On a High-Protein Diet? Read This!



The Myth of High-Protein Diets


Dean Ornish is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and the founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute.

CreditKaley McKean 

MANY people have been making the case that Americans have grown fat because they eat too much starch and sugar, and not enough meat, fat and eggs. Recently, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee lifted recommendations that consumption of dietary cholesterol should be restricted, citing research that dietary cholesterol does not have a major effect on blood cholesterol levels. The predictable headlines followed: “Back to Eggs and Bacon?”

But, alas, bacon and egg yolks are not health foods.

Although people have been told for decades to eat less meat and fat, Americans actually consumed 67 percent more added fat, 39 percent more sugar, and 41 percent more meat in 2000 than they had in 1950 and 24.5 percent more calories than they had in 1970, according to the Agriculture Department. Not surprisingly, we are fatter and unhealthier.

The debate is not as simple as low-fat versus low-carb. Research shows that animal protein may significantly increase the risk of premature mortality from all causes, among them cardiovascular diseasecancer and Type 2 diabetes. Heavy consumption of saturated fat and trans fats may double the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

A study published last March found a 75 percent increase in premature deaths from all causes, and a 400 percent increase in deaths from cancer and Type 2 diabetes, among heavy consumers of animal protein under the age of 65 — those who got 20 percent or more of their calories from animal protein.

Low-carb, high-animal-protein diets promote heart disease via mechanisms other than just their effects on cholesterol levels. Arterial blockages may be caused by animal-protein-induced elevations in free fatty acids and insulin levels and decreased production of endothelial progenitor cells (which help keep arteries clean). Egg yolks and red meat appear to significantly increase the risk of coronary heart disease and cancer due to increased production of trimethylamine N-oxide, or TMAO, a metabolite of meat and egg yolks linked to the clogging of arteries. (Egg whites have neither cholesterol nor TMAO.)

Animal protein increases IGF-1, an insulin-like growth hormone, and chronic inflammation, an underlying factor in many chronic diseases. Also, red meat is high in Neu5Gc, a tumor-forming sugar that is linked to chronic inflammation and an increased risk of cancer. A plant-based diet may prolong life by blocking the mTOR protein, which is linked to aging. When fat calories were carefully controlled, patients lost 67 percent more body fat than when carbohydrates were controlled. An optimal diet for preventing disease is a whole-foods, plant-based diet that is naturally low in animal protein, harmful fats and refined carbohydrates. What that means in practice is little or no red meat; mostly vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and soy products in their natural forms; very few simple and refined carbohydrates such as sugar and white flour; and sufficient “good fats” such as fish oil or flax oil, seeds and nuts. A healthful diet should be low in “bad fats,” meaning trans fats, saturated fats and hydrogenated fats. Finally, we need more quality and less quantity.

My colleagues and I at the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute and the University of California, San Francisco, have conducted clinical research proving the many benefits of a whole-foods, plant-based diet on reversing chronic diseases, not just on reducing risk factors such as cholesterol. Our interventions also included stress managementtechniques, moderate exercise like walking and social support.

We showed in randomized, controlled trials that these diet and lifestyle changes can reverse the progression of even severe coronary heart disease. Episodes of chest pain decreased by 91 percent after only a few weeks. After five years there were 2.5 times fewer cardiac events. Blood flow to the heart improved by over 300 percent.

Other physicians, including Dr. Kim A. Williams, the president of the American College of Cardiology, are also finding that these diet and lifestyle changes can reduce the need for a lifetime of medications and transform people’s lives. These changes may also slow, stop or even reverse the progression of early-stage prostate cancer, judging from results in a randomized controlled trial.

These changes may also alter your genes, turning on genes that keep you healthy, and turning off genes that promote disease. They may even lengthen telomeres, the ends of our chromosomes that control aging.

The more people adhered to these recommendations (including reducing the amount of fat and cholesterol they consumed), the more improvement we measured — at any age. But for reversing disease, a whole-foods, plant-based diet seems to be necessary.

In addition, what’s good for you is good for our planet. Livestock production causes more disruption of the climate than all forms of transportation combined. And because it takes as much as 10 times more grain to produce the same amount of calories through livestock as through direct grain consumption, eating a plant-based diet could free up resources for the hungry.

What you gain is so much more than what you give up.

Dean Ornish is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and the founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute.

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Eat More to Lose Weight!

Check out this new article featured by Time!  As a plant-powered advocate, all I can say is this strategy works!  And not just for your waistline, but your skin will look better and you will have more energy too!  I literally eat all day long and never starve or diet to maintain a healthy weight.  However, I fill up on lots and lots of healthy foods like fresh fruits and veggies and include them in every meal.



4 Ways to Eat More and Still Lose Weight

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No need to go hungry even if you’re on a diet

I love to eat. And I’m lucky: As a food editor, it’s my job. So I always wonder about weight-loss advice that says to eat less and move more.

Be more active: Sure, that’s always good. But eat less? Hmm. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea. Consider the times you’ve gone on a “diet” or resolved to cut out a certain food. When I’ve done that, the only thing I could think about was food, particularly the stuff I decided I couldn’t have.

These days, I’m all about abundance—as in, I load up my plate with healthy food so I have barely any room for less healthy fare. This strategy is called crowding out, and nutritionists, health coaches, and athletes are using it as an alternative to traditional diets.

The rules of crowding out

Ease into it: For this tactic to work, you have to genuinely like healthier foods. It can be an adjustment, especially if your diet includes processed foods. Thing is, “when you eat more simply, your cravings change,” says Brendan Brazier, author of the Thrive book series and a former pro Ironman triathlete. “Stuff you used to go for, like potato chips and packaged cookies, begin to seem overflavored, and you want them less.” One European study found it can take as few as 18 days to form a new eating habit, though it varies by person. Start small: Have avocado instead of dressing on a salad, and sauté vegetables with olive oil, garlic and a bit of salt and pepper instead of a rich sauce.

Read more: 13 Veggies You Only Think You Don’t Like

Vegetables, vegetables, vegetables: You can eat nonstarchy ones with abandon, just as long as they’re not deep-fried. Begin with breakfast: Scramble an egg or two with a cup of chopped onions, peppers, mushrooms, and/or spinach. (The scramble will look like a lot of vegetables with a little bit of egg holding it all together—that’s what you want.) At lunchtime, take half your regular amount of sandwich fillings and place them on a big bowl of mixed greens instead of bread. Or make substitutions in foods you already love: Replace some of the beef in Mom’s stew recipe with extra chunks of parsnip, carrots or mushrooms.

Crowd out, don’t pile on: “What you want to avoid is just adding healthy items to your usual intake, which could result in overeating,” notes Brittany Kohn, a registered dietitian in New York City. She suggests having, for example, a baked sweet potato to crowd out a side of French fries, rather than eating both.

Grab something sweet: “Add a sweet-tasting item to your main course to fight urges for sugary desserts,” advises health coach Katrine van Wyk, author of Best Green Eats Ever ($15; amazon.com). “I love a salad with apple or pear. It’s a simple tweak that makes my clients feel more satisfied with fewer cravings.”

I say it all the time: Eating is one of life’s great pleasures. Food is fuel, nourishment, sharing, joy, celebration. Battling your hunger just leads to frustration. Instead, I’ve learned to love—and be creative with—all the amazing whole, largely plant-based foods I can down with gusto. Go ahead: Embrace eating!

This article originally appeared on Health.com.


Should I Limit Sugars From Fruit Too?


Question: How much sugar in my diet is too much? Should I limit sugars from fruit too?

Answer: Added sugars contribute to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, impaired cognitive function, and cancers. Added sugars may be listed on ingredient labels as sugar, honey, evaporated cane juice, brown sugar, fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, molasses, maple syrup, agave syrup, coconut sugar or fruit juice concentrates. Regardless of the name, these nutrient-deficient substances are absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream, raising blood sugar and insulin to dangerous levels; or in the case of the higher fructose sweeteners, increasing cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The average American gets about 15 percent of calories from added sugars, and getting 10 percent of calories from added sugars is associated with an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease compared to lower sugar intake.1

It is likely that any amount of added sugar is too much. Eating foods with added sugars habituates us to their excessively sweet tastes, driving cravings and overeating. As humans we naturally gravitate toward sweet flavors, and we should allow this natural inclination to guide us toward fresh fruits. Fresh fruits provide pleasantly sweet flavors packaged with fiber, essential nutrients, antioxidants and other phytochemicals that protect us against the same diseases that added sugars promote. Unlike processed foods with added sugars, nutrient-rich fresh fruits do not perpetuate sweet cravings and overeating.

For optimal health, I recommend that you strengthen your taste buds to prefer the more subtle sweetness of fruit. Try some of the recipes in the Member Center Recipe Guide or in my books for sorbets and fruit-based desserts. If you are eating according to true hunger and are not diabetic, limiting fruit intake is most likely not necessary; however it is possible to overeat, especially on dried fruit or dates. Three to five servings of fruit per day (depending on your calorie needs), with a focus on berries and pomegranate, is a reasonable guideline.

1. Yang Q, Zhang Z, Gregg EW, et al. Added Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Diseases Mortality Among US Adults. JAMA Intern Med 2014.

This question and answer is a sample of what you will find in Dr. Fuhrman’s Member Center Ask the Doctor Forum. Access to this forum requires membership. All Members can search the entire archive of questions and answers. In addition, Platinum and higher members have access to ask Dr. Fuhrman and his Medical Associates their own questions.

Join the Member Center today to have access to the entire archive of Ask the Doctor questions and to ask your own!

Amazing Results!

Why NOT try a plant-based diet?!? Especially with results like these!
“I stopped one of my diabetes medications; I stopped my cholesterol medication; I lost a lot of weight. Just in the month, I lost nine pounds,” said Lisa.

Click here to read the full story and watch the video:  http://fox8.com/2015/02/16/weight-loss-wonder-plant-based-diet-shows-impressive-results-for-local-family/

CLEVELAND, OH – Lisa Page makes breakfast with her husband Dave. On the menu: oatmeal and berries.

It’s one of many meals they learned about while on a plant-based diet.

“It’s fruits, vegetables and whole grains. On some diets you can’t have carbs and stuff, but they encourage carbs, but just whole-grain carbs,” said Lisa.

She originally started the diet with their 15-year-old daughter, Katie.

They were asked to try it as part of a study with the Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Macknin helped put it together. He said they wanted to see how kids would react versus their parents.

“It was a four-week long study and the patients all got two hours each week of education about the diet,” he said.

While the Pages were doing the plant-based diet, other families experimented with the American Heart Association diet.

He said it’s a little different.

“It, on the other hand, does allow some added oils, some healthy oils, low fat meats, and it also permits you to have some fish too,” he explained.

Both groups ended up losing a significant amount of weight, and also improved their blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

“I stopped one of my diabetes medications; I stopped my cholesterol medication; I lost a lot of weight. Just in the month, I lost nine pounds,” said Lisa.

Katie lost about eight pounds. She admits she wasn’t disciplined at times.

“I don’t do the diet today, but there are things that I use pretty much every meal,” she said.

Dave said he just felt better and his runs became a lot easier. He said he got one of his best marathon times with this diet.

“The biggest thing that I noticed when I started this diet is all my joint pain; it almost all went away,” he said.

This research is just the beginning.

Dr. Macknin said they’re not looking into the effects of long-term dieting.

He said with so many positive results, he thinks this diet could become mainstream one day.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we are forwarding you an amazing recipe courtesy of the Forks Over Knives site!  If you haven’t checked them out yet, they offer great tips on weight loss, living a healthy lifestyle, cholesterol reduction, recipes, etc.  You can find them at www.forksoverknives.com and DEF watch the documentary!  It is LIFE-CHANGING!


    • Makes 12 Cupcakes
    • Ready In: 75 minutes


  • ½ cup almond flour (from blanched almonds)
  • ½ pound strawberries (about 1 cup) (see note)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of sea salt


  • ½ pound strawberries (about 1 cup)
  • ¾ cup unsweetened, unflavored plant milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup almond butter


  • 1¼ cups oat flour
  • ¾ cup sorghum flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 pinches of sea salt 
  • 6 strawberries for decoration

Strawberry Cupcakes for Valentine’s Day


Strawberry cupcakes taste good any time of year. But the colors and flavors are just perfect for Valentine’s Day or anytime you’re in the mood for a treat … and you can have a lot of fun decorating them!


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tray with paper liners.

2. Purée the strawberries for both the wet mix and the frosting in a blender. Use a strainer to remove the seeds.

3. To make the frosting, place the 1 cup of the strawberry purée, the maple syrup, lemon juice, and salt in a saucepan and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes on low heat, until the sauce has reduced by third.

4. Transfer the sauce to a bowl to cool. Mix in the almond flour and let stand for about 30 minutes. Transfer back to the blender and blend into a creamy frosting. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

5. To make the wet mix, place the plant milk, vanilla extract, flaxseeds, and vinegar in a mixing bowl. Mix well and let stand for 10 minutes.

6. To make the dry mix, place the oat flour, sorghum flour, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in another bowl. If needed, sift through a sieve to ensure a thorough mixture.

7. Add the almond butter, maple syrup, and the remaining 1 cup of the strawberry purée to the bowl with the wet mix. Stir well, and pour into the bowl with the dry mix. Stir well but gently.

8. Spoon the batter evenly into the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

9. Remove the tray from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Place the cupcakes on a wire rack to cool completely.

10. Frost each cupcake using a spatula, or decorate using a pastry bag and tip. Top each with a half strawberry. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.


You can use frozen strawberries if fresh ones are not available, but the fresh berries will give the cupcakes and the frosting a better taste and texture.

Photo by Keepin’ it Kind 

Find this recipe and more in the Forks Over Knives Recipe App.