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Tuesday
Oct182011

A Tribute to Beets (Webisode 9)

Find the recipes in this video under the "Recipes" tab - enjoy!

Wednesday
Sep212011

Lessons from the Mediterranean (Webisode 8)

Wednesday
Aug242011

Using Plant Proteins (Webisode 7)

Tuesday
Aug092011

Deciphering the Dukan Diet  

A new diet craze is here!  So recycle your copy of Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution and fill the spot on your bookshelf with The Dukan Diet.  

The Dukan Diet, otherwise known as The Royal Diet, was made popular after Kate Middleton was rumored to have followed it.  The diet was actually introduced in France in 2000 by a French doctor, Pierre Dukan, and it is advertised as a high protein, low carb, and low fat diet. 

The Dukan Diet consists of four phases:

Phase 1: The Attack phase, “kick-starts” the diet over 2-7 days.  During this phase the diet primarily consists of protein and will likely result in immediate and noticeable weight loss (though this is likely lost water weight).  No starchy vegetables or whole grains (other than oat bran per day) are allowed! 

Phase 2: The Cruise phase alternates pure protein days and protein and vegetable days.  This phase follows a schedule of 3 days for each pound you want to lose.  There is a long list of restricted foods, including many healthy fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.  If you are vegetarian, you are only allowed two tablespoons of lentils per day!   

Phase 3: The Consolidation phase is designed to prevent rebound weight gain by gradually returning foods that were previously restricted and allowing two “celebration” meals per week.  There is a timeline of 5 days per every pound lost during the Cruise phase.

Phase 4: In the Permanent Stabilization phase, there are three “non-negotiable” rules to follow for the rest of your life: (1) Consume 3 Tablespoons of oat bran daily, (2) Take the stairs whenever possible, and (3) Follow a protein only diet every Thursday.

The defining feature of The Dukan Diet is that it advertises itself as being both a low carb and low fat diet.  However, eating a diet of unlimited protein (even lean protein) will lead to excessive intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol.  Research has shown a link between high intakes of animal protein and fat (specifically saturated fat) and risk of diabetes and of course, heart disease.  Excessive intakes of animal protein also lead to increased losses of calcium in the urine and may result in the weakening of bones and osteoporosis.  A high protein diet also puts strain on your kidneys over the long term, increasing the risk of kidney disease and kidney stones.  High intakes of meat and seafood also increase the risk of gout. 

If these health risks aren’t enough of a warning to stay away from this diet, then the high likelihood of regaining any weight lost should stop you.  Furthermore, going from one fad diet to another makes it more and more difficult to lose weight and keep it off.  Losing weight needs to be done gradually, and should not put your long term health at risk!   People with diabetes, heart disease, gout, kidney stones, or kidney disease should steer clear of this diet.

Your personal pocket guide to evaluating fad diets:

1.) Does the diet restrict foods from any one of the four food groups (Vegetables & Fruits, Grains, Meat & Alternatives, or Dairy & Alternatives)?  If you cut out entire food group(s), you will be missing important nutrients needed to keep you healthy and prevent disease.

2.) Does the diet promise quick weight loss?  If it took more than a couple months to gain your excess weight, be realistic and give yourself a longer timeline for weight loss.  If you lose weight more gradually by making sustainable lifestyle changes, you are more likely to keep the weight off. 

3.) Does it sound too good to be true?  It is.  Weight loss is hard work.  Losing weight takes time and effort.  Take a look at your own lifestyle and identify an area for improvement – for example, cut out that afternoon can of Coke and replace it with a fruit; eat breakfast to help reduce overeating later in the day, or simply sit down to a meal and turn off the TV and computer to better control portion size. 

4.) Does the diet seem confusing?  If it is, go see a dietitian.  A dietitian can help you make sense of the conflicting nutrition information in the media and help you develop a weight loss plan specific to your needs and lifestyle.  

Wednesday
Jul062011

Breakfast and Fibre (Webisode 6)