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From Barnes & NobleKeeping It Off
Robert Haas, the nutritionist who energized Martina Navratilova and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, despises high-protein diets. "Protein pushers claim that eating potatoes, oatmeal, and such fruits as bananas and watermelon will make you hungry, fat, and unhealthy," he scoffs. "This is food faddism at its worst." Haas argues, instead, that health-conscious dieters should make balanced meals of plant foods, which fight disease as they satisfy hunger. In Eat to Win for Permanent Fat Loss, Haas explains why high-protein diets don't work forever and why a more balanced approach can give dieters control over health and body weight.
High-protein diets, according to Haas, don't lead to long-term weight control. Instead, they nutritionally devastate your energy level, mental acuity, and disease resistance. In order to maintain total health over a lifetime, Haas urges, you need to meet all of your body's needs. You need a balanced diet of carbohydrates, protein, and fat, along with nutritional supplements that can perk up listless metabolisms. Haas calls this balanced diet "The Ultimate Ratio": a diet made up of 25 percent protein, 25 percent fat, and 50 percent carbohydrates.
But Haas offers much more than a simple caloric breakdown. His vast experience as a top nutritional consultant allows him to describe the total dietary picture, in which we eat for long-term health instead of weight-loss jags. He shrugs, "A few diet book authors have been able to see an individual tree or two, but none has succeeded in showing readers the entire weight-loss forest. Eat to Win for Permanent Fat Loss aims to do that. It explains for the first time exactly how we lose body fat, why we lose body fat, which foods rev up and shut down the body's fat-burning furnace." By balancing the kinds of calories we consume, he argues, we can give our bodies what they need to be energetic, disease-resistant, and fit.
In order to address overall health as well as weight control, Haas shows dieters how they can get a complete nutrient package within a low-calorie diet. The basic foods are already our favorites: the grains, vegetables, and seafood found in both Mediterranean and Asian diets. He explains, "When I analyzed the everyday beverages of the Mediterranean and Asian diets, I discovered that they are richly endowed with thousands of compounds called phytonutrients [plant nutrients]....Once in the body, they can help prevent and mitigate the degenerative diseases that afflict many people including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis." By focusing on the kinds of vegetable proteins emphasized by Asian and Mediterranean cultures, Haas suggests, a low-calorie diet can still provide us with the nutrition we need to fight diseases and maintain physical well-being.
Haas adds to these traditional meals "functional food" -- vitamin-enriched soy products that can replace fast food with high-powered nutrition. Everyone needs a burger now and then, Haas reasons, so why not have a burger that packs a real nutritional punch? In Eat to Win for Permanent Fat Loss, Haas provides that punch with recipes for shakes, burgers, and even mixed drinks that sneak vitamins into an everyday diet. He also provides product information for the overwhelming array of nutrition boosters on the market, so that when you need to grab something quickly, you'll know immediately what's edible. With helpful suggestions like these, the Ultimate Ratio becomes a truly user-friendly diet that takes into account our urges to sneak chocolate and fries. Haas enables his readers to eat in the real world and still control their weight.
Haas's book, too, is user-friendly. He begins by explaining the basic principles of his diet -- the Ultimate Ratio, "Mediterrasian" meals, and functional foods. Then, he takes us through the finer points of his theory. He illustrates the flaws in high-protein diet plans and then explains how our bodies convert carbohydrates to glycogen, which we then store in our muscles for quick energy. By controlling these glycogen stores, Haas insists, we can effectively control our body's fat levels. He explains, "[When] your fuel mix consists predominantly of sugar...the fat that ordinarily would have been burned for energy remains in your fat cells....Eating high-carbohydrate foods when your glycogen tank is full essentially throws a bucket of ice water on your body's fat-burning furnace." In order to control glycogen storage, we must eat balanced diets that don't leave us hungry for what we can't have.
In Eat to Win for Permanent Fat Loss, Haas offers the information we need to develop balanced diets that work over a lifetime. In his knowledgeable and accessible way, he shows us how to find the foods that are most filling, how to manage exercise in real life, and how to encourage good habits in children. But most usefully, Haas provides explanations of vitamins and their functions. He tells his readers where these nutrients occur naturally but also recommends supplements that boost mental focus, energy, and fat loss. The resulting diet provides a complete nutritional plan, one that can help each reader find the healthiest balance for his or her body. By refocusing the high-protein vs. high-carbohydrate debate on overall physical and mental well-being, Haas provides invaluable information for every dieter looking for real-life health.