New Study Finds Secret to a Faster Metabolism

by

Eating carbohydrates makes you store belly fat.  Eating protein puts on muscle. Most people know that. But a recent study1 in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that when you over eat on a low protein diet, you store bad fat around your organs including the liver, kidneys and pancreas.  But if you eat a high protein diet, you add muscle and increase your resting metabolism and muscle mass.  Since muscle burns seven times as many calories as fat, that’s a good thing.

In the study, researchers admitted 25 brave volunteers to a hospital ward for 12 weeks.  They controlled everything they ate and did.  But they made them all overeat about 1,000 calories a day. The only different was where the calories came from – protein or carbs.

The low protein group (5% protein) lost 1.5 pounds of muscle, and gained 7.5 pounds of fat.  The high protein group (25% protein) gained 6.3 pounds of metabolically active muscle. They also gained fat because they were being force fed. But even though they gained more total weight, they were LESS fat than the low protein group.

This has important implications for our thinking about calories.

Bottom line: Not all calories are the same.  Some calories make you store fat, while others make you store muscle.

In a world where for the first time in history more people are overweight (2.1 billion) than underweight this has important implications.  And the world is getting bigger – over the next 30 years, the prevalence of obesity will double and mostly in countries like China and India (because how do you get twice as many fat people in a country like America where 65% are already fat)!

Here’s the take home.  Quickly absorbed carbohydrates from the bulk of the American and increasingly the world’s diet – from sugar, high fructose corn syrup and white flour, are very efficiently turned into belly fat in the body.2  And that leads to obesity and diabetes, or what I call diabesity.

Another recent study found that the free fructose in high fructose corn syrup (not in fruit), led to dramatic increases in belly fat, inflammation, blood pressure, blood sugar and even pre-diabetes in adolescents.3

Carbohydrates and protein trigger produce very different chemical messages in the body independent of calories.  Carbs lay down the fat, while protein lays down muscle. 4

This study on protein adds to a whole slew of research that proves that higher protein diets (25%) does all sorts of obesity fighting things to your body and your brain.

  1. It makes you feel more full than an equivalent amount of calories from carbs.
  2. It leads to more weight loss in “free-living” humans as compared the ones who were force fed extra calories.
  3. It prevents gaining weight back after you have lost weight.5
  4. It speeds up metabolism and builds muscle so you burn more calories all day long and even while you sleep.

Reducing belly fat and building muscle is quite simple.  And it is not just about the calories you consume. It is about where those calories come from.

Here are a few simple tips to speed up your metabolism and get rid of belly fat.

  1. Skip the sugar  – in all of its forms. Especially liquid calories from any source (soda, juice, alcohol) all of which store belly fat. Be on a mission to get high fructose corn syrup out of your diet, it is especially good at laying down belly fat.
  2. Ditch the flour – wheat flour, especially, is just like sugar. Did you know that 2 slices of whole wheat bread raise your blood sugar more than 2 tablespoons of table sugar?
  3. Start the day with protein not starch or sugar.  Try whole omega-3 eggs, a protein shake, nut butters or even kippers! Skip the bagels, muffins and donuts.
  4. Have protein with every meal – try nuts like almonds, walnuts or pecans, seeds like pumpkin, chia or hemp or have beans, chicken or fish.

Somehow we are still duped by the idea that all calories are the same. They are not. Hopefully soon the practice of nutrition and medicine, and our government nutrition advice will catch up with the science. Then perhaps we can make a dent in the tsunami of obesity, diabetes and chronic disease coming right at us.

My personal hope is that together we can create a national conversation about a real, practical solution for the prevention, treatment, and reversal of our obesity, diabetes and chronic disease epidemic.

To learn more and to get a free sneak preview of The Blood Sugar Solution go to www.drhyman.com.

Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below.

To your good health,

Mark Hyman, MD

1. Bray GA, Smith SR, de Jonge L, Xie H, Rood J, Martin CK, Most M, Brock C, Mancuso S, Redman LM. Effect of dietary protein content on weight gain, energy expenditure, and body composition during overeating: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2012 Jan 4;307(1):47-55.

2. Stanhope KL, Schwarz JM, Keim NL, et al. Consuming fructose-sweetened, not glucose-sweetened, beverages increases visceral adiposity and lipids and decreases insulin sensitivity in overweight/obese humans. J Clin Invest. 2009;119(5):1322–1334.

3. Pollock NK, Bundy V, Kanto W, Davis CL, Bernard PJ, Zhu H, Gutin B, Dong Y. Greater fructose consumption is associated with cardiometabolic risk markers and visceral adiposity in adolescents. J Nutr. 2012 Feb;142(2):251-7.

4. Devkota S, Layman DK. Increased ratio of dietary carbohydrate to protein shifts the focus of metabolic signaling from skeletal muscle to adipose. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2011;8(1):13

5. Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Nieuwenhuizen A, Tomé D, Soenen S, Westerterp KR. Dietary protein, weight loss, and weight maintenance. Annu Rev Nutr. 2009;29:21–41.

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86 Responses to New Study Finds Secret to a Faster Metabolism

  1. Danny February 8, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

    Are breads that are gluten free still bad?

  2. Mikki February 8, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    I’m working with my husband to get rid of the ‘gut’ he carries. Through increasing his fiber intake and getting rid of a lot of sugars, we see some improvement.

    He does eat whole wheat sandwiches every day though. I didn’t realize this was doing him harm. Do you have any other bread suggestions that we could try that would help?

    Thanks so much.

    • Laura October 7, 2012 at 9:30 am #

      Ditch the bread completely, read wheat belly and you will see why, also don’t buy any of those gluten free breads they are just as bad and full of sugar and corn/potato starch. Opt for more veggies at lunch or chose healthy non gluten containing grains in a salad like quinoa or millet.

      • Avatar of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
        Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff October 17, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

        Hi Laura,

        Great! Dr Hyman would also suggest limiting or avoiding millet too while trying to control blood sugars and normalize metabolism as it is higher in GL. Thanks for your input!

    • flo October 7, 2012 at 11:01 am #

      There are several Gluten Free Breads available, Udi’s has a great one, Julians Bakery has Almond flour Bread, Trader Joes and many others have Spelt Bread. I am G-Free and had no idea that I could feel this good or would have done it years ago. I tried em all years ago when I tried getting off junk/processed foods but so far have not used any of them as I am happy eating real whole foods and am not craving a sandwich.

  3. Madhavi February 8, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    My family is vegan and mostly raw. We are all healthy and now, after a great juicing program to ring in the New Year, cleansed and happy. We do eat a lot of nuts and seeds, make our own nutmilks and nutbutters, and doing great.

    I would remind people to read Dr. Mark’s 4 simple tips. No where does he say to bring on the 72 ounce steak! Ugh!

    Thanks again Dr. Mark for your great research and ideas. Looking forward to your new book on diabesity.

  4. Magali February 8, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

    “My personal hope is that together we can create a national conversation about a real, practical solution for the prevention, treatment, and reversal of our obesity, diabetes and chronic disease epidemic.” ahhh music to my ears.

    Dr Hyman, I know and apply most of your dietary common sense. I am lucky, I like all the good stuff! Buuut…I also like good bread… What about sprouted cereal breads? Are they as bad as the bad breads?

  5. Haleta February 8, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

    Loved the article. It is everything I already knew but I needed to be reminded again. One question. How do you feel about steel cut Oats for breakfast?

  6. Nora February 9, 2012 at 12:06 am #

    Hi Dr. Hyman,

    In your opinion, the 25% of protein–would it be more beneficial to get it from animal protein or plant sources–is one preferred over the other? Even organic animal protein has saturated fat in comparison to a bowl of lentils.

    Can you suggest the better choice?

  7. Richard February 9, 2012 at 12:18 am #

    Silmilar question … can you weigh in on best protein sources? beef, chicken, fish, beans, seeds, nuts, etc, and perhaps the most healthy in each class?

  8. Jeanie February 9, 2012 at 12:47 am #

    I recently lost 40 pounds on a low carb plan.

  9. Michelle February 9, 2012 at 12:50 am #

    First let me say, thanks for all you do. Really, your approach to overall health and wellness has been transformative for me to say the least. That being said, the titles or headlines of these blog entries are getting a little more gimmicky than I’d like to see from a professional of your cailber and with your integrity. After all, don’t you and your colleagues warn us of false and/or grandios claims. We are already a captive audience. We’ve drunk the coolaid. We are fans! I want to believe in you yet using words like “secret” is false. It’s not a secret, Dr. Hyman. What next, a “miracle” or “guaranteed cure-all.” You’ve taught us to be critical consumers and I for one am grateful and hopeful. You’ve helped make us too good for celebrity antics and propoganda. Stay true. Please don’t sell out. Best wishes.

  10. omega-3 February 9, 2012 at 1:12 am #

    Just wondering how you reached this conclusion from the JAMA article
    ” we are still duped by the idea that all calories are the same. They are not.”

    When the article concludes “calories alone account for the increase in fat; protein affected energy expenditure and storage of lean body mass, but not body fat storage.”

    In other words, eating too much of anything will lead to fat storage.

    Doesn’t his paper simply supports current guidelines to eat within your energy means, and consume 15-25% of macro nutrients as protein, as currently recommended?

  11. Shelby February 9, 2012 at 1:52 am #

    Dr. Hyman,
    Any good protein shakes that you can recommend?
    Thanks, Shelby

  12. R Stephen Crowley February 9, 2012 at 2:10 am #

    As a chater bus driver, I like to take my lunch with me but often don’t have time to get too elaborate so lunch consists of sandwiches. Is there something to use to make sandwiches that is not terrible for me? I usually use whole wheat bread.

  13. Robert H February 9, 2012 at 2:11 am #

    Thank you for the newsletters, I am learning so much from them

  14. debbie y February 9, 2012 at 2:22 am #

    I would like to stay on a high protein , low carb diet because it really does melt the pounds for me but I find that it also makes me really tired and cranky. What do you recommend?

  15. Bimbam February 9, 2012 at 4:31 am #

    There should be a new term for obesity by refined carbohydrates. It should be called – CARB POISONING.

  16. Donovan Giraud February 9, 2012 at 4:05 am #

    Hi Nora, I’ve been learning from Dr. Hyman and others from some time (do a search for integrativenutrition.com) and I’d say: ‘Both!’ Both animal and vegetable sources of protein are good. *Experiment* and see what works best for YOU. Keep a food journal for a few days: note what you eat and how it make you feel, both right after and 1-2 hours after. Always best to listen to your body – something that takes practice. These days I do oatmeal or a shake with protein powder in it in the am, I like hemp protein myself but there are others. I also eat meat: but only about once per day. More than that seems to be too much for me.

  17. Danger Smith February 9, 2012 at 6:24 am #

    There is a move to make sugar and high fructose corn syrup “TOXIC”. Will it happen. NO!!! One forgets that big business basically controls our lives, what we eat, drink, who we vote for, how our leaders vote on issues. It’s all about money folks. Until we start thinking about our own health and take control of our lives, we are in trouble. Instead we think and act like Lemmings, and our health will continue to nose-dive. If you don’t know what Lemmings are, look them up…. That is our future!

  18. tamarque February 9, 2012 at 7:56 am #

    Is there an age factor in the bodies ability to build muscle and what is it?

  19. Mary Jo Boya February 9, 2012 at 8:00 am #

    What do you make of the acid-alkaline theory of eating? Protein is supposed to acidify your body?

  20. Heather February 9, 2012 at 8:11 am #

    What about women who weight train? I do about 45 mins of weight training about 5 days plus 30 mins of cardio 5x a week and thought i need carbs right after to replenish. And i thought fast acting carbs. I am not a bodybuilder but am just trying to maintain my muscle as i am over 40. Would fruit be enough? Thanks

  21. Jane Prior February 9, 2012 at 8:39 am #

    I too would like to know if age has something to do with the ability to make muscle. I have also always thought that carbohydrates were an addiction for me. If I start eating carbs’ enough is never enough, the craving is intense. When I have got into this state the only way out is to cut out all or as much carbohydrate as i can and overload on animal protein then I am Ok and can reduce to sensible portions of protein and vegetables etc. So long as I don’t have carbs’ I don’t crave them.

    I should appreciate knowing what research there is about weight loss and the elderly.The option of a lot of exercise is not always open for us.

  22. June February 9, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    I am curious as to how the intake of dietary fat is related to fat storage. I am thinking about the vast differences in low carb and higher protein diets, specifically Atkins.

  23. Jacks February 9, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    I’m not sure I’m in agreement with this high protein diet unless you’re referring to plant proteins. A lot of my readings show that too much animal proteins in the diet actually cause the pH balance to change-then the body draws calcium from the bones to bring it back into balance. High animal proteins then have the potential to cause osteoporosis. By looking at our teeth we can see we have more grinding molars than canine -this to me suggests a high fruit and vegetable, whole grains nuts and seeds diet with a small amount of good quality meat would be the proper diet. You’d have to eat a lot of carrots to get fat!! LOL. On another note most people are confused over the term “whole grain”. Breads, pastas and cereals are no longer “whole grain”-they are dead and denatured food products-not actually food the body can use as they contain “no life”-A tomato is a living growing thing-a piece of bread is not.

  24. AK February 9, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    The hard part is getting more calories from protein. On a given day, I may eat eggs for breakfast, a chicken salad for lunch, fish for dinner and snack on some nuts between meals. But even that doesn’t add up to a lot of protein. You also have to factor in that if you exercise regularly, your protein requirements will be even higher. I realize that a lot of people, particularly vegetarians, supplement with protein shakes. I refuse to do that. One, I consider that to be processed food. Just look at the ingredients in protein powder. You can’t pronounce most of it. Two, I want to avoid taking in liquid calories. So how does one go about increasing daily protein intake? Should I be eating more eggs for breakfast, putting more chicken on my salad, and having a bigger portion of salmon got dinner? In terms of portion sizes, I feel like I’m eating just enough to feel satisfied. Adding more chicken to my salad, for example, would make my salad taste more chickeny and leave me feeling like I ate too much. What advice do you have for people who need more protein, but already feel like they’re eating plenty?

  25. Peg February 9, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    This is to AK.
    There are a couple terrific protein shakes out there with no extra ingredients. I have IBS and can’t tolerate lactose, fructose or other “ingredients you can’t pronounce”. I found an all organic protein powder at my local health food store with only a few ingredients. It was very expensive at $50 per small bag but well worth it.

    Being a person with an extreme case of IBS I have tried many diets and different eating plans. If you stick to fruits and veggies, raw almonds and only good portions of meat (we eat only turkey breast and filet mignon) you will not only have enough protein but also feel more energetic and lose weight. Try it for a month, it works!

  26. SR February 9, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    Eating a higher amount of protein seems to contradict Dr. Colin Campbell in “The China Study”. Dr. Campbell indicates that higher levels of protein promote the growth of cancer. Could you comment on this?

  27. McLean, Casey J February 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    what about the simple carbs, like the fructose found in ripe fruit? i’ve been leaning toward a frugivorian diet the last few years, and already avoid the ‘complex’ carbs found in grains (for the most part), but balancing between seeds, nuts, veggies, and the majority of my calories coming from fruit and their sugars – is that bad?

  28. Zaria February 9, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    I agree with Jacks. Protein can be very acidifying in our body, especially animal protein. I also don’t think our bodies are designed to handle that much protein. Especially people that eat high carb diet now may have a hard time digesting all these proteins if they make a switch. I prefer plant sources of proteins like nuts, seeds, avocados and beans, but even that can be hard to digest in large quantities.
    Dr. Hyman doesn’t mention good fats in his blog. I prefer to eat an avocado with a salad and some steamed vegetables for dinner. Sometimes I’ll have some eggs or fish with a salad, but avocado is a staple in my diet.
    I’m also not convinced about eating a heavy breakfast such as eggs. I like to start my day light as I don’t even feel hungry in the morning. For over 20 years now I’ve only eaten fresh fruits for breakfast and add a hand full of raw nuts by late morning. I always feel great and full of energy.
    I also believe that proper food combining is very important for easy and efficient digestion. If you combine too many food groups into one meal, it’s hard for our body to digest and can cause bloating, gas and indigestion. Light, simple meals prepared from whole foods, are easy to digest and don’t make you tired afterwards.

  29. Carma Schultz February 9, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    I am interested in what you think about the blood type diet. I am type A, which is vegetarian without cow dairy. Also certain beans are nix. This leads me to eating whole grains, veggies, eggs and fish. I have also heard animal protein gives cancer a good place to develop in the body, which the Gerson Method adresses. As someone else asked, what kinds of proteins are good on a regular basis, and is the answer to this possibly more customized rather than the same for everyone?

  30. VL T February 9, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    I don’t know why we allow companies to use high fructose corn syrup. It has the effect of crack cocaine. It should be banned. Period. We should ask that it be banned.

  31. Gail February 9, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

    As a a renal cell carcinoma survivor now living with one kidney, I was told to eat low protein so as not to tax the remaining kidney. In addition I am wheat sensitive so I am mostly gluten free now. What should I be doing under theses circumstances. I work out 3 times a week with 20 minutes of cardio followed by weight training for 40 minutes and then stretching. I am having trouble losing the fat around the middle and am post-menopausal. Hard to know what is best for me with all this.

  32. Jane February 9, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    Help! What does a no flour diet look like?

  33. quiltartist February 9, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    Per AK’s posting saying she feels like she’s eating enough protein, for her and wonders how to add more protein:

    I notice Dr. Hyman left red meats out of his suggested proteins. My diet is high in protein and quite low in carbs as I eat no sugar other than the sugars in berries, pears and apples, and haven’t for 25 years. Also eat no gluten grains, only occasional other whole grains. So, protein and veggies, nuts, seeds, some beans, a little fruit, olive oil, sesame oil, grass fed butter. I do eat red meats frequently, including organ meats, grass fed. Eggs, free range. Chicken and fish. I don’t make chicken a centerpiece of my protein intake because it’s so hard to find chicken that isn’t fed a lot of soy and corn, and that imbalances the omega 3 to 6 (and other omega fatty acids), balance in them. I have one local source and take advantage of that whenever I can and eat the best free range chicken I can find at Whole Foods.
    There is so much advice around to avoid red meats, yet my 95 year old mother ate them liberally all her life, and she didn’t have access to grass fed beef, and she has no arthritis, not osteoporosis, no cancer, no heart disease (believe me, she’s tested frequently because the docs can’t believe it), and she ate generous amounts of butter and cream always. What she didn’t eat, since she discovered how to improve her health when she was 50, was processed food, sugar (including alcohol, honey, maple syrup), and gluten grains. The only med she took until she developed post polio pain at age 92, was bioidentical thyroid. Now she takes some pain meds.
    Our heritage is very largely British with some Northern European. I often wonder about the influence of heredity on what (given a whole foods diet), works for different people, since people were adapted in place and different populations had very different diets until very recently in human history.
    I’m 69 and take no meds. My sister eats the same way I do and at 65, also takes no meds. I think maybe the best advice Dr Hyman gives is eat a whole foods diet, low in simple carbohydrates. But when I think of how I need to eat as opposed to, for instance, how the thin, trim, fit Japanese have eaten historically (brown rice as their staple: veggies and small amounts of proteins around that), I have to think we’re different. When I tried Macrobiotics (essentially an Asian diet), I gained weight, lost energy, bloated and felt miserable. I had to go back to my own ancestral diet. AK, maybe you’re eating enough protein…for you.

  34. emi kirschner February 9, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

    An interesting study. I’m thinking along the lines with Jack above and wondering what combination of plant vs animal protein was consumed and what the long term effects would be. I keep reading that consuming too much animal protein increases the risk of cancer.

  35. Michele Scheck, DO February 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    Thank you for spreading the word. I’ve been practicing medicine for over ten years and I am only now learning how to adequately treat my patients. Your books and news letters are enlightening. Keep them coming.

  36. Ken Holland February 9, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    For the most part, the only reason this does not solve our problem IMMEDIATELY is that protein is more expensive than carbohydrates. Perhaps now that our banks are fat, they can bail-out the American people and give out subsidies to lower the cost of all forms of protein! We can only dream…..
    In the meantime, thank you for leading the charge to get everyone off packaged foods and high fructose corn syrup – that alone is a saving grace.

  37. Jacquelyn February 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    Dr. Hyman,
    Thank you for all of the great info. Do you have a recipe for a high protein
    bread substitute? Hubby loves sandwiches and I like toast. It would be very difficult to give up completely.
    Thank you

  38. Melodee Smith February 9, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    I am so confused. I’ve been on the Daniel Plan since the beginning. I lost 35lbs in the first months and I’ve lost nothing since then. Is it because I eat whole wheat bread? I thought it was o.k. to eat whole wheat bread. HELP!

  39. chuck February 9, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    you are getting so close dr. hyman. now if you could just get over your fear of animal fat. everyone needs to spend some time learning the truth about saturated fat.
    http://www.kriskris.com/10-reasons-to-eat-saturated-fat/

  40. Veronica February 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    Two years ago, I gave up alcohol, wheat, white potatoes and corn (most of the time—love Mexican food!). I was 185 lbs. and within a year, doing nothing else (no exercise, no cutting out sugar), I lost 10 lbs. Since January, I have been on a 1200-cal per day diet, and lost another 12 lbs. I continue to love and crave sugar in the form of dark chocolate, low-cal ice bars, and fruit yogurt. However, I try to snack on nuts and that really helps. My cholesterol is still in the normal range and I am otherwise healthy. I think lowering carbs really, really works.

  41. Lissan Cho February 10, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

    I don’t speak English very well, but I will try to explain. Almost everything is related to the growth hormone. Normally, when you are young, you have it in abundance. And you are slim. After the age of 25 this hormone Is going down. And you have to eat special and to train special.
    The problem is that if you are getting this hormone from outside (if you have it in the steak), or like a supplement, this could lead to insulin resistance, overweight and other bad diseases.
    But the true is that If you get these amino acids at bed time – Ornithine, Lysine and Arginine, you will stimulate the production of the growth hormone and you will wake up with less belly fat. So, to have less belly fat is not so important to eat protein, but to have the optimum quantity of the right amino acids needed to stimulate the production of your own growth hormone. The most safety way to obtain these amino acids is by the food. For the production of own growth hormone also helps the weight training.
    Recently I asked a physician specialized in metabolic disorders about calories and the different alimentary sources. She answered: Everything is important, but remember: No one was overweight at the end of the siege of Leningrad.

  42. Vera Ciganik February 11, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    Dr. Hayman, I very thankful and grateful to you for your news letters. You are the only one who has taught me how to live a healthy life style. Prior to you and your news letters, I have visited many natural medicine + western medicine doctors never mentioning nutritionists just to find out that at the of the therapies there was no improvements. At one point, I was even called a hypochondriac – I was devastated. Today, I am glad that I did not give up. I am very close to whom I want to be. I sill need to work on myself that’s for sure. It did not take me too long to mess myself up without even realizing the consequences of it but it takes me a long time to correct it. That’s why even more so. I am and will in the future appreciate what I have received from you and your news letters.

  43. Janice February 11, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    I just can’t imagine giving up bread altogether. Does it make sense that the stress from not eating something I enjoy so much would lessen other health benefits? I often have two eggs for breakfast and it keeps me satisfied until late into the day. I often pair those eggs with wholewheat toast however and felt that I was more balanced this way. Hmm… cut out the bread and see if it satisfies, even so, I guess.. When I have tried cutting out breads of any kind I find myself grumpy, more irritable with my kids and physically uncomfortable. I have a lot of very healthy habits, yoga, walking, cardio, only water with a wine once a week, veggies, cocoanut oil, etc, etc, but do need to lose belly fat. Is there a way to cut out bread and not be so miserable?

    • Nardis (@VeggieVixen8) March 5, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

      Hello Janice,
      Have you tried sprouted bread? Or dehydrated bread? It is way healthier because is made out of whole grains and doesn’t use any type of flour or butter.

  44. T February 11, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned the cholesterol factor. Ive had high cholesterol since age 23, mostly due to genetics. I’ve been able to decrease my LDL (bad cholesterol) by cutting out animal protein. For protein I eat soy products like tofu, tempeh, edemame, etc. as well as egg whites, nuts, and beans. I’ve also found protein fortified whole grain oats and cereals. I will eat the occasional piece of chicken or pork, about once per month, as I do believe balance is key. Fish more frequently, at least once/week, because of high omega 3s and lower cholesterol. Just wanted to add the cholesterol issue into the conversation.

  45. Mark February 11, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

    Hi Guys, I’m a Nutritionist in Australia, and a supporter of more focus on lean protein, LESS focus on carbs, especially processed varieties.,
    However I am very confused by the wording in the article referred to here. How many of you have read it????

    “Overeating produced significantly less weight gain in the low protein diet group (3.16 kg; 95% CI, 1.88-4.44 kg) compared with the normal protein diet group ..”

    what does that mean?
    Very confused?
    Hyman, can you shed some light on this abstract?
    Regards TheNutritionist

  46. sara February 12, 2012 at 1:03 am #

    Hi- So interesting article. Ironically it seems to back up my personal trainers recommendations of more protein. Which is so confusing to me because almost everyone is aware of the short comings of the atkins diet and the like and yet I’m aware that too much of anything even good things contribute to fat. I myself am a fairly active 20 something year old thats a raw food vegan. I had been practicing that lifestyle for nearly 5 years. And vegetarian before that. I have avoided gluten for years after I discovered I had a sensitivity to it. When I initially went raw vegan 5 years ago I was underweight and not likely effectively absorbing what I was eating. It was about 3 years ago it seemed everything was finally getting into balance and then the end of this past year I noticed I was putting on weight around my hips and thighs primarily despite me training twice a week with a trainer and doing moderate cardio and eating what I knew to be the healthiest diet on the planet. After doing some blood work my holistic practitioner discovered me to have hypothyroidism amongst other things. She was advocating eating more protein in animal form rather than veg for proper nutrition. My personal trainers were blaming the excess weight on the lower body on a lack of protein and too much carbs and yet I was puzzled how that could be since I had a tendency to eat what I thought was the protein dominate foods in the raw food (nuts, seeds, coconut, super foods, seaweeds). It wasn’t till recently I had a personal trainer have me mark all my food down to calculate and I discovered I was taking in almost 3000 calories most of which was in the form of healthy fats. And his response was to change what I was doing to reduce the calories noting that more calories no matter the form puts on weight. To me calories seems to only be half of the equation. I’d love your feedback.

  47. Marilyn February 13, 2012 at 2:22 am #

    Instead of wheat bread for sandwiches, try using nori seaweed for a sandwich wrap. Many supermarkets will have them in the foreign food section. It is typically used to make sushi.

  48. Erica February 14, 2012 at 12:11 am #

    Some questions arise for me:
    1. How much fat were they eating? I find the more fat I eat, with moderate protein and low carbs, the more I lose. Even if I ‘overeat.’

    2. Muscle weighs more than body fat, so I’m not surprised the high protein group also gained.

  49. Reg B. February 14, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    I find that a lot of people will eat even if they are not hungry. We need to train our children at a young age that food is a part of surviving to live a full and happy life,not to live for food to get obese. If we take a small amount of food to satisfy ourselves and do it 4 or 5 times a day,we will see a big reduction in calories that we take in and anyone that is overweight will see a drastic loss of body fat…
    I have studied this for many years and I consider myself an expert on the subject. I have a blog that goes into much more depth…

  50. jgarma February 16, 2012 at 3:26 am #

    I find it very difficult to ingest enough protein unless I supplement.

    This is making a difference. Although I’m a health nut and even blog about health, I was unaware that I was not eating enough protein even though I exercise strenuously.

    Dr. Hyman, among others, such as Tim Ferris opened my eyes to this possibility, and self experimentation over the last two months underscores my assertion that I was not getting enough protein.

    Part of the issue for me is that I don’t like meat and don’t want to over do it with fish. So, I’ve learned to supplement with protein throughout the day.

    Whey, hemp, pea and spirulina/rice based proteins are what I use. Although expensive, it’s essential that you choose high quality brands. ProHealth, for instance, has a high quality whey protein that I use a lot: http://wp.me/pA04z-3S

  51. Stefan Freifeld February 16, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    “But if you eat a high protein diet, you add muscle and increase your resting metabolism and muscle mass. Since muscle burns seven times as many calories as fat, that’s a good thing.”

    I don’t totally agree. Increasing your metabolism ages you quicker. The human organism grows, repairs & rejuvinates itself by replicating cells. Cells have a finite capacity to replicate. This is part of the reason why people lose height as they age. Accelerating metabolism accelerates cell replication which causes one to age faster.
    Have you ever heard of an NFL lineman or Olympic weight lifter living a long life? Look at LeRoy Selmon and Arnold Schwartzeneger they’re examples of extraordinary, big athletes who have suffered severe health problems and they’re certainly not the only ones. Accelerating metabolism also increases free radical levels which places a greater load on the immune system and therefore places the individual at greater risk of disease. High-protein intake raises IGF-1 levels which promotes cancer growth. Most people who consume high levels of protein are consuming high levels of animal-based protein, not plant-based protein. The animal-based protein raises the acidity in their bloodstream which causes calcium to be leached from their bones to neutralize the pH level and maintain homeostasis. Also, animal-based food products tend to contain high levels of saturated fat which is strongly associated with cardiovascular disease.

    This article fails to discuss the differences between plant-based and animal-based proteins. Just as all carbohydrates aren’t the same nor are all proteins. This point is obvious when one looks at the chemistry involved.

    The goal shouldn’t be to be big and strong nor should it be to be thin and frail. The goal should be to be lean and healthy.

    :”Bottom line: Not all calories are the same. Some calories make you store fat, while others make you store muscle.”

    I agree. Our bodies do not function like calorimeters. Digestion and nutrient absorption occur through many complex chemical reactions & physical processes. Calories in does not equate to calories absorbed.

    “Carbs lay down the fat, while protein lays down muscle.”

    This is a gross oversimplification. We need carbohydrates just as we need protein. We don’t need processed carbohydrates just as we don’t need much, if any, animal-based protein.

    “Have protein with every meal – try nuts like almonds, walnuts or pecans, seeds like pumpkin, chia or hemp or have beans, chicken or fish.”

    You should have protein with every meal. Chicken and fish should be limited. People who are overweight should also limit nuts and seeds since they are energy (calorie) dense. Deep leafy greens, vegetables, & fruit are excellent sources of protein and they also provide other micronutrients which are important for proper nutrition.

    A diet that focuses on a high level of animal-based protein fails to provide adequate levels of micronutrients and therefore causes one to be undernourished. Over time, the appetite cannot be suppressed indefinitely. Eventually, food consumption increases and the individual becomes simultaneously overfed (too many calories consumed) and malnourished (not enough micronutrients consumed).

    Somehow we are still duped by the idea that all calories are the same. They are not. Hopefully soon the practice of nutrition and medicine, and our government nutrition advice will catch up with the science. Then perhaps we can make a dent in the tsunami of obesity, diabetes and chronic disease coming right at us.

    “My personal hope is that together we can create a national conversation about a real, practical solution for the prevention, treatment, and reversal of our obesity, diabetes and chronic disease epidemic.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

  52. Ben P. February 16, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    First off, let me say that I agree wholeheartedly Michelle’s comments: Dr. Hyman, please avoid the gimmicky stuff. It’s a huge turn-off, and makes me very suspicious, especially in light of the fact that he has a new book coming.

    While I do find this reasonably compelling, it’s not at all terribly surprising. What I’d like to see, though, is Dr. Hyman respond to the numerous questions posed here, as well as to acknowledge how this thinking about diet has evolved (specifically his belief now that wheat is bad). Based on my reading, Dr. Hyman is now just this side of espousing a Paleo diet.

    For me, it’s simply too challenging to be absolutist about food, because it leads to an unhealthy obsession with correct eating (aka “orthorexia”). Therefore, I’m more inclined to adopt Michael Pollan’s maxims: eat food, not too much, and mostly plants. Great wisdom….the only thing I’d add is “MOVE”!

    • Avatar of Mark Hyman, MD
      Mark Hyman, MD February 16, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

      Thanks Ben- moving is key!

      In good health!
      Lizzy

  53. Diane February 17, 2012 at 12:27 am #

    20 years ago, my father complained that when he ate bread, his belly got bloated. Recently I have been having the same problem. Is there anywhere on this planet where we can get the wheat flour we were originally able to eat and not the genetically engineered kind?

  54. Carlos February 24, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    “…high protein diets … it speeds up metabolism and builds muscle …” This is one of the greatest and oldest myths about muscle building there is. To build muscle you must stress your muscles doing resistance exercises. No matter how much protein you eat everyday if you don’t stress your muscles you are not going to see muscle building in your body.
    Aditionally we have to consider the repercussions of eating large amounts of protein daily on renal function …

  55. Carole March 15, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    I too would like someone to respond to the bread question…could Dr. Hyman or his staff respond?

    • Avatar of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
      Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff March 16, 2012 at 11:49 am #

      Hi Carole,

      We would be glad to help you with your question. Please ask it again here, in this forum.

      Thank you.

      In good health!
      Lizzy
      Nutrition Coaching Program

  56. Avatar of Diane Meyers
    Diane Meyers July 18, 2012 at 11:27 pm #

    Dr. Hyman says: “Skip the sugar – in all of its forms. Especially liquid calories from any source (soda, juice, alcohol) all of which store belly fat. Be on a mission to get high fructose corn syrup out of your diet, it is especially good at laying down belly fat.”

    I just received a box of supplements I ordered from blood sugar solution store. I also ordered one of the protein powders — and was shocked to see that there were 10 grams of sugar per serving!! provided by cane juice — which doesn’t take a medical degree to know is sugar.

    I have always carefully read labels of protein powders to make sure they do not have sugar! or fake sugar. I can’t believe I missed the sugar in this product before ordering! It looks like I just wasted $45.00+ and I am not a happy camper.

    • Avatar of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
      Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff July 24, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

      Hi Diane,

      Thank you for your interest in Dr Hyman’s work and your careful attention. While we understand your concern we can help you understand why this product is actually safer than you think!

      When evaluating a product for quality regarding blood sugar and general nutrition, you can keep in mind:

      1. Sugar in moderate amounts is ok and actually necessary for the body, especially the brain. While we usually suggest the sugar come from complex carbohydrates, in the case of a protein powder the flavor from red kidney beans (for example) would not be a seller!

      2. The type of sugar is very important: look for little to 0 processing of whole sugar. In this case the cane sugar is whole.

      3. The combination of the sugar with other macronutrients such as protein and fat is by far the magical element in why a little sugar is ok. With these 2 nutrients the sugar is absorbed less quickly and will not cause such a dramatic rise and fall in insulin and hence, blood sugar

      4. The inclusion of fiber and other forms of slow carbohydrates also helps and this product includes whole food sources of fiber.

      5. Always weigh the pro’s over the con’s as usually there are both in everything… In this case the pro’s of having some sugar are more valuable that the cons…

      Also all in all, because the product in general is good quality the sugar included is fine… It is still important to watch for extra sugar throughout the day, especially if blood sugar and insulin is an issue or weight management is indicated.

      That being said, if you are drinking this at breakfast, the protein and nutrition might actually help stave off later cravings later in the day!

      For further nutrition support please see:http://www.bloodsugarsolution.com/nutrition-coaching/

  57. Joe August 6, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    Great info to know….especially since I’m doing a weight management system that is exactly what this describes! 35#’s gone, and I’ve maintained it now for almost a full year with very little effort.

    I just found this website and am thrilled to see there are so many folks out there looking to lose weight in a healthy manner! Good luck to all of your! I’d love to share with you how I’ve been successful.

    No artificial sweeteners, no sugars, no preservatives….live, active ingredients is the way to the promise land.

  58. Lynn August 25, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    This is right in line with what my personal trainer has been telling me. Thank you for the confirmation. He has me eating 100 grams of protein a day since I weigh about 100 lbs. And little to no bad carbs and only 3 servings of fruit a day and all the veggies I want. I only eat chicken or fish and the rest of my protein is from eggs, cottage cheese, plain Greek yogurt and beans. I look and feel great now that the bad carbs are out of my body…

  59. Bill Graham October 7, 2012 at 7:34 am #

    Dr. Hyman,
    I love the morning nut smoothie. I always thought I had to have a big full breakfast to get things going. But after drinking this smoothie every day for a couple of months I realize I was just weighing myself down with heavy foods. I have changed my diet dramatically and lost about 35 pounds in about 4 months. I can now exercise without having those feelings like I’m having a hypoglycemic attack. Whenever I went on a power walk I had to bring a candy bar just in case I had an attack. Now I run about 3 miles, three or four days a week. I am doing more physical exercise and feel great. I even climbed Mt. Washington in the White mountains of New Hampshire this summer.
    Thanks for all your hard work and your love for your fellow man. I tell everyone about you and your books.
    I am a massage therapist who is studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
    Be Well,
    Bill Graham

  60. Bonnie Pickhardt October 7, 2012 at 7:58 am #

    Brewers yeast is a good source of supplemental protein, as well as many amino acids and trace minerals. Lewis Labs is an Internet source for a good-tasting nutritional yeast, at http://www.lewislabs.net or 1-800-243-0020. They are in the Eastern Time Zone. Wheat germ is good as well, for those who are gluten tolerant.

    I also had some doubts about some of T. Colin Campbell’s research, as stated in “The China Study”, which showed that humans could be disease free with very low levels of protein. My personal experience has been that my vitality suffered with a low protein vegan diet, so after trying that for a few weeks, I decided to go back to eating small amounts of animal protein.

  61. Tina Turbin October 7, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    This is an incredible and well written post. Thank you so much for sharing this! I am celiac as well as two of my three kids. The standard GF diet is still very high in carbs and even though I ma very low body weight I have had years of extra fat in butt and thighs. I also did not “recover” from the GF diet, as well as I work in this area. I started on the Paleo diet after two years of watching my husband transform his body from fat to lean with higher protein and off the grains. I started and VOILA! after 2 months I am leaner, more muscle tone and all my celiac symptoms have dissipated. I feel your article is spot on and many should also check into the paleo. Also, I love your posts. You are a very caring person to do what you do. Thanks you, Tina Turbin

  62. Avatar of Shupac
    Shupac October 20, 2012 at 8:21 am #

    iI see the article mentions kippers, which i love. However, they’re smoked and i’ve seen in many sources that smoked foods increase the risk of colon and other cancers. What’s a safe amount to consume?

    • Avatar of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
      Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff February 9, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

      Hi Shupac,

      Eating high quality smoked kippers can be a tasty way to increase omega-3 fatty acid intake. A couple times a month is good, water or olive-oil packed sardines and salmon is best!

  63. Stephen February 10, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    Dear Dr Hyman:

    You say that consuming protein helps speed up metabolism which burns more fat. But I thought the goal for healthy aging is to SLOW DOWN metabolism. How do you explain this?

    • Avatar of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
      Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff April 2, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

      Hi Stephen!

      Dr Hyman is referring to the ability of human metabolism to work more efficiently. Eating sufficient protein helps boost metabolic function which helps the body work at optimal levels. When the body is in this anti-inflammatory state, the process of oxidation and “rusting” slows or even stops which reverses the ageing process!

      For more personalized nutrition advice, Dr Hyman’s nutrition coaching team would be happy to work with you on an individual level to help you reach your goals. To work with the nutrition coaching team please go to:http://www.bloodsugarsolution.com/nutrition-coaching/ OR call (800) 892-1443 to get started.

  64. patricia vestevich May 4, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

    Could you improve on this website to make it easier to PRINT off the message? Thanks
    Dr. Weil’s daily tip is awesome in that way—so simple to print out—I don’t have TIME to
    sit here and read from the monitor.

    • Avatar of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
      Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff August 2, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

      Dear Patricia,

      Thank you for your suggestion. We will pass it along!
      For more personalized nutrition advice, Dr Hyman’s nutrition coaching team would be happy to work with you on an individual level to help you reach your goals. To work with the nutrition coaching team please go to:http://www.bloodsugarsolution.com/nutrition-coaching/ OR call (800) 892-1443 to get started.
      In Good Health,
      The Nutrition Team

  65. Joe May 4, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    At Pemmington Research Facility of Baton Rouge, I want to participate in research for money. APEX involves drinking a drink with calories and electrolytes for 6 weeks. I’m wondering if I should try it… it also requires at least 30 minutes of exercise per day.

  66. T Bennett July 25, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

    I’ve read that people with autoimmune disorders should limit protein to about ten percent. What do you think?

  67. Asritha October 8, 2013 at 3:34 am #

    Hello Hyman,
    All plant based protein options are combination of carbs and protein. Do you
    think carbs in plant protein also increase fat in body. What do you think is best protein option for vegans other than soy protein.

  68. Cecie Anderson October 9, 2013 at 7:23 am #

    I am trying to get healthier and came across Dr. Hyman doing research on low carb dieting on the internet. I am a 55 yr. old female, 222 lbs., 5’4″ tall, and desperately needs to lose weight. I have a fatty liver, have high cholesterol (255) and afraid to take statin drugs, pre diabetic with insulin resistance, Father is now 91 and been diabetic since 65, been taking Lotrel 5/20 to control blood pressure since age 40, taking synthroid 88mg since 43, had a complete hysterectomy 3/2011 due to borderline serous tumor on fallopian tube, have a lot of inflammation thru out and degenerative disc disease with chronic pain. Take a Centrum Siver, vitamin D 1000 IU, and a lo dose aspirin every morning. I have to make changes and hope it’s not too late! I joined Weight Watchers about 5 weeks ago and only lost 7.6 lbs., the weight is not coming off and I am following the plan. Have started walking 30 minutes 4 to 5 times per week. Very frustrated ! Looking for any helpful information.

    • Avatar of Team Hyman
      Team Hyman June 23, 2014 at 4:37 pm #

      HI Cecie, While we cannot give medical advice – it sounds like you are losing about 1.5 pounds a week which is not nothing!

      Unfortunately Dr Hyman cannot provide personal medical advice in this forum. For more personalized nutrition advice, Dr Hyman’s nutrition coaching team would be happy to work with you on an individual level to help you reach your goals. To work with the nutrition coaching team please go to:http://www.bloodsugarsolution.com/nutrition-coaching/ OR call (800) 892-1443 to get started.

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