Friday, December 21, 2007

How to gain 10 pounds of muscle and lose 5 pounds of fat in only 2 days

On Tuesday I did an interview with Craig Ballantyne about my experiences with body transformations. It was a really fun interview, we covered a lot of topics, including how to use the Eat Stop Eat style of eating for a body transformation and my experiences with doing a bodybuilding contest a couple of years ago. While these topics were cool, the most interesting point we covered was when we started talking about the difference that a tan, moisturizer, shaving and a workout pump could have on the way you look.

If you are entering Craig's Turbulence Training transformation contest this will be an ace up your sleeve.

By getting a tan, making sure your skin is well moisturized, shaving your body hair (guys) and getting a pump at the gym, you can easily make yourself look 10 pounds more muscular and 5 pounds less fat. This is very important when you are doing your Before and After photos.

To illustrate my point, I took these two pictures two days apart:

The picture on the left is just regular old me. I'm not fasted, and I'm not flexing. I'm 177 pounds and my normal body fat levels (Thanks to following the Eat Stop Eat lifestyle). I'm not sticking my gut out, or trying to look miserable (although I took the pic at midnight so I do look a little tired).

The picture on the right is regular old me after a couple tanning sessions, a quick shave of the chest and one really good chest and shoulders workout. I'm still 177 pounds and the same amount of body fat that I was two days before in my before picture.

To keep this experiment honest I did not fast in-between shoots and the only workout I did was the one right before the photo on the right.

As I hope you can see, some well timed pre-photo prep work can do wonders for your before and after pics. And, it is very important that you take this into consideration when you are doing your before and after photos for Craig's contest. Also, you should keep this in mind the next time you are looking at a weight loss supplement ad that uses Before and After pictures as testimonials to how effective the product is (If I could do this in two days, imagine what could be done in 8 weeks).

Bottom line- Make sure you don't try to "fake" your before pics, keep them honest, and when it comes to your after pics make sure you take the proper steps to really show off your hard work.


PS- Both these pics were taken in my house with regular lighting, if I really wanted to make the difference extreme I would have used better lighting in the after photo.

PPS- If you want to learn more about how I eat and the methods I use to stay in shape then check out to learn more about fasting for weight loss

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Montreal, Snow Storms and the role of carbs in weight loss

It's been a crazy week for me. I was in Montreal for the weekend, checking out the local cuisine. I had some very tasty duck, and some amazing raw fish at Buona Notte (I highly recommend this restaurant!) Unfortunately, on Sunday I was caught in that huge snow storm that pummeled southern Ontario. Needless to say, what should have been a 6 hour drive home ended up taking almost 11 hours!

By the time I finally got home I was so behind on work that I had to spend the last couple days trying to get caught up on emails. One of the emails I received had a really great question asking whether it's carbs or calories that causes weight gain. I've copied the question and my answer below...

Hi Brad,

I've read your book Eat Stop Eat and I'm wondering whether you would have written it differently now that you've read "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes. I mean, in your book you still write as if the amount of calories matter and as if you shouldn't differentiate between them. What Taubes has found is that the only thing you really can say is that too many Carbs are unhealthy.


And here is my answer:

Hi George,

Thanks for the email and for the excellent question.

I have read "Good Calories, Bad Calories" and was very impressed with its content. I believe that Taubes has accurately pointed out the health issues surrounding a high sugar intake. However, I do not believe that he accurately analyzed the data regarding the correlation between total calories and obesity.

Taubes examined studies containing diet record data and concluded from this research that the obese do not eat any more calories than non-obese people. Unfortunately, we have learned from the work of Brian Wansink that obese people tend to under report their caloric intake by as much as 30% when using diet records. This phenomena has been noticed by other researchers, and has been written up as an extremely important confounder in weight loss research. (For a great write up on this point you can see a Trial by Steven W. Lightman et al. published in the New England Journal of Medicine, volume 327 (37), 1992.)

For this reason I would not have changed any of my recommendations in Eat Stop Eat if I had read "Good Calories, Bad Calories" before I began writing.

I think that the points that Taubes makes about sugar are accurate, and I do believe that one or two 24 hour periods of complety no sugar (like during the Eat Stop Eat method of fasting) is beneficial to human health, yet I also believe that the only way to reduce body weight is through a negative caloric balance, and the best way to ensure that the majority of that weight loss is fat is by using the combination of caloric restriction and resistance exercise (the two keys to Eat Stop Eat's success).

I hope this answer helps,


To learn more about the benefits of short periods of flexible fasting for weight loss, visit

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Linza's First Day on Eat Stop Eat

If you are interested in reading about some one's experiences with her very first day on Eat Stop Eat, then check out Linza's blog at !

A great post and a really good account of what your first day on Eat Stop Eat might feel like.


Learn more about using flexible fasting for weight loss

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Fasting Benefits Your Heart

My mom sent me a text yesterday about a study out of the University of Utah. Apparently, according to this study, people who fast one day a month are 40 percent less likely to be diagnosed with clogged arteries than those who did not regularly fast.

Sounds like great news, especially if you are like me and fast 6 to 8 times per month.
Unfortunately, after looking over the study, I did a google search to see what the newswires were reporting and found some very disheartening news bytes.

According to an article I found on Yahoo News, when asked to comment on the study Dr. Raymond Gibbons of the MayoClinic (who was not involved in the study), stated "Fasting resets the metabolic rate".

Now I'm not sure what Dr. Gibbons meant by "resets", and he was probably speaking about long term chronic fasting,but the author of the article on Yahoo News added these words after Dr. Gibbons quote "slowing it down to adjust to less food and forcing the body to store calories as soon as people resume eating".

These words cannot be Dr. Gibbons. They just can't be. There is no way I can accept that a former heart association president would make such an incorrect statement, especially since it was in reference to a 24 hour fast.

This begs the question, why is the mainstream media so afraid to tell people to eat less? Why is it that when research on the benefit of brief periods of fasting comes out, people have to comment on the dangers of long term chronic fasting.

Instead of just explaining that as little as one 24 hour fast per month can reduce your chances of being diagnosed with clogged arteries, they have to start digging to find something,(completely unrelated to the study), so they can throw some negative comments into the fray.

If you've read Eat Stop Eat, you know that metabolism doesnot decrease during brief fasting. In fact, evidence suggests that it may even go UP!

I know it will be an up hill battle, but my goal is to make the use of brief periods of fasting a respected and established method of weight control...because it is easy and because it works.

Are you fasting today?


EAT STOP EAT, its easy, its effective, and new research suggests it's good for your ticker!

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Are you fasting today?

You'll never guess what happened to me this week.

I was at a lunch meeting, just finishing my coffee when someone came up to my table to tell me that she had just started Eat Stop Eat.

To be honest, it was a little weird to be approached in public, but it was an awesome feeling to be able to actually see her excitement. And, it was an even better feeling knowing that she was going to see results!

My goal is to make the question "Are you fasting today?" as common as "Did you want to go eat?". If this happens, it means people are finally losing weight without the pain of constantly dieting. Without having to cut carbs for months on end, and without the pain of taking a week off of dieting only to watch the pounds practically jump back onto their bodies.

So with New Year's fast approaching, it's time for you to help spread the word. If you have been practising Eat Stop Eat, and have seen great results, it's time to let your friends in on your little secret (it's the holiday season, so don't be greedy and keep it all to yourself!)

This holiday season you can do your part to stop the needless diet suffering that always happens this time of year.

Eat Stop Eat, help spread the word


PS- Haven't read Eat Stop Eat yet? You can check it out byclicking here ==>

Fasting for weight loss

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Friday, November 30, 2007

Should you be on GH?

I’m willing to admit I abuse GH. In fact not only do I abuse GH, but many top, well-known fitness gurus abuse GH too!

Now I know what you are thinking…Brad couldn’t possibly be talking about growth hormone..the same hormone that Hollywood celeb’s (guys and girls) are rumoured to pay thousands of dollars for in an attempt to lose fat and stay young looking? The same GH that all the home run slugglin’ baseball players are getting caught using?

Yep, it’s that GH!

Now, before you get ready to turn me into the authorities, let me explain…

Anybody who has read Eat Stop Eat knows my opinion on the connection between fasting and growth hormone. And since I follow the Eat Stop Eat lifestyle, my GH levels are normally pretty high.

The interesting thing about GH is that many other fitness pros are abusing GH and they don’t even know it!

There is an important and often underestimated relationship between exercise and GH release. As little as ten minutes of intense exercise can have profound effects on increasing GH levels!

Hmmm, ten minutes of super intense exercise…sound familiar? Anyone who has ever done ten minutes of interval training knows just how intense this can be.

That’s right, turns out intervals and fasting share some similar benefits…they are both great fat loss tools and they both cause rapid increases in GH release.

So, why should you care?

Well, GH is being studied for a lot of cool things, like its ability to increase fat burning, to increase muscle mass and for its ability to make your skin look younger by improving its hydration. While this research is still ongoing, it is starting to show an interesting relationship between GH levels, body composition and aging.

So my advice is simple. Whether you are following the Eat Stop Eat lifestyle or not, try doing ten minutes of intense exercise every single day. I’d suggest getting it done right before your morning shower (It could be a bodyweight circuit of Y-squats, push-ups, lunges, stick-ups). This way, your GH will be elevated at some point during every day of the week.

Every little bit helps,


Fasting and growth hormone

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

DHA - The secret to Fish Oils

After a nice little break attending conferences in Florida, I'm right back into attending seminars in Canada.

Normally, I probably would have taken a day or two off, but yesterday's seminar was on a topic I've always found somewhat confusing - fish oils.

After sitting through a very entertaining lecture, I can tell you that the most important thing you need to know about fish oils is actually the three letters. D-H-A.

These three letters stand for the omega 3 fatty acid Docosahexanoic Acid, but since that's a bit of a tongue twister, everyone just says "DHA".

For all purposes DHA is the reason omega-3 supplements are so popular right now.

DHA is the component of fish oil that plays an important role in the development of brains and eyes of children, and may play a role our brain development even as adults.

The 'Secret' of fish oil is that the daily intake of DHA in North America is incredibly low. North American women tend to average around 80 mg per day of DHA, while children under the of 3 have a daily intake of less than 20 mg. So even the smallest amount of extra DHA in your diet could double your intake!

Now, increasing your intake of omega-3 oils from plants like flax seeds or flax seed oil will do very little to help boost your DHA levels. As it turns out, the best way to increase your DHA levels is by eating DHA. And that means eating more fish, fish oils, or some of the new algae based products that have also appeared on the market.

Now, before you start saying "but Brad, I hate fish and I hate the fish burps I get from fish oil capsules", let me tell you the good news- There are other options.

The next time you go to the grocery store, keep an eye out for foods that now have extra DHA in them. There are eggs and milk that have the added DHA, and of course my favorite, the chocolate milk with DHA. A food that adds as little as 10 mg of DHA to your diet per serving could drastically improve your DHA intake.

Here's my tip for you today - If you don't like fish and don't like taking pills, you can increase your DHA with these new functional foods (and they still taste great). A little extra could go a long way in helping you reach optimal health.

Brad and the team at

PS- If you want to learn more about the health benefits of DHA you can visit the website

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

6 Pack Abs, Made Easy

I just got back from a long weekend of travel. I spent the past 4 days in Florida, talking with a very interesting group of fitness professionals about the benefits of Eat Stop Eat.

I literally spent the entire weekend "talking shop". I never even had the opportunity to step outside into the warm Florida sun, not even for five minutes! And trust me, since I live in Canada, I was really looking forward to the feeling of the warm Florida sun rays beating down on my face!

However, the weekend was amazing (even though I'm completely lacking any form of a tan).

Several times during the conference I was asked, "Brad, I've heard about your book, and I wanted to ask you, in your opinion what is the number one benefit of Eat Stop Eat?"
Depending on who I was talking to (the audience ranged from personal trainers to PhD's) my answer varied from talking about the improvements in insulin sensitivity, to the flexibility of the program and how easy it is to follow.

It wasn't until I was back in my hotel room, getting ready for bed after a long day of lectures and seminars that I realized, for me, the number one benefit of Eat Stop Eat is the way it makes me look.

I know this sounds conceited and maybe even a little vain, but its true. I like my abs.

I have been practicing the Eat Stop Eat method of flexible fasting combined with resistance training for over a year now, and for over a year, I have never been more than 5 pounds off of my goal weight.

There is a certain freedom to knowing that you have found a program that works well, fits easily into your lifestyle and is completely uncomplicated.

And, come to think of it, this is the main reason that I wrote Eat Stop Eat - because I wanted to share this feeling with you.

So, if you haven't had the chance to check out Eat Stop Eat, please take a look at the following website ==>

It could very well be the program that you've been looking for.The one that can give you the freedom to feel great about the way you look, without complicating the way you eat.


PS- Just so you know I practice what I preach, I made sure to do a flexibel 24 hour fast on my travel days, so I could avoid the tempting call of my airport Nemesis - The smell of Cinnabon.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Cereal, Kids and Diabetes

I woke up early this morning to find the following email in my in box from the American Diabetes Association.

"The number of children and adolescents with type 2 diabetes is on the rise as more and more kids become obese. The National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention co-sponsored the latest efforts of the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) to provide parents and teens with the tools necessary to reduce their risks of complications related to type 2 diabetes and manage their disease."

Considering the post I just wrote about snack foods and breakfast cereals, I thought this was very timely.


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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Snacking, Obesity, and Making Healthy Food Choices

Today I was in a mood for some snacks. So when I finally made it home and saw that my wife had bought my favorite breakfast cereal I knew it just had to be.

After I finished pouring myself a bowl, I noticed that the nutrition information was indicated for one cup of cereal. One Cup? This is what one cup of cereal looks like...

This made me curious, how much cereal do I usually 'free pour' for myself? After measuring my cereal I was shocked to find that I usually pour 3 cups of cereal for myself. Now, my bowl was not overflowing with cereal...In fact I think it looked pretty normal. Here's a picture...

To make sure I was not just being a little over zealous with my pouring, I had my wife pour herself a bowl, with instructions to pour an "average amount". This is what she poured...

She poured a little over two cups of cereal. Since the recommended amount of cereal is one cup, and I poured myself 3 cups, and my wife poured a little over 2 cups, I decided to take the middle ground and look at the nutritional profile for two cups of cereal. It looks like this...
Calories 460
Fat 9 g (saturated 3 g)
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 210 mg
Potassium 820 mg
Carbohydrates 86 g
Fibre 8 g
Sugars 26 g
Protein 10 g
WOW. So what I was about to eat as my "Snack" was going to be almost 1,000 Calories (3 cups of cereal with a cup of skim milk).
But let's stick with the 2 cups of cereal and compare it to my other favorite snack...

The nutrition profile for a Dairy Milk looks like this..

Calories 220
Fat 12 g (saturated 7 g)
Cholesterol 10 mg
Sodium 70 mg
Potassium NA
Carbohydrates 26 g
Fibre 1 g
Sugars 22 g
Protein 4 g

So, the question is, which one is the better snack?

I compared the middle ground of the cereal intake (2 cups) to one bar of Dairy Milk (Even on a really bad day, I couldn't eat two chocolate bars in a row and not feel gross)

The cereal has added vitamins and minerals, has 6 grams more protein, 7 grams more fibre and 4 grams less saturated fat than the chocolate bar.
However, the candy bar has 24o less calories, 60 grams less carbohydrates and 4 grams less sugar than the cereal.
Comparing the ratios of protein to carbs, the cereal has a 1:8.5 ratio of proteins to carbs (I rounded down) while the candy bar has a protein to carbs ratio of 1:6.5.

So the question becomes is 6 grams of protein, 7 grams of fibre and 4 grams less saturated fat more important than the extra 240 calories, 60 grams of carbohydrates and 4 grams of sugar?

To tell you the truth, I'm not sure which is the better snack. I'm leaning towards saying the Diary Milk would be the healthier option, because I have a hard time beleiving the health benefits of an extra 6 grams of protein and 7 grams of fibre are worth the extra 60 grams of carbohydrates, however I know I can eat 3 cups of cereal and feel alright, but if I ate 3 Dairy Milks in a row, I'd be hurting. (which could be viewed as benefit as I simply cannot overeat chocolate to the degree I could with cereals)

My final point is that I think this little experiment illustrates the fact that when we are pointing fingers and proclaiming that certain food groups are causing our obesity crisis and our failing health, we may want to be careful who we are pointing at and why we are pointing at them.


PS- I'd love to hear your opinion...which do you think is the healtheir snack?

PPS- With Thanksgiving fast approaching, and the Winter Holidays after that, maybe it's time you took a look at my weight loss program Eat Stop Eat, and avoid the winter 10.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Food, Not Specific Nutrients, May Be Key to Good Health

Here is a review of a very interesting bit of research that was published in last month's Journal of Nutrition Reviews.

Food, Not Specific Nutrients, May Be Key to Good Health

In a way, this exemplify's both Eat Stop Eat and Nutrition by Addition, as it points to focusing on food, rather than specific nutrients in your approach to overall health.

Happy Reading,


PS - I received an absolutely amazing email from someone who has lost an impressive amount of weight while making some quality changes in his life, including incorporating the Eat Stop Eat of fasting for weight loss. You can read his email as the bottom of this page => HERE

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

How much protein do you need to build muscle?

The idea that you need massive amounts of protein in your diet in order to build muscle is one that will probably never go away. While I agree that many of us need to eat a little more protein than we typically do, I don't think we need super-mega amounts in order to pack on muscle.

In a really interesting study published back in 1996, 43 men who were experienced weight lifters took part in a study that involved exercise and weekly injections of testosterone enanthate for 10 weeks.

Yep, these boys were on steroids for the benefit of science!

They were divided into 4 groups.

  • The first group performed no exercise and didn't get any steroids.
  • The second group performed exercise but didn't get steroids,
  • The third group didn't exercise but received the weekly injections and
  • The fourth group exercised and received the injections.

As you can imagine after 10 weeks of lifting weights 3 times per week, the group that was receiving the steroid injections gained over 13 pounds of muscle.

The group who were just working out didn't do too bad either, packing on almost 4.5 pounds of muscle in only ten weeks.

The guys who sat around doing nothing for 10 weeks but received the steroid injections still had an increase in lean mass (almost 6 pounds), while the group who received no steroids and didn't workout did not see any change in their lean mass.

So what does a study on steroids have to do with nutrition? well, all four groups were on the same diet. They were all consuming about 0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight and about 16 Calories per pound of body weight.

What this shows is that for a group taking steroids while exercising, 120 grams of protein per day was enough to supply the amount of protein needed to allow for a 13.5 pound gain in lean mass!

It was also the same amount of protein the the exercise only group ate to gain 4.5 pounds, and the other groups ate to see their gains, (or lack thereof).

What this shows is that for the groups who saw less gains in lean mass then the steroid group, the amount of protein that they ate was not what determined how much muscle they gained. The workouts and the steroids did that.

In the end, protein is important, but as this study shows, 0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight is enough daily protein to allow for a 13.5 pound increase in lean mass in 10 weeks. It's also enough to allow for a 4.5 pound increase in people not taking steroids, which is still very impressive muscle growth for a ten week period!


For those of us who are not 'pharmaceutically enhanced' this study helps support the idea that your workout is the most important part of your muscle building journey.

Get a great workout, put in a great effort, see great results, it might just be that simple.

PS - If you are looking for my recommendation on a great quality workout, then Turbulence Training is where it is at. You can check out Craig Ballantyne's Turbulence Training programs by clicking HERE.

(Bhasin S, et al. The New England Journal of Medicine. 335(1), 1-7)

Interested in learning more about fasting for weight loss? Then click HERE

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Tom Venuto vs. grrlAthlete and Eat Stop Eat

If you are a regular reader of fitness and nutrition blogs, then there is a great chance that you have heard the name Tom Venuto. Tom is a well respected authority in the online weight loss community.

So why am I blogging about Tom?

Well in one of Tom's recent blog posts the issue of starvation mode was discussed (You can read it HERE). Specifically, Tom discusses an unnamed email that he disagrees with.

While I respect the fact that Tom blanked out the website name, but he didn't need to. The email was from the grrlAthlete newsletter. And since I'm involved in this site I stand behind the newsletter and its contents.

Here is a little background for you, Tom makes a living selling a weight loss program that "is based on keeping you OUT of starvation mode or minimizing its effects", while my program Eat Stop Eat, is based on the idea that when it comes to short periods of fasting combined with weight training, starvation mode does not exist.

pretty confusing. Two guys saying two completely different things about what sounds like the exact same thing. Well let's take a deeper look.

Firstly, the point of the grrlathlete email was that "starvation mode" as defined by most diet people as "a reaction to a caloric decrease that causes your body to slow down its metabolism and actually store more fat WHILE you are dieting", does not exist.

Our argument is based on the fact that your metabolism is largely based on your lean mass. In studies where people are dieting but their lean mass is maintained through resistance training, there is no reduction in metabolic rate.

Secondly, in periods of complete caloric restriction, LPL and HSL activity (the enzymes that regulate the movement of fat in your body) change to encourage the movement of fat out of your fat stores into your blood and to your muscles where they can be burnt for fuel. If you body was actually storing fat, this enzyme activity would need to be reversed, and this just doesn't seem to happen.

So far I think Tom would agree with our points, they definitely make logical sense and are backed by a considerable number of scientific studies.

In fact, I think his post points out one of the major problems that we have with "starvation mode" - that it lacks a solid definition.

For instance, Tom states out that there is a large amount of research that points out that in studies where lean body mass is reduced considerably, not only is metabolic rate lowered, but it is lower than would be expected by the loss in lean body mass alone.

I have no problems with this statement. When someone loses considerable amounts of lean mass there are many metabolic ramifications of this loss, including many hormonal changes. Again, this is a result of the loss of lean mass, and not the caloric restriction per say. So again, his point is the same as our point - caloric restriction doesn't slow down metabolism, but loss in lean body mass does and a loss in lean mass can have a snowball effect on lowering your metabolism.

The most troubling part of Tom's post was the reference to the Minnesota Experiment, a very old study conducted in the 1940's that studied the effect of 6 months of starvation on healthy male subjects. Now there are a lot of issues with this experiment that I'm positive Tom nor any other fitness expert would agree with.

For instance, The men in the trial started off already very skinny - 5'10" and about 150 pounds was the average. This would correspond to a BMI of under 21. I'm sure if someone with these same measurements came to Tom for advice he would tell them to start weight training and put on some muscle.

But instead of starting a solid weight training program, they reduce their calories down to as low as 1500 Calories for 6 months.

Not only this but they also had to walk 22 miles a week! that's over 3 miles a day of long slow boring cardio...the equivalent of walking on a treadmill for an hour every day...something that goes directly against the muscle preserving advice of Fitness Experts Like Craig Ballantyne, John Barban and Tom Venuto.

Now, getting back to starvation mode. The point of the original email was that caloric restriction does not cause a decrease in metabolic rate, but rather that a loss of muscle mass is what causes metabolic rate to slow down.

So did the people in the Minnesota experiment lose muscle...well, based on these pictures, I'd say yes!

Before and after pics of a subject from the Minnesota Experiment. Two things to notice 1) This subject was VERY skinny to begin with 2) This subject obviously lost muscle mass over the course of the study.

The bottom line is that the Minnesota Experiment did not control for changes in lean mass, nor did many of the other early studies on caloric restriction. This is why many early nutrition studies say that caloric restriction causes a reduction in metabolic rate, and why these studies are confounded.

Lastly, Tom points out that contrary to what was stated in the grrlAthlete email, Starvation mode is actually a scientific term that describes starvation induced increases in "food seeking behavior". Again, you can see the problem with starvation mode and its very vague definition.

If this is the official definition of starvation mode, than it may very well exist in this regard, but this is VERY different from the "starvation mode" as defined in the typical diet literature of "caloric restriction causing a decreased metabolic rate and increased fat storage".

The take home point here is that I stand by the statement that caloric restriction does not cause a decreased metabolic rate and increased fat storage. It is a decrease in lean mass that causes these effects, and this decrease in lean mass can be prevented by a proper weight training program.

Hope this helps,


PS- With regards to the question, "who is right?" I am hoping this post helps clarify that in a way, we are both right, and under that same pretense its important for me to say that I do not believe that my Eat Stop Eat is the only road to weight loss.

I believe that short term periods of fasting for weight loss are an incredibly effective and easy method, but it is by no means the only method. I'm sure that Tom Venuto's program "Burn the fat" and other program like John Berardi's "Precision Nutrition" are also very effective. Different but effective.

At the end of the day the key is finding a program you can stay on long term, because finding the right diet that works for YOU and combining it with a solid resistance training program is the key to succesful, long term weight loss.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

How to Burn More Fat

Adam Campbell over at the Men's Health Blog does a great job of explaining why lifting weights is such a vital part of any weight loss routine.

Weight lifting (or any form of resistance training) helps you burn more fat while on a diet then you would with just the diet alone.

You can read Adam's post HERE, and be sure to check out the great graph!


PS- Even my program EAT STOP EAT isn't just about meal timing and short periods of fasting for weight loss - it is the combination of short periods of fasting combined with resistance exercise. I truly believe that this combination is the key to long term weight loss success!

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Resveratrol in Peanuts?

Here's a quick nutrition tip for you.

Resveratrol is a interesting chemical found in several plant species that is currently being studied for its possible anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects.

While Resveratrol is commonly known to be found in red grapes, blueberries, cranberries and red wine, you can also find high sources in peanuts.

An ounce of peanuts can contain as much as 70 micrograms of Resveratrol, about the same amount as in a half ounce of red wine.

Since many people associate the Red colour of red wines and grapes with their Resveratrol content you may be wondering why peanuts aren't red (since they contain so much Resveratrol). It turns out Resveratrol is only red at certain pH's (acidic environments), otherwise it has a neutral color!


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Monday, October 29, 2007

Cholesterol, Red Yeast Extract and Health

It was about a month ago that I attended a seminar that was covering the health benefits of red yeast extract. During this seminar I heard some pretty convincing evidence supporting the beneficial effects that supplemental red yeast extract has had on cholesterol levels in various clinical trials.

As a scientist, I tried my best to pick apart the research, however that data was fairly convincing. I left the seminar open to the idea that red yeast extract may hold promise for its beneficial effects of lowering cholesterol.

This morning I read in an issue of Nutrition Outlook Magazine that stated that some red yeast extract products have been pulled from the market because they were adulterated with Lovastatin, a cholesterol lowering drug.

Now, this has me wondering, what kind of red yeast extract was used in the scientific trials? Did they also contain Lovastatin, and can that account for the cholesterol lowering effects that were observed?

While most likely we will never know the answers to this question, and I am sure that not all red yeast extract products have been adulterated, this kind of thing does make me even more hesitant about the efficacy (and safety) of herbal supplements.

This is another reason why I like the simplicity of using exercise combined with caloric restriction or short periods of fasting for weight loss purposes- you are getting the health benefits (including improvements in cholesterol profiles) simply by eating less, so you don't have to worry about what might, or might not be, in your functional food.

In this regard, you can think of eating less as "functional NO food".


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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Eat Stop Eat - 1 Year Anniversary

Just a quick note today to point out that this time last year was the very first time I tried a 24 hour fast.

By now, I had collected over a hundred papers on the topic of short-term fasting, and was starting to put "pen to paper".

I can honestly say, I don't think I'll ever go back.


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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fasting and Fat Loss

I spent the morning catching up on some reading today, and came across a very interesting study in Acta Physiologica Scandinavia - The journal of the Scandinavian physiological society. In this study the effects of a 3-day fast on regional lipid and glucose metabolism was examined.

The authors found the typical benefits that are associated with fasting:

  • No decrease in Energy Expenditure - metabolic rate DID NOT slow down

  • A decrease in RQ - indicating an increase in fat burning

  • Increased blood flow - some very impressive numbers, I challenge any "NO" supplement to show this kind of data!!

  • Decreased blood insulin levels - Considered to be one of the major health benefits of fasting

  • Increased glucagon levels - more reliance on body fat as a fuel source

  • Increased Growth Hormone levels - Anybody who has read Eat Stop Eat knows that I think this is one of the major keys behind the benefits of fasting

  • Increased noradrenaline - More fat burning hormones

  • No increase in cortisol - No reason to think that muscle is being broken down

One of the major things that caught my eye in this paper was the great graph showing the change in fuel sources that were fueling metabolism.

You'll notice that the amount of calories being burned are roughly the same (about 2000 Kcals), however during fasting a lot more of these calories are coming from fat. And, since the subjects were not eating any fat while fasting, this fat must have been body fat.

Another interesting finding was that the majority of this fat was either stomach fat or muscle fat.

While I would not recommend fasting for 3 days straight (I prefer 24 hours), this study does add evidence to the idea that fasting can be an effective method of reducing calorie intake, and does not negatively effect metabolic rate, or muscle mass.


(Gjedsted J, Gormsen LC, Nielsen S, et al. Effects of a 3-day fast on regional lipid and glucose metabolism in human skeletal muscle and adipose tissue. Acta Physiol 2007, 191, 205-216.)

To learn more about fasting for weight loss, you can check out Eat Stop Eat

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Monday, October 22, 2007

More "Nutrition by Addition"

Here are a couple great "Nutrition by Addition" ideas:

1. Instead of using lettuce in your sandwich try using Basil or even Mint leaves.

Basil has been studied for its oxidant protective abilities, and for its relatively high Vitamin K content, while extracts from mint are currently being studied for their potential in Cancer Treatment.

2. Add rosemary to any Egg Dish

Rosemary is currently being studied for having anti-inflammatory properties.

3. Add Dried Cranberries to a Spinach Salad.

Cranberries are being studied for their potential in Diabetes treatment. Be careful to avoid certain brands of dried cranberries as they have been soaked in extra sugar.


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Is Peanut Butter Safe?

The other day, I was having a conversation with several nutrition graduate students when someone made the comment that peanut butter is a "terrible food".

I've always personally thought that there really is no such thing as a terrible food, or even a bad food for that matter. Tome, it is always a matter of moderation and variety.

The problem with peanut butter is the presence of two certain strains of mold - Aspergillus Flavus and Aspergillus Parasiticus. While we can't see either of these molds with the naked eye, they are almost always present in peanut butter(and many varieties of nuts, corn, grains, spices, soybeans,beer and milk for that matter).

The trouble with these molds is that they secrete a natural mycotoxin called aflatoxin, a known carcinogen that can cause liver cancer in laboratory animals.

In 1965, the USDA set standards for acceptable levels of aflatoxin in peanuts. Every peanut sheller is required by the USDA to have every lot of peanuts tested by a government-approved lab prior to shipping. Any that are found to be in excess of 20 parts per billion (ppb) are not allowed for sale for human consumption. However, many health professionals feel that this standard may be too high, and should be lowered.

Since it seems inevitable that Peanut butter will contain some amount of aflatoxin, it begs the question why eat it at all?

Well firstly, It's a cheap source of protein, niacin, vitamin B6,and artery-friendly monounsaturated fats. Secondly, it just tastes good, and good tasting food is hard to avoid (mind you, people with peanut allergies are very good at it).

You could just try and 'replace' peanut butter with a substitute, but unfortunately, great tasting peanut butter alternatives like almond butter and my personal favorite cashew butter, also run the risk of containing aflatoxins. And,although a study conducted by the FSA in 2000-2001 suggests that these peanut butter alternatives may have lower contents of aflatoxins, the truth is, they will still contain some aflatoxins.

For the most part, exposure to aflatoxins seems unavoidable with the typical North American diet. Again, increasing the variety of foods you eat seems to be an appropriate course of action when dealing with Aflatoxins, so try other nut butters including Almond, sunflower and cashew.

The best course of action is most likely to try your best to increase the amounts of fruits and vegetables in your diet. After all, if you can't help but eat small amounts of cancer causing agents every day, it makes sense to offset this by eating very large amounts of cancer fighting agents, like the ones found in fruits and vegetables.


PS- Another key to combating the potentially harmful impact of mycotoxins in your diet is to reduce the amount of food you eat. Research conducted on the benefits of caloric restriction and intermittent periods of short term fasting have shown that they can lower the risk of certain types of cancer and suppress tumor growth.

PPS- If you are interested in a diet plan that utilizes a super easy and effective method of using short periods of fasting as a way to reduce calories then check out Eat Stop Eat

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Why should I eat more herbs and spices?

You may have noticed that part of my "mantra" for healthy nutrition includes eating lots of nuts, herbs and spices.

There is a very good reason why you should include as much variety of thse foods into your diet as possible...

Back when I worked in the supplement industry I was always amused when ever I looked through the list of potential new ingredients that had strong supporting research behind their effects.

The list typically looked something like this: Green tea extract, cinnamon extract, raspberry extract, pine nut extract, curcumin, cayenne pepper extract, mint, basil, rosemary...

Notice anything about this list?

These are all ingredients that you could be adding to your diet, especially if you are following the principle of nutrition by addition. Many of these ingredients are currently being studied for their potential to have positive effects on some very important markers of health, such as helping to manage healthy insulin levels, cholesterol levels and some of the more complex areas of body weight regulation.

The funny thing is, I often wonder if these ingredients would still be considered potential "functional foods" if we ate them more often. I believe that nuts, herbs and spices are one of the missing links in North American Health. If we ate them more often, then we would be regularly reaping their health benefits, and wouldn't need some fancy label like "functional foods" to describe them!

Take pinolenic acid for example. This compound is currently being studied for its potential beneficial effects on several ofthe 'hunger hormones' that regulate our feelings of hunger.
This ingredient has some big potential and, most likely will be available in a pill sometime in the very near future.

Of course, instead of buying the pill, you could always get it in its natural form by adding a handful of pine nuts to your salad.

A perfect example of Nutrition by Addition and the importance of eating a variety of nuts, herbs and spices.


PS - Here is what Craig Ballantyne had to say after he read Eat Stop Eat:

"This book will question everything you've ever been told about eating for fat loss. Bodybuilder mags have hyped up their eating & created inhuman workout programs for one reason - to sell supplements. That's right. Most nutrition programs are "designed" just to sell you stuff like protein powder and expensive post-workout sugar drinks. Brad's book turns the industry upside down and shows you how to eat normally, while making one slight, easy change that could bethe missing link in your fat loss nutrition program."

You can learn more about fasting for weight loss by going here

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Nutrition by Addition & The Book "Deceptively Delicious"

I've always been a fan of nutrition by addition. The idea that you have to constantly avoid the foods you like in order to eat healthy is nonsense. Sometimes the best way to add nutritious foods to your diet is by adding them to things that are traditionally "bad" for you.

Take chocolate cake for example. I love chocolate cake (actually, I love anything chocolate). One single slice of chocolate cake can have as much as 300 Calories, 40 grams of sugar and almost no fiber. But, if you top that piece of cake with a whole cup of raspberries you add only 60 Calories, with over 8 grams of fiber, and over 30 mg of Vitamin C. A perfect example of nutrition by addition!

Yesterday, my wife picked up a cookbook that she heard about on Oprah. It's called "Deceptively Delicious" and it is written by Jessica Seinfeld (Yes, she's married to Jerry). As usual I was skeptical, but WOW this book is full of great ideas for nutrition by addition!

I highly recommend "Deceptively Delicious" to anyone with picky eaters in their household, or who are looking for creative and fun ways to practice nutrition by addition.


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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Every Other Day Fasting - Why I'm not a Fan

Lately, I've noticed a lot of people are trying out fasting for weight loss. There are lots of different types of fasting methods you can use, from the Eat Stop Eat method of fasting once or twice a week, to a more stict form where you fast every other day.

Personally, I'm not a fan of every other day fasting. I've tried it and found it to be too restricting. One of my stongest beleifs when it comes to nutrition is that any plan you are on must not only be effective, but it also needs to be flexible and easy for it to succeed long term, and with every other day fasting I definetly new I was on a diet.

Now I wont aruge with the fact that you can see some great results with this type of protocol, I just couldn't be on a diet that was that controlled for too long before I'd get tired of it.

That's why I prefer the Eat Stop Eat method, and another method I recently learned about while reading the will work for Abs blog . The method is called "Lean gains" and involves shorter periods of fasting (16 hours). The cool thing is that Martin Berkhan, the author of this method, actually uses it with his clients as a form of fasting to gain muscle!

Its a very interesting concept and one I will have to look into further. I've exchanged some emails with Martin and found him to be very knoweledgable and logical. His site is worth checking out. ==>

That's all for now,


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Monday, October 08, 2007

How to be a Healthy Vegetarian

In my opinion there are two types of vegetarians. You can either be a healthy vegetarian or a box vegetarian. And personally, I think box vegetarians are some of the most unhealthy people in the world.

A healthy vegetarian, is a person who has decided not to eat all, or some, forms of animal products, and instead has turned to a diet extremely high in a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes. These types of vegetarians tend to be better than average cooks, and are extremely creative in the kitchen.

Box vegetarians on the other hand, are people who has decided not to eat all, or some, forms of animal products and instead live off of anything and everything that comes in a box (cereal, pasta, crackers) and occasionally have some fruits and veggies to go along with their box food.

It doesn't matter if you are a vegetarian or a die-hard meat eater, at no point should the majority of the foods you eat be boxed foods.


PS- the key to avoiding box foods is knowing how to shop properly. Check out this blog for a very impressive grocery list, and to get some ideas for your next meal!

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Are 24 Hour Fasts a Fad?

Well, it finally happened. I knew it would happen sooner or later, so I can't say I'm surprised.

Someone referred to my book Eat Stop Eat as a "fad diet". Now, I know for a fact that this person hasn't actually read my book, so really they were implying that using fasting for weight loss was a "fad diet". In particular, I think what this person was trying to point out was that long term, prolonged fasts aren't ideal for weight loss...which could be the farthest thing from what Eat Stop Eat recommends...but I digress..

This particular person felt the need to point out that "weight control and body composition changes are achieved by healthy nutrition, sensible dieting and an active lifestyle."

hmmm, interesting. Lets take a look at exactly how Eat Stop Eat fits into this description.

Firstly, in the united states, the US Dietary Guidelines describe a "healthy diet" as one that:

  • Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products;
  • Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts;
  • Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars; and
  • Stays within daily calorie needs.

You'll notice two things. Right away, the US Dietary Guidelines make no mention of how many times you should eat in a day, nor do they mention anything about the ideal amount of time in between each meal (For my Canadian friends, the Canadian Guidelines for Healthy Eating doesn't mention any form of recommendation for the amount of times in a day you should eat or an ideal amount of time in between each meal either) .

Second, compare the bullets above to the following statement...

"Eat less, but enjoy the foods you eat. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and lots of herbs and spices. And maybe most importantly, spend less time stressing over the types of food you are eating."

This is my own personal "golden rule of eating" that I share in Eat Stop Eat.

Finally, Eat Stop Eat is not just a specific method of using short term fasting for weight loss. It is a specific method of using resistance exercise AND short term fasting for weight loss.

Thus, by all accounts using brief periods of fasting (especially the Eat Stop Eat method where you still eat everyday) in combination with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, can be considered within the scope of the US Dietary Guidelines and if followed correctly, an effective tool in a person's on going quest for health nutrition and sensible weight loss.


If you are interested in learning more about using 24 hour fasts for weight loss, then check out my book Eat Stop Eat

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

How Much Cadio Should I Do?

I just read an article in a fitness magazine that was titled "How to walk away the pounds".

While this particular article had good intentions, I don't think cardio (especially walking) is an effective tool for weight loss. Consider this, if you are of average weight, you would have to walk 5 miles to burn an extra 500 calories a day. Even at a fairly fast pace, it would take you about an hour to walk 5 miles. That's a lot of work just to burn 500 calories.

If you kept your calorie intake exactly the same over the course of the week, and managed to walk for an extra hour a day at a fairly fast pace, you may be able to burn of an extra pound of fat per week.

This is assuming that the amount of calories you eat over the course of a week is EXACTLY equal to the amount you need to stay at your current weight. If you were overeating even slightly during this week, then the extra walking would have even less of an effect.

7 hours of exercise for a maximum of 1 pound of fat loss is not a very efficient use of anyone's time! And, while walking 7 days a week may be possible now, think about what it might feel like during the winter months!

This is why I believe that eating for weight loss is much more effective than trying to 'sweat off' the pounds.

With the proper nutrition plan reducing the amount of calories you eat by 500 calories can be almost effortless.

I have found that the very best, most efficient way to lose weight is to combine a solid weight loss nutrition program with a resistance training program. The nutrition program helps you lose weight by creating a caloric deficit and the resistance training preserves your muscle mass and metabolic rate.

Once you have these two "pillars" in place then you can sprinkle in a little bit of extra walking, but think of this as more of a recovery exercise that helps you clear your mind and de-stress (with a bonus of being able to help burn some calories), rather than counting on it to really make 'you shed the pounds.'


PS- Typical cardio machines like treadmills have been found to over-estimate the amount of calories they burn by 15-20%, so be careful when estimating how effective these machines are at tracking your calorie burning efforts.

Is fasting for weight loss effective?

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Fasting and Muscle Endurance

Alright, I finished Craig Ballatyne's 500 Workout.

I don't think that guy likes fact, I think he's trying to kill me!

The workout was super intense. I promised Craig I wouldn't give away the entire workout as its available to his members at, however I can tell you this - I don't think I have ever done that many reps in a workout out before, especially of body weight rows (talk about fried rear-delts!)

I managed to get into the gym around 2:30, exactly 24 hours into my fast. I warmed up for about 4 minutes then got right into the workout.

24 minutes and 44 seconds later, I was sweating, my heart was pounding out my chest, my arms were ridiculously pumped, and..I was done.

The lessons learnt for me were:

1) Craig has designed a wicked workout

2) You can accomplish some very good feats of muscular endurace after what was essentially a one day fast.

I tip my hat to the guys in the NFL who are fasting right now!


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Fasting and Athletic Performance

Last night I decided to take a little break from working and watch some television. I flipped to the sports highlight channel and was able to watch the highlights from a couple of this weekend's football games.

Boy was I glad I did!

The announcers were discussing college football and in particular the Washington State Cougars. Apparently, one of their players on the Cougars fasts for religious purposes, and during this particular game, he was right in the middle of a fairly lengthy month of fasting (He does not eat or drink during the daylight hours).

Now this player wasn't fasting for weight loss, and his one day fasts are not a full 24 hours, like the fasts I use for Eat Stop Eat, however they are 15 hours, and they are ever day for a month, and they include no liquids at all, so they are definitely very intense! So this athlete was able to play a very high level sport that involves very explosive and intense periods of activity, that can go on for hours, without any food or drink!

Even more interesting is that his older brother plays in the NFL, so he would be fasting during NFL games - talk about intense.

I often weight train and play sports during my fasts, however after hearing about these two brothers I have decided to do something a little more intense during today's fast.

I have begged and pleaded with Craig Ballantyne from to give me an advanced copy of his new "500 workout".

I'm going to do the workout at some point today...hopefully around 1 pm, which would put me about 22 hours into a fast.

I promised Craig I wouldn't give away the exact details about his workout, however I will post about how hard it was and my experiences doing this sort of extreme exercise while fasted.


Learn more about the benefits of using one day fasts for weight loss

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Reading Nutrition Research

A quick post today on some of the "tools of the trade" you need to properly read research.

It seems every time I visit an Internet message board someone is quoting research papers to help support their argument about why supplement X builds muscle, or how food Y can cut fat.

As a reader, you should be very, very skeptical when you see this sort of thing, because as many academics are fond of saying, "there are studies, and then there are studies".

Confused? I'll try to help with a quick example.

Every now and then major research journals put out special "supplementary" issues that contain a bunch of research studies that are all on a similar topic. The entire supplement may contain research on soy, or growth hormone, or may be entirely on the topic of fat loss.

While this makes for easy reading (all your research is in one place), it introduces a heightened level of potential bias (a better chance that the outcome of the research was skewed towards a beneficial finding).

You see, According to Dr. Marion Nestle (author of Food Politics) these supplementary issues (or supplements) are expensive to produce and are often paid for in part by corporate sponsors with interest in that particular area of research.

For example, if I had millions of dollars to spare, I might sponsor a supplement on the topic of fasting for weight loss, in the hopes that the research within this supplement might increase the sales of my book Eat Stop Eat.

To make matters even more confusing, if I had millions, I might have also paid for the actual research that was conducted, thus paying for the research and the journal it is published in!

Marion Nestle points out that when this occurs "nutrition journal supplements also tend to highlight the benefits of particular foods or diets in which the sponsors have some interest."

In other words, if I sponsored a supplement on fasting, I increase the chances that the research in that journal would find a positive, beneficial result.

Because research journals are expensive to produce, they can take as much as tens of millions of dollars in the form of drug and food company advertising and sponsorship to help subsidize their cost for publication.

Unfortunately this can add a certain level of conflict of interest to the research in question.

Here's a tip- when research comes from a supplement it has the letter "s" next to its page numbers. This can be considered a signal to readers that the articles may not have undergone the same type of rigorous peer review as is customary in regular journal issues.

When reviewing research on a particular topic, it is important to make sure that you review the research from a number of different journals and different authors. This will help reduce the chance that their was any conflict of interest biasing the results of the research.

And never, ever take the conclusions of 1 paper as fact.


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Monday, September 17, 2007

FTC Slams Weight Loss Book!

As the author of a book that promotes fasting for weight loss, I was a little concerned when I read that the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has charged Kevin Trudeau with misrepresenting the contents of his book, 'The Weight Loss Cure 'They' Don't Want You to Know About'.

According to FTC, Trudeau claims that his weight loss plan is not only easy to carry out, but also can be done at home - allowing consumers to eat what they want.

I can tell you that when I first read this statement it really worried me. I also claim that Eat Stop Eat is easy to carry out, and that it can be done at home..or at a restaurant...(honestly, I really don't understand that last comment, what diet program can you NOT do at home?)

However, luckily, this is where the similarities end.

According to, the contents of Trudeau's book, "reveal a complex and grueling plan requiring a severe diet, daily injections of a prescription drug, and lifelong dietary restrictions. FTC also claims consumers cannot easily purchase the drug in question."

Daily Injections of a prescription drug?? Now I see why the FTC were more than a little miffed at Mr. Trudeau!

The FTC have long maintained their position that you cannot find weight loss in miracle pills or fad diets, and I wholeheartedly agree with them.

In my opinion, the best method for weight loss is slow and steady progress using a diet that is sustainable, flexible and effective combined with some form of regular physical activity.

It really should not be anymore complicated than that.

My advice for weight loss is to find a diet that works for you, find a form of exercise you enjoy, commit to a healthy, rewarding lifestyle where you do not stress over what you eat, and do not feel guilty for eating the foods you like. If you can find these components and add them to your life, you will lose weight.


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Monday, September 10, 2007

Why are Fruits and Vegetables so Important?

Ever wonder why health experts always recommend eating lots of fruits and vegetables? Well, I can't speak for everyone, but my reason is simple: I recommend fruits and vegetables because it is impossible to get fat from eating them!
In fact, I think when it comes to fruits and vegetables, You just can't eat too much of them.

Here is an example to illustrate my point. A typical bacon double cheeseburger contains around 700 Kcals. Well, to get that same amount of calories from only eating fruits and vegetables you would have to eat:
  • 1 cup of strawberries
  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • 1 cup of sliced pear
  • 1 cup of sliced cucumber
  • 1 cup of chopped peppers
  • 1 whole banana
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 whole sweet onion
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 third cup of sliced almonds (thrown in to add some protein and fat)
It takes over 9 cups of Food just to equal the same amount of calories in a bacon double cheeseburger! To give you an idea of what all this food would look like take a look at this picture:

(one of these foods does not belong!)

In case you are wondering what that would look like put together into a meal, check out this picture:

(A salad for four, with a massive fruit dessert, or one bacon double cheeseburger, hold the fries)

Now, lets say that you need to eat about 3,500 calories to start putting on fat. If you were to try and eat this amount of calories from only fruits and veggies, you would need to eat that fruit salad (which could easily serve two people) and that veggie salad (which served four people at my house) FIVE times per day! Trust me, I had a hard enough time trying to get through one serving by myself, doing five in a day is next to impossible!

And this is the miracle of fruits and vegetables, they taste great and they take up a lot of space.

Here is where it gets really fun...If you make a point to eat lots of fruits and vegetables you can also eat things like a bacon double cheeseburger. Take a look at the picture of the salads and burger again. The total calorie content in that picture is around 1,400 Calories. A number low enough that just about any one would LOSE weight eating this amount of calories! In fact, you could easily throw in a good breakfast and still be eating around 1,700 calories, and be very, very full.

In fact, I did just that. With one exception. I added 150 Calories in the form of icecream to the Fruit bowl.

(Looks great, but even this was a massive amount of food to eat)

So for the day, I had two hard boiled eggs for breakfast, a massive salad for lunch (which took a lot of effort to finish), a bacon double cheeseburger for dinner and a very large bowl of fruit and ice-cream for dessert, and still managed to eat under 2,000 Calories AND I was absolutely stuffed by the end of the day.

Bottom line is if you concentrate on eating lots of fruits and vegetables, you can have treats like icecream and burgers.


Fasting Diet, Circuit Training

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Monday, September 03, 2007

How Much Protein Do We Really Need To Eat?

Protein could be one of the most popular and controversial topics in all of nutrition. It's become the golden child of muscle building and fat loss. Wanna build big muscles? Eat your protein. Wanna lose fat and look like a fitness model? Eat your protein. After all, everyone knows you need to eat a minimum of 30 grams of protein every two to three hours.

Back in my earlier years, I drank my protein shakes and ate my protein bars. I would constantly keep my protein intake up around 250 grams per day. Why? Because I thought it scientifically PROVEN that more protein equaled more muscle.

But now I'm not so sure.

Let's take a look at one of the research studies that the super-high protein advocates always use to 'prove' that eating protein after a workout makes you build muscle.

If you were in this study, this is how your day would have gone...

You would show up at a research lab around 10 PM, and you would go to sleep (no eating). The researchers would wake you up around 6 AM and start poking and probing you (again no eating). After a bunch of weighing and measurements, you would start working out around 9 still haven't eaten yet.

This would be one of the toughest workouts you have ever done. Most likely you would do 10 sets of 8 reps on the leg press machine, followed by 8 sets of 8 reps on the leg extension machine. All of your reps would be done at 80% of your one rep max. Like I said, one brutal workout. It's about 10am now, still haven't eaten.

After your workout you would be given a drink that contains 3 to 6 grams of essential amino acids (the same amount of amino acids found in a glass of milk).

After that, the researchers would take measurements for the next 4 hours and measure your rate of 'protein synthesis'.

This is pretty much the standard protocol for these types of studies.

And guess what they found? An increase in protein synthesis over those four hours.
So what does this prove? It proves that if you haven't eaten since 10 PM the night before, do a brutal workout at 9 AM the next morning, and drink a glass of milk, you will increase your protein synthesis for four hours!

So much for needing 30 grams of protein, and so much for needing protein every couple hours.
You know what else? The only reason I say protein synthesis increases for 4 hours is because after 4 hours the researchers stopped measuring. Who knows how long you would have stayed in a muscle building state. Some researchers have estimated that a single workout can put you into 'muscle building mode' for as long as 48 hours after your workout!

Even more interesting is that researchers have found similar results when they made people drink the amino acids before their workout, and even when they made them wait and drink the amino acids a couple hours after their workout!

Here's another example, for you to consider.

In a research trial conducted on people who were over 50 years old and had chronic renal insufficiency (real bad kidneys) researchers explored the idea that resistance training could counteract the low protein diets that these people had to be on because of their medical condition.

On average these subject were eating under 0.3 grams of protein per pound of body weight. To put that into perspective, a 180 pound man would be eating about 50 grams of protein per day! For 12 weeks!

So what the researchers were thinking was 'since these people were on such low protein diets, for extended periods of time, muscle loss is definitely a risk. However, maybe if we made them weight train, we could prevent this from happening'.

Sounds like a good idea to me.

At the end of the study, the subject working out 3 times per week maintained there body weight, while the group that was not lifting weights lost about 7 pounds.

The group lifting weights also saw increases in muscle strength and muscle size. While the group not weight training lost some muscle and a little bit of strength.

This study is a great example of people actually gaining muscle size on a low protein diet as a result of resistance training.

Now, I realize the study was done on people who were over 50, and had a medical condition, but regardless, they gained muscle size.

This research shows that you can build a significant amount of muscle with relatively low protein intakes (the amount you get from your food in the average north american diet) as long as you are lifting weights.

Protein has a role in every one's nutrition plan, and it is an essential nutrient that is important for building and repairing muscles. From my understanding of the research I think it makes sense to try and consume a small amount of protein somewhere around the time you workout. I just don't think we need to be paying good money for tubs and tubs of the stuff, if the amount we get in our diets will serve our purposes just fine.

Scientists have not yet been able to determine if large amounts of protein have any extra effect on muscle gain. The massive amounts of protein that bodybuilders eat might work, but no scientists have been able to prove it so far.

Bottom line: if your goal is muscle building you most likely do not necessarily need to eat any extra protein. You can if you like, however I cannot find a good scientific reason to so far.


One last note - Very little research is done on people who are on anabolic steroids. I cannot discount the idea that, in these individuals, extreme amounts of protein may help the muscle building process due to the fact that this process is enhanced by the use of steroids.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Great Magazine!!

For those of you who are interested in food politics, the fight against obesity, food addictions and the threat of tainted food, you should really check out the September 07 issue of Scientific American.

I'll be posting about some of the articles later, but for now, I highly suggest you pick up a copy.


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Friday, August 24, 2007

Marketing to Kids

I read today that the UK consumer watchdog group "Which?" has 'condemned' the use of superheros in advertising to children, particularly by large food companies such as Kellogg's.

I also read that Nickelodeon will stop allowing its characters to be used in 'junk food' advertising. The group last week said that as of January 2009 its licensed characters on food packaging will be limited to 'better for you' products, in accordance with government dietary guidelines.

Advertising does play a role in our continuing obesity crisis, but I question if this is the right decision. From working in the food and supplement industry I know that the target 'consumer' for kids products is not the child, it is the child's mother. After all, typically a 5 year old doesn't go out and by frosted cereals, mom buys them for the 5 year old.

So, if we want to lower the amount of junk food in children's diets, perhaps we should spend less time looking at how often superman appears on packaging (which really only appeals to the child) and more time examining the supposed health claims that are increasingly appearing on labels and packaging (which appeals to the moms)


Eat Stop Eat

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

How to Lose Muscle Mass

As you can imagine, questions about Eat Stop Eat have been pouring in to my In-box, with the most common question being about fasting and losing muscle. Most people are still very concerned that they will lose muscle if they don't eat every 3 hours. My answer has always been, don't worry, if you are Resistance training then you won't lose muscle.

Then I received a very interesting question that went something like this - "If calorie restriction doesn't cause muscle loss, then what does?"

Great question. We all know that people who are bedridden and on a low calorie diet lose muscle. When I first starting writing Eat Stop Eat, and was running the idea past several dietitians for input, they all brought up stories of muscle loss in their patients who were bedridden and on a low calorie diet.

And since I am constantly saying that caloric restriction doesn't cause you to lose muscle if you are working out, then that leaves being 'bedridden' (or 'disuse' as they say in research) as the cause of muscle loss.

Ever break your arm and have to wear a cast, or know someone who did? Do you remember how skinny that arm was when the cast finally came off? Put a cast on your arm and your muscles shrink faster then an expensive new shirt in the dryer.

There was no change in nutrition, only a change in the amount the muscles were used, and the muscle wasted away.

In fact, 'casting' is so effective at causing muscle loss that it has been used in research to study something called 'disuse atrophy' or muscle loss from lack of use.

In a study conducted at the University of Nottingham, 22 male and female studies had casts put on their right leg for two weeks. Their diets didn't change, yet after only two weeks the cross sectional area of their quadriceps (the big muscles in your thigh) decreased by 10%.

NO change in diet..but the muscle still decreases in size by 10%.

Bottom line - as long as you are working out, and meeting some sort of caloric minimum (studies have gone as low as 80 grams of protein and 800 Kcals a day), you won't lose muscle. However, if you don't use the muscle, then it really doesn't matter what you are eating, the muscle is going to shrink.


PS- If, by some fluke accident you do break your arm, the research from Nottingham found that Creatine Monohydrate can speed the rehab process, helping you build back your muscle and strength quicker than normal.

Toronto Personal Trainer

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What's Next?

Now that I've finally launched Eat Stop Eat, it's back to writing.

I won't be pushing Eat Stop Eat on this blog, (The nutrition help blog will maintain its original purpose of helping people understand nutrition) however, I will be explaining some of the science that I come across as I begin my research for 'Eat Stop Eat Advanced'.

I already have some great information that I can't wait to share in the coming days!

PS- thanks to everyone who bought a copy of Eat Stop Eat, your support is greatly appreciated.


Fasting for Weight Loss

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Eat Stop Eat

Hi Everyone,

After spending well over a year researching and writing, my book "Eat Stop Eat" is finally finished.

Please feel free to check out the book at

I hope you all like it, and I will be on the blog constantly to answer questions that you may have.


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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pizza 3 Times Per Week?

Last Wednesday I spent the day listening to a series of nutrition seminars put on by a group of graduate students.

The day was full of great information and lots of really cool research that was presented by a group of very bright students.

Here is the most startling thing I learnt yesterday-

One particular student was doing her research on school time activity. Her plan was to go into schools during lunch, initiate an 'activity hour' and then measure the health effects this extra activity had on the kids.

Here's the kicker. When she was trying to recruit schools, one particular school couldn't participate because their lunch times were taken up by 'pizza days' three days per week!

Now, I can remember back to my days in grade school and pizza days were a big thing. Once every month or two, my class would have pizza brought in for lunch. Talk about a special treat.
But this particular school had pizza day 3 DAYS A WEEK!!!

The reason - probably because it brought in fund-raising money. Unfortunately, it also helps develop some horrible eating habits at a very young age.

Whether you are running 'pizza days' at a school or entertaining guests at your house, low-quality high-calorie food will always be the quick and easy choice. And, every now and again this is perfectly OK. However, when it starts to happen 3 or 4 times a week, you are looking for trouble.

Take a look at what you eat this week. If 'every once in awhile foods' have turned into 'every day foods' it's time to retool your nutrition plan.


Eat Stop Eat

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Monday, August 06, 2007

One Dedicated SOB

If you want to read a great story about one man's weight loss quest, check out:

"Billy" has dropped from almost 260 pounds down to a svelte 190, over the course of 8 months.

Inspiring to say the least,


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Friday, August 03, 2007

Food, Food groups and Nutrients

Before University, I ate food. I ate things with names like ' Ham sandwhich', 'scrambled eggs', and 'tuna casserole'.

After earning a degree in nutrition I ate food groups. Meats, breads, and fruits and vegetables.

When I worked in the supplement industry I ate nutrients. Quick digesting whey protein, complex carbs and heathy fats.

Now, after studying nutrition for ten plus years, I eat food again.

I can sum up what I've learnt in those ten years by saying: A grilled-cheese sandwhich is a grilled-cheese sandwhich. No better or worse for you then any other food., especially if you eat a variety foods.

It doesn't matter if you are a bodybuilder, someone trying to lose 50 pounds, or if you are just interested in the foods you eat, my message to you is the same;

Enjoy the foods you eat.


Eat Stop Eat

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It's a Yes or No Question

A little of topic, but nonetheless...

I believe Dick Pound is a brave man for his willingness to take on pro-athletes and their accused steroid habits.

My favorite quote from Mr. Pound was in regards to asking athletes "have you ever taken steroids" Mr. Pound said, "any answer other than 'No' is some form of 'yes'"

In my opinion this is so true.

Again, Off topic, but something to think about over the weekend.


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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Nutritional Boobytraps

I'm putting the finishing touches on my book so I am going to be slim on the posts this week.

A couple quick points:

Don't fall for the 100 Calorie snack craze. The goal is still to get you to eat more.

Don't fall for the massive guilt trip that's constantly being laid on us about the way we eat. If you've had some fruits and vegetables today you are doing OK. Keep aiming to get in as many veggies as possible, but don't sweat it too much. I'm starting to think 12 servings is a ridiculously unrealistic goal.


Fasting for Weight Loss

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Summer fruit

Here's a great tip I just read:

Some fruits don't ripen after the've been picked, so buy ripe peaches, necatarines, pineapples, cherries, and berries.

Other fruits continue to ripen after you get them home. These include mangos, papayas, avocados, bananas, apples and pears.


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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Fat Loss Time Machine

I just read an amazing article titled "The Perils of Eating, American Style", that was first published in Time Magazineback in December of 1972.

In this article written almost 35 years ago, the danger of inactivity and the merits of a low-fat diet versus low-sugar diet are argued. Various Doctors call for a sweeping reform of our nutrition programs, and a young doctor Atkins out of Manhattan is pushing his newly coined "Atkins Diet".

High protein diets were the current trend for weight loss,while more conservative doctors were calling for people to use more "sensible systems of weight loss".

Best of all, nutritional labeling was just STARTING to be discussed.

Fast forward 35 years. What has changed? We have nutritional labeling on everything. With one quick search onthe Internet I can tell you exactly how many calories I consumed yesterday and I have a pretty good idea of how much saturated fat was in my steak. Unfortunately, this newfound informational freedom doesn't seem to be helping.

We are still arguing over low-fat versus low-carb, and high protein diets are still all the rage for weight-loss.

And we're bigger than ever before. What gives?

Well for starters, we're even more inactive then before. My favorite quote from the article is when a doctor from Harvard is being interviewed about activity levels and says:

"Look at those advertisements for extension telephones; all those steps you save probably add up to five pounds a year in fat."

Extension telephones? Imagine what he must think of cellphones, TV remote controls and just about everything else we now have to aid in our sedentary lifestyles.

From what I can tell, 35 years later and we are still arguing about what to eat, how to eat and when to eat; but no one is arguing about our ever increasing need for exercise.

Here's the kicker...our exercise is getting worse too. Thirty minutes on the elliptical two to three times a week just isn't going to cut it. Either are arm curls for 25 reps with the pink dumbbells you find at the end of the weight rack.

This sounds harsh but its true. The single most effective tool you have in your arsenal for weight loss that you have complete control over is your workout program.

I find it amusing that in 2007 people are willing to shell out 50 bucks for a weight loss pill that is nothing more than caffeine mixed with some microscopic amounts of ineffective herbs, but don't want to pay for a personal trainer or a properly planned workout program.

Following the right workout can make all the difference in theworld.

It is time to take control. Concentrate on your workouts. Find what works for you, then do more of it more often.

Try a professionally designed program like The 6 MinuteCircuits Workout, Shape Shift or Turbulence Training.

Try walking, biking, taking the stairs, martial arts or pole dancing classes,whatever it takes to find one more thing that you enjoy that will get your heartbeat up and your muscles working.

And when it comes to nutrition, eat less but enjoy the foodyou eat. Eat more fruits and vegetables and more herbs andspices. And most importantly stop stressing over your food.

After all, the idea of trying to find the right foods to eat sowe can lose weight has failed us miserably for the last 35 years.


Fasting for Weight Loss

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