Which Foods Make People Fat?

At my other Advanced Mediterranean Diet website, a few years ago I asked visitors to answer a poll question. 2,367 responded thusly:

What single food category makes you gain the most fat weight?Fatty foods like bacon, butter, oils, nuts:
Protein-rich foods: meat, eggs, fish:
Sugary sweet items:
Starches: bread, potatoes, peas, corn:
Pastries, cake, pie, cookies:

Total Votes: 2367

Yes, I know it’s not a scientific poll, but it’s something. I’m not surprised at the results. I’m wishing I’d offered nuts as a choice since there are at least a few folks who gain weight on nuts, perhaps not realizing that nut calories are mostly from fat.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Ketogenic Diets Resurgent


Click the top link above for a five-year Google trend on “ketogenic diet.” WordPress.com doesn’t allow me to embed the graph and I’m not smart enough to use WordPress.org.

A snippet from a recent NBCNews article:

“A main benefit of the diet, and why many of its followers praise the eating plan, is weight loss. Multiple studies show promising results: In a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, obese men dropped about 14 pounds after following the diet for a month. And in a longer-term study published in Clinical Cardiology, obese adults adhering to a ketogenic diet for about six months noticed significant weight loss — on average, 32 pounds — as well as reductions in total cholesterol and increases in beneficial HDL cholesterol. A review study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition also found that the weight loss seen within the first three to six months of following the keto diet was greater than the loss from following a regular balanced eating style.”

Source: Happier, Healthier, Smarter, BETTER: Life tips | NBC News

So I expect to sell more copies of my KMD: Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet book. Someone’s keto Mediterranean diet is even mentioned in the NBC News article.

Front cover


Nuttin’ But Salads N=1 Experiment: Week 3 Summary

Peanut M&Ms in my employer’s office at the hospital. Very tempting but not salad, so not going down my gullet.

Weight today is 167.4 lb (76.1 kg) compared to 168 lb last week, so may or may not be a significant drop. Weight when I started three weeks ago was 175.5 lb (79.8 kg).

Mozzarella cheese, shrimp, roasted garlic cloves, olives, salami, spinach, tomato, and roasted peppers from a jar

Chicken salad on a bed of greens plus tomatoes and strawberries

Salami, greens, olives, cheese, fresh basil

Left-over chicken from El Pollo Loco, greens, avocado, blackberries, pecans, strawberries

Caprese salad-style platter that the whole family munched on. With olive oil and vinegar.

Similar to one above

I was running late for work, didn’t have time to make a salad, so I threw these into my lunch bucket as a substitute: canned oysters and mackerel, apple, avocado

Microwaved pre-cooked frozen meatballs on a bed of mixed greens including asparagus sautéed in butter

Not salad, so not eating it. M&Ms in the Resident’s Office at the hospital.

I feel good. Workouts are going well. I’ve had a few nocturnal muscle cramps like when I was on my ketogenic diet several years ago. I wonder if a calcium supplement would suppress those cramps, but they don’t bother me enough to even fool with it. I’ve been taking mag oxide 800 mg/day for a while, hoping it will keep keep a lid on my blood pressure.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: That serving of mackerel provides 31% of the RDA for vitamin D, 20 grams of protein, 773 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, and 15% of the calcium RDA. That vitamin D is important to me since I’m not getting much sun now, and this salad diet may be an insufficient source. Calcium intake may also be inadequate. I haven’t done any nutrient analysis yet.

PPS: Or maybe I shouldn’t worry about adequate nutrients. Don Gorske is on target eat his 30,000th McDonald’s Big Mac on May 4. Two of the burgers a day is about all he eats!

Dietary Fat Linked to Loss of Skeletal Muscle Mass in Women

Loss of skeletal muscle is one hallmark of the aging process. Look around and you’ll see it everywhere. That muscle loss, in turn, contributes to dependency and falls. But as always, remember that correlation is not causation. So the study results may not hold up over time. And we don’t know if they apply to men. Click the link below for all the juicy details.

“To our knowledge, this is the first population-based study to demonstrate an association between a comprehensive range of dietary fat intake and fat-free mass.”

Source: Dietary Fat and Fatty Acid Profile Are Associated with Indices of Skeletal Muscle Mass in Women Aged 18–79 Years | The Journal of Nutrition | Oxford Academic

Which Salad Greens Are the Most Nutritious?

Kale on the left, mustard greens on the right

Since I’m eating nuttin’ but salads these days, I want to be sure I’m getting adequate nutrition. There are about 40 essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids, “essential” meaning necessary for life and health.

I haven’t found a good source yet for estimates of non-vitamin anti-oxidants and other non-essential nutrients. There are probably hundreds of these that are not essential for life, but optimize health and longevity.

FitDay makes it easy to compare multiple nutrients in various foods. Their standard analysis includes fiber, vitamin A, vitamin B-6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, riboflavin, selenium, thiamine, and zinc.

I compared 12 salad greens for content of these 18 nutrients. Here’s how they stack up, with the most nutritious first and least nutritious last. If two cups of the item provide at least 20% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance for a specific nutrient, I’ve listed it in parentheses.

  1. Dandelion greens (vitamins A, vitamin C, vitamin E, copper, iron, riboflavin)
  2. Kale (vitamin A, vitamin B-6, vitamin C, copper, iron, mangenese)
  3. Brussels sprouts (fiber, vitamin B-6, vitamin C, iron, manganese, thiamine)
  4. Cabbage, green (vitamin C)
  5. Spinach (vitamin A, iron, manganese)
  6. Chard (vitamin A, vitamin C)
  7. Celery
  8. Cucumber
  9. Collards (vitamin A, vitamin C)
  10. Lettuce, romaine or cos (vitamin A, vitamin C)
  11. Lettuce, green leaf (vitamin A)
  12. Lettuce, presumptively iceberg

Dandelion greens and kale are the clear stand-outs, a coin toss to declare one better than the other. Brussels sprouts and cabbage have very similar profiles. Spinach and chard were close. Iceberg lettuce doesn’t have much to recommend it. The list above is essentially one of descending nutrient density.

To learn more about nutrient density, visit Marty Kendall at Optimising Nutrition.

Have I left out any of your favorite salad greens?

Steve Parker, M.D.

Bob Harper of “Biggest Lose” Fame Switches to Mediterranean Diet After His Heart Attack 

Exercise is clearly health-promoting, but it’s unlikely to keep you alive forever. Immortality is over-rated anyway.

The traditional diet consumed in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, has been adopted all over the world because of its health benefits. The most recent convert? Bob Harper, the fitness trainer on “The Biggest Loser.

Harper, 51, recently switched to the Mediterranean diet, per doctor’s orders, after suffering a massive heart attack late February, according to POPSUGAR. He collapsed in a New York City gym and was unconscious for two days. While Harper obviously lives a healthy lifestyle, the POPSUGAR report points out his mother died of a heart attack, and genetics can affect heart health.  It’s not a surprise Harper’s doctor’s would recommend the Mediterranean diet as a form of recovery. According to the Mayo Clinic, this traditional diet reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Source: ‘The Biggest Loser’s’ Bob Harper Switches to Mediterranean Diet Post Heart Attack | PRODAY

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Two diet books in one

Mediterranean Diet Tied With DASH Diet as Overall Best in U.S. New and World Report

The Mediterranean diet is rich in plants, nuts, legumes, fruits, vegetables, seafood, and judicious amounts of wine.

“Best Diets Overall are ranked for safe and effective weight loss, how easy it is to follow, heart health and diabetes help and nutritional completeness.”

Source: Best Diets Overall : Rankings | US News Best Diets