Wish you could slim down and get radiantly healthy without dieting? “It’s not only possible, there’s overwhelming evidence that it’s your best option,” insists internationally recognized nutrition expert Michael Greger, M.D., author of the mega-seller How Not to Diet. Dr. Greger’s book distills a staggering 4,990 studies into eating guidelines so powerful, folks say they can enjoy unlimited portions and still shed 5, 10, even 24 pounds a week. The simple secret: building meals and snacks using whole plant foods. “Lately, a lot of us have stocked up on things like canned beans, nuts and frozen fruit, so we’re already on our way. These foods prevent, treat and even reverse conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. On top of that, they set us up for remarkable fat loss!”
You may wonder if a plantbased diet really beats the popular keto diet in lab tests. Few head-to-head comparisonsexist, but Dr. Greger points to an NIH study during which volunteers were alternately given four weeks of plantbased meals (high in carbs, low in fat) and four weeks of animal-based keto meals (low in carbs, high in fat). A special testing chamber showed thateating keto “caused rates of body-fat loss to slow by morethan half,” says Dr. Greger. Follow-up studies confirmed thefindings. “A whole-foods plant-based diet burns morefat. On top of that, it’s the only way ofeating ever proven to reverse heart disease. It’s the diet that sciencesays is your best bet to get lean and live a long, happy life.”
Why fat melts fast
No matter how you choose to eat unprocessed plant foods, they’ll help shrink your waist. One big reason: “Most plant foods are so low in calories for their volume that you couldn’t physically eat enough to maintain your weight,” says Dr. Greger. “To match the calories in a cup of strawberry ice cream, for example, you’d have to eat 11 cups of strawberries. Whole plants naturally keep you from going overboard.”
But it’s not just about calories. “Research tells us that many plants contain compounds that can double as appetite suppres-sants, metabolism boosters, fat burners and starch blockers,” Dr. Greger adds. Beans are a big onesincethey’retherichest natural source of resistant starch, a fiber-like compound proven by a University of Colorado team to speed fat burning for hours upon hours. Meanwhile, a 15-cent daily dose of flaxseed has been shown to triple weight loss; in onestudy, a group of women following thesame diet lost 21 pounds in 12 weeks if they added flax, and just 7 pounds if they didn’t. “This is on par with many diet drugs, but with no risk of side effects,” Dr. Greger notes.
He’s also a huge fan of ordinary herbs and spices. “In many spice studies, no one knows if they’re eating the spice or not, which makes the findings especially strong,” he says. “For example, 110 overweight men and women were either given capsules filled with about 1⁄4 tsp. of garlic powder, or a placebo capsule that smelled like garlic. Those who got the real powder lost 6 pounds. It’s a phenomenal effect, given that it’s effortless and only costs 2 cents a day!”
To makeiteasy to emphasize foods most strongly linked to weight loss, Dr. Greger created a simplelist, which he’s sharing, below. Not sure you can eat plant-based full-time? No problem. “Do it 80% of thetime, and you’restill going to improve your weight and health,” Dr. Greger promises.Just dig in, and let the transformation begin.
Told by doctors she had little chance ofever reaching a healthy weight, Shayda Soleymani still tried diet after diet. “I’d quickly gain back what I lost and more,” recalls the California realtor, 59. She hit 240 pounds and was struggling with a host of health issues when shesaw a PBS special on plant-based eating. “It just madesense,” recalls Shayda, who was soon learning everything she could. Signing up for a plant-based chef’s challenge, she began loading up on hugesalads, veggie chili, stuffed potatoes. “I loved what I ate, I was never hungry and I lost 18 pounds in 30 days!” sheshares. “For years I was told no bananas, rice, potatoes. Suddenly I was ‘carbing it up,’ and I never felt better.” Within a year, she was 118 pounds lighter, off cholesterol and diabetes meds, her chronic pain gone. “For me, a wholefoods plant-based diet was a miracle. It saved my life!”