Book Review: Turn off the Fat Genes

Turn off the Fat Genes by Dr. Neal Barnard

What an informative book. This is ideal reading for both vegans and non-vegans alike. Dr. Bernard states in the chapter: “About high protein diets”; ‘Diets loaded with meat, cheese and eggs, are known to harm the kidneys, weaken bones, increase cancer risk, and create all manners of health havoc’.

If is not difficult in our modern world to follow a 100% plant based diet. If everyone really knew that plant based recipes not only taste as good or better than the animal version, and that it would make them slimmer and healthier, they would switch over without much hesitation.

Side note: If you are seeking something Savory and you think you’re missing meat, it probably isn’t animal flesh that you are craving (after all, who eats plain boiled unseasoned meat?) You’re probably just craving a fatty, salty, seasoned, and protein rich meal which you can get from Portobello mushrooms, crispy vegetarian ‘faux’ meats, a hearty 3 bean chili, a snack of salty mixed nuts or a vegan grilled cheese (chao, daiya etc…) sandwich. If you’re craving something sweet; it can be satisfied with a cruelty free coconut milk based chocolate ice cream dessert or even something as decadent as a vegan peanut butter cup (Cleo’s is available at Choices Market in Vancouver, B.C.) or a vegan chocolate chip cookie.

This book also states that high animal protein diets are typically low in Vitamin C, anti-oxidants, B-Vitamins and fiber. That’s right, meat eaters have a much unacknowledged B-Vitamin deficiency and since most vegans consume foods with naturally occurring B-Vitamins like nutritional yeast, they are usually more than nutritionally taken care of if they are following a Whole Foods Plant Based diet. A junk food vegan diet on the other hand may lack fiber if many processed, refined and pre-packaged foods are eaten.

Dr. Barnard talks about the Fat Builder Genes:
Fat Building versus Fat Burning Foods: various foods differ in their ability to turn calories into heat instead of fat. Chicken, for example favors fat storage, whereas navy beans and lentils generate body heat rather than storing their calories as body fat. It seems that the types of food we eat, not just the calories we consume, impact how much fat is stored on our bodies.

Most people would agree that a high protein diet is heavily marketed on billboards, in magazines, on t.v. commercials, radio and books, which do not site their sources of information. Cheese, yogourt and steak are promoted by corporations that make millions of dollars each year selling eggs, dairy products (including whey protein powder) chicken, beef, pork and fish. Meanwhile innocent consumers and their canine or feline family members consume these absolutely unnecessary ‘foods’ to the detriment of their health. This doesn’t even address the negative environmental affects of the pollution raising these animals creates. This pollution is not leaving our planet, it is contaminating it, which is making humans and their pets sick.

Dr. Bernarnd also states the obvious; that people in rural Asia consume very small amounts of fish or animal products and enormous amounts of carbohydrate rich rice and noodles, yet are the slimmest people on the planet. Increasing carbohydrates and decreasing fat actually causes weight loss. The obesity epidemic in North America is a result of the increase of dietary fat and is by far the greatest contributor to weight problems.

In 1977; The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published data which showed that high protein foods such as fish and beef caused a bigger insulin release than pasta or popcorn. But who is reading these journals anyways?

Many people imagine they would lose weight easily by eating low fat yogourt or skinless chicken breast. However, animal products have no fiber at all and not the ideal choice for weight loss. A study done on a group of young women revealed something remarkable about appetite. A diet of 1900 calories was reduced to 1500 calories and yet the participants did not become the least bit hungry by choosing all their meals from Plant Based sources. These foods are naturally so low in fat and high in fiber that even though participants were eating until they were full, their calorie intake dropped and they lost weight.

So, how do we Turn off the Fat genes? According to Dr. Bernard and his research; we accomplish this by eliminating high fat foods from our diet with high fiber plant foods which increases the efficiency of our insulin receptors and puts us back in the position of effectively burning stored fat as energy.
In summary the most powerful diet for taming insulin excesses and fat storage in the body, is a low fat, fiber rich, vegetarian diet.



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