"

  1. Prospective Studies Collaboration. Age-specific relevance of usual blood pressure to vascular mortality: a meta-analysis of individual data for one million adults in 61 prospective studies. The Lancet. Vol 360. Dec. 14, 2002.

  2. Vitello, MV. Et al. Sodium-restricted diet increases nighttime plasma norepinephrine and impairs sleep patterns in man. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1983 Mar;56(3):553-6.

Heal Cavities With Dietary Change

What if a nutritional change could spur your body to heal cavities by sealing off damaged areas of your teeth with new thick barriers of dentine?

If this could happen, you’d have heard about it, right? You’d think multiple studies would be appearing in peer-reviewed science journals, and the media would be covering the good news.

The truth is it’s been more than 70 years since any serious attempt to heal cavities with nutritional intervention has been documented in a scientific journal. But if you go back far enough, you’ll find something fascinating: researchers documented numerous human dietary interventions which stopped new cavity formation and healed up existing cavities.

Their strategy was simple: supply enough nutrients and remove the anti nutrients blocking their absorption and utilization. In this article we’re going to dive into the particulars of how you can replicate their results today.

Heal Cavities? What Your Dentist Thinks

Ask a dentist if you can heal cavities with a diet change and you’ll likely get a firm, “No”. This isn’t surprising, since it’s what they’re taught in school.

ToothAnatomyThe text books they learn from tell them dental cavities result from the hard tissues of the teeth being broken down faster than they’re redeposited via saliva. This happens when bits of food – which are stuck to our teeth – get consumed by bacteria. The bacteria produces highly acidic waste products which eats away at the minerals in our teeth. If the acid breaks down our hard tissues faster than it can be redeposited, you get carries, which are more commonly called cavities1.

Researchers have known this for a long time, but here’s the element you won’t hear: your body’s ability to heal up those cavities by depositing new hard tissue, the rate at which cavities heal, and the quality of the hard tissue being deposited are dependent on several nutritional factors. Your dentist will stress prevention via flossing, brushing, and dental cleanings, which is truly important, but you won’t hear much about nutrition except admonishments that you could avoid acidic food, sticky food, and sugary beverages.

Enter The Mellanbys

Although you’ve likely never heard of them, the British husband and wife team of Drs. Edward and May Mellanby changed the world. By the 1920s, Edward Mellanby had discovered that the epidemic of rickets, which had been ravaging the western world for centuries, was caused by a lack of Vitamin D, and that other nutritional considerations, such as a grain-based diets high in phytic acid or a lack of calcium, could exacerbate rickets 2

…It is now known how to diminish the spread of caries and even to stop the active carious process in many affected teeth.

– Dr. Edward Mellanby

Their research had a huge impact, and soon small doses of vitamin D were being added to milk and other processed foods. Before long, rickets were largely tamed, and Edward Mellanby was knighted.

But what is even less well known is that The Mellanbys never stopped being interested in bones and teeth, nor investigating what could be done to allow them to grow and heal properly.

The Research You Haven’t Seen

From the mid 1920s and into 1930s, the Mellanbys investigated to what degree the nutritional factors underlying rickets also affect cavity formation and healing. After finding that lack of Vitamin D and and grain-based diets could bring on cavities in dogs, they started several human trials, and published their results in the British Medical Journal in 1932 3.

They divided 62 hospitalized children with preexisting cavities into three groups and monitored them over the course of six months. The first group received normal hospital food and an additional serving of oatmeal. The second group ate normal hospital food but received supplementary Vitamin D. The third group had a specially modified grain-free diet and also received Vitamin D. The third group was not a low carb diet, and they ate plenty of fruit, potatoes, and other sources of carbohydrates.

Heal Cavities Study Graph

As you can see, the oatmeal group did poorly, with very little cavity healing and quite a bit of new cavity formation. The addition of Vitamin D to the hospital diet allowed many cavities to heal, and far fewer to form, but the situation wasn’t perfect. The most impressive response came from group three, where the removal of grains and the addition of Vitamin D healed almost all the cavities and allowed almost no new ones to form. These results may seem fantastic, but they were actually echoed in several studies by other researchers in the 1930s.

The Nutritional Changes:

In the above study, Vitamin D made a big difference, but adding vitamin D while also removing grain products had the biggest impact. Why is that? Adequate Vitamin D stores allow the body to lay down more calcium (assuming there is also enough calcium in the diet). But grains contain phytic acid, which bind with minerals such as calcium, zinc, and iron and prevent their use by the body. 4 Dendougui, Ferial. Et al. “In vitro analysis of binding capacities of calcium to phytic acid in different food samples” European Food Research and Technology. 2004. p.219.

Studies have shown that increasing Vitamin D intake can partially offset the effect of phytic acid, but not totally.

It’s also possible the grains were exerting some other effect on the teeth beyond their phytic acid content, such as sticking more readily to them and causing more acid production via bacterial breakdown.

If someone already had cavities that had not yet started eating away at the root, and they wanted to try reversing the issue, they could consider making these changes:

1) Exposing yourself to sunshine and take 2,000 to 3,000 IU of Vitamin D3 per day. The study discussed used irradiated ergosterol (D2). It’s hard for me to read the table to figure out how much they were taking. It looks like it could be 2.5 g in diet 2 (vitamin D only) and 0.4 g in diet 3 (vitamin D and no grains). Irradiated ergosterol can range widely in IU per gram, sometimes going up to 20,000 IU per gram, so it’s not clear how much D the subjects were getting. Either way, it’s probably a very large dose of D2. However, modern safe intake guidelines generally suggest under 6,000 IU, with 2,000 to 3,000 IU usually considered sufficient for most situations. Research has found D3 to be a bit more effective than D2.

2) Remove all phytic-acid-rich foods from the diet. Besides grains, this also includes beans, seeds, and nuts. In my opinion, fruit is a far-more-ideal carbohydrate source than grains, but plenty of leafy green vegetables should be present to provide minerals. I outline my preferred dietary strategy fully in Raw Food Weight Loss And Vitality.

3) A minority of the population has trouble converting Vitamin K1 into Vitamin K2. If you’ve already had bone or teeth problems crop up, you may want to consider a K2 supplement for the reasons I outline in this article.

4) The study’s diet was not low fat, and eating some overtly fatty foods may help with fat-soluble vitamins such as K2 and Vitamin D. I personally like to get between 8 and 15% of my calories from fat. Avocados are a good source.

5) Try to hit the RDA from calcium, but certainly get at least 600 mg of calcium. Lack of calcium is a serious issue for vegans, despite what you may have heard, and it can lead to a greater risk of bone fracture.

6) Deficiencies in B Vitamins, particularly B12, are correlated with greater risk of bone fracture, and may play into teeth issues. If you don’t supplement, get regular blood work to ensure you’re not deficient.


  1. Maintaining and Improving the Oral Health of Young Children; section on oral health. Pediatrics. Dec 2014, 134 (6) 1224-1229

  2. Harrison, D.C., & Mellanby, E. Phytic acid and the rickets-producing action of cereals. Biochemical Journal. 1939. 33(10), 1660–1680.1.

  3. Mellanby, May. Pattison, C. Lee. “Remarks on The Influence Of A Cereal-Free Diet Rich In Vitamin D And Calcium on Dental Caries In Children.” Br Med J. 1932 Mar 19; 1(3715): 507–510

Biggest Loser Study: No, Calorie Restriction Won’t Damage Your Metabolism

The Biggest Loser study1, recently covered in the New York Times, has a lot of people concerned about their weight loss strategy. The study observed that contestants on the popular binge-diet & exercise TV weight loss show had slowed metabolisms, even six years after the contest ended.

Weight loss is often challenging, but these results have people feeling like they’re damned if they do and damed if they don’t. If they just keep following their status quo diet and exercise regime, they’ll stay overweight. But if they cut back on calories and exercise more, they’ll slow their metabolism and make their lives miserable.

Luckily, the vast majority of the evidence we have indicates this never happens. The truth is that the New York Times article didn’t give you the needed context to interpret the study, and there are reasonable explanations for what’s going on with the biggest loser contestants. In this article and video we’re going to investigate why you shouldn’t be worried about small calorie deficits, good diets, and healthy exercise.

The Wrong Path For Weight Loss

Biggest Loser Before And AfterThe first thing you should know about The Biggest Loser show is that it promotes a weight-loss path that’s not sustainable. Studies like this and many media accounts point out the vast majority of participants have regained the weight they lost, and there are some pretty obvious flaws in the strategies used.

A fully grown woman, contestant Kai Hibbard, was often consuming fewer than 1,000 calories while exercising six to eight hours a day[foonote]Fell, James. ‘It’s a miracle no one has died yet’: The Biggest Loser returns, despite critics’ warnings. The Guardian. 4. Jan. 2016.[/footnote]. Does that sound like a routine you could keep up long term?

As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t adopt diet and exercise strategies you can’t maintain for life. It’s always better to lose weight at a slow and sustainable pace. Why? Because the moment your dietary deprivation goes too far and you can’t resist binging, or you can’t bring yourself to spend another 6 hours on the treadmill, your weight loss will begin reversing itself. Incrementally upping the ante as you become fitter, concentrating on only eating healthy food, eating with caloric density in mind, and periodically shaving another hundred calories off your already-generous intakes of whole foods is a better strategy.

Maintaining a healthy weight is as much an upgrade in mindset and lifestyle as it is about energetic math, and that takes time to achieve.

But as hugely flawed as The Biggest Loser strategy is, no one should assume that attempting to exercise more and eat less will lead to a slowed metabolism, particularly when it’s done intelligently.

The Truth About Diet-Slowed Metabolisms and The Biggest Loser

The Biggest Loser

I’m a former newspaper reporter, so I know how tight deadlines can keep a piece from having all the depth it needs, but there’s really no excuse for the sloppy, misleading job that the New York Times did with its coverage of The Biggest Loser study.

They failed to point out something hugely important: we already have decades of research on what dieting does to metabolic rates. The vast majority of this research – dozens of studies covering thousands of participants – contradicts the findings of The Biggest Loser study.

The question isn’t whether or not losing weight slows your metabolism – we know it does. As your body sheds fat, it no longer needs to burn energy to maintain that tissue, keep it warm, etc. So as you lose weight, you can’t consume as many calories. The real issue is if the process of restricting food intake or burning more calories through exercise will cause your body to become more thrifty or efficient with its energy use, in effect giving you a “metabolic penalty” for your weight loss success. The researchers from the biggest loser study call this, “metabolic adaptation.”

The best summation of the science we have available on the topic of post weight loss metabolic rate is a meta-analysis 2, which looked at 3,000 men and women from 71 weight loss studies tracking metabolic rate.

It found that post weight loss metabolic rates were not slowed beyond what you’d expect for the loss of body mass. The researchers concluded that “Our results show that body weight reduction is not associated with a greater than predicted decrease in resting EE when post-weight loss values of FM and FFM are used to predict resting EE in a large cohort using different weight loss interventions.”

Compared to the biggest loser study, which followed just 14 participants and had a few questionable issues going for it, can’t really compare in terms of statistical power.

The Outliers

The Biggest Loser

If you take virtually any question science has investigated in depth, you’ll find there are outliers on all sides. On the topic of metabolic rate during and after weight loss, you’ll find a minority of studies reporting a boost in metabolic rate during and after an energy deficit3, a minority showing a small “metabolic penalty,” beyond what can be accounted for by changes in body mass4, and that the majority are right in the center, with no change beyond the predicted body mass decrease, as demonstrated in the meta-analysis mentioned above.

When we see a metabolic rate increase, it’s generally observed in studies that use small calorie deficits in combination with resistance training.

When “metabolic penalties” are detected, they’re generally small, and often found in studies using larger energy deficits and targeting the obese. This small meta-analysis 5 noted post weight loss “metabolic penalties” among formerly obese patients when comparing them to weigh-matched controls who had never been obese. The penalty was between 3 and 5% of calories of their resting metabolic rate, or the equivalent of burning between half an apple and a full banana a day fewer calories. It’s not that big of a slow down.

But here’s where it gets tricky. Obese people generally have slow metabolisms to begin with, which may contribute to their obesity. I was obese when I was younger, and my best estimate is that I need to eat several hundred calories fewer per day in order to maintain the same weight a person with normal metabolic function. But I don’t blame running a calorie deficit for this – the disparity was present when I was a teenager who had never dieted. It’s just genetic.

Even the researchers of the meta analysis that noted the lower resting metabolic rate compared to controls said, “The difference could be explained by a low RMR being more frequent among the formerly obese subjects than among the control subjects.

Overcoming A Slowed Metabolism

Biggest Loser Study

Luckily, we’ve long known that even if you managed to slow your metabolism through severely-restrictive dieting, you can bring it back up to speed relatively quickly.

There is probably no better example of insane dieting than that displayed by anorexics, who often go years at a time eating fewer than 1,000 calories a day.

Such routines have been noted to slow metabolic rate by several hundred calories after critical fat stores have been compromised, but when anorexics are fed enough calories to bring them to a normal body weight, their metabolic rate revert to normal inside a month6.

But if you’ve lost weight and are eating a somewhat more sane amount of calories and are still seeing a metabolic penalty, time may fix the issue, even without you eating more calories. For instance, among patients who underwent bariatric surgery (which forces a calorie deficit by decreasing the holding capacity of the stomach), a small “metabolic penalty” was present at six months post surgery, but a year later, after their weight had stabilized, their metabolic rate was again at predicted levels 7

Dissecting The Biggest Loser Study

We’ve seen that while most weight loss doesn’t seem to result in a metabolic penalty, the punishing calorie deficits of anorexics can create dips in metabolic rate. The contestants on The Biggest Loser were consuming similarly low calorie levels and combining them with insane exercise loads, so it’s not surprising that they saw some dip in metabolic rate.

Yet there’s no question that the 500 calorie “penalty” observed in this study, which was still present six years after the contest, is a bit alarming. Why hasn’t it gone away?

The truth is that we just don’t have the data to be certain. However, there are three big red flags that I see here that are likely contributing factors.

  1. The level of caloric restriction and exercise biggest loser contestants experience goes way beyond what could be considered healthy. It’s possible that the massive size of the deficit and the exercise onslaught caused issues we wouldn’t see with more modest weight loss plans. However, the data we have indicates this shouldn’t happen. For instance, in the Minnesota Starvation Experiment which used a similar plan, participants didn’t see a huge dip in metabolic rate till after their critical fat stores were depleted.
  2. As noted in the meta-analysis I mentioned above, if the contestants on the show were like most obese people, they had slower-than-average metabolic rates even before they tried to lose weight. This could be playing into calculation of the metabolic penalty, or metabolic adaptation
  3. The biggest red flag I see is that the study didn’t check their metabolic rates six years after they stopped dieting, as has been claimed. Instead, the contestants gained weight for more than five years, and then when they realized the researchers were coming to measure them, they started exercising and dieting again. They were losing about a half a pound of fat per week when they were measured, which isn’t a huge rate of loss, but enough to cause the small-scale energy conservation we often see during period of caloric restriction (but which generally disappears afterward). Some studies have found that those who have recently lost weight have slower metabolisms than those who have maintained their weight loss for a long time8.

So this study is documented the metabolisms of obese people with slow metabolisms who went on an unhealthy diet and exercise binge, regained their weight, and then started dieting again soon before the researchers came to measure them.

The applicability of these findings is pretty limited.

Don’t Be The Biggest Loser: A Better Path

Weight loss is not a race. If you want to lose weight, a small, sustainable calorie deficit while eating a calorically diluted healthy plant based diet and doing some exercise is the way to go. There are many ways to do this.

I’ve thrived and maintained my weight loss by sticking with a healthy raw food diet. I describe how I lost weight in Raw Food Weight Loss And Vitality. It’s a plan that has helped a lot of people to shed pounds and keep them off.

But whatever you decide to do, please don’t copy the biggest loser contestants. That path doesn’t lead to anything good.

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  1. Fothergill, E., et al. (2016), Persistent metabolic adaptation 6 years after “The Biggest Loser” competition. Obesity. doi: 10.1002/oby.21538

  2. Schwartz, A. Et al. (2012), Greater Than Predicted Decrease in Resting Energy Expenditure and Weight Loss: Results From a Systematic Review. Obesity, 20: 2307–2310. doi: 10.1038/oby.2012.34

  3. Ryan, AS. Et al. Resistive training increases fat-free mass and maintains RMR despite weight loss in postmenopausal women. J Appl Physiol (1985). 1995 Sep;79(3):818-23

  4. Astrup, A. Et al. Meta-analysis of resting metabolic rate in formerly obese subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Jun;69(6):1117-22.

  5. Astrup, A. Et al. Meta-analysis of resting metabolic rate in formerly obese subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Jun;69(6):1117-22.

  6. Horman-Hoffman, Valerie. Et al. Basal metabolic rate in anorexia nervosa patients: using appropriate predictive equations during the refeeding process. Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2006 Apr-Jun;18(2):123-7.

  7. Knuth, ND. Et al. Metabolic adaptation following massive weight loss is related to the degree of energy imbalance and changes in circulating leptin. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2014 Dec;22(12):2563-9. doi: 10.1002/oby.20900

  8. Rosenbaum, M1. Et al. Long-term persistence of adaptive thermogenesis in subjects who have maintained a reduced body weight. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Oct;88(4):906-12.

Yo-Yo Dieting & Weight Cycling Won’t Cause A Metabolic Slowdown

Yo-Yo dieting is often blamed for making it harder and harder for people to lose weight due to progressive metabolic damage and cyclical swings in body fat levels.

Luckily for those who’ve been struggling with their weight for awhile, the available scientific evidence is clear that this is absolutely not true. In this article and video we’re going to explore the issue and see what studies following thousands of yo-yo dieters have found.

The common refrain we hear is that by restricting calories during a diet, damage is done to the metabolism, causing the person to burn fewer calories going forward.

Most people don’t pick diet and exercise plans they can stick to for life, so at some point they fall off the wagon and regain the weight. Eventually, the argument goes, these people will again attempt to lose weight, but this time, due to the metabolic damage done during their last attempt, it will be harder to shed the pounds. Successive yo-yo dieting attempts make it harder and harder to stay slim, we’re told.

But is there any truth to this?

Let’s start off by discussing the National Weight Loss Control Registry, which tracks more than 10,000 people who have lost a lot of weight and kept it off long term. The average member has lost 66 lbs and kept it off for 5.5 years.

Yet before finding steady success, 93% of the members had repeated bouts of weight loss and regain, some of them experiencing dozens of cyclical yo-yo dieting periods1.

So it’s probably fair to assume that previous failed attempts at weight loss don’t stop successful weight loss maintainers from staying slim. After failing multiple times, they figured out a diet and exercise pattern they can stick to, and they’re now maintaining their weight loss. See my video to hear what they do differently.

Bigger Restriction For The Same Weight Loss?

Peaches Yo-Yo DietingI’ve often heard that when people try to lose weight after multiple yo-yo dieting cycles, they have to restrict their calories more dramatically to see the same level of fat loss.

Let’s look at several studies which have examined this issue to see if there’s any truth to it.

One study followed 2474 obese patients enrolled in a very-low-calorie-diet weight loss program between 1988 and 20002. A total of 480 of the participants ended up restarting the program 1-3 additional times after regaining some or all of the weight lost in the initial attempt. They consumed only 700 to 800 calories per day, which is a ridiculously low calorie intake, but great for examining the idea of binge dieting’s long-term effect on metabolic rate.

So was their weight loss slower during subsequent weight loss attempts on the program? No. There was no statistically-significant difference. Here are the weight loss totals by week for men and women during their first three restarts:

As you can see, sometimes the participants lost slightly more weight in subsequent attempts. This lead the researchers to conclude that, “The present study refutes the hypothesis that repeated dieting makes further dieting efforts more difficult.”

Metabolic Rate And Fat Distribution Vs Yo-Yo Dieting

But what about metabolic rate? Will yo-yo dieting permanently suppress it? And is it possible that when you regain weight after a crash diet that fat piles onto your stomach, butt, thighs, or other areas where it wasn’t before?

One study followed obese women who lost an average of 41.58 poundBlueberries.jpgs and then regained it3. Their resting energy expenditure dropped from 1,631 to 1,501 after losing the weight, which is exactly what you’d expect from someone lost that much body fat, since fat
cells burns calories to maintain themselves. But afterthe women regained their weight, their resting energy expenditure returned to its pre-study level, and their body fat distribution was unchanged.

This lead the researchers to conclude that, “These results do not support claims that weight cycling adversely affects REE, body composition, or body fat distribution.”

But Isn’t Weight Cycling Damaging To Your Health?

If you binge on unhealthy food to during weight regains, you’re certainly damaging your health because the food itself is known to increase your risk of disease. But if you eat healthy food in larger quantities and gain weight, there doesn’t appear to be any negative outcome outside of the increased risk of having a greater amount of body fat on your.

For instance, this study4 examined the health implications and found,”a history of weight cycling did not affect the metabolic profiles of the weight cyclers compared with the noncyclers.”

Dozens of studies have looked into theis myth, and they’ve all found it to be untrue. To sum up the findings of one more overview5, “Weight cycling has been hypothesized to have deleterious metabolic, behavioral and health consequences. The majority of clinical studies in humans do however not support the hypothesis that weight cycling per se influences the amount of velocity of subsequent weight loss. Both natural and experimental weight cycling studies have failed to demonstrate permanent alterations of body composition or body fat distribution. Studies found little evidence that weight cycling affects resting energy expenditure.”

The Bottom Line on Yo-Yo Dieting

Being of a healthy weight is always better than being overweight. Yes, gaining weight is never good, particularly if you do so from eating unhealthy food. But the benefits of weight loss are substantial, and you should never stop attempting weight loss for fear of damaging your metabolism.

I lost 62 pounds from my high by adopting a low fat raw vegan diet. I’ve stayed slim for years because I picked a diet and exercise program I can sustain.

If you want to know what works for me, check out my book, Raw Food Weight Loss And Vitality.

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  1. Ogden, Lorraine G. Et al. Cluster Analysis of the National Weight Control Registry to Identify Distinct Subgroups Maintaining Successful Weight Loss Obesity (Silver Spring). 2012 Oct; 20(10): 2039–2047.

  2. Li, Z. Et al. Weight cycling in a very low-calorie diet programme has no effect on weight loss velocity, blood pressure and serum lipid profile.Diabetes Obes Metab. 2007 May;9(3):379-85.

  3. Wadden, TA. Et al. Effects of weight cycling on the resting energy expenditure and body composition of obese women. Int J Eat Disord. 1996 Jan;19(1):5-12.

  4. J Am Diet Assoc. 1993 Sep;93(9):1025-30. Metabolic and anthropometric changes in female weight cyclers and controls over a 1-year period.

  5. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1995 Sep;19 Suppl 3:S46-50. Is weight cycling detrimental to health? A review of the literature in humans.

Mexican Fruit: My Six Favorites

Mexican fruit can be really tasty, and if you’re going to go fruit hunting, the Yucatan peninsula is a pretty good place to start. While staying in the area I hit up the local fruit shops and markets, and in this article and video I tell you about the six fruits that impressed me the most.

 

Star Apple (Caimito)

Mexican Fruit Star Apple CaimitoThere’s no delicate way to put this: star apples taste like sex.

I don’t know if it’s the subtle-but-appealing flavor, the consistency, or the fact that they ooze milky juices, but there’s something unmistakably risque about the whole eating experience. I’m also inexplicably attracted to foods that are blue and purple, so they get points there too.

Star apples are also called caimitos, and spread to Mexico from the Caribbean in pre-Columbian times. I’ve had four or five cultivars over the years, and I’d rate the Mexican fruit as mid-range. I found my favorite type when I was in Cambodia: the unbelievably milky “Lò Rèn.”

 

Mamey Sapote

Mexican Fruit Mamey Sapote

A good mamey has the consistency of mousse, and its smooth flesh should be a dark orange or red. It’s incredibly sweet and tasty, calorically dense, and the prefect food for fueling up after a hard workout.

Mamey originated in Central America and was a favorite of the Mayans on the Yucatan peninsula, where I’ve been eating it this winter. Although it can grow throughout the tropics, it’s not very common to find it for sale in tropical Asia, so Mexico is actually the ideal place to hunt for it.

 

Manzano Banana

Applebananas

From my experience in Central America, there must be a least a half dozen banana cultivars the locals refer to as manazano or manzanito bananas, but they’re rarely the ones I love. Back around 2008 I made friends with a produce wholesaler when I was living in Connecticut, and he’d order me boxes of manzanos. Those bad boys were labeled, “Product Of Costa Rica,” and I was pretty obsessed with them.

They were short but plump, with a creamy texture and a flavor that hinted of apples. They blew out of the water the Cavendish cultivar of bananas you find almost everywhere.

But I left Connecticut in 2010, and didn’t find them in my travels for a a few years. In 2014 I spent a few months in Costa Rica, and gleefully looked forward to a reunion. But the bananas the fruit sellers identified as manzano or manzanitos were never the fruit I’d had in the US (and were frankly really disappointing).

Luckily, this year I found them in the Yucatan, and have been really enjoying them. Most of Mexican fruit are not quite as tasty or as plump as the ones I’d get in Connecticut, but still pretty good. When they’re ideally ripe the skin should be very thin and mostly black.

Jackfruit

Mexican Fruit JackfruitImagine eating something that calls to mind Juicy Fruit bubble gum – jackfruit. It’s huge (the biggest can reach over 100 lbs), and the edible portion is wrapped up in a thick green-and-bown rind you need to cut away with some serious effort.

Inside you’ll find varying degrees of gooey latex that will stick to your knife, fingers, and lips. If you’re smart you’ll let it get very ripe to minimize the latex issue. As it gets very ripe it will start to exude a musky, sweet odor some find cloying, but which I find appealing.

But if you’ve picked a good one and let it ripen enough, you’ll probably find jackfruit well worth the trouble.

Jackfruit aren’t a very common find in Mexico, but you do run across them in some shops, and I got some good ones in Playa del Carmen. All the ones I found were on the smaller side in comparison to the huge ones I’ve had in Asia.

Sapodilla

Sapodilla Mexican FruitSapodilla tastes like butter and brown sugar mixed together, which really should be enough of an incentive for you to hunt it down. The texture is a bit grainy and super sweet, so if you close your eyes you could trick yourself into believing you were munching on brown sugar mixed into some kind of mush (but in a good way).

It’s related to mamey, but unlike mamey it can now be found for sale in most tropical parts of the world, including Asia. Many of the asian varieties are small, but the Mexican ones tend to be on the larger size (almost as big as a small mamey.)

However, I was surprised to find that the Mexican sapodilla I got was better than any I’d had before.

Ataulfo Mango (Champagne)

Mexican Fruit Ataulfo Mango Champagne

Mangoes are among the tastiest fruits on earth. A good ataulfo is sweet, creamy, and overflowing with juice. Many people make the mistake of eating them when they’re not yet a deep golden color, or before the skin has started to wrinkle, but if you’re patient and wait for them to hit their stride and soften up, they’ll blow you away.

The Ataulfo variety originated in Mexico, and the ones you find here in peak Mango season (March to May) are better than most of the imported ones I’ve had in the US. They’re primarily grown in the state of Chiapas to the west of the Yucatan, but plenty of good ones show up all over the country.

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Muscle Burns More Calories Than Fat? Myth Busting Time

Muscle burns more calories than fat, right?

It certainly doesn’t on my body.

When I started strength training and added lots of muscle to my frame, my metabolism ended up slower than it was when I was fat an out of shape. That may seem like a weird claim, but let me explain.

I’m sure you’ve heard the idea that muscle burns more calories than fat before; it’s one of the much-touted myths that the fitness industry like to trot out on a regular basis to win people over.

But depending on how it’s stated, the claim is either technically true but still an exaggeration, but merely a complete falsehood.

Can all those fitness books and Youtube gurus be wrong?

I’ve read a lot of fitness and weight loss books over the years, and most of them mention – or even base their plans on – the idea that strength training will increase your metabolic rate by piling muscle on your body.

Sure, your metabolism will slow down if you shed body fat, the thinking goes, but you just need to add a few pounds of lean mass to more than make up for it. Most will tell you that a single pound of muscle adds (depending on the author) 50 to 100 calories a day to your basal metabolic rate.

Muscle Burns More Calories Than FatThat sounds great! Even just a few pounds of lean mass would turn you into an energy-burning machine. Add a few more and you’ll be able to scarf down all the donuts you want without having to worry about body fat.

But is it true? Despite quite a bit of searching, I’ve never found a scrap of evidence put out a legitimate researcher publishing in a peer-reviewed journal that could support a muscle caloric burn figure anywhere near 50 calories per pound, much less the 70 to 100 calorie BMR boost some youtube gurus claim.

Actually, all the evidence supports a dramatically lower figure.

The Muscle BMR Reality

It turns out that while muscle burns more calories than fat, it’s not a lot more.

Unfortunately, the most metabolic “expensive” tissue in your body doesn’t grow a whole lot1. The heart and kidneys churn through 200 calories per pound per day, and the brain clocks in at 109. Even the liver manages a respectable 91 calories per pound per day.

But muscle? It only burns 6 calories per pound per day, which isn’t a whole lot more than fat, which burns 2 calories.

Even when they’re touting the health benefits of muscle, experts like Dr. Robert Wolfe, Chief of Metabolism and Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Texas Medical Branch, won’t claim a metabolic miracle will occur if you add some lean mass.

His research indicates you can add 5 calories a day to your BMR by adding a pound of muscle2, which is even less than the 6 calorie-figure I cited above.

Muscle Burns More Calories Than Fat? Let’s Do The Math

So let’s get back to me.

I used to be obese, weighing in at 220 pounds. Over a number of years I gradually improved my diet and started doing endurance training, and I dropped to 158 pounds, for a total loss of 62 pounds of fat loss. This means that my basal metabolic rate slowed by 124 calories.

In 2011 I got tired of being scrawny, and was generally bored with the endurance training, and I started strength training instead. After quickly putting on some muscle, I changed my training regimen to limit muscle gain while still increasing strength gain, since I have no desire to slow myself down more than necessary.

Even so, today I weigh 170 pounds, or 12 pounds more than when I was sticking to endurance training. That means that my new muscle mass increased my basal metabolic rate by 72 calories, which isn’t even close to replacing the 124 calories of BMR I lost when I shed all that fat.

Yes, an already lean person who added 12 pounds of muscle without losing fat would start burning a bit more per day, but adding 72 calories per day wouldn’t even cover the energy cost of a 7-inch banana, so it’s not really a bit deal.

Be Smart And Strength Train Anyway

So yes, muscle burns more calories than fat, but it’s not a significant enough difference to really matter much.

All the same, you should still do progressive resistance training of some type. Not only do you look better with more muscle on your body, if you’re shedding bodyfat at the same time, doing resistance training will stop your body from burning through your existing muscle when you run a calorie deficit.

If it’s fat loss you want, then be smart and make the basis of your efforts a healthy diet. My book, Raw Food Weight Loss And Vitality, is a great first place to start.


  1. Wang, Z., Heshka, S., Zhang, K., Boozer, C.N., & Heymsfield, S.B. (2001). Resting energy expenditure: systematic organization and critique of prediction methods. Obesity Research, 9, 331-336.

  2. Wolfe RR. (2006). The underappreciated role of muscle in health and disease. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 84, 475-482

How To Stop Overeating: Three Proven Methods

Is your eating a bit – or a lot – out of control? Want to know how to stop overeating?

In this article and accompanying video, we’re going to dive into the science and practice behind limiting your food intake to portions that will support your ideal weight and robust health.

The Spectrum Of Satiation

In my experience losing and keeping off 62 pounds and helping dozens of coaching clients lose weight over the years, it’s become clear to me that everyone experiences (or at least notices) satiation in different ways.

Science bears this out. Some of us are dramatically more or less sensitive to the chemical reward eating food brings to our brains in the form of dopamine12, for instance.

Your ability to observe your body’s message that you’ve eaten enough seems to fall into a spectrum. My personal experience is that you can get a lot better at listening for this signal, but ultimately, the signal won’t get much louder than it naturally is.

If the signal is going off and you don’t notice it, or you do notice it and and you don’t heed it, you’re overeating. If you consistently overeat by a significant margin you may be saved by a faster-than-average metabolism or a high level of NEAT activation, but most people simply get fat and see their health decline.

So how does this scale work?

Level Ten: “I’m Full. Get This Food Out Of My Sight”

How To Stop Overeating Papaya For some people, when their blood sugar rises enough and their stomach reaches a certain reasonable volume of fullness, it’s like an air-raid siren goes off in their head, warning them that it’s time to stop eating.

Take another bite? Me? Don’t you hear that siren?

If these sort of people are 90% of the way through juicy peach when they get the signal, they’ll literally put down the last 10% without a second glance, feeling no desire to polish it off. They might even be disgusted at the idea of eating more.

Unsurprisingly, these eaters are rarely more than moderately overweight (and only if their diets are not ideal). Often, their big problem is not learning how to stop overeating, but how to keep fatt or muscle on their bodies due a smaller caloric intake.

One of my friends falls into this category, and it’s amazing to see his desire for food turn off like a light bulb when he’s eaten a modest meal. It’s frankly an experience that I’ve never had, and I find it fascinating to see him reliably getting these strong “cease-and-desist orders” day after day.

Level Five: “Oh, Is That What That Noise Is?”

Most of us fall into the the great middle portion of this spectrum. I’ve generally pegged myself as a three or four on the scale. If I’m being mindful (we’ll cover that concept later), I can figure out if I’m still in need of more food as my meal winds down about 90% of the time.

For me, the signal isn’t anywhere near an air-raid siren level. It sounds more like a distant alarm going off in the next room with the volume down pretty low. It’s kind of faint, but I can make it out if I pay attention. However, it’s still easy to get distracted enough to not hear it (lack of mindfulness or stress) or simply choose not to heed it.

I used to be obese, and a slower-than-average metabolism played a role in that, but there’s no question that I sometimes ate more than I strictly needed because I wasn’t paying close attention to my satiation signal. I was also depressed for much of this time, so the fact that I could drown out emotions with overeating eating was something I took advantage of.

Level One: “Dum de dum dum dum” *keeps chewing*

How To Stop Overeating GrapesThose on the lower end of this spectrum still have a signal, but it comes in the form of a barely audible whisper. Often, this whisper is missed, or mistaken for another signal.

If people at the lower end of the spectrum want to know how to stop overeating, it’s going to take adopting an ideal diet that maximizes physical satiation cues while dialing in the mindfulness strategies and habits that make a reasonable caloric intake sustainable.

How To Stop Overeating: Setting The Groundwork

If you’re in the lower half of the satiation signal spectrum, you can’t go on eating like most people eat. It’s clearly not working for the average person (68.6 percent of US adults are overweight or obese), but it definitely won’t work for you.

This article is not going to focus on the science behind the foods that cause cravings or how you might go about cutting them out of your life (cold turkey is the answer), since I’ve covered these topics at length.

But if you want to know how to stop overeating, the first step is maximizing your body’s satiation cues and minimizing triggers for cravings and food addiction. The healthiest diet in the world doesn’t guarantee the achievement of your ideal weight if you’re continuously overeating.

That being said, it you want to know about the diet that’s allowed me to lose 62 pounds over the course of a few years and keep it off for more than 12, then check out my book, Raw Food Weight Loss And Vitality.

How To Stop Overeating: Three Powerful Strategies

Two of the following strategies are backed up by studies demonstrating their effectiveness, while the third is pretty effective for obvious reasons. If you’re not situated at the top quarter of the satiation signal spectrum, adopting one or more of these strategies is probably a good idea.

One: Turn Off Eating Mode

How To Stop Overeating Burpee

Let’s say you’ve just polished off a nice-sized dinner. Maybe intellectually you understand that you’ve consumed enough calories for the day, but either because you’re not being mindful or because you just can’t seem to hear that signal today, the idea of going for seconds, or desert, seems appealing.

Since you’re done with your work obligations for the night, there’s nothing stopping you from grazing till bed time.

So what do you do? Turn off eating mode.

Exercise: 

The best way to do this is to shift your hormonal levels through 1-3 minutes of intense aerobic exercise.

Intense aerobic exercise reduces your desire to eat because it lowers your levels of the hormone ghrelin (which stimulates appetite when present at higher levels), and elevates blood lactate and blood sugar, which lessen the drive to eat3.

Most of the studies that have looked into this have found good results with intense exercise sessions lasting at least 10 minutes. The much shorter doses I’m suggesting haven’t been studied, but I’ve found them very effective, and more manageable if you’ve got a gut full of food and want to avoid a cramp. Longer exercise sessions might make you hungry, but the quick doses I’m talking about don’t seem to.

What I often do is push away from the table and do 20-25 burpees. (A youtube search will show you how to do them). Other exercise that leaves you gasping for breath will likely work as well, but I’ve found burpees to turn off my appetite better than any other exercise I’ve tried. A single set of 20 or so also shouldn’t be enough to make you sweaty and or require a clothing change, so you should be able to segue into the next part of your day without interruption.

The effect is like going from I could keep grazing all night to temporarily feeling like the idea of eating one more mango doesn’t tempt me in the least. 

It’s enough of a shift to remind me that I’ve actually eaten enough already, and can then change my focus to other things for the rest of the night.

Hot Water:

If you’re not in a situation that allows for you to crank out burpees or another intense exercise, another suggestion is to simply drink a cup of hot water. Although I’m aware of no studies looking into this, it seems to bring about a weaker but still noticeable version of what exercise does by making your stomach feel differently.

The water doesn’t need to be boiling; steaming is good enough. Sip it slowly for a few minutes (best if combined with mindfulness). I don’t really drink beverages besides water with any regularity, so I’m not sure how other hot beverages might work for this.

Two: The Power Of Mindfulness

It doesn’t matter how loud your satiation signal is if the buzz in your mind is so overwhelming you can’t notice it.

The constant buzz of thoughts – and the fact that many people spend most of their waking life wrapped up in the past or thinking about the future instead of immersed in present – makes overeating a lot easier.

If you’re not even paying attention when you’re eating – the very thing you’re worried about doing too much of – how can you expect to find satiation and contentment before you go over the line?

How To Stop Overeating PeachesScience is increasingly finding that regularly immersing yourself in the moment can really help.

When one group of obese patients were instructed to meditate and practice mindful eating, they made major strides without even changing their diet. The patients became more restrained in their eating, decreased their weight by an average of 1.3 pounds per week, experienced less binge eating, and claimed to feel much better4.

 When a group of patients diagnosed with binge eating disorder (essentially overeating on a massive scale) adopted a meditation and mindfulness program, their symptoms changed so dramatically that they no longer qualified as having binge eating disorder by the end of the study. They also significantly reduced levels of depression, stress, and anxiety (major drivers emotional eating) and were noted for making healthier dietary choices 5.

A larger meta analysis of studies that attempted to treat binge eating with mindfulness found that, “mindfulness-based psychological interventions for reducing binge eating have large or medium-large effects.6.

Meditation

If you’re interested in how to stop overeating, I suggest that you spend a minimum of 10, but preferably more like 20 minutes a day meditating. After 30 days or so, you’ll likely notice profound impacts on not only your eating behavior, but also benefits in many other areas of your life. Check out my free Beginner’s Guide To Meditation for more info on how to do this.

Meditation will also build up your capacity to recenter your attention on the present when practicing mindful eating.

 

Get My Free Meditation Guide
 

Mindful Eating

In the common quest to learn how to stop overeating, this may be the most powerful and least practiced strategy we have at our disposal.

Let’s say you’ve got your bowl or plate in front of you and your fork is traveling between it and your mouth. Chewing is going on, of this you’re certain.

But beyond the vague awareness that you’re eating, how involved in this process are you?

How To Stop Overeating MeditateIs the Television on? Are you scrolling through your Facebook feed on your laptop? Maybe you’re doing homework or reading a book, or are merely lost in thought. Perhaps you’re replaying that contentious conversation you had at work this morning, dreaming about how great it’s going to be when vacation time gets here, or wondering when your partner will get home.

If any of these are true, can you really say you’re giving your food more than 10 or 15% of your attention?

When you finish your food and decide you want or crave more, but you weren’t actually paying attention when you were eating your first serving, maybe it’s because you consciousness never really registered the eating process.

So Try This: Force yourself to stay present the entire time you’re eating. Want seconds? Ok, but stay in the moment-to-moment experience of that serving as well. Your mind will wander; that’s totally ok. The important thing is to commit to continually bringing your attention back to the present moment and the eating experience.

There are two important parts to this.

First, commit to chewing each bite 25 times. Count the bites in your head, as this will serve as a focus that can keep your mind from wandering, and will prevent you from inhaling your food so quickly that your body can’t even react before you’re on to portion number two. When your attention wanders, and it will, bring it back to the counting.

Also feel free to focus on the eating process, the texture and flavor of the food in your mouth, and how your stomach feels as food builds up there.

If you do this, whatever food you eat will be more satisfying, and the drive to add more on top of it will be cut down because you actually noticed the first serving you consumed and enjoyed it.

You just might also find that, once a certainly level of hunger has been dispelled, that you’re simply not interested in devoting more time to eating. There are other fun and important things in life, particularly if you’re present enough in the moment to notice them, and many of them are impaired by a stomach so stuffed that it’s uncomfortable to move your body.

Three: Calorie Counting

The most straightforward way to know how to stop overeating with a reasonable level of certainty is by simply strictly weighing your food on a scale so you know how many calories you’re taking in.

Metabolic rates vary a bit, but weighing your calories will give you a fairly objective count of how much energy is going into your body. If you also know your metabolic rate and activity level, you can figure out roughly how much you require to maintain or lose weight. If you’re losing too much or not losing any, you can simply adjust up or down by a few hundred calories.

This strategy, to some degree, replaces mindfulness and awareness of satiation with far more concrete knowledge.

You may decide that this ironclad guarantee is so effective in getting you the body you want that you’re going to do it forever. Don’t let anyone tell you that’s obsessive or wrong if it gets you to where you want to be in a stable way.

Most people will find weighing food burdensome, but they may wish to use the scale as a temporary knowledge-building exercise. If you see what sort of portions of food actually meet your caloric needs, you’ll likely learn more about how to moderate your intake even when you aren’t weighing food.

I think the majority of overweight people could benefit from spending a bit of time with a food scale because it reduces eating choices down to simple arithmetic. Should I eat more? The answer is at Cronometer.com (or one of many other websites and apps that track calories).

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  1. Davis, C. Et al. Sensitivity to reward: implications for overeating and overweight. Appetite. 2004. Apr;42(2):131-8.

  2. Davis, C. Et al. From motivation to behaviour: a model of reward sensitivity, overeating, and food preferences in the risk profile for obesity. Appetite. 2007 Jan;48(1):12-9. Epub 2006 Jul 26.

  3. Sim, AY. Et al. High-intensity intermittent exercise attenuates ad libitum energy intake. Int. J Obes (Lond). 2014 March; 38(3):417-22.

  4. Dalen, Neanne. Et al. Pilot study: Mindful Eating and Living (MEAL): Weight, eating behavior, and psychological outcomes associated with a mindfulness-based intervention for people with obesity. Complementary Therapies in Medicine (2010) 18, 260—264

  5. Anderson, K., & May, M. (2012). The Mindful Eating Cycle: Treatment for Binge Eating Disorder. Arizona State University, Doctor of Behavioral Health, Culminating Project.

  6. Kathryn, M. Et al. Mindfulness-based interventions for binge eating: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Behav Med. DOI 10.1007/s10865-014-9610-5

Why You Feel Happier On A Raw Food Diet

Weeeee!

After switching to raw food diet in 2005, that noise pretty much summed up my mood for months. I felt great, and because I’d felt horrible for so long, the contrast was huge.

Granted, I’m a bit of an oddity in that I previously suffered from a serious intestinal disease called colitis that disappeared after a few months of eating raw.

But even beyond the disappearance of my colitis symptoms and other health problems, I just felt buzzed with happiness and energy.

I’m hardly alone. Many people who try raw food diets – or other diets that use raw fruits and veggies as the main calorie source – report feeling inexplicably happier.

But why? Most lack the horrible health concerns I was saddled with at the outset, so what change catalyzed their happiness?

In this article we’re going to dive into a few of the likely answers to that question.

The Power Of What You Don’t Eat

People eating raw food diets are interesting to study because they cut whole categories of food average people consume right out of their diet.

If it’s not a raw fruit, a raw veggie, or a raw nut or seed, most raw foodists won’t touch it.

Hundreds of individual foods and spices regularly consumed around the world never enter their systems. Some of these exclusions may lead to significant differences in happiness levels.

Grains And Depression

berriesWhere do you get your carbohydrates from? For most people, the answer will involve some grain products, many of which contain gluten.

The gluten found in grains has been a controversial topic during the last 30 years or so, with a limited body of research and sensational media reports demonizing it as a cause of intestinal distress and other health problems.

Currently, however, the best research available has failed to link gluten to intestinal issues like irritable bowel syndrome and bloating, except for the small part of the population with celiac disease1 .

However gluten affects our intestins, though, it may have a bigger impact on our mood. In one study, patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome who did not have celiac disease were told by researchers that lab tests ruled out the possibility that their intestinal issues were caused by gluten2.

But the patients – who had avoided gluten before the study – decided to continue doing so despite the assurance of the researchers because they said that they just felt better.

So the researchers set out to find out if gluten might have an impact on mood, and it turns out that it does.

Twenty two people with irritable bowel syndrome (but no celiac disease) were put on a double-blind crossover trial in which they rotated between three diets, with a three-day gluten-free break in between each3. After an initial gluten-free period, they were given gluten free meals supplemented with one of the following: whey (derived from dairy), gluten, or nothing (the placebo).

depression, gluten, raw food diet happiness

Gluten depression happiness on a raw food diet chart

Their rate of depression went from what the researchers described as, “neutral depressive,” for the placebo meals to “mild depressive,” for the gluten-containing meals, leading them to surmise that, “Such findings might explain why patients with non-coeliac gluten sensitivity feel better on a gluten-free diet despite the continuation of gastrointestinal symptoms.”

Given that most people on raw food diets avoid all grain products, unlike the vast majority of the population, part of their happiness advantage may stem from this absence.

Meat, Eggs, And Happiness

When researchers looked at members of the Seventh-day Adventist church, which suggests but does not demand a vegan diet, they found that those who eschewed meat were far happier than those that didn’t4.

Raw Food Diet Happiness WatermelonThat’s interesting, but maybe happy people are just more likely to go vegetarian. The really interesting question is if giving up various animal products will lead omnivores to feel happier.

So researchers enrolled 39 omnivores and divided them up into three diet groups to see what would happen56. The first (control) didn’t change their diet. The second ate only one type of meat: fish; they also continued to eat eggs and dairy. The third group ate no meat or eggs, but did eat dairy.

The difference was profound. The fish eaters were not statistically happier than the omnivores, but the vegetarians got a lot happier, leading the researchers to write that “…consuming a diet high in meat, fish, and poultry may negatively impact mental state”.

Researchers believe that the high levels of arachidonic acid in animal products may be the contributing factor.

The Power Of What You Do Eat

Whatever you think of a raw diet, you have to admit that most iterations will provide more servings of fruits and leafy greens than almost any other dietary style out there, and this difference can be profound.

The average American is eating a pretty pathetic diet, with only 0.9% of adolescents, 2.2% of adult men, and 3.5% of adult women meeting their recommended servings of fruits and vegetables per day. This is even sadder because the recommendations are already pretty low, only asking an adult to eat four servings of fruit and 5.8 servings of vegetables per day7.

Raw Food DIet Happiness ApplesBut we have good evidence that a far greater intake will make you happier.

For instance, when 281 young adults logged their fruit & veggie consumption as well as their mood states for 21 consecutive days, researchers found that on days when they ate at least  7-8 servings of fruit or vegetables, “they reported feeling calmer, happier and more energetic than they normally do. They also felt more positive the next day.8.”

However, since we don’t have much data on people eating the far larger intakes of fruit and vegetables we see among raw foodists, we don’t know if eating more will further add to happiness. In my experience, however, the answer seems to be yes.

I ate a cooked vegan containing more than the reccomended intake of produce for some years before going totally raw, and my mood still improved with the change. That doesn’t mean that another factor could be the cause, but it would be a nice thing to study.

Giving A Raw Food Diet A Shot

If you want to see if a raw food diet will give you the kind of happiness boost so many describe, you can get started with Raw Food Weight Loss & Vitality.


  1. A, Carroccio. Et al. Non-celiac wheat sensitivity diagnosed by double-blind placebo-controlled challenge: Exploring a new clinical entity. Am. J. Gastroenterol. 2012 107(12):1898 – 906 – quiz – 1907.

  2. Biesiekierski J, Peters S, Newnham E, Rosella O, Muir J, Gibson P. No effects of gluten in patients with self-reported non-celiac gluten sensitivity following dietary reduction of low-fermentable, poorly-absorbed, short-chain carbohydrates. Gastroenterology 2013; 145: 320–8.

  3. S L Peters, J R Biesiekierski, G W Yelland, J G Muir, P R Gibson. Randomised clinical trial: Gluten may cause depression in subjects with non-coeliac gluten sensitivity – an exploratory clinical study. Aliment. Pharmacol. Ther. 2014 39(10):1104 – 1112.

  4. Beezhold, Bonnie. Et al. Vegetarian diets are associated with healthy mood states: a cross-sectional study in Seventh Day Adventist adults. Nutrition Journal 2010, 9:26 doi:10.1186/1475-2891-9-26

  5. Beezhold BL, Johnston CS, Daigle DR. Preliminary evidence that vegetarian diet improves mood. American Public Health Association annual conference, November 7-11, 2009. Philadelphia, PA.

  6. Beezhold, BL. Et al. Restriction of meat, fish, and poultry in omnivores improves mood: A pilot randomized controlled trial. Nutr J. 2012; 11: 9.

  7. Kimmons, Joel. Et al. “Fruit and Vegetable Intake Among Adolescents and Adults in the United States: Percentage Meeting Individualized Recommendations.” Medscape Journal of Medicine 2009; 11(1).

  8. White, Ba. Et al. Many Apples A Day Ke Many apples a day keep the blues away–daily experiences of negative and positive affect and food consumption in young adults. Br J Health Psychol. 2013 Nov;18(4):782-98.

How To Increase Testosterone Naturally

You can increase testosterone naturally with a dietary switch that may surprise you.

In this article we look into the science demonstrating that meat, dairy, and egg consumption suppresses testosterone levels, and that vegans have significantly higher levels of testosterone on average than their omnivorous and vegetarian counterparts

Increase Testosterone Naturally

If you want to know how to increase your testosterone naturally, it behooves you to consider which men have their hormonal situation buttoned down, which means looking at the population at large.

The largest study to ever track hormonal differences between people with varying diets noted some really interesting correlations1.

After adjusting for testosterone-affecting lifestyle factors like smoking, exercise, and age, the researchers noted the hormonal levels of 226 meat-eaters, 237 vegetarians, and 233 vegans.

Despite all the rhetoric about meat and saturated fat increasing testosterone, what they found was that the vegans, who eschewed all animal products, had higher levels of free testosterone than the vegetarians and vegans.

The vegans had testosterone levels that were 13% higher than the meat-eaters and 8% higher than vegetarians.

The Fat Factor For Increasing Testosterone Naturally

There should be a big red flag being raised in your mind after reading about those testosterone differences.

Study after study has demonstrated that the more overweight you are, the lower your testosterone levels2.

That’s a problem, because numerous studies have also found that the average omnivore and vegetarian weighs more than the average vegan.

So maybe it’s less of a animal food thing and more of a fact that omnivores are more overweight.

So what happens when we adjust the above study to take into account weight3?

The vegans are still ahead, but are down to a 6% lead over the omnivores, and a 7% lead over the vegetarians, which is still statistically significant.

The Problem With Meat, Dairy, And Eggs

The reason that vegans have higher testosterone levels may simply come down to the fact that they’re less contaminated with PCBs such as polychlorinated biphenyl. This banned environmental toxin is still highly present in our environment, and found in higher concentrations the higher you go up the food chain.

For instance, men who eat freshwater fish have lower testosterone levels on average than other omnivores, and freshwater fish are among the most polychlorinated biphenyl-contaminated foods4.

The chart below sums up what sort of PCB exposure you’re likely to see with various food choices5.

How To Increase Testosterone Naturally

As you can see, the vegan diet as incredibly small levels of PCBs compared to any other eating pattern. All types of meat, dairy, and eggs are contaminated.

Making The Shift

Eliminating meat, dairy, and eggs and shedding extra body fat is a great first step in improving your health, and will likely raise your testosterone levels naturally.

If you want to take your health to the next level,increase testosterone naturally, shed a lot of weight, and feel amazing, then I highly suggest you check out my book, Raw Food Weight Loss And Vitality.


  1. Allen, NE. Hormones and diet: low insulin-like growth factor-I but normal bioavailable androgens in vegan men. Br J Cancer. 2000. Jul;83(1):95-7

  2. Aggerholm AS, et al. Is overweight a risk factor for reduced semen quality and altered serum sex hormone profile? Fertil Steril. 2008 Sep;90(3):619-26. Epub 2008 Feb 20.

  3. Allen, NE. Hormones and diet: low insulin-like growth factor-I but normal bioavailable androgens in vegan men. Br J Cancer. 2000. Jul;83(1):95-7

  4. Goncharov A, et al. Lower serum testosterone associated with elevated polychlorinated biphenyl concentrations in Native American men. Enviorn Health Perspect. 2009 Sep;117(9):1454-60.

  5. Tait, S. Et al. Exposure of human fetal penile cells to different PCB mixtures: transcriptome analysis points to diverse modes of interference on external genitalia programming. Reprod Toxicol. 2011 Jul;32(1):1-14.

Andrew Perlot’s Raw Food And Personal Frequently Asked Questions #3

In today’s video I answer a lot of reader questions about a variety of topics. I link to the individual questions below.

 

  1. The aesthetics of the raw food movement, and my own preferred aesthetics for the future: https://youtu.be/la-lOB-hx6M?t=20s
  2. Why I don’t do a lot of yoga anymore, what I do instead, and my favorite yoga poses: https://youtu.be/la-lOB-hx6M?t=6m36s
  3. Acne, autoimmune conditions, and raw food diets: https://youtu.be/la-lOB-hx6M?t=9m I mention the book, “The Fruit Solution,” which has a great elimination diet for acne. You can buy it at 30% off with coupon code: “Andrew” (remove quotes) You can buy the book here: https://goo.gl/wAVuNi
  4. Fixing constipation and other digestive problems with a raw food diet: https://youtu.be/la-lOB-hx6M?t=15m2s
  5. How to stay on track and do the right things for your health: https://youtu.be/la-lOB-hx6M?t=16m17s