Dr Fairchild's Guide to Weight LossSeveral book's worth of knowledge have been condensed here for you. Every recommendation has a reason behind it, but for the sake of brevity I have not gone into detailed explainations. These recommendations are generalized. If anyone needs a personalized diet plan with a personal coach, I suggest Metabolic Balance.
These dietary concepts are suitable for diabetics, especially if refined carbohydrates, sweet fruit, and sugars are kept to a bare minimum. However, anyone on insulin who wishes to follow this diet will need close medical supervision, as this way of eating may have a tendancy to drop your sugar and your doses of insulin may need to be decreased.
1. Eat three good meals a day at wide intervals:
Eat at least 2 meals a day, but no more than three. Make sure you get enough protein and fat in each meal to carry you to the next, leaving enough time between meals for consumption of fluids. Try not to snack between meals. During the day, it is best to space meals about 5 hrs apart, but not longer than 6 to 7 hours. If you cannot last at least 4 hours between meals, cut back further on refined carbohydrates and increase fat.
2. Drink pure water between meals:
This helps hydrate your body so that cells and metabolism can work better. It also helps flush out toxins that can slow down your metabolism. Use a good water filter at home. If you dislike the taste of plain water, you can squeeze in some organic lime or lemon juice, or add a pinch of sea salt to your water. Limit alcohol and caffiene intake. Avoid homogenized cow's milk, as it promotes hardening of the arteries. Quality raw milk is ok (but avoid all milk if you are at risk for ovarian cancer). Avoid commercial fruit juices, as these have too much sugar in them. Totally avoid soda or commercial soft drinks. Drink your water between meals.
3. Sugar and refined carbohydrates are not your friend:
Straight sugar is a poison. Also limit processed and refined carbohydrates, as they turn into sugar also. Flour products, especially the finer flours, digest too quickly, and rapidly turn into sugar. Sugar will make people fat. Eat only complex carbohydrates: organic whole grains, yams, sweet potatoes, and other unprocessed carbs. Especially limit intake of sweet fruit if you are diabetic. A low-glycemic load diet is essential. Strongly consider going gluten free, or doing a 3 month trial of gluten free and see if you lose weight. Also avoid rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, and corn starch. If you must have bread, and can tolerate gluten, find a whole grain traditionally made sourdough rye.
4. Eat good fats and cholesterol:
Avoid food cooked in soy (57% PUFA), canola (37% PUFA), safflower (75% PUFA), sunflower (65% PUFA), corn (59% PUFA), rice bran oil (36% PUFA), peanut oil (29% PUFA). These oils have a high polyunsaturated fat content, and this makes them unsuitable for cooking with. Canola oil is about 21% linoleic acid, and 10% alpha linolenic acid; these are polyunsaturated fats, and alpha-linolenic acid is an omega-3 PUFA which should NEVER be heated. PUFAs are easily oxidized by heat, and become toxic once heated.
Avoid margarine and any oil that is hydrogenated, and any generic 'vegetable' oil (guaranteed to be low quality). Do not use any oil that smells rancid. Most restaurants use vegetable oil, which is usually soy. Others use canola oil. Taco Bell uses canola oil in their deep fryer. Avoid fried food if possible. Unfortunately, avoiding bad oils will probably mean not eating out except at very select restaurants that use good oils. If you have to eat out, take extra Vit E to help counteract the oxidative stress. (Unique E is the best brand, and the best deal at present is at VitaminShoppe).
Cook with virgin coconut oil (3% PUFA), organic butter, organic ghee, organic grass fed lard, free range goose or duck fat. Drizzle organic virgin olive oil over your food after it is done cooking. Sesame oil (45% PUFA) in small amounts added before serving is fine. Other gourmet oils not mentioned can be used in small amounts drizzled over food, but not for cooking unless low in PUFA. Coconut oil is good for stove-top cooking as well as baking. Almond oil (17% PUFA), macadamia oil (10% PUFA), and olive oil (8% PUFA) can be baked with but not used on the stove-top. Walnut oil (55% PUFA) must NEVER be heated; treat it as delicately as flax oil.
Feel free to eat small to moderate amounts of raw organic nuts: cashews, pecans, filberts, macadamia nuts, almonds, walnuts. Walnuts and pecans especially should be refrigerated and kept airtight. Cashews and almonds can also be cooked with.
Studies have shown that moderate (not high) fat diets can promote weight loss. Coconut oil has the added benefit of being high in medium chain fats that the body preferentially burns for energy instead of storing as fat. One to two teaspoons of good oil with each meal is very reasonable. Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats, which are beneficial in small to moderate amounts. Avoid taking in any extra processed or heat damaged polyunsaturated fat as much as possible.
Eat up to 3 organic eggs daily if you wish, soft boiled or over easy (treat the yolk gently). Eggs by themselves are not bad for your cholesterol. Cholesterol is needed for the production of various hormones and for other cellular functions. However, try to avoid scrambling or over-cooking eggs as exposing the yolk to air and heat will oxidize the cholesterol in the yolk, and oxidized cholesterol is very bad for you. Avoid powdered cheese and powdered milk, as the cholesterol in these products also gets oxidized.
Good fats are very important, as they are required for absorption of fat soluble vitamins. The cells in our body also require good fats and good unoxidised cholesterol in the cell membrane. We cannot live without fat and cholesterol.
5. Eat enough protein:
Plant protein is less acidic than animal protein. Enough protein is essential to keep your muscles strong and keep your energy up. Amino acids such as cysteine, glycine and taurine are important in detox mechanisms. Many women do not eat enough protein. Have some protein with every meal, but preferably make it vegetable protein from beans, legumes, etc. Too much protein leads to big releases in insulin and an acidic state in your body. Make sure beans are soaked or sprouted to decrease phytate content.
Due to increasing toxicity in the oceans, fish are no longer the health food they once were, but wild caught fish is still much less toxic than farmed. Limit seafood intake, and absolutely avoid any farmed seafood. Also avoid the wild caught fish that are high in mercury. Be aware that many inland lakes and rivers in the US are contaminated with mercury and other toxins, and the fish are not fit for eating. For salmon, eat only wild, and Pacific (Chinook, King, etc) is preferred over Atlantic (Sockeye). Farmed salmon is just about the most toxic food you can buy, followed by commercial beef.
Limit soy due to phytoestrogens and phytates. Fermented soy is a better choice than unfermented soy. Beware of GMO soy. People who grew up eating soy can have more than those who did not grow up eating soy.
If eating meat or fowl, make sure it is grass fed or free range. Even so called 'organic' meats may have been fed with 'organic' and possibly GMO corn and soy, and this causes the meat to not have a good fat profile, with too much omega 6 fats.
6. Do light to moderate exercise:
Heavy exercise causes oxidative damage in your muscles, and is not desirable. You only need to exercise to 40-60% of your maximal capacity for benefit. Brisk walking, swimming, and other gentler activities at a comfortable pace will work. A comfortable pace is one which allows you to talk easily while exercising. And if you cannot exercise, just stretch.
7. Get enough good quality sleep:
Sleep is the time that our body repairs and recharges itself. Not getting enough good sleep will tend to disrupt metabolism and other body functions. Most people need 8 hours of sleep. People with methylation (COMT) problems may have trouble sleeping, and for such individuals, we supplement with SAMe, GABA, and whatever else they need. Extended release melatonin at 3 to 6 mg may be helpful.
8. Make sure you have at least one good bowel movement a day:
Good elimination is essential. It is a main detox mechanism, and going a minimum of once a day helps keep toxins from building up. Drink plenty of water and take enough magnesium (supplements are often needed). Eat lots of whole (fresh or frozen, not canned) vegetables. Make your plate a 'rainbow' of vegetables. Supplements such as magnesium, vit C and MSM will promote bowel movements.
9. Do not snack on junk:
If you are hungry between meals, eat real food instead of junk. Raw or cooked vegetables, raw nuts, organic yogurt (dairy free if need be), and small amounts of fruit (fresh or dried) are all acceptable snacks. Frozen organic berries also are great. Avoid extruded grain products (puffed rice, cereal, etc) as the process involves high temperature and pressure that badly denatures the proteins.
However, if you find yourself constantly needing to snack, it is a sign that you need to eat more protein and fat with your meals.
10. Avoid toxins:
We live in a most toxic environment today, and are exposed to heavy metals, pesticides, plastics, hydrocarbons, and myriad other chemicals. Many of these toxins disrupt our endocrine system, causing people to gain weight, while others are stored in our fat. Many people are overweight because they are toxic.
People are developing cancer and degenerative diseases at a younger age today, and our children may not live as long because the world has become an increasingly toxic place.
If you smoke, stop. Consider a chlorine filter for your shower in addition to filtering your drinking water. If your water has fluoride, get a filter rated for fluoride. Brita and other such filters do not filter out fluoride. Avoid toothpaste and mouthwash with fluoride. Fluoride is a metabolic poison, and should never be taken systemically. Also avoid shampoos and other products with SLS.
Hardwood floors are preferable to carpeting, and do not wear your outdoor shoes inside the house. Minimize use of plastics, and especially avoid those with BPA. Foods with fat tend to absorb more of the chemicals in plastic. Keep in mind that many canned goods have a BPA containing lining. Eat organic. Switch to 'green' household and personal care products. Choose scent free if possible. Use lead-free ceramic or stainless steel or glass instead of teflon. Also beware of EMF radiation; consider getting rid of your microwave. Microwave energy changes amino acids into toxic forms, and destroys food on an energetic level.
Avoid all lettuce grown in SW USA (even organic) during fall and winter as lettuce grown then has high levels of perchlorate (used for rocket fuel) due to contaminated water sources.
An adequate intake of calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium and iodine can help decrease certain toxin absorption. And make sure that your copper and iron levels are not low (high levels are not desired either).
Suggested extra reading: "Clean, Green and Lean" by Walther Crinnion, ND
11: Detox Detox Detox:
These days, total avoidance of environmental toxins is impossible. No one can live in a bubble, and just by breathing, eating and drinking we take in toxins. Many of these toxins are metabolic poisons, and they make people overweight. Also, many people have genetic weaknesses that prevent them from getting rid of environmental toxins normally. Such people are the ones who tend to get chronic or degenerative illnesses at an earlier age. About 25% of the population has some degree of a methylation defect. Such weaknesses can be tested for and helped by a good Environmental, Orthomolecular or Integrative physician who can recommend individualized supplements to support specific weaknesses.
Sauna helps get rid of cadmium and other toxins (Near IR penetrates deepest)
Various chelation agents can help clear heavy metals
The amino acids taurine, glycine, glutamine and methionine support detox.
Chlorella, organic rice bran fiber, green tea, rosemary, curcumin etc are natural detox agents
Colonics can help with general detox
Fat-free pringles with Olestra have been used for PCB detox (only eat 7 a day separate from meals), but Lay's Light Original Potato Chips seems to be a better cleaner product.
Be aware that detoxing too quickly can make a person feel ill due to too much stored toxins being released
too quickly, and that one should never detox while undergoing chemo or while pregnant. Always make sure your bowels are moving well before attempting to detox.
Doctor's Data has some decent tests for toxins.
12: Rule out medical causes for weight gain:
Have your doctor do not just a TSH, but also free T3, free T4, and reverse T3. If your free T3 is borderline low, and your reverse T3 borderline high, you may have borderline hypothyroidism, and might benefit from some Armour Thyroid and low dose iodine. Some people may also need thyroid antibodies checked (anti thyroid peroxidase antibody, anti thyroglobulin). Check spot urine iodine levels too.
Consider a 24 hour urine hormone panel (Meridian Valley lab) depending on the situation. Check Hemoglobin A1c as a screening for diabetes or pre-diabetes (should be 5.4 or less, and no, I do not care that many other doctors do not use this test for screening, and yes, the 3 hour glucose tolerance test is supposedly the gold standard, but ONLY if interpreted correctly, which it rarely is).
Wheat can be the reason some people simply fail to lose weight despite their best efforts, and gluten intolerance can cause obesity. To check for gluten intolerance, standard celiac panels may often be normal, so IgG and IgA testing should also be done. Genetic testing for gluten sensitivity as well as celiac can also be done (EnteroLabs). Test for this via Enterolab's gluten genetic cheek swab (About $150, no doctor's order necessary. Just call them yourself 972-686-6869).
Certain medications can cause weight gain, particularly psychiatric meds (which Alpha Lipoic Acid 600 mg twice a day may help with), and corticosteroids... make sure you really need them, or find a good Integrative Medicine doctor who may be able to help you get off them or decrease the dose.
Suggested further reading: Wheat Belly
13: Food proportion recommendations:
whole grains, and whole starches: 5-40%.
vegetables and non-sweet fruit: 50-70%
good fats: 10-30%
quality protein (vegetable source is less acidic): 20-30%
sweet fruit: 0-5%
Small amounts of fruit are fine, but if diabetic choose the low glycemic load ones.
These proportions are very similar to some macrobiotic type diets. Obviously adjustments should be made for individual needs. Some people need some red meat. Others need more or less carbohydrates. Those seeking weight loss are better off on a lower carbohydrate diet.
Sugar, refined flour, processed meats, canned goods and commercial frozen dinners are NOT food.
Suggested reading: "The Cure is in the Kitchen" by Sherry Rogers, MD
14: Putting it all together:
If you cheat or manage to slack off, do not kick yourself. We are human. No one is perfect. Few people manage to follow a plan perfectly. It is how you eat on most days that affects your overall health more than the occasional lapse. It can be difficult while travelling or while on vacation to stick to healthy eating. We do what we can, packing organic apples, raw nuts, dried fruit, boiled organic sweet potatoes, protein powders, etc. But such things can only carry us so far, and sometimes hunger will cause us to buy a burger at an airport. This is ok. When we get home, we go right back to healthy eating as if the burger never happened. Full transitioning from bad eating habits to a healthy lifestyle can take a year or two, and sometimes more.
Note that if you need to avoid certain foods for reasons of sensitivity or allergy, 'cheating' can put you right back at square one, and is not worth it. Once IgG or IgA antibodies are formed, it takes 2 to 3 weeks for their levels to decrease by 50%, and 2 to 3 months for complete disappearance. So just one wrong bite can set you back a couple months.
copyright: Su Fairchild, MD
11/05/2011, revised 9/06/2012
This page may be freely linked to or reproduced only in its entirety with proper acknowledgements.