Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Doctor’s Diet

Book Review

The Doctor's Diet
By Travis Stork, MD
Bird Street Books, Inc. (2013)
Reviewed by Angela Lemond, RDN, CSP, LD


The Doctor's Diet claims to be a flexible and workable diet plan that will help readers lose weight, restore health, prevent disease and ultimately add years to their lives. Travis Stork explains the potentially fatal health risks associated with an unhealthy diet and the specific food groups that can act as medicines to attain immediate results.

Synopsis of the Diet Plan

The Doctor's Diet is divided into three component plans: STAT, RESTORE and MAINTAIN. Readers are advised to go back and forth between STAT and RESTORE for 14 days each until the reader achieves the desired weight loss, and then transition to the MAINTAIN plan.
The STAT plan allows only "fat-burning fruits" (apples, berries and grapefruit) twice per day — one with breakfast and one with your snack. Meals comprise one protein and one fruit or "anytime vegetable." There are "flextime foods" that are allowed, which consist of one healthy fat, one whole grain and one "high-density vegetable." With guidelines around each of these descriptions, readers can build their own menu or use one that is provided. Portion sizes are also provided.
The RESTORE plan is similar to STAT, but allows more fruit, an additional fat and whole grain, and one added snack with a protein and "anytime vegetable." The RESTORE plan also allows two alcoholic beverages per week.
Comparable to RESTORE, the MAINTAIN plan includes additional foods based on metabolism and activity levels such as healthy fats, "carb-flex foods" including whole grains, "high density vegetables," "anytime vegetables" and fruits.

Nutritional Pros and Cons

  • The Doctor's Diet emphasizes eating whole foods with a variety of food choices. Stork is an advocate of all food groups, and emphasizes this throughout the book.
  • The MAINTAIN plan appears to be the most appropriate plan for most people.
  • The STAT and RESTORE plans are low-calorie with a low-carbohydrate regimen (as low as 90 grams per day). This will promote fast weight loss, but it will be difficult to maintain.
  • The MAINTAIN plan is a good general guideline but does not go into specific recommendations for individuals. There are many unanswered questions for maintaining this weight loss.
  • There is little mention or guidance for exercise as a way to maintain proper energy balance, which is the other half of the energy equation.
  • Stork uses his own customized food lingo, such as "fat burning fruits," "high-density vegetables" and "carb-flex foods." These are not standardized terms and can be confusing to readers.
  • The plan makes unsubstantiated claims that the STAT plan will do things such as breaking "your addiction to sugar, simple carbohydrates and junk food."

Bottom Line

The Doctor's Diet does a great job promoting a variety of whole foods, which is the core to an overall healthful eating plan. However, the first two phases are too low in calories to minimize excessive muscle loss. This can lead to long-term issues with weight regain and overall weight management. The MAINTAIN plan seems the most reasonable for both weight loss and weight maintenance, although more guidance should be provided based on activity level. Any diet regimen that does not emphasize regular physical activity excludes the other half of the energy equation when it comes to weight management.

~Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2014

Quinoa May Prove to be Gluten Free

Quinoa is a nutritious seed from South America. A recent study has confirmed that people with celiac disease who include quinoa in their gluten free diets can do so safely. Nineteen participants were asked to consume 50 grams (1.8 oz.) daily for 6 weeks as a part of their gluten free diet. They received a series of  tests and kept a symptom diary, all of which confirmed that eating the quinoa did not worsen the disease.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that effects food absorption and is triggered by consuming wheat, rye, and barley.
The authors of the study agree that though the research is promising, further studies are needed to learn the long-term effects of quinoa on the gluten free diet.
~Am. Journal of Gastroenterology,  2014