Frequent Hunger and Sweet Cravings? You May Be Making This
by Joseph Mercola: WORSE
Than a Diabetes Diagnosis...
president of Weight Watchers, the world's largest diet company,
recently said on their website: "Calorie counting has become unhelpful.
When we have
a 100-calorie apple in one hand and a 100-calorie pack of cookies
in the other, and we view them as being 'the same' because the calories
are the same, it says everything that needs to be said about the
limitations of just using calories in guiding food choices."
Weight Watchers have eliminated the company's popular "Points" system,
which encouraged dieters to lose weight by eating any foods as long
as they kept the portions small. The new system tries to encourage
dieters to consume more natural, less processed food.
overhaul, which is the first major alteration to the Points program,
comes at a time when Weight Watchers is trying to revive its recession-battered
Magazine February 19, 2011
This is pretty
remarkable news. Weight Watchers has been the front-runner of calorie
counting for weight loss for over a decade, so admitting that counting
calories is "unhelpful" is a radical move.
will help or hurt their business remains to be seen, but overall
most of the program changes appear to be for the better. I say "most,"
because there's one rule in particular that could lead some people
astray under this new program, and I'll review that in a moment.
Weight Loss Empire Ditch their World Famous System?
In order to
be unaware of Weight Watchers, you'd have to have spent the last
decade beneath a rock somewhere. Their business has ballooned into
a $2.7 billion weight loss empire since the introduction of their
popular Points system in 1997.
system allowed dieters to eat whatever they wanted, but each food
was assigned a certain number of points, which simplified the calorie
counting process and many millions of people used this system.
The best part
about their revised program is the fact that they're now committed
to more natural, unprocessed foods, and "punishes" dieters for indulging
in foods rich in empty calories, i.e. foods with poor nutritional
Kirchhoff, President and CEO of Weight Watchers International, explains
their decision to change their hallmark system:
a program that recognized that calories are most definitely not
that counting, budgeting and planning still made fundamental sense,
but we wanted a better and more accurate currency. We wanted a POINTS
formula that was much more "opinionated" about food choices beyond
than never, if you ask me. I've long advocated against counting
calories for that very reason. You're not going to get healthier,
even if you manage to shed pounds, by eating fewer cookies
than you did before. If you really want to lose weight and improve
your health, then you must replace empty calories and denatured
foods with nutrients!
So on this
point I applaud Weight Watchers for finally seeing the light. A
return to natural, whole (preferably locally grown organic), unprocessed
foods is the right way to improve health.
to Natural, Unprocessed Foods is Key for Weight Loss and Health
explains the primary changes to the Points program:
old program, the new one assigns a point value to pretty much every
food item under the sun and calculates a daily ration of points
based on a member's height, weight and age. But most of the point
values have changed.
now favors foods that are high in protein or fiber, which make the
body work harder to convert them into energy and also leave the
belly feeling fuller longer. Meanwhile, point values went up for
foods loaded with carbohydrates, which are more easily absorbed
by the body and turned into fat."
So far so good.
Protein is the most satiating food type, beating out carbohydrates
and even fat. Simply speaking, eating protein helps keep you feeling
focusing on consuming more protein in general will likely benefit
most people, it's also important to understand that the amount
and type of protein you need varies dramatically according
to your gender, height, weight, exercise levels, and, most importantly,
You can decipher
your individual requirements when you determine whether you're a
protein, carb, or mixed nutritional type.
as the name implies, do better on low-carbohydrate, high-protein
and high-fat diets. A typical ratio might be 40 percent protein
and 30 percent each of fats and carbohydrates, but the amounts could
easily shift to 50 percent fats and as little as 10 percent carbohydrates
depending on individual genetic requirements.
meanwhile, normally feel best when the majority of their food is
vegetable carbohydrate. But they too need some protein and fat in
their diets. (Mixed types fall somewhere in between.)
to determining your ideal amount or ratio of protein, you also want
to pay attention to the type of protein you eat, because
this also varies depending on your nutritional type. Protein types,
for instance, thrive on high-purine meats like dark-meat chicken,
or high-quality steak, while carb types prefer light meats or even
beans as their source of protein.
according to my experience, most people don't eat enough protein
so shifting attention to protein over carbs will likely bring most
people in the right direction.
good sources of protein (though you need to find out your nutritional
type to really tailor your foods for optimal health) include:
- Eggs (ideally,
raw organic and pasture raised)
beef and bison
raised, organic chicken and ostrich
- Raw grass-fed
dairy products (raw milk, raw-milk cheese, and so on.)
mercury-free fish (only eat this if you can confirm via lab-testing
that it's not polluted)
protein sources, it's extremely important to find high-quality varieties.
be grass-fed (not grain-fed) organic meats, raw (not pasteurized)
dairy products, and wild-caught (not
farm-raised) fish you know is not contaminated with mercury
and other pollutants.
protein is very healthy, you will not be doing yourself any favors
by eating grain-fed
beef (which is the most widely available in supermarkets), pesticide-laced
chicken, or mercury-rich fish, so please pay careful attention
to the sources of your protein, and how
There are a
number of protein powders on the market, typically used by bodybuilders
and the like, but they're also used by many dieters.
I'm not a fan
of most protein powders on the market, simply because many contain
inferior sources of protein along with artificial sweeteners and
flavors. Whey isolate is one such inferior product, because when
you remove the fat from the whey, you actually remove important
components of its immunological properties, such as phospholipids,
All of these
factors render them completely useless from a health perspective.
I do however
recommend high quality whey protein made from the raw milk of grass-fed
organically-raised cows. Other factors to look for in a high quality
whey product include:
- Cold processed,
since heat destroys whey's fragile molecular structure
- Rich, creamy,
- Water soluble
naturally, not artificially
- Highly digestible
look for medium chain fatty acids (MCTs), not long chain
This type of
protein tends to benefit all nutritional types, but they're particularly
well-suited for carb and mixed types. Another good option for high
quality protein is raw dairy products like raw milk or raw milk
cheese. To find a source near you, check out www.RealMilk.com.
If you are
seeking to lose weight it might be best to avoid dairy products
with lactose, such as milk, as the lactose, although healthy from
grass fed organic cows, is still a sugar and can impair your ability
to lose body fat. Butter and many cheeses don't have lactose so
they are not problematic. If you aren't seeking to lose body fat
then lactose is not an issue.
Flaw in Weight Watchers' New Program
take a look at the major flaw of the new Weight Watchers' program:
They allow an unlimited amount of fruit. If you've been
reading this newsletter for any amount of time, you will immediately
know why this could spell trouble for a lot of people.
In all fairness,
Kirchhoff does warn his clients about overconsumption, stating:
the fact that fruits have a PointsPlus value of 0, but don't go
percent of Americans eat the recommended amount of fruit, so most
of us are not at risk of eating too much fruit on the new program.
However, if you already eat a lot of fruit each day, doubling or
tripling that will result in slower weight loss.
doubt, use common sense, listen to your body's signals (eat some
fruit because you're truly hungry, not because you can), and avoid
mindless grazing (one of my personal pitfalls)."
Left out of
the equation however, is the fact that fructose including
that from fruit is also very detrimental, health-wise, to
anyone who struggles with insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome,
diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol; all of which
typically go hand in hand with obesity and overweight…
fruits, even though they contain fructose, are not nearly as problematic
as fructose from added sugars. One of the reasons for this is believed
to be because whole fruits contain high amounts of natural antioxidants,
as well as other synergistic compounds that may help counter the
detrimental effects of fructose.
But very large
portions of fruit daily cannot be recommended for most overweight
How Much Fruit
is OK if You Want to Lose Weight and Improve Your Health?
In fact, if
you're in any of the categories just mentioned (insulin resistant,
diabetic, or have high blood pressure or high cholesterol), you
really need to be particularly careful about limiting your fructose
from fruit to 15 grams per day or less.
want to avoid ALL sources of fructose until your insulin stabilizes,
and then proceed with caution.
As you can
see in this table, some fruits are very high in fructose, so munching
indiscriminately could set you back.
(Deglet Noor style)
of med. melon
(3.5" x .75")
pink or red
of med. melon
seedless (green or red)
Calories Doesn't Work
So, to get
down to the basics, it's far more important to look at the source
of the calories than counting them. If it wasn't, you'd be able
to substitute one meal a day for a Twinkie and still shed pounds...
Back in 2004,
a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report
accurately concluded that carbohydrates (read sugars and
grains) are the reason why Americans have been consuming increasing
numbers of calories over the past 30-plus years.
As I've mentioned
before, the number
one source of calories in the American diet is from soda, in
the form of high fructose corn syrup.
obesity rates jumped from 14.5 percent of U.S. adults in 1971, to
28 percent in 2010. Previous research linked this increase to
a greater intake of salty snacks, pizza and other fast foods
in other words, a greater intake of carbohydrates, mainly in the
form of grains.
At the end
of the day, your consumption of carbohydrates, whether in the form
of grains (including whole grains) and sugars (especially fructose),
will determine whether or not you're able to manage your weight
and maintain optimal health.
or severely limiting grain carbs and sugars can be the U-turn you've
been looking for if you are currently overweight and/or your health
The real remedy
is to return to your kitchen and embrace good old-fashioned home
cooking. You, a family member, or someone you pay, simply has to
time in the kitchen cooking fresh wholesome meals if you want
any hope of staying healthy.
Like many people,
I have very little "free time" in my life, but still I am committed
to preparing over 95 percent of my meals in order to preserve my
health. It is a commitment, a truly important one, and it CAN be
done. A major leap forward would be to strive for a diet of 90 percent
non-processed food and only 10 percent from other sources.
Not only will
you enjoy numerous health benefits, but you will gain the satisfaction
of preparing meals and being able to control the ingredients.
is Your Guide to Your Optimal Fuel
Many do not
realize this, but frequent hunger may be a major clue that
you're not eating correctly. Not only is it an indication that you're
consuming the wrong types of food, but it's also a sign
that you're likely consuming them in lopsided ratios for
your individual biochemistry.
according to your nutritional type is that your food cravings
will dissipate, making reducing the sizes of your portions that
much easier no counting of calories or points required.
You can split
your meals into five or six smaller portions, and still be far less
hungry than you ever were before because your body is finally getting
the fuel it needs to thrive.
finding your optimal diet involves shifting the ratio of
proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, once you have determined what
types of food your body is designed to eat. Optimal health may actually
have less to do with the type of food you are eating, but with the
relative percentage of each food you consume.
If you are
eating right for your nutritional type, your meal should leave you
with increased energy, noticeable improvements in mental capacity
and emotional well-being and should leave you feeling satisfied
for several hours.
you feel worse an hour or so after eating, such as:
- You still
feel hungry even though you are physically full
- You develop
a sweet craving
- Your energy
- You feel
hyper, nervous, angry or irritable
- You feel
... then you
are likely eating the wrong combination of protein, fat and carbohydrates
for your nutritional type. In this case, I strongly suggest that
you read my book Take
Control of Your Health, which discusses these topics in greater
The best case
scenario that can come from Weight Watchers' changing their program
is that it may bring millions of more people back to REAL food,
opposed to processed "diet" foods. (Just keep a close eye on your
fruit consumption.) And that's really where the holy grail of weight
loss and optimal health lies.
2011 Dr. Joseph Mercola
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