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Help! My Diet Is So Gross. Do I Have To Do It This Way? Insights Welcome!

I’m feeling rather nauseated today. This is my fifth day of a high-protein, low-fat, low-carb diet, and I have already developed a deep-seated hatred of egg whites. My regimen includes uncomfortable quantities of grilled chicken breast, fat-free cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, and egg protein, occasionally garnished with a lettuce leaf or perhaps a blueberry. Just yesterday I had to drink a plastic test tube of liquid protein to meet my goals (see offending product image to the left). It looked like a blood-tinged albumin sample, and tasted like orange flavor crystals with a splash of soy sauce.

I know that the scientific literature (if we distill it and perhaps oversimplify it a bit) seems to suggest that there may be a short-term advantage to high-protein diets in terms of weight loss, but that this advantage fades after a year. Yet almost every trainer and athlete I’ve encountered keeps telling me that the only way to get “really lean” is to eat unimaginable amounts of protein, avoid refined carbs, dramatically limit the complex carbs, and dial down the fat intake. Essentially, I must be reduced to swilling test tubes of orange-soy “albumin.”

When I strenuously protested the diet plan presented to me by my trainer, she simply said, “If you care what food tastes like then you’re not serious about losing fat.”

“Well how long do I need to consume 50% of my calories as protein?” I asked meekly, assuming that there would be an end point in sight. Read more »

How To Lose Weight Eating Pizza And Oreos

I’ve been waiting for this soup for weeks. Eleven weeks, to be exact. That’s how long I was enrolled in a research diet study, and unable to eat anything other than the food they provided me, which was nowhere near as delicious as this soup.

The study is designed to compare the effects of three different diets — the American Diet, the Mediterrnean Diet, and a high-protein diet — on weight loss and cardiovascular disease risk. 

I randomized to the American Diet, meaning that Thursday’s lunch was a slice of pizza with potato chips and an afternoon snack of Oreos and chocolate pudding, Saturday’s lunch was hamburger and fries, and the most veggies I ever saw at one sitting was a measly stalk of broccoli.

Despite this, I lost 30 pounds over the 11 weeks of the study, primarily because my caloric intake was only 1,200 calories per day, carefully calculated based on my basal metabolic rate. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Blog that Ate Manhattan*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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