Remember the Ol’ Milk Diet?

hiking, Arizona, Steve Parker MD,

Tom’s Thumb trail in Scottsdale, AZ

I recall a milk diet to treat stomach ulcers in the mid-20th century. Tagamet changed that!

I’ve been reading scientific articles on low-energy liquid diets for weight loss and diabetes remission, and ran across a reference to a milk diet. I found impressive results in a 16-week study.

This was a small randomized trial that enrolled 45 very fat folks — BMI 41-47, average weight 122 kg (268 lb), mostly women — and assigned them to one of three diets:

  1. Control: conventional balanced diet of normal foods providing about 800 calories/day and at least 36 grams of protein.
  2. Milk: “variable combination of full cream or semi-skimmed milk and unsweetened yoghurt,” about 800 calories/day. BTW, a cup (240 ml) of whole milk has 150 calories.
  3. Milk Plus: same as the milk diet plus “unlimited amount of a single food selected by the patient on each day of the week. Of these seven extra foods, three were a fruit or vegetable, two were a high protein food, and two were a “favourite” food. The seven foods were repeated on the same day of successive weeks.” (If you understand this, you’re smarter than me, which wouldn’t be unusual.) Average calories were 1,350/day.

The researchers figured these adults were eating about 2,500 calories/day at baseline. Diabetics were excluded.


The Milk group lost the most weight. Eleven of the 14 participants completed the 16-week study, with an average weight loss of 11.2 kg (24.6 lb). Constipation was the only “serious” side effect reported. The authors admitted that deficiencies in some vitamins and iron might be a problem, but cited a similar but longer trial (24 weeks) that found no such deficiencies.

Eleven of the 17 in the Milk Plus group persevered for the whole 16 weeks. Average weight loss was 8.2 kg (18 lb).

Nine of the 14 in the Control Group were able to put up with it for the duration. Average weight loss was only 2.6 kg (5.7 lb). I suspect they had a bit of a compliance problem. When you weigh 268 lb, a 5.7 lb loss isn’t much.

“Analysis of compliance (not reported) showed that it was similar for the two milk diets but much lower for the conventional diet.”


The researchers opine that…

  • “Patients are more likely to respond to a simple diet which they have not tried before than to advice on conventional diets.”
  • Probably the best strategy is to rotate diets,…[to prevent compliance from falling].”

I wonder how well the Milk diet would work for someone who weighs 205 lb (93 kg) and just wants to lose 25 lb (11.4 kg).

I wonder how important are the exact proportions of “full cream or semi-skimmed milk and unsweetened yoghurt.”

As with all diets, weight regain will be a problem after the 16 weeks.

The Milk diet might be a good temporary option for someone who wants to lose more excess weight but has hit a weight-loss plateau in their current regimen.

I’m skeptical about the nutritional adequacy of the Milk diet.

My Advanced Mediterranean Diet is actually two diets, making diet rotation easy. And I tell you the secrets to prevention of weight regain!

Steve Parker, M.D.

Reference: Summerbell, C.D., et al. Randomised controlled trial of novel, simple, and well supervised weight reducing diets in outpatients. British Medical Journal, 317: 1487-1489. November 28, 1998.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Two diet books in one



Macular Degeneration: Mediterranean diet cuts risks of age-related blindness

From Xinhua..

Researchers from the European Union (EU) have found mounting evidence that the Mediterranean diet provides a better and more balanced lifestyle in daily consumption of food varieties that helps prevent potential blindness in later stages of life, said a study released Sunday.The EU scientists expanded their research on previous studies and discovered that a poor diet plays an important role in developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness in the United States.In analyzing the connection between genes and lifestyle on the development of AMD, the researchers found that people who maintain a Mediterranean diet, which features less meat but more fish, vegetables, fruits, legumes, unrefined grains and olive oil, cuts their risk of developing late-stage AMD by 41 percent.

Source: Mediterranean diet cuts risks of age-related blindness: study – Xinhua |

Which country does the Mediterranean diet actually come from? 

From SBS:

Rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and olive oil, the diet is famed for being low in saturated fats and high in lean sources of protein like fish. Red wine, drunk in moderation, is even a bonus inclusion.

Yet the term ‘Mediterranean diet’ is a bit loose. It’s meant to infer a particular ‘Mediterranean’ identity to a specific cultural dietary pattern. But the fact is, the Mediterranean basin spans 22 countries across Europe, Asia and Africa, and each country along the Mediterranean Sea boasts a different diet, religion and culture.

Source: Which country does the Mediterranean diet actually come from? | SBS Food

New Research: Mediterranean Diet May Reduce Risk For Depression

From Forbes…

There’s no arguing with the fact that a Mediterranean-style diet is just about the best choice for physical health and longevity. But a growing body of evidence is also reporting that the famous diet is good not only for the body, but also for the brain—and importantly, the mind. A new study in the Nature journal Molecular Psychiatry finds that a Mediterranean diet also reduces the risk for depression, considerably. It’s not the first to suggest this, but it is the largest meta-analysis to date.

Source: Mediterranean Diet May Reduce Risk For Depression, Study Finds

Recipe: Chef Salad

Not pictured: olive oil vinaigrette I dressed it with


8 oz Romaine lettuce (4 cups chopped)

2 oz cooked ham (we like Boar’s Head Black Forest), strips or diced

2 oz cooked turkey (both our ham and turkey were deli-style, as for sandwiches), strips or diced

1 oz American cheese

1 oz mozzarella cheese

1/2 oz red onion, diced (optional)

4.5 oz tomato, diced, quartered, or chunked

8  (1 oz) black olives

1 hard-boiled egg, sliced or quartered

3 Tbsp salad dressing

I like a simple olive oil vinaigrette, either home-made or Newman’s Own. Nutrient analysis below assumes a traditional vinaigrette (3:1 ratio of olive oil to vinegar), which will typically have about 200 calories per two tablespoons, nearly all from the oil. Many commercial salad dressings have fewer calories due to water, which is sometimes listed as the first ingredient. For instance, Wishbone Balsamic Vinaigrette, which we like, has only 60 cals per two Tbsp; water is the first ingredient, vinegar next, then vegetable oil. The popular Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing has 140 cals per two Tbsp. Interestingly, Newman’s Own Olive Oil Vinaigrette does not require refrigeration after opening, unlike most other commercial dressings.

Salt and pepper to taste


Simple. Lay out your chopped lettuce on a large plate, then start topping with the other ingredients as artfully as you wish. Salad dressing is last.

Servings: 1

Nutrient Analysis (

925 calories

Cals from fat: 67%

Cals from carbohydrate: 8%

Cals from protein: 25%

Protein grams: 55

Fiber: 7 g

Digestible carbs: 12 g

Alternatives: Instead of 8 oz Romaine lettuce, use only 4 oz Romaine plus 4 oz of either fresh spinach or kale. More micronutrients that way. Substitute your favorite cheeses ounce for ounce.

Steve Parker, M.D.



There’s Another Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet

I spoke today with a reporter with First for Women who’s working on a ketogenic Mediterranean diet article to be published later this year.

In preparing for my interview I ran across a book at called The Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet, written by a dietitian and published in Jan. 2017. Amazon also has a ketogenic Mediterranean diet cookbook. I haven’t read either book. But here’s an interview with the dietitian author.

A couple months ago I searched the U.S. site for the most popular diet and/or weight loss books. Three of the top five were ketogenic.

I’ve had a free Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet on the Internet since 2010, and published my first comprehensive KMD program with recipes, etc., in 2012.

Wake Forest University is doing a study on a modified ketogenic Mediterranean diet and its effect on Alzheimer’s Dementia. I hope to see results published in 2019.

Thus far, there are five ketogenic Mediterranean diets: mine, the dietitian’s, the Spanish researcher’s from 2008, the Italian researcher’s (Paoli et el) and Wake Forest’s (assuming it’s different than the others).

Steve Parker, M.D.

Front cover

Recipe: Brussels Sprouts Chicken Salad

…with 4 oz sous vide chicken breast


10 0z Brussels sprouts, raw, shredded

1/3 cup sweet onion, diced

1/4 cup (1.5 oz)  almond slivers or slices, toasted

2 and 1/4 Tbsp bacon bits (or 2 slices of bacon, fried, diced)

1/4 cup dried cranberries

Salt and pepper to taste

8 oz cooked chicken breast (boneless, skinless), sliced

For the vinaigrette

4.5 Tbsp EVOO

1.5 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1.5 tsp sugar


Toast the almonds in a frying pan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and slightly browned. this only takes a few minutes.Remove from heat and set aside.

Brussels sprouts: Slice off a small portion of the base or stalk and discard that along with any nasty leaves. I then like to rinse or briefly soak the sprouts in cold water to remove dust and unwanted particles. Then shred the sprouts with a knife, food processor, or mandolin. I used a knife. After this most of the work is done.

In a large bowl, dump the sprouts onion, almonds, bacon bits, and cranberries.

Combine the EVOO, vinegar, and sugar in bowl and whisk thoroughly, or put then in a jar and shake well. Pour over the sprouts and mix well.  Salt  and pepper to taste (may not need any). This is four cups of salad.

Servings size: 2 cups salad plus 4 oz chicken breast

Number of servings: 2

Rough nutrient analysis of one serving (

775 calories

Carb calories 17%

Fat calories 60%

Protein calories 23%

Protein grams: 43

9 g fiber

Digestible carbs 25 g


Substitute 4 oz of steak for the chicken. Mix 1.5 oz of parmesan cheese into the salad. Substitute dried cherries or raisins for the cranberries ounce for ounce. Substitute toasted crumbled walnuts for the almonds. Experiment with other vinegars.