Staying Healthy

Dr. Dean Reviews Today’s Most Popular Diets Part 1

Two years ago, I reviewed 17 of today’s most popular and controversial diets. My goal was and continues to be to spare you the endless time and frustration of cycling through diets that don’t help you achieve your health and fitness goals. Today, I am going to share that information with you. Since doing this webinar, I have done more research and worked with the Modified Keto Diet with Intermittent Fasting. Then, next week I will continue this review and update my stance on the Keto Diet.

Dieting Basics

People follow diets mostly to lose weight but also to feel better. This can translate into more energy or because they want to detox. Clearly dieting isn’t working. Nearly 75% of men, more than 60% of women, and 30% of those under age 20 are either overweight or obese. So, we are learning to maintain weight loss, you have to choose a diet you can do consistently. If it’s too strict or too unbalanced, then when you stop it, you gain weight again. It’s called, “Yo-Yo Dieting.” You may have heard that at the start of a low carb diet, you lose mostly water weight. Apparently, that’s because the body breaks down carbs in the form of glycogen which is bound with water. When it’s metabolized, the water is lost.

Yeast Free Dieting

So, these are just some basics. I’m going to tell you straight out of the chute actually that my choice for a good, basic balanced eating plan for health, energy, and weight loss is actually a yeast free diet. But that’s taken along with sea-salted water and my minerals.

Most diets fail because the food that you eat doesn’t have enough nutrients to sustain your weight loss or your health. In my personal diet I mostly avoid sugar, gluten, and dairy. I eat ReStructure Protein Powder, animal protein (lamb, chicken, and some beef), wild salmon, Tongal tuna, canned tuna, macadamia nuts made into a pate, tons of vegetables, and some fruit. So, that’s my basic diet and that keeps me going.

For more information about a yeast free diet, go to and use the search term, “yeast.” If you think you have yeast overgrowth or need to be on a yeast free diet, then read Chapter 4 of my book, ReSet the Yeast Connection. There are both short and long quizzes that will help you understand whether you have a yeast issue. If you are just interested in what the nutritional plan is for yeast free eating, then Chapter 5 is for you. There are also suggested menus and recipes in Section 4 of the Book, which were created by a nutritionist who has mastery in yeast management. Finally, if you are curious about the Yeast ReSet protocol, my suggestions are detailed in Chapter 6 of the same book.

My Diet Reviews

Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers has been around since 1963. They say they are a science driven approach to help participants lose weight by forming helpful habits (“which is great”), eating smarter (“Yes.”), getting more exercise (“always important”), and providing support. Studies show only a 2.6% weight loss compared to a control group. There is an emphasis on support which to me starts to seem like an Alcoholics Anonymous for food addicts. You also pay to attend these meetings.

Weight Watchers say they don’t count calories. But they do because they assign every food and beverage a smart point value based on its nutrition and the amount of saturated fat and sugar, for example. So, that higher amounts of protein bring the point value down. So, one smart point is equal to 50 calories. They take a cup of lobster bisque soup or a chicken salad sandwich, both at 380 calories, and they would say the sandwich is a smarter choice. But that doesn’t work for people who have to avoid gluten to lose weight, and it doesn’t fit into the newer findings about saturated fat not being as harmful as people thought.

Weight Watchers does have products. This is where you have to read your labels. You’ll see that their Triple Chocolate Brownie Bliss Mini Brownies, a 21 gram serving has 9 grams of sugar. That’s two teaspoons. I’ve often told you that the average amount of blood in the body only has one teaspoon of sugar. There’s five liters of blood in the average body with one teaspoon of sugar. If you hit it with even just two teaspoons, you can cause a bit of a war.

The other commercial products like Slim Fast are mostly sugars, milk, and soy. Nutrisystem has a horrifying list of inedible ingredients in their weight loss kits and again lots of milk, sugar, and soy.

Junk foods, especially sugar products, drain magnesium. The liver needs 28 atoms of magnesium to process one molecule of glucose. Fructose requires 56 atoms of magnesium. All these diets are going to be causing magnesium deficiency.


This begins the high protein diets. This is the first one most of us learned about back in 1972 with Robert Atkins. One Atkins’ site says that in the past 12 years over 20 studies have shown that low carb diets are effective for weight loss without calorie counting and can lead to various health improvements. I did not read those studies. One review found that the Atkins diet caused a maximum of 2.9% more weight loss in one year compared to a control group that received behavioral counseling. That is similar to Weight Watchers 2.6%. That’s not much of a loss.

The Atkins Diet has been demonized because of its high fat content, but that was before the recent Ketogenic diet fad. In fact, phase one of the Atkins Diet is the Ketogenic Diet. So, there are four phases. In induction phase one, you are only allowed to eat less than 20 grams of carbs a day. It’s high fat, high protein, low carb vegetables like leafy greens. They say 20 ounces of greens with a bit of tomato with give you 20 grams of carbs. This would be a big salad. Whereas, half a hamburger bun has 20 carbs. So, they are looking at carbs. In phase two, three, and four, you are adding a bit of fruit, some food and watching your weight. In phase four you are eating as many healthy carbs as your body can tolerate without gaining weight. Of course, they are avoiding sugar, grains, vegetable oils, trans fats, all the synthetic sweeteners. High carb vegetables, fruits, starches and legumes are mainly avoided in the induction period.

The downside as with the Keto Diet is that if you don’t digest proteins and fats completely, because you don’t have enough stomach acid or bile salt, you can have a lot of burping and gas. So, if you are burping a lot, you may need some extra hydrochloric acid and/or digestive enzymes. Eating a lot of dairy products to get your protein and fat elevation, you really have to have equal amounts of magnesium.

Vegetarian and Vegan

In the Vegetarian Diet, it’s not just the avoidance of animal products. The main challenge with a Vegetarian Diet is how to get enough plant-based protein. The Lacto-Vegetarian includes milk products and ova; the Vegetarian includes eggs. What I often quote is the 2008 Vegetarianism in America study,  published by Vegetarian Timesmagazine. They put the number of U.S. adult vegetarians at 7.3 million or only 3.2% of the population,  of those 0.5% or 1 million are Vegans. To get enough protein for Vegan, you can do it. There will be a list of plant-based proteins in one of the gifts that we are giving at the end of the webinar. But you look at quinoa – 9 grams per cup;  buckwheat  – 6 grams per cup;  cooked spinach –  7 grams per cup; French beans  – 13 grams per cup; hemp powder – in a smoothie has 11 grams of protein;  tempeh – 30 grams of protein etc., etc. So, you can do it, but if you’re not paying enough attention to getting sufficient protein, you can be protein deficient.  I’ve seen early menopause gum disease and fatigue. We always have to remember that magnesium and mineral deficiency our rampant in the soil, and if the plants are depleted, you won’t get enough magnesium and minerals unless you take supplementation. I’ll mention this later in the Paleo diet, but if you want to really study the criticisms of plant-based diet versus a high protein or animal protein diet look at T.  Colin Campbell and Loren Cordain. He wrote the Paleo diet; Campbell wrote the China Study. They’ve been debating back and forth. Of course,  I side with Cordain and the Paleo diet because I’m in the “O” blood group which we will get to shortly.


This diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, olive oil, legumes,  whole grains, some low-fat cheese, nuts, seeds, fish, and  poultry. They use the lean sources of protein over the over red meat which has more saturated fat. They think that’s bad, and you know we’re not so sure. If you use meat that’s grass-fed and has no antibiotics and chemicals, then it can be definitely healthy source of animal protein. I guess the main difference in the Mediterranean diet besides the olive oil is red wine is consumed regularly but in moderate amounts.  But, there’s much more to this diet, because we all know now that Europe does not allow GMO foods. They don’t hybridize their wheat. But I do disagree with promoting the healthy effects of wine. When I was researching this a while back, I found the incidence of alcoholism in France is actually higher than the U.S. So, they’re abusing alcohol even more than we are.


The next diet I’m reviewing is the Ayurvedic Diet. There are three body types with the Ayurvedic Diet. It looks pretty complicated.  I’m looking at it because many years ago I did look at it. My foster daughter was into it.  But I just couldn’t see myself using this food plan, as I just thought it was too confusing and complex.

You have your three doshas: Vatta, Pitta and Kapha. So, you have to organize yourself from one of those doshas, and that is a unique blend of physical, emotional, and mental characteristics. Then, your diet is drawn from that. In my view, you can’t place everybody within just three categories. They have rules that say each meal should contain all six flavors  – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent, and pungent – and a lot of rules that do make it difficult for people to follow.

The downside is it’s just too complicated unless it really appeals to you and you have an Ayurvedic practitioner to guide you.

Raw Food

The next diet I’m reviewing is the Raw Food Diet. This is a more recent doctor. No,  he’s not a doctor, but I suppose he should be with his knowledge. David Wolfe is the main spokesperson that I know of. There have been a mass of raw food books on the market of late. It’s like the younger generation say, “Oh, this is the answer.”

The downside I’ll say right from the beginning is they’re taking food from sources that may be mineral deficient and therefore it’s not going to be the cure-all. It’s not just raw vegetables. The diet can include sprouted seeds, cheese, fermented foods such as yogurt,  kefir,  Kombucha, or sauerkraut. But Raw Food Diets generally don’t include foods that have been pasteurized, homogenized, or produced using synthetics beside the chemical fertilizers,  industrial solvents or chemical food additives. So, they’re big on the whole natural source of food. Now, the Raw Diet started many years ago, and it was about not heating your food above 40 to 49 degrees Celsius or 104 220 Fahrenheit. The thinking is that foods cooked above these temperatures have lost much of their nutritional value or less healthy or even harmful  because of the loss of enzymes at those temperatures,  for example.

But then you look at Chinese medicine, and they say some group foods require cooking in order for the body to properly digest. Also, the Chinese say that a Raw Food Diet is too damp and encourages yeast overgrowth. So, there’s another downside. It just points to balance –  eat some raw food; eat some cooked food. Let’s have a balance. A couple of years ago I was interviewed by a Raw Diet expert. She was writing a book and said that a segment of raw foodists began eating raw meat and raw fish because they were getting too protein deficient. So, it’s not a vegetarian diet anymore. So, as I said, the downside is it’s too damp and too cold and encourages yeast overgrowth.

Macrobiotic Diet

My next review is of the Macrobiotic Diet. I don’t hear much about that anymore. It was kind of a fad back when I was in my early practice. I even went on the diet for a time. I’ve told the story how I just became so protein deficient and so allergic to the soy protein that I developed fluid on the lungs.  I kept working.  My lungs were just kind of bubbly and within 24 hours of eating chicken my fluid retention resolved. So, it was a great lesson for me about needing more protein and as I said being allergic to soy.  I’m not keen on soy at all.

So, a macrobiotic diet it’s drawn from Zen Buddhism popularized by Michio Kushi. Actually, it lost a lot of its following, I think and I meant to look this up, when Michio’s wife died of cancer. They thought, “Well, here’s a cancer diet, and the proponent’s wife died of cancer.”  I’m pretty sure that’s true.

The Macrobiotic Diet attempts to balance the yin and yang elements of food and cookware as well. The major principles are to reduce animal protein, eat locally grown foods that are in season, and consume meals in moderation. At the time I was living in Canada, and there were no foods in the winter season. So, all those things became difficult.

The Macrobiotic proponents claim that’s helpful people with cancer and other chronic diseases. But scientists say that there are no good studies that prove that.

So, they’re eating a lot of whole grains – oats, barley, rye, millet, corn, buckwheat, and brown rice; lots of vegetables; beans; sea vegetables; nuts and seeds;  lean fish. Whereas, fatty fish are part of the Mediterranean diet for omega-3 fatty acids and also part of the DASH Diet. Fruit is only a few times a week, and there’s no tropical fruit allowed.

They’re avoiding the obvious dairy, processed foods, refined sugar. But they’re also avoiding all meat, all poultry, all eggs, spicy food, fruit juice, soda, alcohol, coffee, honey, and chocolate. Now, chocolate I disagree with because it’s so high magnesium.

For me, the downside to the Macrobiotic Diet is there’s not enough protein for everybody and has too much soy protein. In order to get your get your protein in… like some of these other fad diets,  it’s complicated. There’s a lot of rules, and for some people if they don’t find the foods they’re supposed to eat, they just don’t eat or eat less so you can lose too much weight on these diets.

Blood Type

The next diet for review is the blood type diet. This is the one I spend a lot of time with. I learned about it early in my practice. The D’Adamos, Peter D’Adamo, and his son (I think it’s James D’Adamo) popularized the diet. I knew the elder D’Adamo. He practiced for a time in Toronto, so he would be at the conferences I would attend. He wrote the book,  One Man’s Food Is Someone Else’s Poison.  So, his diet outlined individualized needs for good health determined by blood type.

Then, they started throwing in sub blood types as was relevant to diet, exercise, and even personality traits. So, the four groups are: “O,” “B,” “AB,” and “A.”  “O” type needs some more animal protein. “B’s” animal protein and vegetarian. I’m saying protein because that’s the main difference in these different diet plans. Everybody’s eating some fats and carbohydrates. But people are choosing different types of proteins.

The “A” is more of a vegetarian, and an “AB” protein and vegetarian but more vegetarian. So, we’re looking at apparently the physiology of a person that can digest more vegetarian foods as an “A” blood group you know has certain enzymes or certain factors that are measured when the blood types are studied.  They have certain what they call, “secretors.” It does get complicated. It especially got complicated over the years when I saw people being told “Well, you’re an “O” blood group with an “A” tendency or vice-versa.

So, over time they decide that, “Oh, yeah, well people have subtypes.” Just before the elder D’Adamo died in 2013. He developed an effective test for determining subtypes. Then, off they were again to try to clarify every food and put it in into a blood type.

One of the questions we got today was, “Why certain blood types say they shouldn’t use coconut oil or that certain foods are said to be avoided by certain types?”  Like I’m supposed to avoid coconut oil, for example, and what I found when I took straight coconut oil it was irritate my throat. So, I realized it was too dampening for me. So, I will just use coconut oil in my cooking for example.

So, there this sub-typing that that makes it more complex. But it really helped me embrace my animal protein tendency and not to keep trying to be a vegetarian.

More to Come

Next week, I will continue my review of the 17 diets I started in this post. In the blog that follows this one I will look at the following diets: Glycemic Index, Specific Carbohydrate, Gluten Free, FODMAP, GAPS, Paleolithic, and Dash. I will then share my original thoughts about the Ketogenic Diet.  Then, I will discuss why I changed my mind about the Ketogenic Diet, how I am using this eating plan myself, who could benefit from Keto eating, and how to choose between a yeast free and Keto nutritional plan.


Dr. Carolyn Dean