September 5, 2007

Shame on You: Kevin Trudeau (Part 7)

I recently received a handful of e-mails from eager readers wondering when the next installment of "Shame on You" featuring Kevin Trudeau would be up. Rejoice, that day has come upon us!

When we last left our best-selling author, he was sharing earth-shattering weight-loss secrets like "eat organic grapefruits all day" and "do not eat after six p.m."

Let's see how Mr. Trudeau rocks our nutrition world this time around.

"No white sugar or white flour."

The reason? They make us fat, according to Trudeau! In fact, "if you want to sweeten something... sugar should be your last option," he states.

It gets worse! "As I have mentioned previously, [white flour], when mixed with water, makes paste." Yes, and if you overcook a piece of salmon, it becomes overly chewy and dry. So what?

This idea that white sugar and white flour make us fat is pure hysteria.

What always bothers me about this kind of comment is that white flour and white sugar have been around for centuries, long before obesity rates skyrocketed to current levels.

As NYU professor Lisa Sasson recently shared with us, the much respected Mediterranean Diet -- followed by many people looking to shed some pounds -- includes white flour products!

Now, allow me to explain something. It is indeed true that I recommend people try to make the large majority of their grain intake come from whole sources such as oatmeal, barley, quinoa, amaranth, and whole wheat.

As explained in issue 1 of the Small Bites newsletter, this is largely due to the fact that the high amounts of fiber found in these foods helps us feel full faster (and thus consume less calories). Whole grain foods also contain a larger amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

However, white flour (or sugar, for that matter) in and of itself does not "make you fat." True, many of the nutrient-void, high-caloric snacks people consume contain white flour and/or white sugar, but that does not mean these two ingredients are to blame for obesity.

Dunking a slice of delicious fresh-baked white bread into a small plate of olive oil at a restaurant will not make you gain weight. More than likely, it will be the ridiculously large size of your entree that will contribute as much as 70% of your day's caloric needs!

Mr. Trudeau also falls prey to the ridiculous myth that brown sugar is "healthier" than white sugar. Bull! All sugars contain 4 calories per gram, and are metabolized and digested the exact same way, regardless of color. Our digestive system is anything but racist!

"Eat organic apples all day."

"Apples are loaded with fiber and nutrients," Trudeau explains. Yes, true. So is every other fruit known to mankind. Why not make a more reasonable suggestion like, "eat two or three pieces of fresh fruit every day."?

I'll attribute this particularly random tip to Trudeau's editors telling him his first manuscript was 20 pages too short, and he needed more tips for his weight-loss chapter. Or, at least, that's how I can attempt to rationalize how such a clueless statement managed to get published.

What is with this "eat x food all day" advice? In my last installment I showcased a similar weight loss tip he shared: "eat organic grapefruits all day." Huh???

If you were to take Trudeau's advice and have six apples a day, you'd be adding 431 calories to your day -- the same amount you would get from a McDonald's double cheeseburger.

True, 431 calories from apples contain more vitamins, minerals, and fiber (and a lot less saturated fat and sodium) than a Mickey D's cheeseburger, but if we are just looking at calories, there is absolutely no difference.

And, as I never get tired of saying, weight gain is directly related to consuming more calories than you are burning.

"Eat only organic meat, poultry, and fish."

In and of itself, not a bad piece of advice for those who can afford such foods.

However, here's where my BS detector goes off (and my blood pressure skyrockets): "If you want to lose weight, eat as much meat and poultry as you like as long as it is organic, grass fed, ideally kosher, and most importantly, has not been given growth hormones."

I agree that it is best to consume animal products free of growth hormones. However, here is the bottom line: organic products have the exact same amount of calories as their conventional (non-organic) counterparts.

I recently had a reader write me and wonder why she gained weight in spite of substituting foods with high fructose corn syrup for those with real sugar. Repeat after me, everyone: it's all about calories in, calories out!

I can't believe Mr. Trudeau would be so irresponsible as to urge readers to eat unlimited amounts of certain foods -- especially in a chapter dedicated to "losing weight effortlessly"!

"Do a liver cleanse."

ANOTHER cleanse? This is the sixth one Trudeau recommends!

His reasoning? "If you are overweight, your liver is most definitely clogged." He won't say with what, but he's certainly quick to direct you to his website for more information (at a price, of course).

There is absolutely no reason to believe that "cleansing" one's internal organs with pills and potions does any benefit to the body. If anything, you are ridding your body of necessary minerals and electrolytes.

Besides, the liver is a self-cleansing organ! In fact, a lot of these "juice only" diets meant to clean your insides end up messing with our body's self-regulating processes and often weaken the liver, reducing its self-cleaning powers.

"Eat a big, huge salad at lunch and dinner."

Trudeau shamelessly says, "I don't care if your lunch is a cheeseburger, french fries, and a pint of ice cream. Add to it a big, huge salad and eat that first. You'll be amazed at how you lose weight."

What a concept! Clearly, if you stuff yourself with nutritious food first, you'll be satisfied long before you finish half that cheeseburger or even a quarter cup of that pint of ice cream.

The fiber in the salad will help bring on feelings of satiety, especially if you've drizzled some healthy fat (like olive oil) over the veggies and added a source of lean protein on top (i.e.: canned tuna, grilled chicken, etc.)

What he's basically saying is to have salad for lunch and dinner every day to "miraculously" lose weight. That miracle? Less calories!


I'm saving the best for last.

In this specific tidbit of advice, Trudeau is referring to jumping on a mini trampoline ten minutes a day, which he claims increases metabolism and is "effective for weight loss."

I would love to see what study he got this from. I have a strong suspicion this specific tip was pulled out of somewhere, and I'm not referring to the pages of a nutrition research journal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know that you should eat breakfast to get your metabolism started, but what is enough? A handful of cereal? A cup of tea?