he warned that excess protein in the diet can function similar to carbs, in that the body can convert some of the protein to glucose and thus stall ketosis. He then cited the Inuit Eskimos, who traveled the globe on a high fat diet. I looked at this further and found that they were only interested in the fatty cuts of meat, and left the lean stuff for the dogs.

    Maybe I should keep quiet about this because when I go to the store, I find I can buy some really tasty cuts of fatty steak that is marked down because everyone else wants lean meat!

    Many people assume that Atkins is a low carb/high protein diet, but it seems that Atkins, if anything, is a low carb/high fat/moderate protein diet. I found during my weight loss, that if I came to a stall, I merely upped my fat intake and I would begin to lose again.

    It's also instructive that when Dr. Atkins dealt with people who absolutely couldn't lose weight on Induction, he recommended the Fat Fast, where the fat portion of the fat to protein ratio is increased.

    I know you're not specifically talking about weight loss today, but it seems to me that an understanding of the vital part that fat plays in a healthy diet is critical for long term success. I'd love to learn more about it! (hint, hint)

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  3. it's that "eat liberally" bit that gets me... yes, you can eat "liberally" as long as you are still fairly overweight. If you're lucky, you can continue to eat liberally and reach your goal. (You can also reach your goal eating this way if you set a fairly high goal for yourself, ie 10 to 20 pounds overweight).
    But for the rest of us, eating liberally results in a nice, long, unbreakable stall.
    It's only when and if you decide to cut your portions down to just enough to manage your hunger, then voila, stall busted!
    btw, that's why Kimkins is so popular. As I posted elsewhere, she picked up the calorie ball that Atkins fumbled so badly, and she is running with it. She just happens to be running through some sketchy neighborhoods (extremely low calorie, fasting, laxatives, etc.)

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  4. The bacon, sausage, and hot dogs might be okay if they didn't contain nitrites and nitrates.

    I do believe within the 1992, 1999 and 2002 editions, a specific "warning" to avoid and limit those foods with nitrites/nitrates, and processed meats, is included. It's just not stated in the Rules of Induction, but I believe in the Acceptable Foods List?

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  5. it's that "eat liberally" bit that gets me... yes, you can eat "liberally" as long as you are still fairly overweight. If you're lucky, you can continue to eat liberally and reach your goal.

    As mentioned, this particular rule ties to Rule 1 and Rule 6 (which is coming up soon).

    Stay tuned!

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  6. I know you're not specifically talking about weight loss today, but it seems to me that an understanding of the vital part that fat plays in a healthy diet is critical for long term success. I'd love to learn more about it! (hint, hint)

    Once I've gone through each rule, I do have a commentary planned to wrap it all up and that will include how each macronutrient contributes to long-term success and why.

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  7. Regina:

    I'm sure you're right about the Acceptable Food List. I'm a relative newbie to Atkins and I've only read the most recent "New Diet Revolution." Thanks for the great info. Looking forward to the next rule!!!

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  8. I think even rule 6 is too mushy mushy-namby-pamby-weak, but I'll wait till you get to it before I rant any further!

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  9. I guess it's all about bacon. I saw a discussion with Gary Taubes, Dean Ornish, and someone from the AHA. Ornish kept mentioning bacon. One comment -- I'd like to say that bacon is healthy, but it isn't.

    Oh my. I sometimes go for a month or more without eating bacon. I must not be a good low carber. :) :)

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  10. Terry4:37 PM

    Please continue the posts on this, I am enjoying the insights you're giving and sharing with us! It's making me rethink much of what I thought I knew about doing Atkins and is answeing many questions I hve abouthow to maintain my weight once I get to goal.

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  11. I can get organically raised, nitrate-free bacon (and sausage/hot dogs, come to think of it)...that's healthy stuff right there!!

    "Eat liberally" has often been misinterpreted as "feast". Understandable when you're coming from a hig carb WOE that left you perpetually hungry and constantly snacking!

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