Many of you have been waiting a long time for a dietary lifestyle that I could recommend for the majority of my patients and customers. The Functional Diet comes as close as I’ve found. It isn’t for everyone, but the vast majority of people will do extremely well on this dietary lifestyle. For the healing of health issues, you should start at level one. If you are basically healthy, start and maintain level two.
A Functional Diet Explained
For years, Americans have been gaining weight because we have been told that fat isn’t good for us and we should be eating low fat diets. This erroneous advice and behavior has transformed our bodies into primary glucose-based burning metabolisms when we are actually designed to have primary fat-based burning metabolisms. A glucose-based metabolism is for sudden bursts of energy, while a fat-based burning metabolism is the preferred method by the body for the long term. Fat-based metabolisms are more efficient and healthy. All the popular diets that are effective are built on fat based metabolic principals.
Leptin is a fat hormone that tells the brain to eat and it also tells the brain when to stop eating. Leptin is responsible for fat deposition. Experiments have shown that mice with low Leptin levels are obese and hungry. A few years ago, the pharmaceutical industry was enthusiastic about producing Leptin in an attempt to help people lose weight. What they found was that obese human beings already had elevated Leptin. This sounds contradictory, but what happened is that Leptin has lost its ability to function well — this is called “Leptin Resistance.” When a person becomes Leptin resistant, it takes more and more Leptin to tell the brain it’s satisfied and that you don’t need more food. Therefore, it takes more and more food to feel satisfied. The brain, unable to appropriately respond to Leptin, frantically signals for more and more fat to be stored. Since Leptin is made by fat cells, you have to make more fat to produce enough Leptin to finally get the message across to the brain to stop being hungry and stop storing fat.
The foods that trigger Leptin resistance are exactly the foods that the Federal government has designated as the foundation of the food pyramid, such as breads, grains, cereal, pasta and starchy vegetables. These starchy foods lead to higher blood sugar levels and the inability of insulin to function properly. This is known as insulin resistance or dysinsulinism. We now find ourselves in a position whereby our bodies are aging more rapidly because high blood sugar levels are the hallmark of aging. When sugar combines with proteins in your body (glycation), it triggers chemical reactions that can promote free radicals, unstable oxygen molecules, which can damage cells. The objective of this diet is to burn fat for energy. Good fat burns Leptin. Eating fat does not make you fat or unhealthy. Not being able to burn fat does. Good fat lowers Leptin levels. Leptin resistance desensitizes your taste buds to sugar and makes you crave more sweet foods.
Sugar that isn’t burned is made into saturated fat which is resistant to burning. It is stored as fat and produces even more Leptin in response to sugar which worsens Leptin resistance. Grain fed animals produce more saturated fat than normal. If you are eating sugar (or foods that turn into sugar) and fat together, the body will burn the sugar and store the fat. A great example of this is buttered toast.
There are many different types of fats — there are fats that are good for you and fats that are bad for you.
Polyunsaturated fat is liquid at room temperature. Examples of this are vegetable oils, which contain Omega-6 fatty acids, such as soy, sesame, safflower, corn and peanut oils. Other examples are Omega-3 polyunsaturated oils such as fish oils. All unsaturated fats are unstable and easily oxidized and can easily promote free radical formation. Frying polyunsaturated oils in a pan accelerates the formation of free radicals. Asian restaurants use soy oil because it is inexpensive. Trans-fats and hydrogenated fats are particularly unhealthy and should be avoided completely.
Saturated fats are hard at room temperature. Saturated fats are found in grain fed beef, lamb and dairy products (milk, cheese, lard, etc). Coconut oil is also a saturated fat. Consider the fat in grain fed animals as second generation carbohydrates. Most of the fat stored in your body is saturated fat.
Monounsaturated fats are the Omega-9′s. Examples of these are olive oil and avocado and nuts. The Omega 9′s are part of the Mediterranean diet which is known to decrease the risk of heart disease and some cancers. I would, therefore, like you to use olive oil or avocado or canola oil.
Essential fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that cannot be produced by the body. Examples of these are the Omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids which include DHA and EPA. DHA has been shown to decrease depression. Today’s modern diet is high in the Omega-6′s, and this throws off the balance between the Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids. We used to have a ratio of 5:1 of Omega-6 to Omega-3 and today we have a ratio of 24:1 in the average American diet. Omega-3 fats help improve insulin and Leptin sensitivity. Flax does not contain EPA or DHA, but does contain alpha linoleic acid which can be converted to EPA or DHA, but many of us do not have the enzymes necessary to promote this conversion.
The objective of our diet is to restore Leptin sensitivity. Once Leptin sensitivity is restored, your cells will also become more sensitized to hormones, such as insulin, which is healthy.
The diet will be divided into essentially two different levels. Level 1 will last three weeks and will teach your metabolism to burn fat instead of sugar. During this time, you will have no starchy or sugary carbohydrates and will eat foods high in good fat and vegetables that are high in fiber. Individual supplement programs will be based upon biochemical individuality. In level 2, you will be allowed to have some of the starchy and sugary foods introduced into your diet, but will be limited based upon your sensitivity to Leptin levels.
We will emphasize the need to stick to the diet because when sugar reacts with protein in your body, it damages the protein. Sugar damaged proteins are called advanced glycation end products, a.k.a. AGES for short. These end products promote inflammation, and glycation is the major reason that diabetics tend to look older than non-diabetics. Glycation has also been linked to abnormal structure in nerve cells and can eventually lead to Alzheimer’s.
I’d like to share a few new thoughts with you about your new diet. Fats make food taste great and fats make you feel satiated. On this diet you will be allowed to have up to 4 oz. of red wine daily. We will not be looking at carbohydrates as simple vs. complex, but rather as carbohydrates containing high fiber vs. low fiber. Fiber can’t be broken down into sugar. Non fiber carbohydrates create a huge surge of Leptin and insulin. You must also eliminate or drastically reduce grain fed beef, lamb and pork for the first three weeks unless it is grass fed and grass finished (feedlots fatten up cattle before slaughter with simple carbohydrates). Almond butter and cashew butter will be fine. You may have protein shakes with your breakfast. Your major sources of protein will be meat, fish, poultry and dairy. For the first three weeks, you are allowed only foods on the “A” list. The “B” list contains foods that you can have on an occasional basis when you are at level 2. Avoid all foods on the “C” list.
|THE “A” LIST
Plan most of your meals and snacks from this list
|“A” List — Fats||“A” List — Proteins||“A” List — Carbohydrates|
Fish and Seafood
High Fiber Starches
Condiments, Spices, Seasonings
|THE “B” LIST
Eat these foods in limited quantities; avoid for the first three weeks on the diet
|“B” List — Fats||“B” List — Proteins||“B” List — Carbohydrates|
A splash of cream in your coffee or tea daily is allowed
Hard Cheese — eat lite or low-saturated fat varieties — no more than one slice daily
Low Starch, High Protein Pasta
Low Carb Tomato Sauce
|THE “C” LIST — Try to avoid these altogether|
All Full-Fat Hard Cheeses
All Cuts of Meat not Included in “A” Protein or “B” Protein
All Fried Foods
Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners