Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD Written by

UltraSimple Diet FAQ: Part I

UltraSimple Diet FAQ: Part I

GOT QUESTIONS ABOUT UltraSimple Diet?

Good — because I’ve got answers!

I’m going to address some of your most common concerns about the program.

Q. How do I know this program is different from all the fads out there, like the Zone, South Beach, Atkins, and other diets? Will this one really help me lose weight?

A. This program is based on dramatic new medical information — information that for the first time provides a clear picture of how the body works.

It is called functional medicine and is not a fad. It is based on understanding all the systems of the body and the underlying causes of disease and weight problems.  (Two of the major underlying causes of weight gain are inflammation and toxicity.  You’ll learn about these problems — and how to correct them — when you follow UltraSimple Diet.)

Another thing that makes this different is that I am a practicing physician, and I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years.  I’ve treated thousands of patients.

I’ve taken information from the scientific literature and combined it with my own experience as a practicing physician, as the medical director at Canyon Ranch, where I worked for nearly 10 years, and as the founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center.

I have distilled what I have learned into the first and only comprehensive approach to dealing with the underling causes of obesity and impaired metabolism.

UltraSimple Diet is a quick start into a new way of life.

That way of life is called UltraWellness, and UltraWellness is not a diet.

Pick the foods that work for your body rather than those that make you feel horrible at the end of the day.

It’s a way of understanding how your body works and using that information to create a lifestyle program that is specific to you and works over the long run.

It will help you lose weight quickly — but it’s not about a quick-fix program.

Instead, it’s about understanding the underlying causes of obesity and disease and fixing those problems.

Problems with the wrong information getting to our genes, problems with inflammation, problems with mitochondria, problems with detoxification, problems with hormonal imbalance: These things are all at the root of disease.

Simply put, new revolution in health care is coming around the bend.  I’m trying to help you get access to it now — without waiting another 5 to 20 years for it to show up in your doctor’s office.

Q. How do I incorporate this program into my busy schedule?

A. As someone who is extraordinarily busy myself, I can tell you that there is a way.  Your life depends on it. But it takes planning.  Most of us don’t think about food, but it’s one of those things we really have to think about.

You see, if you don’t think about it, you’ll find yourself in a situation where you’re stuck — in an airport, in a car, in the mall — where you don’t have any healthy food and you are hungry.

So what do you do?

Like most hunters and gatherers, you go hunt for something to eat — and it’s usually going to be something terrible.

Here’s the solution.

I encourage you to plan.  It may mean having an emergency pack in your car or office. For example, I always have whole-food snack bars and a bag of nuts in my drawer at work.  It may mean making time on the weekend to shop for the food you need for the week.  It may mean planning your meals.

I pack my lunch quickly the night before; bring leftovers; or think ahead to where I will be and how I will get good-quality whole food.  It doesn’t take me much time, but it makes a huge difference over the course of my day in balancing my energy and metabolism.  I think all of us need to examine our lives.

What do you want?

Do you want to feel good and have more energy?

Or do you want to deal with chronic symptoms persistently interfering with your quality of life?

Just like you can’t expect to ignore your bank account and have your bankbook be balanced at the end of the month, your body needs attention, care, and strategic investment of time and planning.

Q. How do I stay on the plan when I travel and eat out a lot?

A. I travel a lot, but I’ve found a way to avoid food emergencies by always carrying food with me.

When I travel on a plane, I have a bag of almonds, protein bars, or some fruit with me.  In a restaurant, I can usually find something on the menu, like salad, fish, or chicken, and an extra side of vegetables.

I might even be a bit of a pest and say, “Please, can you grill the fish for me?” or “Give me extra vegetables on the side” or “Don’t bother giving me the French fries” or “I’ll skip the breadbasket at the beginning of the meal.”

These things are fairly simple to do and just take a little extra planning and attentiveness.  Most people can do this.

YOU can do this!

If you put your mind to it, you can find good-quality, whole foods on a restaurant menu.  Pick the foods that work for your body rather than those that make you feel horrible at the end of the day.  Just think about how you want to feel.

Do you want to feel well, or do you want to feel badly?

The choice is yours.

Q. How can I overcome my food cravings, and will they ever go away completely?

A. The answer is ‘yes,’ and it doesn’t take that long.

It may take a couple of days, just as it does when you’re withdrawing from alcohol, nicotine, or caffeine.  We are often addicted to the same foods to which we are allergic.  But if you get the allergenic or trigger foods out of your diet, you will not crave them anymore.

It may take a little detective work — eliminating certain foods, then adding back the potentially allergenic foods — or some testing, but addressing food allergies is a powerful way to stop cravings.

Another major addiction / craving trigger is sugar and refined carbohydrates.  Sugar addiction is a major epidemic.  I’m subject to it like everybody else, and I know when I get out of balance.  When I don’t sleep enough and I’m tired, I’ll go for that sugar to give me a quick boost.  Then I get into a vicious cycle.  But once you stop, you won’t crave it any longer.

You’ll see sugar and think:

“Oh, that’s not going to make me feel good” or “I’m not even attracted to eating it.”

It’s important to understand that sugar and food addiction is not necessarily your fault — there are biological reasons for it.  Cravings and food addiction are often caused by sugar imbalances, stress, and food allergies.

So address these factors systematically and directly by following the steps that I outline in The UltraSimple Diet and UltraMetabolism.

You’ll find that your addiction will go away — often in just days.

Q. How can I keep the weight off without denying myself all the pleasures of eating? Do I have to stop eating the foods that I love, especially sugar, permanently?

A. That’s a very good question.

I believe that you will have more pleasure eating delicious, whole, real food than eating any junk food.  You will not only feel better and enjoy food more, but your metabolism will improve and you’ll have relief from many chronic symptoms. You may also avoid the common diseases of aging.  Your pleasure in food will increase, not decrease.

Here’s an example.

Today for lunch I had some stuffed grape leaves, marinated mushrooms, delicious Greek olives, and sliced duck breast from the local deli.  I wasn’t suffering, and I felt good. I had energy all afternoon.

So it depends on what food you love in life. If you love Coca-Cola, Ring Dings, and deep-fried hamburgers, then yes, you’re probably going to have to give those up.  You can’t continue to put junk in and expect to feel good and have lifelong health.

On the other hand, you can enjoy what I call the 90 / 10 Rule.  (Some people like to call it the 80 / 20 rule!)

If you pay attention to eating high-quality, whole, real foods 90 percent of the time, then you can have that ice-cream cone or dessert or even a Cinnabon the other 10 percent.  But when you make those choices, I encourage you to pay attention to how you feel afterward — because you may not want to do it again.

So recognize that it’s not lifelong deprivation, but a matter of moderation, balance, understanding how your body works, and learning how to work with it.  If you do that, you won’t have a problem.

It is important to be careful at the beginning of the program. The biggest hurdle is the initial 2 to 3 days of detoxification and changing your metabolism.  After that, your body will seek its natural balance and rhythm.

Q. Does this program work for people who are over 50, 60, or 70? Are there special considerations that need to be made for people over this age?

A. Well, absolutely! This program works for everybody, whether you’re 7 or 70.  The key is that it works with the basic rules of biology.  It works with the underlying causes of disease and obesity, so it is absolutely for everybody.

The real question is:  Are there any special considerations that need to be made? This is really connected to the next question and answer.

Q. Is it true that metabolism normally slows down after about the age of 50? Do you have any recommendations for people over 50 who are trying to lose weight?”

A. As you get older, certain changes happen in your body.  For example, you do lose muscle more easily.  If you’re 25 and you don’t exercise for a month and want to run 5 miles, you can do it. But if you’re 55 and you don’t exercise for a month and try to run 5 miles, you’re going to have a harder time.

There is a natural decline as we age: however, that is almost entirely preventable if we take care of ourselves.  As you age, you need to invest more time and energy in your health because you tend to lose muscle very easily and have more trouble controlling blood sugar and insulin, thyroid hormone, and other hormones.

However, with simple, daily deposits into your health bank account, you can easily prevent the common decline seen with aging.  So, yes you can absolutely do this at any age.  And yes, it is a little harder as you get older.

You may have to do a little more work, build more muscle, eat a bit more carefully, get more rest, and deal with stress more effectively, but those things can sustain you and keep you vigorous and active long into your 80s, 90s, and beyond.

Q. Should I be aware of any adverse interactions between medications I take and the supplements that you recommend?

A. Yes, your supplements may affect your medications. You should review your supplement intake with a nutritionally educated physician or nutritionist.  More concerning to me is how medications can affect your nutritional state.

For example, acid-blocking drugs can interfere with your ability to absorb vitamin B12. And certain drugs may interfere with other nutrients.  Food, nutrients, and herbs can absolutely interact.

But for the most part, taking a multivitamin, fish oil, and calcium-magnesium supplement has no danger to it and causes no adverse interactions.  Beware of interactions, look at your medications, maybe do a little homework, and talk to your physician. But for the most part, the basic nutritional supplementation is extremely safe.

That’s all for today.

Now I’d like to hear from you…

Did this answer your questions about UltraSimple Diet?

What questions do you still have?

How are you doing on the plan?

Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

To your good health,

Mark Hyman, MD

PS – If you’d like to get your own copy of the UltraSimple program, go to our website now or you can pick one up at Amazon or your favorite retailer.

Mark Hyman MD is the Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, the Founder of The UltraWellness Center, and a ten-time #1 New York Times Bestselling author.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.