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Calorie Restricting for Longer Life

Posted by on 08 Dec 2012 | Tagged as: diet

A few months ago, I watched a BBC Horizon documentary on the effects of calorie restricting and how it affects the body’s aging process and I was intrigued to say the least. I watched it again a few nights ago just to remind me and press home the importance of the message it was getting across. Here’s my own take on what I learned from this.

The documentary explored the way in which restricting the calorie intake of mice resulted in greater longevity compared to mice that ate normally and resulted in reduced life span of those that were fed a high calorie diet. So far so good. These kinds of tests have been running for decades.

Restricting Calories

What I didn’t know was that there is a pretty big group in the United States that deliberately calorie restrict on a daily basis. A comparison set of tests done by the Horizon presenter, Michael Mosley with a man of similar age and build revealed that while they looked similar on the outside, it was a very different story on the inside. The physical age of the guy who had been calorie restricting for over 10 years had the internal layout of a 20 year old!

There were many more huge differences such as fitness, stamina and balance with physical/mental differences such as reaction times, motor skills etc. This guy was so healthy he had no need of any medication and the doctor carrying out the tests said that he would be unlikely to need them even going into old age.

I was particularly interested in the mental side of these tests, as it seems that restricting calorie intake can positively affect mental ability and reduce the risk of age related mental illness such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. After all, if this kind of lifestyle can mean living longer, I’d want to get old with my mind in as healthy a state as my body!

Cell Life

But there appear to be well understood reasons for this increase in physical and mental health as well as life expectancy. It all comes down to not necessarily what a person’s genes say, but in how their DNA “ages”.

Scientists now know that at the end of each strand of DNA is a “tail” known as a “telomere” and these are there to protect the DNA from damage. It is also known that as cells divide and reproduce, the length of the telomeres shortens slightly. The more times the cells divide, the shorter the telomeres get, leading to an indicator of how a person is aging. You can read more about this fascinating branch of science here: Are Teleomeres the Key to Aging and Cancer?

We also know that when we feed ourselves normally (as we perceive it), our bodies are in GO-GO mode, constantly replacing damaged and aging cells with new healthy cells. We can make that process go even faster by working out and eating a high protein diet to force the production of new muscle cells. We do that in order to build bigger and stronger muscles as any bodybuilder or athlete knows.


This process is determined in our bodies by the levels of a growth hormone called Insuline-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1). The more of this stuff our bodies secretes, the faster we build new cells to replace old ones. Up until I saw this documentary, I probably like most people, regarded this process as a good thing.

I appear to have been wrong!

The obvious putting of two and two here is that by accelerating the speed at which cells reproduce, we are speeding up the shortening of telomeres and that means speeding up the race towards the end of life! It also increases the risks of cancer cells growing faster as well as causing faster aging of the body.

The documentary focused a lot on how we can reduce our levels of IGF-1 and thereby literally slow down the aging process. This would happen because it would slow down the cell reproduction rate. Better still, instead of cells dividing and new cells being produced to replace old or damaged cells, they instead go into “repair mode” and repair themselves instead of self destructing to make way for new cells.

“As levels of the IGF-1 hormone drop, a number of repair genes appear to get switched on according to ongoing research by Professor Valter Longo of the University of Southern California.”

Eating and Fasting

The way to do this is to restrict the intake of calories daily. Goes back to where this article began, where we can literally prolong our normal life expectancy by choosing what we eat and drink. But there’s more…

If the idea of severely restricting your calorie intake every day doesn’t sound very appealing, you can get what is believed to be an even more profound effect by regular fasting. This means going for long periods without eating anything and just drinking water.

In many cultures, fasting on a particular day of the week is quite common. But there is fasting and there is fasting. The Horizon documentary covered several forms.

Michael Mosley had his IGF-1 levels checked via a blood test and found them to be relatively high. He then underwent a three day fast, at the end of which a further blood test showed his IGF-1 levels had halved. Unfortunately, the effects are not long lasting and regular fasts would be necessary to sustain the lower and safer levels of IFG-1.

He tried other kinds of fasting.

Alternate Day Fasting

Alternate Day fasting (ADF) is a more civilized way of restricting calorie intake, whereby you eat normally one day, and restrict calorie intake (600 for men and 500 for women) the next. The results of tests carried out by Dr Krista Varady of the University of Illinois at Chicago over an eight week period are consistent with reducing IGF-1 to desirable levels. She said,

“If you were sticking to your fast days, then in terms of cardiovascular disease risk, it didn’t seem to matter if you were eating a high-fat or low-fat diet on your feed (non-fast) days.”

Another form of this kind of fasting is the 5:2 Diet, where you eat normally for five days in the week and calorie restrict the other two. Mosley placed himself on this version and after several months reported low levels of IGF-1 and naturally some weight loss (14 pounds) along with reductions in blood cholesterol, glucose and triglyceride levels and an similar increase in health.

What Does it All Mean?

If you’re reading this and wondering what the implications could be for you should you decide to try reducing your weekly calorie intake, prepare to be amazed. I was so interested that I tried my own experiment, fasting one day a week but also reducing my calorie intake on normal days to 2,500 max, although I often stayed well below that.

I did this for a month, after which I got a blood test and y IGF-1 levels are now low, with cholesterol, triglyceride and glucose blood readings that pleased my doctor! I also lost around 10 pounds in weight. I continue with this routine although not quite so strictly and to date have not gained any weight.

My exercise levels are unchanged, with about an hour a day dog walking. I always take the stairs when I encounter them and feel more energetic than I have done in years. I don’t know if this will result in longer life expectancy, but I do hope that I keep my health for as long as possible this way. That alone makes it worth doing.

I’m not sure too many people will be willing to participate in anything similar, because eating the way we do in the West has become so ingrained in our culture that it will be tough to change it. Giving up the hamburgers, fries, red meat, dairy, white bread, cakes, cookies, candy, soda and all those other nice things can be pretty tough if you’re used to having them all the time.

I found it fairly easy, as I already eat a predominantly Mediterranean diet because of where I live (on the Mediterranean coast!) and do not eat anything processed or out of a packet or can. That means my sugar intake is very low (see my last post). I don’t drink any soda or other flavored drinks, almost no dairy or red meat, so yeah, it was an easy transition.

The implications of this information are huge. It appears that we can, by adjusting what we eat, how much and when we eat it can seriously prolong our lives and improve our health. Who wouldn’t want that? You can read about the BBC Horizon documentary here: The power of intermittent fasting.

Terry Didcott

How Healthy is Your Diet? Part 4: An Apple a Day…

Posted by on 31 Aug 2012 | Tagged as: diet

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away”

healthy appleThat’s an old saying that I remember from my childhood and even though I probably didn’t understand it back then, time and research has revealed there is a lot of truth back of it. Apples have been used as a food for about as long as humans have walked on two legs and have a variety of culinary uses. But what is it that the humble apple has that makes it such a valuable and healthy food?

There are several factors that make an apple a great source of nutrition, vitamins and minerals and all-important fiber. Apples should be eaten as fresh as possible, raw and with the skin on because that’s where most of the beneficial nutritional constituents are to be found. Let’s take the main reasons why apples are so healthy one at a time:

Healthy Fiber

Dietary fiber is important for the efficient functioning of the intestines and colon, helping to keep things moving along properly and helping to prevent the build-up of unfriendly bacteria and other unwanted infiltrators. A medium size apple contains around 4 grams of dietary fiber which is made up of soluble and insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber such as pectin helps to prevent the buildup of cholesterol in the blood vessel wall lining. This is essential in reducing the incident of atherosclerosis and heart disease. The insoluble fiber, which present in the skin of apples provides bulk in the intestinal tract which helps to hold water which cleanses and helps to move food quickly through the digestive system.


There is around 8mg of vitamin C in a medium size apple, most of which is found directly beneath the skin. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant as well as an immune system booster and has recently been found in studies to possess anti-aging properties. It is an important factor in helping the body to remove harmful free radicals effectively decreasing teh risk of certain cancers.

In addition to vitamin C, other antioxidant phytonutrients found in apples help fight the damaging effects of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood stream.

Malic Acid

Malic acid is found in many fruits but the apple is the best known source. When used in conjunction with magnesium, malic acid has been found to offer some relief from muscle pain and fatigue which is associated with fibromyalgia. It also plays an important role in the Krebs cycle that promotes muscular energy. The acid binds to metal toxins and can be a useful substance for detoxifying the body of certain heavy metals.

There is also some evidence to suggest that the malic acid contained in apples plays a role in the prevention of the onset of arthritis and also as a natural cure when contained in apple cider vinegar. It is believed that this acid is capable of slowly dissolving the hard uric acid deposits that occur in and around affected joints, thus helping to retard the progress of the disease at its root cause.

Nutrition Facts

Apples contain the essential trace element boron, which has been shown to strengthen bones. This is a good defense against the onset of osteoporosis. Apples also contain fructose, a fruit sugar that is more easily processed by the body than refined sugar (sucrose, which is also present in a lower amount) into glucose for energy.

Information on exact nutritional information for apples can be found here: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.

While the humble apple may not be considered a total protection from disease or health related conditions, it does provide a valuable service in being a small, portable, nutrient packed package that is a far superior snack (health-wise) to anything man-made (such as energy bars or other confection). It helps the body digest its food thanks to a relatively high level of fiber and makes a tasty, sweet snack that is infinitely preferable to getting a sugar hit from a candy bar or bar of chocolate.

So does it really keep the doctor away? Well, if you eat one a day you are less likely to suffer from certain conditions that would call for the doctor, so at least in some ways the answer has to be “YES” …although it will not protect you against everything a doctor may be needed for!

Terry Didcott

Does Nutrisystem Need Fixing?

Posted by on 03 Jul 2012 | Tagged as: diet

The popular American diet program Nutrisystem is not broken, but it may need some fixing in areas that are causing it to under-achieve, especially in areas such as the stock market and the returns it is giving investors. While that may be of little or no interest to dieters who are relying on this program to help them lose weight, or to those who are seriously considering signing up for a diet plan that they hope will turn their problems of increasing weight around, it probably should be. For there are cracks in the woodwork and they need to be repaired sooner rather than later.

First of all, let’s make one very important thing clear. The diet program itself is still one of the best in its class and there is no denying it gets results. Thousands of successful Nutrisystem dieters cannot be wrong!

The problems that are associated with a lack of confidence in the company as far as investors and the stock markets are concerned are related to decreasing performance figures and a drop in the value of their stock from a high of over $72 in 2006-2007 to the current figure (as at July 2 2012) of just $11.61 (*see below). Clearly things are not as good today as they were just five years ago, so what happened to cause such a huge drop in the value of the company?

We can’t really speculate on what is happening behind close boardroom doors, so there is not much point in bandying theories around as they could be false. But what we can see is customer reaction to certain aspects of the diet program from the many customer complaints and concerns that are registered in a variety of online forums and blogs that provide Nutrisystem reviews. While many complaints are made by people that are complainers by nature, there are a whole load more that are articulately written by people with a genuine grievance or a story of an unsatisfactory experience that simply cannot be discounted or ignored.

Canceling Nutrisystem Diet Plan

One of the more common complaints is not with the diet itself, but with the customer service department especially when people call to cancel their diet plan. While there are many good reports of customer service experience, there are many bad ones and it is these that potential customers read and find difficult to ignore. The result is a drop off in the number of new customers who choose other diet plans (which may or may not be better or more suitable for them), on the strength of a negative report they read on the difficulty in canceling and the penalties that are incurred.

What is the answer?

A big part of the problem is that customers who sign up for diet plans and take advantage of whatever current discount or special deal promotion the company is running, do not realize that if they cancel before accepting and paying for their second month’s supply of meals, they will incur a penalty for early cancellation and be charged the cost of shipping the food. While this information is published on the official Nutrisystem website, it is not as clearly marked as it could be since many people sign up and do not bother to read the FAQ or look at the terms and conditions they are signing for.

Let’s face it, who wants to read through several long paragraphs of boring, legal sounding text? Not many people, that’s for sure.

So in general, when a customer sees a great deal on their first month of food, they immediately think that they can order it and cancel the subsequent month’s delivery and save themselves a load of money by not having to pay full price for that second shipment of meals. But when they phone up to cancel, they are met with the harsh reality that they are going to have their credit card charged a cancellation penalty as well as be billed for the “free shipping” they thought they were getting for the initial shipment.

What do you think the reaction of most people to this news is?

NutrisystemThey get angry, for sure! And in the heat of the moment, it quite often happens that the customer gets loud and abusive and the customer support person has to endure a lot of verbal abuse which they do not deserve to put up with. Most are well trained and will try to calm the customer down, but that’s a very difficult thing to do over the phone.

Let me ask you something: How do you think you would react to an angry person on the other end of the phone shouting and probably swearing at you because they think they are hard done by and you are to blame? Maybe you don’t know because it has never happened to you. Maybe you think you stay calm and be a heroic rock or something. Let me tell you, I’ve been there and you do NOT stay calm for very long, especially when you’re being abused verbally. All the training in the world will not help you when you’re being threatened with physical violence by a customer who says they are going find out where you live and do bad things to you and your family.

OK, point taken? Good.

Greater Transparency?

So what is the answer to this real and ongoing problem? Well, its simpler than you might think. But its one that few big companies have the guts to implement because they believe it will harm sales more than it helps their reputation.

The short answer is not just greater transparency, but full disclosure right there on the main page of the official Nutrisystem website and also on the page where customers are signing up. Tell them in clear and understandable words that they can’t just have the first month and then cancel, but that if they want to take advantage of the special deal, they MUST commit to ordering a minimum of two months supply of meals. Make that crystal clear to customers and you improve the trust factor of customers while removing any ammunition from potential cancelers who are aiming to get the deal and not continue with the diet after that. That’s because they can’t claim they didn’t know about the consequences of canceling early!

Loss of Sales

Will full disclosure result in loss of sales? Possibly. But the majority of sales that would be lost would be from potential customers that were aiming to enjoy the cost saving of the discount and then cancel early anyways. Does any company really need those kind of customers? You could argue that many customers will change their minds about canceling and stay on the program, paying for their second month because it is the lesser of the two evils of being charged the cancellation fee and shipping costs. Sure, but then you have an unhappy dieter on the plan and guess what they’re going to do at some point?

They’re sure to write a scathing review on how they were manipulated by the company into paying for a second month they didn’t want. They will tell of how unhelpful the customer support were (although they are sure to leave out that part where they verbally abused the person on the other end of the phone). They will rant on about how they are disgusted by big companies using such strong arm tactics to fleece customers with bait and switch tactics. But most damaging of all is that they will warn other poeple to stay away from the program.

People are easily swayed by opinions. Opinions are the cheapest commodities on the planet and everyone has an opinion on something or other. People like nothing better than to put they opinions on anyone who cares to listen. The problem is that people do listen!

While the current setup may bring in a sizable income from customers “forced” to stay on the program, the numbers of lost potentially new customers is something not factored into the equation. Could it be that in attracting these “lost” new customers through a more trustworthy full disclosure policy might very easily balance out the loss of customers only out for the first month discount? I don’t know and I’m pretty sure the marketing people at Nutrisystem don’t know either. Because they aren’t trying it.

Success in business is all about taking measured risks. At the present rate of decline in Nutrisystem’s stock value, maybe its time to take a measured risk and try and attract a whole new demographic of customers who know what they are signing up for before they sign up.

There might be some pleasant surprises in store. Or it might not work. Either way, Nutrisystem need to do something to attract (and keep) more customers and get them writing more positive reviews to attract even more customers. Food for thought? I’d say so!

Terry Didcott

*Source Google (NASDAQ:NTRI)

How Healthy is Your Diet? Part 3: Eat More Fruit

Posted by on 21 Jun 2012 | Tagged as: diet

healthy dietDo you eat enough fresh fruit every day? Do you know how much is enough? These days, far too many people don’t eat nearly enough fruit on a week to week basis, let alone every single day. Yet at the same time, ever increasing numbers of people are becoming overweight and obese because they are happily chomping their way through mountains of junk, processed food. What happened to common sense and why do so many people eat such a poor diet?

That’s probably too many questions. But it all boils down to the fact that we seem to have lost sight of what our bodies are telling us they need, while we pay far too much attention to what the advertising media tells us we should buy at the store.

Let’s put things into some kind of perspective. The food industry (and make mo mistake, it is an industry with the primary goal to make a profit) is happy for people to eat whatever can be gotten past the official approval process. As long as there is a market for a food product, the industry will use advertising and promotion techniques to get consumers to buy it. Not that its so difficult to do that, since people need to eat!

TV Advertising and Processed Food

hamburgers bad for youThe problem is that people are influenced by advertising, especially television advertising and the food industry will advertise those products that make it the most profit. The industry is not interested in selling you a bag of apples to make a few cents in profit when it can sell you a pack of frozen junk and make considerably more.

Better still, from the industry point of view, is the fact that people prefer the taste of junk food to fresh fruit not because it really tastes better, but because it is packed full of additives designed to make it seem like it tastes better. Those additives include saturated fat and sugar, both of which are highly attractive to the human sense of taste. What’s more, recent evidence suggests that we can become addicted to these foods, craving more of them the more of them that we eat.

Little wonder that the number of obese people is continuing to rise despite there being so much nutritional information readily available via the Internet and so many really effective diet and fitness programs also readily available.

There is a nasty side effect to eating a diet almost entirely comprised of processed foods, no matter how healthy the label may say they are. The rise in cases of certain cancers seems to be following the rise in the amount of processed food being consumed, but that’s not just any processed food. It seems to be linked with those containing high levels of sugar. A lot of research into the probable causes of prostate cancer in men seems to reveal that high levels of sugar in the diet actually feeds the cancer cells, causing rapid tumor growth and all the complications that go with it.

It seems that there are properties to refined sugar that causes oxidation in our body’s cells and the release of free radicals which cause damage and are also known to promote the growth of cancerous tumors. The sugar itself then feeds the tumors so they can grow faster. In fact, research has shown that cancerous cells need sugar to grow and they consume a lot of it. Source: Food for Thought


But we are human beings and as such we are the highest forms of life on this planet. We have something no other animal has (as far as we yet know) and that’s free will and the mental ability to choose. We can choose what we eat!

Most people seem to have forgotten that slight detail when they sit through a string of TV commercials drumming into their brains the desire to eat hamburgers, breadcrumb covered chicken bits and pieces, hot dogs, pizza and who knows what else, while washing it all down with one or other popular brand of soda. All that junk is loaded with the sugar that is not only making us fat, it is increasing the risk of cancer! Yet people choose to eat it. Not because its their own free choice, but because that choice has been influenced by clever marketing and advertising.

Of course, no one in the food industry would be so bold as to agree with any of the research on cancer and the recently uncovered links between prostrate cancer and high levels of sugar. They will naturally deny that there is any link between sugar and cancer. They will even deny their products cause people to become obese. This is natural as they must protect their industry.

You should know that this is not idle scaremongering. For more information, please read this fascinating article in the New Your Times from 2011 on the toxicity of sugar entitled: Is Sugar Toxic?

But this is not about what the food industry believes or does not believe. It is not about what politicians say or do not say. It is about your health and your ability as a human being to choose what you eat and do not eat.

Eat More Fruit

eat more fruitThere is one very effective way to combat any dependence on refined sugars and junk, processed foods and that’s to eat more fresh fruit. Not just every once in a while, but every day. An apple, maybe a peach or a pear, some cherries or grapes, blueberries, raspberries or strawberries, perhaps a slice of melon or pineapple, or an orange or tangerine. There are plenty of fruit choices you can go for. Even the much maligned (by dieters, at least) bananas are healthier than sugar laden candy bars or cookies!

But there is more to eating fruit than immediately meets the eye.

I already mentioned the risk of getting cancer from eating too much refined sugar. Well, fresh fruits don’t contain refined sugar, but they are sweet to eat because they contain fruit sugars which are less harmful. But that’s not where I’m going with this, apart from the obvious fact that if you have a sweet tooth, then eating fresh fruit is a much healthier way of satisfying it than grabbing a slice of pie or a chocolate bar. Fresh fruit also contains a variety of antioxidants that work to prevent the cell damage that free radicals can do.

So not only is plenty of fresh fruit every day a great, healthy alternative to eating foods overloaded with refined sugars, but it can also go a long way to helping you to enjoy a longer, healthier life with a lower risk of certain cancer. if you need to know what is considered the correct amount of fruit to eat each day, the general consensus is around 5-8 servings per day. You can get more details on how that works out using the Pyramid Servings method.

It’s your choice. Make it a good one!

Terry Didcott

The Effect of Blood Group on Diet

Posted by on 29 Apr 2012 | Tagged as: diet

There has been a lot of interest lately in the effect that a person’s blood group may have on their diet. In fact, a whole new diet program has evolved around the theory that certain foods are metabolized differently by people with different blood groups. This is an interesting idea and one that is based on certain historical and ancestral facts.

Blood Type O

hunter gatherersIt is known that the oldest blood group, Type O was prevalent when our oldest cave dwelling ancestors kept themselves alive but hunting and gathering their food. The bulk of their regular diet was made up of meat, berries and fruits so their metabolism was optimized to cope with large amounts of animal fats, meat protein and fruit sugars to obtain the maximum nutrition from these sources.

Come up to today’s modern human physical makeup and notice how people with blood type O tend to be able to happily eat a diet predominantly made up of meats and meat protein with high levels of fruit sugars without unduly gaining weight. As soon as you add high carbohydrate wheat or other grain based products to that diet, the person’s weight increases when they don’t do enough exercise each day.

This makes a lot of sense when you consider that the ancestral type O blooded hunter gatherers did not eat any wheat or grain based foods and got all their carbohydrates from the fruits they could gather. Their metabolism would not have been able to cope very well with this type of food because it simply was not available. Therefore the cave-dweller’s digestive system was best suited to processing a variety of animal products, fruits and berries.

Blood Type A

harvest by handLater on in the evolutionary process of humans, we emerged from our caves and learned how to grow our own food. This change didn’t happen overnight, but happened gradually over many thousands of years. As we evolved, the blood type A also appeared. Our digestive systems gradually evolved to cope with the newer form of nutrition, made up primarily of vegetable crops, some grains, seeds and dairy products. It still featured animal products, but the balance shifted to a greater reliance on what we could grow, store and make into food without the need for hunting or gathering.

Modern humans with the Type A blood group are better at metabolizing and obtaining the maximum amount of nutrition from vegetable crops, fruits and seeds while relying less on animal products.

Blood Type B

traditional farmerBlood type B is the the most recent evolutionary step in human makeup and stems from the ancestral period when our early farmer ancestors started farming dairy cattle and creating a wide range of dairy products. Farming settlements had become firmly established as a way of life and families grew into small communities that relied on each other to produce food, clothing and tools necessary for the day to day running of those communities.

The ancestral diet from this period therefore was made up of more dairy products and of course farmed vegetables, fruits and other products.

What does all this mean to modern dieters?

Well, the Blood Type Diet is optimized for the three main blood types according to the way in which their bodies metabolize food and the way they handle the agglutinating lectins in certain foods. Each blood type handles these lectins differently and when the wrong foods are eaten, these lectins can cause problems with their metabolizing, from increasing the risk of illnesses, allergies and health conditions to weight gain.

Dieting with Blood Type O

blood type o meat eatersThose with blood type O actually thrive on a diet of high protein meats coupled with a vigorous exercise regime. They don’t get on so well with dairy products but do very well on a diet rich in lean meats, fish and poultry. Body weight can be maintained at the correct levels by avoiding grain-based products such as breads, cakes and pasta as well as legumes and especially beans. The gluten in wheat germ and other grains lowers the metabolism by interfering with insulin efficiency, which leads to weight gain.

It is also true that thyroid function problems tend to be more prevalent in people with blood type O, so it is best to avoid foods that interfere with thyroid function, such as vegetables of the brassica family (cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, mustard) while increasing consumption of iodine rich foods to boost hormone production such as kelp and seafood.

From a health perspective, it has been shown that foods from the nightshade group of vegetables (tomatoes, capsicum, potatoes, peppers and chilies, eggplant etc) can cause lectin deposits in the tissue surrounding the joints. Type O’s also tend to have higher stomach acid levels and so should avoid high acid fruits such as oranges, while increasing the amount of alkali forming fruits and berries. Dairy products such as cheese, butter, full fat milk, full fat yogurts etc should also be kept to a minimum as the digestive system does not metabolize these very well.

Dieting with Blood Type A

blood type a vegetable eatersIt has been shown in the Blood Type Diet for Type A’s that they can eat a diet made up primarily of certain vegetables and lower levels of meats and animal products. Or in fact they can be completely vegetarian and maintain a healthy weight.

Introducing high levels of red meats and food products high in animal fats leads to weight gain as the metabolism is not optimized for processing meats and meat protein very well. Avoiding most meats can result in weight loss, which makes it an important factor for those with Type A. It is also important to get more natural foods in the diet with the emphasis on organically grown crops.

The lower stomach acid levels in Type A’s is another factor in reducing their ability to digest meats. Therefore animal proteins should be substituted with nuts, seeds and soy protein based foods such as tofu. Dairy products are also badly metabolized and should be avoided where possible or kept to a minimum.

Type A’s can metabolize most legumes and beans (apart from a few exceptions, such as red kidney and Lima beans) very well and these should form a staple part of the diet. A diet high in vegetables is vital to incorporate the right enzymes, nutrients and antioxidants. Most fruits can be eaten in larger proportions and aid weight maintenance and health balance. However, there is sensitivity to the lectins found in nightshade vegetables (see above) as well as some fruits such as mango, papaya and oranges.

Dieting with Blood Type B

blood type b dairy eatersThe modern diet recommended for blood type B is low in meat protein and actually prescribes avoiding eating chicken, corn, lentils, peanuts and sesame seeds. Type Bs are better able to resist many of the more severe illnesses that are common to modern life, such as heart disease and cancer as long as they follow the right diet. However, they are more prone to immune-system disorders that include multiple sclerosis, lupus and chronic fatigue syndrome, so it is important to avoid any foods that might aggravate these conditions.

Type B is actually the only blood type where people can fully enjoy a wide variety of dairy foods. Their metabolism is best geared up for processing dairy products and they gain the most nutrition from them. However, the nuts and seeds that better suit Types O and A should be avoided by B’s as the lectins they contain interfere with insulin production.

Most Type B’s do not tolerate wheat products very well as they contain a lectin that reduces insulin efficiency and fails to stimulate the burning of fat. Rye should also be avoided as it contains a lectin that settles in the vascular system, causing blood disorders and can potentially lead to strokes. Major factors in Type B weight gain include corn and buckwheat. These contribute to a sluggish metabolism, insulin irregularity, fluid retention and fatigue.


While these are only guidelines of what should be eaten and what should be avoided according to a person’s blood type, there is a lot of truth in this system as it relies on known metabolic and digestive data taken from a wide spectrum of the populace. Certainly, health improvements can be had from improving your diet no matter what blood type you happen to be, by reducing your intake of processed foods, junk foods and switching to home prepared and cooked meals made from more natural and fresh ingredients.

Terry Didcott

Nutrisystem in 2012

Posted by on 04 Jan 2012 | Tagged as: diet

For many years, Nutrisystem has been providing many thousands of people each year with the means to lose weight through a nutritionally balanced, calorie and portion controlled diet that is both time saving and convenient. Their special brand of weight loss diet program that delivers all the meals a customer requires to their home has proved both popular and highly successful. So how is it faring in 2012?

The program has gone from strength to strength in recent years. You can read about the program overall in our own Nutrisystem Reviews article published on this website. But here’s an update on what has been happening recently.

Although 2011 saw a slight drop in popularity that could be attributed to their marketing strategy change. That saw them drop the famous celebrity spokespeople Marie Osmond and Dan Mareno in favor of ordinary, “real” people who were successful customers to promote their brand. It backfired in a small way as it seems the American public responds more readily to being sold on a product by a big name celebrity over a “nobody”.

Nutrisystem Celebrity Spokesperson

So late in December 2011, the company made a big change to their marketing and promotion machine bringing on board a very big celebrity spokesperson, Janet Jackson. Its a little early to say how much of an impact this change of strategy has had on sales, but the early signs are very good.

But aside from promoting the product, what has Nutrisystem got to offer its customers by way of a better way to lose weight in 2012?

Nutrisystem Success™ 2012

The diet program has changed somewhat from last year’s setup in that there are more meal options to choose from and they have included high protein diet shakes into the menu. They have branded the new diet program Nutrisystem Success™ and there are high hopes from both the company and customers that this latest incarnation of the popular diet food delivery program will be a huge success.

The standard plans all incorporate around 30 percent fresh frozen meals which are delivered separately from the main package. They actually originate from Schwann’s who create the special meals under license and do not sell them separately or as part of their own diet frozen meal range. The Select™ plan is still available if you want a fully fresh frozen meal diet plan. The overall menu has been improved, although most of the improvements went in last year when they enlisted the services of several celebrity chefs to create new meal options and better quality choices.

Losing Weight With Nutrisystem

The bottom line for any diet is how successfully a person can lose weight using the program. You first have to remember that this program is mainly designed for use by people who don’t have time to spend working on a regular diet. That’s where they have to go buy all the ingredients at the store, then prepare and cook the meals themselves making sure they adhere to calorie counts, portion sizes and nutritional requirements.

This is a diet that does all the work for you and you just take each meal as you need it, heat it up and eat. It appeals to people who can’t or won’t cook and those who have busy lives and don’t want to spend any time in the kitchen cooking special meals for themselves and different ones for the rest of the family. As such, the customer can’t realistically expect the meals to be of the same quality as those they home cook themselves.

The meals are what they are, which are creations by a diet company who know how to make low calorie, nutritional meals that help people lose weight. They work as long as you work with the program. They work even better when you put some time and effort into your own well being by getting some exercise each day to help boost your metabolism and turbo charge the effectiveness of the diet itself.

Its all about losing weight and how much you really want to lose it! You get out of it what you put into it!

Terry Didcott

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