Schwarzbein Principle Diet
The Schwarzbein Principle prohibits refined carbohydrates and other high glycemic-index foods. Learn more in this section.
Schwarzbein Principle: The Premise
As suggested by the subtitle, The Truth About Weight Loss, Health and Aging, this book is about adjusting your diet to curb disease, turn back the biological clock, and lose weight. Endocrinologist Diana Schwarzbein offers her own version of a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet that she says will help control insulin. High insulin levels, the result of a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet, are responsible for a wide variety of ills, accelerate the aging process, turn off your metabolism, and cause weight gain, food cravings, depression, and mood swings, according to Schwarzbein.
Instead of using a food pyramid model, she has developed a food box representing four food groups -- proteins, fats, nonstarchy vegetables, and carbohydrates -- that need to be eaten together in the proper amounts to balance the body's hormone systems. Sugar, says Schwarzbein, is addictive. To complement her diet plan, she recommends a variety of supplements, including a multivitamin, magnesium, calcium, 5-hydroxytryptophan, and essential fatty acids.
What's for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner?The diet provides four weeks' worth of sample menus for the "healing program," which Schwarzbein says reverses insulin resistance and repairs your metabolism. She also provides four weeks' worth of menus and recipes for vegetarians. The menus are designed to keep your insulin-to-glucagon ratio and your glycemic index balanced by providing only 15 grams of carbohydrates per meal and by including foods from the four designated food groups in the proper proportions. A typical day's menu might include scrambled eggs and sausage, oatmeal with butter and cream, and sliced tomatoes for breakfast; Cobb salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing and an apple for lunch; and roast pork loin, brown rice with butter, asparagus with butter, and a mixed-greens salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing for dinner. Two snacks are allowed, one of sunflower seeds and another of almonds and string cheese.
Fact or Fiction: What the Experts SayThe Schwarzbein Principle is basically a variation on several other high-protein, low-carb diets. If weight loss results, it's due to a reduced-calorie intake, not a dietary manipulation of hormones. Carbohydrate intake is so restricted that it could be energy draining. And the levels of cholesterol and saturated fat in the diet far exceed what almost all experts recommend for a heart-healthy diet. There is no proof, say experts, that following this diet will exert some sort of hormonal control over your body that will speed weight loss and ultimately slow the aging process.
Gains and Losses/What's the Damage?
Whether or not weight loss would actually result is unclear from the menu plans, since recommended serving sizes for many foods, including high-calorie foods, are not provided. Despite what Schwarzbein says about not focusing on calorie counts, if you eat too many calories, you'll gain weight. With the menus provided and the limited information on portion sizes, it would be easy to actually gain weight on this diet. Don't expect to lose weight fast, even if you're keeping your total calorie intake in check. Because of the limitations placed on several nutrient-rich foods, the diet could easily fall short of several nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D, folic acid, and fiber.
Let's continue looking at low-carb diets with Enter The Zone -- in the next section.
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