Read an Excerpt
IT'S NOT FAT
I have excellent news. It's something you haven't heard before. It's very important.
* You're not nearly as overweight as you may think. Much of your weight isn't even fat. It's false fatthe bloating and swelling caused by allergy-like food reactionsand you can shed it almost immediately.
* This false fat is not your fault. You are not a glutton. You're not lazy. You just have a very common metabolic problem: food reactions.
* You can solve this metabolic problem. The problem is not permanent,
and it's not hard to correct. You can solve it over the next few days.
It need never return.
* When you do solve this problem, you'll regain your power over food. As your false fat fades, so will your food cravings and certain metabolic disorders (such as hormone imbalances). Without these food cravings and metabolic disorders, you'll begin to lose your true fat, steadily and surely. Even if you now lack full control over your eating habits, you can take charge again by correcting your food reactions. You can start taking charge today.
I urge you to carefully consider this great news. It will be your key to having complete power over what you eat, and over the biochemical reactions that foods cause in your body. When you have this power, you will have an entirely new way to solve your weight problem.
You have nothing to gain but knowledge, and nothing to lose but the false fat that's hurting your appearance and the true fat that's hurting your health.
When you conquer your food reactions, your appearance, your health, and your zest for life will improve immeasurably. Things will get better because you will make them get better. You will finally have that power.
It's true: Knowledge is power.
You really must use the power that this knowledge provides. You owe it to yourself. You're worth it.
And here is why you probably will use this power: Using it will be more pleasant than not using it. For the first time in your life, you are going to enjoy being on a diet. In fact, like most of my patients, you will almost forget that you are on a diet, because the False Fat Diet is quite different from every other diet you've ever been on. It is not based on reducing the quantity of your food. It is based on improving the quality of your food.
This diet is not even ultimately intended to make you thinit is intended to make you healthy. As I often tell my patients, "If you strive for thin, you'll never win. Strive for health and thin will follow."
Thus, in the conventional sense of the word, this is not even a diet. It is an eating strategy. It's a scientifically designed method of giving you power over food, so that you can make smart food choices.
No one else can make these choices for you, because each of your food choices must be carefully individualized. Every person reacts differently to different foods. You are a unique being with your own special biochemistry and your own one-of-a-kind environment and activities. There is only one you, doing what you do, eating what you eat, and meeting the demands that you meet.
Nonetheless, every other diet you've ever been on has been designed for
other people by other people. They have been one-size-fits-all diets,
and that approach simply doesn't work. This time, with The False Fat
Diet, you'll help design your own personalized diet, free of your own reactive foods. This diet will be your diet. Yours alone. That's why it
With the help of this book, you'll learn about the qualities and chemistries of various foods. More important, though, you'll learn about your own unique body. You'll learn which foods are good for you and which aren'tand I promise some surprises.
Right now, you may know which foods are healthy for most people. But if you're basing your own food choices on just this knowledge, you may be doing yourself more harm than goodbecause you are not most people.
You're you, and the only diet you'll ever fully succeed on will be your own individualized diet, free of the particular foods that are healthy for most people, but harmful for you.
After years of trying unsuccessfully to lose weight, you may be feeling confused, powerless, frustratedand hungry. Don't despair! Many of my patients felt like that before they tried this approach. But most of them have succeeded beyond their dreams.
Now it's your turn.
It has taken me approximately 20 years to develop and refine the False
Fat Diet. During this time, I have placed hundreds of overweight patients on the diet and have consistently achieved good, and often remarkable, results.
The False Fat Diet is based upon a simple, inarguable medical fact: When people regularly eat foods to which they are reactive, they invariably suffer (1) tissue swelling, (2) abdominal bloating, and (3) metabolic disturbances that cause weight gain.
The tissue swelling and abdominal bloating create a false fat that looks exactly like fat, but is not "true fat," or adipose tissue. This false fat often adds the appearance of an extra 10 to 25 pounds. The food reactions that cause false fat are almost never corrected by conventional weight loss diets.
In addition, metabolic disturbances caused by food reactions create not just false fat, but also true fat. They create excess adipose tissue by disrupting the metabolism, by disturbing hormonal balance, and by creating intense food cravings. Millions of people have become obese because of these factors.
When my patients go on the False Fat Diet, most of them lose the false fat of bloating and swelling very quickly and then lose their extra adipose tissue gradually and steadily.
Over the years, I have seen patients try to lose weight with a number of other approaches, but no other weight control diet has been nearly as effective as my False Fat Diet. Other diets fail to keep weight off permanently because they ignore the terrible burden that food reactions place upon the body. When this burden is removed, most patients respond wonderfully well.
Clinical, controlled studies support my belief in the power of this diet. One important study is detailed on page 15. They irrefutably demonstrate that many people who have failed on other diets succeed with this approach.
Food reactions are not the only reason people gain weight. However, they are an extremely important reasonone that has gone largely unreported,
except in the medical literature. In actuality, an estimated 80% to 90%
of all significantly overweight people suffer from these reactions and can lose weight if the condition is corrected.
Food reactions consist of food allergies and food sensitivities, which are similar to allergies. Some doctors refer to all food reactions as allergies, but most physicians feel that the term reactions is more accurate, because it's more inclusive. Strictly speaking, classic food allergies are relatively rare. Food sensitivities, however, are extremely common.
The incidence of food allergies and sensitivities has recently begun to increase dramatically for several reasons. The primary reason is that we eat too many staples, such as wheat, eggs, and milk, which exhaust our bodies' abilities to digest them. Also, we eat too many packaged,
processed foods, which are loaded with reactive fillers and chemicals,
such as corn syrup, wheat gluten, and MSG. Obesity and digestive problems, both very common health problems nowadays, also contribute to food reactions.
The increasing incidence of food reactions is mirrored by a recent sharp increase in obesity, which rose from 25% of the population in 1985 to
33% today. If this rate continues, by the year 2030 most people in
America will be obese. Childhood obesity has doubled since 1980. Even now, 60% of the population, while not obese, is overweight. Currently,
obesity kills 300,000 Americans each yearmore people than any other factor except smoking. Overconsumption also stresses digestive functions and leads to inefficient breakdown of foods and malabsorption of large molecules of food, which sets up food reactions.
Therefore, I believe that the important effect that food reactions have upon weight control and digestive health must be brought to the attention of the American public and the world. At this point in the history of public health, few things are more vital.
Why This Diet Has Been Successful
The False Fat Diet has been successful because it corrects a serious biological flaw that has been proven to trigger weight gain.
Throughout the history of medical weight control, the most successful diets have been those that did not radically restrict calories, but instead corrected the metabolic problems that most often cause weight gain. For example, the Sugar Busters diet helped people by showing them how to correct the biological flaw of insulin instability. Other successful approaches have included boosting the body's fat-burning thermogenesis and correcting deficiencies in the brain chemicals that make people feel satisfied after eating. Correcting biological flaws is a medically sound approach, because old-fashioned, caloric-restriction diets have been proven ineffective. They trigger the starvation response, which slows the metabolism and makes the body hoard its fat.
However, even the most successful prior diets have overlooked a critically important factor: Most overweight people have individualized food allergies and sensitivities that subvert the one-size-fits-all diets, in which all dieters eat the same foods. Therefore, some of the most popular diets have had high failure rates.
By correcting the common biological flaw of food reactions, though, the
False Fat Diet achieves unprecedented rates of adherence and success.
How It Works: A Quick Overview
The False Fat Diet begins when you determine your own reactive foods,
using either a blood test or an elimination diet, in which you eliminate foods, then reintroduce them gradually, to see which ones cause problems. I'll soon tell you about each method.
After you determine your reactive foods, you begin to avoid them during the first phase of the diet, the Cleansing Phase, which lasts about a week. During this initial phase, you may even experience withdrawal symptoms, such as food cravings, irritability, or headaches, as your body is cleansed of chemicals from reactive foods and as your metabolism begins to normalize. These temporary symptoms are a sure sign that the diet is working.
Then you quickly shift into the second phase of the diet, which is False
Fat Week. During this 7- to 10-day period, you will lose your bloating and swelling and look 10 to 25 pounds thinner. Your energy, motivation,
and well-being will begin to soar.
Then you progress to the third phase of the diet, the Balance Program,
which lasts as long as you want. In the Balance Program, you can eat a varied, balanced assortment of nonreactive foods. During this phase, you will probably lose significant amounts of adipose tissue as your metabolic function improves and your food cravings vanish.
On the Balance Program, you begin to rebuild your metabolic health, and overcome your food reactions. After 2 to 3 months, you can sometimes begin to eat even your most reactive foods, without incident. Therefore,
the Balance Program becomes easier as time passes.
During the Balance Program phase, you'll also learn to balance your lifestyle, as well as your diet, by exercising and reducing stress.
You'll discover that when you proactively follow a healthy, balanced lifestyle, your weight will naturally diminish and you'll begin to feel abundantly healthy.
Because the long-term Balance Program is relatively easy and pleasant,
adherence to the diet tends to be excellent. Another major reason dieters stick to the diet is because it often stops other common problems caused by food reactions, such as migraines, heartburn,
insomnia, skin rashes, irritable bowel syndrome, nasal congestion,
sinusitis, and recurrent infections. Becoming free from these common problems is extremely motivating.
During the Balance Program, the maintenance phase, you are free to make your own food choices from a broad variety of nonreactive foods. In my medical practice and in this book, I provide several sample menu plans,
with recipes, that serve as guidelines for dieters. The sample menu plans consist primarily of fresh, whole, unprocessed foods, such as vegetables, fruits, grains, fish, fowl, and legumes. The diet does not focus on caloric restriction, although most healthy, nonreactive foods do tend to be naturally low in calories. As a rule, it's much easier for dieters to stick to healthy foods on this diet than it is on other diets, because they are no longer driven by reactive food cravings.
The principle behind this diet is simple: When people stop eating their own particular reactive foods, their health almost always improves and their weight normalizes. This uncomplicated principle is powerfuland proven.
Because this diet is a new, unique approach, it adds five important innovations to the battle against obesity. They are:
1. This diet permanently rids the body of false fat.
2. This diet creates permanent loss of adipose tissue through avoidance of reactive foods.
3. This diet actually feels good.
4. This diet is notably proactive.
5. This diet is individualized.
Now I'll explain these innovations in a little more detail.
Innovation 1. This diet permanently rids the body of false fat.
False fat is the unattractive bloating and swelling that makes people look and feel far more fat than they really are.
No other diet ends the food allergies and sensitivities that cause false fat. Often, people on other diets look overweight even after their body-fat ratio has significantly improved because their bodies still bulge with reactive bloating and swelling.
The human body is composed of approximately 60% to 70% water by weight,
and the vast majority of overweight people carry at least 5 to 10 extra pounds of water weight at all times. This added poundage is almost always the result of chronic swelling, or edema, in the tissues, caused by food reactions.
Unlike the temporary loss of water weight that occurs on some conventional caloric restriction diets, the loss of water weight on the
False Fat Diet does not occur because of the short-lived effect of ketosis, the urinary flushing of the fat by-products called ketones.
Instead, it occurs because of ongoing avoidance of the reactive foods that directly cause systemic edema. A loss of at least 5 to 10 pounds happens almost immediately and can endure forever. If the person is notably obese, the water weight loss is even greater. I have observed permanent decreases in tissue swelling in almost all of my weight-loss patients, with an accompanying loss of weight.
Although the false fat of edema is not adipose tissue, it is notably uncomfortable and unattractive, as every woman who gains water weight prior to menstruation already knows. In fact, people with allergic reactive edema frequently look even fatter than people who have more true fat, because edematous puffiness generally collects in the places that are most noticeablein the face, the abdomen, the buttocks, the thighs, and the ankles. In the face, it often creates a plump, puffy appearance and a sagging double chin. In the thighs, it contributes greatly to the dimpling of cellulite; that's why temporary gimmicks,
such as thigh wraps that squeeze water away, improve the appearance of cellulite for a short time.
Food allergies and sensitivities cause edema in much the same way that hay fever allergies cause the nasal tissues and eyes to become swollen and watery. When the digestive system is not able to break down foods,
food molecules enter the system only partly digested. The immune system then targets these molecules as foreign invaders. It surrounds them with water, as part of the inflammatory response, in an attempt to flush them away. As more reactive foods are introduced, cells become congested with water, resulting in tissue swelling. Fortunately, hay fever season ends when pollen production stops. Food allergies and sensitivities, however,
continue indefinitely; their season never endsunless we end it.
The only way to overcome this phenomenon permanently is to avoid ingesting the reactive foods or to overcome your reaction to them. The
False Fat Diet is the only diet that helps patients achieve both of these objectives.
As cellular swelling and tissue swelling subside, generally during the first week of the False Fat Diet, so does abdominal bloating. Abdominal bloating, which can add two to three inches to the waistline, is partly caused by the chronic retention of gas in the GI tract, particularly in the small intestine, where reactive foods "stall." Partially digested dairy products, for example, often ferment in the intestine for more than a day and cause considerable bloating. In addition, gut tissues themselves often swell with fluid and distend the abdomen. This abdominal distension caused by gas and fluid can create a "pregnant" or a "beer belly" look. Because the intestines are more than 20 feet in length, but are compressed into a small area, even moderate increases in gas and fluid retention greatly increase the gut's volume. When people on other diets fail to overcome this bloating, because they are still consuming reactive foods, they typically become discouraged.
On the False Fat Diet, my patients have found that this bloating was mostly resolved within three to five days. Many patients have quickly achieved flat stomachs, often after years of unproductive sit-ups and skipped meals. Bloating never returns, if the patient adheres to the diet and then overcomes his or her food reactions. In almost all cases,
this quick success is very motivating.
As patients swiftly shed the false fat of edema and bloating, they often achieve the permanent appearance of a 15- to 25-pound weight loss. These fast, enduring results propel dieters into the Balance Program, which is the most rewarding phase of all. In this phase, they cast off resistant pounds of true fat.
Innovation 2. This diet creates permanent loss of adipose tissue through avoidance of reactive foods.
As false fat dissolves, so does true fat. The same reactive false fat foods that cause swelling and bloating also trigger biological disasters that usually result in weight gain. The two primary disasters are food cravings and metabolic disorders.
Food reactions are the single most common cause of the cravings that destroy diets. These cravings, which are far harder to resist than mere hunger, are similar to the physical urges experienced by alcoholics or cigarette smokers.
As long as a reactive food is in a person's system, it prevents discomfort, just as drinking alcohol prevents an alcoholic's discomfort.
Food reactions can even cause the release of the body's own opiates,
which is partly why you can become "addicted" to certain foods. As reactive foods begin to leave the system, though, discomfort beginsjust as anxiety and malaise occur when an alcoholic stops drinking. The withdrawal symptoms of food allergies and sensitivities are strongest for about two days, until the reactive foods are cleared from the body.
Conventional diets, unfortunately, usually allow people to eat reactive foods almost every day, and this perpetuates the allergic addiction of food reactions, just as ingesting alcohol or drugs every day would whet the self-destructive appetites of substance abusers.
For many years, it was presumed that most overweight people lacked willpower, but recent research on weight control indicates that overweight people have essentially the same level of emotional strength as thin people. A great many overweight people aren't weakthey're just trapped by the overpowering force of allergic addiction.
Many overweight people develop reactive cravings for junk food and sweets, but others crave "healthy" foods. One patient of mine, for example, gradually developed a reactive craving for orange juice and grape juice, and ended up drinking about 1,000 calories' worth of these juices every day. She was convinced that juice was healthy for everyone.
But she had never been informed that the tartaric acid in grapes and the citric acid in oranges can cause reactions in some people.
Food allergies and sensitivities contribute strongly to several catastrophic disorders of metabolism:
* They interfere with the hormonal balance of the endocrine system,
including the thyroid and adrenal glands. This makes it harder for the body to burn stored fat.
* They disturb insulin levels, even in people who are able to maintain normal function of the thyroid and adrenals. This signals the body to convert food energy into fat, and also contributes to hypoglycemia.
* They cause mood chemistry disruptions. Food reactions cause levels of the calming neurotransmitter serotonin to plummet, leading to depression, anxiety, and compulsive urges, all of which commonly trigger overeating. Serotonin instability also exacerbates many physical disorders, including migraines, premenstrual syndrome, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome. These troublesome conditions often disrupt healthy eating patterns.
* They cause energy and immune dysfunction. Food allergies and sensitivities markedly decrease energy, contribute to
insomnia, and dysregulate immunity (because food reactions are usually malfunctions of the immune response). All three of these problems interfere greatly with the ability to exercise. They also contribute markedly to the previously mentioned metabolic disorders.
In addition, food allergies and sensitivities indirectly contribute to the occurrence of candida yeast colonization in mucosal membranes, which causes symptoms similar to those of chronic fatigue syndrome and causes bloating. Unfortunately, yeast colonization then exacerbates food reactions.
The biological disasters that accompany chronic food reactivity occur in a self-perpetuating cycle, as you can see in the diagram on page 14.
Innovation 3. This diet actually feels good.
When I put patients on the False Fat Diet, I am helping cure them of a serious medical disorderthe medical condition of food reactions. Like patients who suffer other medical conditions, these patients, when cured of their allergies and sensitivities, feel better. They have notably more energy. They have better cognitive function. They have fewer aches and pains, in both joints and muscles. Their moods improve appreciably,
and they experience significantly less depression, anxiety, and compulsivity. They experience fewer minor illnesses. They breathe more freely. They have far fewer PMS symptoms. They have much less heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux. They have fewer migraine and tension headaches. They are far less likely to suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, eczema, hives, recurrent urinary tract infections, or recurrent vaginitis. They have less insomnia. And, of course, they have fewer cravings for foods.
I have seen this occur in hundreds of allergy and overweight patients.
The table on page 15 presents the results of a study of improvements in the quality of life of patients on an allergy-free weight-loss diet. All of the patients in this study identified their food reactions by using the ALCAT cell-reaction testing system, which I'll describe later.
No other diet offers these improvements in quality of life.
Of course, many diets justifiably claim that when patients overcome obesity, they become less susceptible to heart disease, diabetes, and some forms of cancer. However, with most other diets, you've got to suffer to get there. With the False Fat Diet, getting there is half the fun.
The False Fat Diet feels good simply because people who engage in it are generally cured of a medical disorder and become healthier. With the
False Fat Diet, patients don't become healthy by becoming thin, they become thin by becoming healthy.
Obviously, these quality-of-life side benefits are a tremendous motivating factor for patients. By far the biggest reason that people fail to achieve long-term success on most diets is because the diets are unpleasant. My patients, though, tend to have superior long-term adherence rates because they feel good on this diet.
Furthermore, they don't feel good when they go off the diet and eat their reactive foods, because their uncomfortable symptoms return. This negative reinforcement also makes adherence easier. It's similar to how easy it can be to avoid red wine after you've learned that it gives you migraines. You may miss the wine somewhat, but your main association with it is pain, not pleasure.
Innovation 4. This diet is notably proactive.
On most diets, it's not what you do that counts, it's what you don't do:
You don't eat much. Often, the very best thing the dieter can do is to passively do nothing.
On the False Fat Diet, which focuses more on regaining health, fitness,
and body shape than losing scale weight, patients participate in their own recovery from food reactions and obesity. They actively rebuild their health by following a systematic program of rejuvenation.
The simplistic notion that weight control depends almost solely upon how much you eat and how many calories you burn through exercise is outdated. Even the most deadly diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, are caused by multiple factors and respond best to multidimensional healing approachesand weight control is no different. Weight control is not as simple as "You are what you eat."
Your weight is also influenced by what you breathe, what you do, what you drink, and even what you think. For example, toxins that congest the liver deter the liver from emulsifying fat. Therefore, the toxic additives in a synthetic nonfat food might cause a greater weight gain than ingestion of a similar full-fat, natural food. Toxin-induced weight gain is common because so many artificial flavors are added to foods,
along with preservatives and fillers. (In fact, the average person eats about 5 pounds of these additives each year.)
By the same token, chronic exposure to stress impairs adrenal and thyroid activity, which can result in weight gaineven without overeating.
Therefore, my weight control patients engage in comprehensive,
individualized health-building programs. They practice various detoxification measures, such as short cleansing fasts, intestinal cleansing, saunas, dry skin brushing, and use of detoxifying herbs and nutrients. They take individualized dietary supplements to nurture their organs and glands of digestion and immunity, to increase energy, and to stimulate and support metabolism. They do aerobic and weight-training exercise, not just to burn calories, but also to eliminate toxins and improve metabolism. They practice various forms of stress management.
They also work on curing individual metabolic problems, such as candidiasis.
All of these efforts help their bodies overcome allergies and sensitivities and regain health. In addition, these activities help shift people's focus away from scale weight to health and vitality. When my patients embrace the concept of becoming as healthy as possible,
their food reactions invariably diminish, and their weight decreases almost automatically.
Furthermore, when my patients stay busy by proactively participating in a multifaceted program, it often ends their emotional obsession with food. This obsession is relatively common among dieters, especially when they have fought allergic addictions during years of restrictive diets.
Innovation 5. This diet is individualized.
Conventional weight-loss diets recommend the same dietary program for almost every person. Most diets do not even endorse the most rudimentary elements of individualization, such as adjusting portion sizes in relation to a person's weight and level of activity. For example, an obese 250-pound male construction worker would be advised to eat the same menu plan as a 130-pound female office worker.
The only recent diet that attempted to individualize its program was one that based four diets on the four main blood types. My own clinical observation of this diet was that it did work well initially for some dietersmostly those who significantly altered their food choices. In fact, other diets also work well initially, when people radically change the types of foods they eat. I believe that the reason this happens is because engaging in full-scale dietary change generally forces people to abandon the frequently eaten foods to which they've become reactive. If someone has been eating a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet for years,
they may lose weight when they switch to a higher-protein diet, since it will exclude many of their reactive foods. Therefore, rigid, extremist diets often work well in the early stages.
However, in the long term, people tend to develop new reactions to the foods they eat too frequently. This undoubtedly contributes to the eventual failure of many of the rigid diets.
On the False Fat Diet, though, patients comfortably participate for years at a time in the Balance Program, in which they eat their own varied, balanced regimen of wholesome, nonreactive foods. This prevents new food allergies and sensitivities and provides the wide array of nutrients the body needs to heal.
Each patient's program is somewhat different because each patient is different. On this diet you will not only learn your own reactive foods,
but will also determine your own metabolic type. Your metabolic type largely governs the general kind of diet that you will thrive upon. For example, some dieters do best on an essentially vegetarian diet, while others do better on a diet that contains a moderate amount of meat and other animal protein. People with naturally efficient digestive metabolisms tend to do better on slowly oxidized foods, such as meat,
while people with sluggish metabolisms generally fare better on quickly oxidized foods, such as fruits and vegetables. You will determine your own metabolic type by responding to the questionnaire in Chapter 9 on page 244 - 245.
You will probably discover that the False Fat Diet will be a pleasant return to the more balanced eating patterns you enjoyed before you began to engage in extremist, one-size-fits-all diets. Many of my patients have found that they can eat tempting foods that have long been denied to them, as long as they stay away from their reactive foods.
To recognize your reactive foods, however, you need the help of either a consulting physician or this book, because many reactive foods are hidden. For example, if your reactive food is corn, you need to become aware of all the foods in which corn products appear, including corn syrup, which is placed in hundreds of processed foods.
When patients first consult with me, they often presume that they have to give up all their favorite foods and suffer to be thin. But that's just not true. When my patients begin the False Fat Diet and start eating normal portions of a wide variety of foods, including foods that they had denied themselves for years, it can feel like a homecoming.
Then when they quickly lose the swelling and bloating of false fat and begin to drop pound after pound of true fat, they sometimes are incredulous about the long melodrama of yo-yo dieting they had endured.
They sometimes ask themselves, "Is this really all there is to it? Why didn't someone mention this sooner?"
The Development of the Diet:A Short History
The False Fat Diet was painstakingly developed through my large clinical practice over more than two decades. Most of the people who have been on the False Fat Diet have been my own patients or patients of my associates at the Preventive Medical Center of Marin, north of San
Francisco. The first person to go on the diet, however, was not one of these patientsit was me.
In 1975, when I was just beginning my medical practice, I attended a lecture on the potential health benefits of short juice fasts. I decided to go on a lemonade fast myself for a few days, to see if it would produce any discernible improvements. I enjoyed it. It made me feel more energetic and clearheaded. Hoping to prolong my improved sense of vitality, I began to add foods back to my diet gradually, sticking to just healthy, whole foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Then,
during the first ten days of my new diet, a remarkable thing happened. I
lost almost 15 pounds.