Can you lose weight by eating fatty foods? John Salerno, M.D., board-certified family physician and protégé of Atkins Diet creator Dr. Robert Atkins, says the answer is yes – if you are eating the right kind of fat.
Dr. Salerno is the creator of the Silver Cloud Diet, a high-protein, low-carbohydrate eating plan focusing on organic fats and low-glycemic, unprocessed foods.
The large amounts of processed sugar and fat in the American diet is making us sick, contributing to obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease, Dr. Salerno says. Distinguishing between good and bad fats and sugars is the first step in eating healthier, and is a cornerstone in his diet plan. That means recognizing the names of these bad fats and sugars on food labels: trans fats, also known as partially hydrogenated fats, and high-fructose corn syrup.
Dr. Salerno’s plan focuses on eating grass-fed beef, which has a higher concentration of monounsaturated fats, the same kind found in olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds. Sticking with natural, organically raised foods also differentiates it from the Atkins Diet, which was highly popular years ago and also focused on high-protein, low-carb foods, but didn’t emphasize naturally raised foods. Today’s foods are more highly processed with hormones and other chemicals added, which can be damaging, he says.
Refraining from any foods with carbohydrates during the first two weeks is another important part of Dr. Salerno’s regimen. This helps lower high insulin levels, which is a stubborn problem for many of his patients.
“We can’t seem to bring insulin levels down, which is the point of trying to lose weight,” he says. “We want insulin levels as low as possible.”
After two weeks, patients’ insulin levels become “unstuck,” and unrefined carbohydrates, like fruits and vegetables, are allowed.
“We’re not adverse to carbs,” he says. “Vegetables and fruits are excellent carbs. We want patients to avoid carbs that are detrimental – so the high fructose corn syrup, starches that are in, for example, plain pastas and white flour breads, flour that is of white origin [are] always detrimental.”
A criticism of the Atkins Diet was that the mostly protein approach led to quick weight gain when carbohydrates were reintroduced. An emphasis on exercise in the Silver Cloud Diet gives dieters more flexibility and makes them less likely to engage in the frustrating rollercoaster ride of weight loss-weight gain, he says.
“We like to look at the Silver Cloud as a lifestyle not a diet,” he says, “so that we can add back carbs, good carbs. We can maybe leave a day a week where we can actually cheat as long as we incorporate good healthy habits like exercise and keeping Monday through Friday on the low- carb side, avoiding trans fats, and eating healthier carbs like fruits and vegetables.”
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