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Dr. McDougall’s Ten Favorite One-Liners

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Dr. McDougall’s Ten Favorite One-Liners

By John McDougall, MD
August 2013

We live in a world of witty one-liners and sound bites, which I find useful for conveying my dietary messages. I suggest that people keep repeating them over and over in their heads until these focused thoughts become second nature.

After being deeply written into the pathways of the brain these punctual comments can function to help us make better dietary decisions. They can also be used to provoke thoughtful and entertaining discussions.

Start a conversation with old friends and new acquaintances by asking, “Did you know…”

1) The fat you eat is the fat you wear.

They’re Thinking: “Could that be true? Come to think of it, where does all that olive oil and bacon grease go after I eat it?”

You Continue: Fats and oils function as the “metabolic dollar” saved for times of famine (which has not been experienced in my lifetime). Fats and oils are present in the right chemical forms (chains of fatty acids), ready for almost effortlessly storage in your body’s fat (adipose) tissues: they go straight from the lips to the hips! The transfer is so simple that the fat’s original chemical structure remains unaltered. For example, people who regularly eat fish have lots of omega-3 fats stored in their body fat and those eating margarines store loads of trans fats. Additionally, the fats and oils people consume are excreted onto their skin, resulting in oily skin, acne, and blackheads. Only small amounts of dietary fat are used for daily energy needs.

2) Starches make you thin.

They’re Thinking: “Starches don’t make you thin! I’ve heard that plain potatoes and rice are so full of calories that they’ll make me fat, right along with other starchy foods like French fries and doughnuts.”

You Continue: If starches, like rice, make people fat, then 1.73 billion Asians living on rice would not be trim. Worldwide, populations who consume the bulk of their calories from rice (Vietnam), potatoes (Peru), and corn (rural Mexico) do not suffer from obesity. However, when these people migrate to the US and abandon their traditional starch-based diets, they become fat and sick. There are important differences in the basic starches and starches with additives. While a simple meal of baked potatoes, vegetables and salsa will not make you fat, a meal of baked potatoes with butter, bacon and sour cream will. French fries and doughnuts will also make you fat because they are prepared with large amounts of oils. Remember, “The fat you eat is the fat you wear.” People also confuse whole starches with simple sugars and highly refined flours, which can contribute to weight gain in small but important ways.

3) Sugars do not ordinarily turn into fat.

They’re Thinking: “Oh come on; everyone knows that starches, like rice, turn to sugar when eaten, which the body then easily converts into fats, which are stored. It’s the carbs that have plumped up my belly, buttocks, and thighs!”

You Continue: But there are 1.73 billion Asians living on rice (and white rice at that) and they are not overweight. The conversion of sugar (chemically a solid ring structure) into a chain of carbons called “fatty acids” is metabolically expensive. The body does not ordinarily synthesize fat from “natural” dietary sugars (starches, vegetables, and fruits) in any significant amounts. In controlled experiments, however, when people are purposefully overfed simple sugars (white sugar, etc.) and refined flours they will then make only a small amount of body fat. From excess body fat comes type-2 diabetes. This common disease is easily cured after switching the kind of calories consumed from fats (meat, cheese, vegetable oil) to sugars (starches, vegetables, and fruits); and with the dramatic weight loss that follows.

4) Sugar satisfies the hunger drive.

They’re Thinking: “The only thing that fills me up is meat. If I eat a Chinese dinner with mostly rice and noodles, I am hungry an hour later; I need my meat and cheese to be satisfied.”

You Continue: When people first switch to a starch-based diet they will initially miss the chunks of meat and globs of fat occupying their stomachs. They may interpret this change in physical sensation as hunger. But true long-lasting satisfaction of hunger (satiety) is triggered in the brain by rises in blood sugar from eating plant sugars. The hunger drive responds to sugar (carbohydrate) like the breathing drive does to oxygen and the thirst drive does to water. Fat provides almost no satiety, which contributes to their almost limitless consumption by people. Simple sugars (glucose, fructose, fruit, juice, etc.) provide only short-lived satiety. Complex sugars (starches and vegetables) keep you feeling full for hours between meals. Since, the typical American diet is low on the long-duration, appetite-satisfying sugars, people are left still hungry after eating meat, cheese, and vegetable oil (containing no carbohydrates). This disconnection between eating and satiety leads them to believe that there is something emotionally wrong with them; maybe they are obsessive-compulsive overeaters. Starches immediately bring about feelings of wellbeing, control, and safety.

5) Protein deficiency is impossible, even on a vegan diet.

They’re Thinking: “Meat and eggs are my protein sources. Starches, vegetables, and fruits have too little protein, plus these are incomplete proteins, missing essential amino acids.”

You Continue: We know that meat and eggs are full of saturated fats and cholesterol, which, at the very least, cause heart attacks and strokes; so why would Nature design human nutrition requirements so that we must risk our life in order to obtain essential nutrients (including protein)? She doesn’t. Plants have sufficient protein to grow giraffes, elephants, and cows, so obviously they have enough to grow relatively small people. All twenty amino acids, including the 10 essential ones, needed for good health are abundant in plants. In real life there is no such thing as protein deficiency, yet the meat and dairy industries generate tons of profit with these universally accepted lies.

6) There is no such thing as dietary calcium deficiency.

They’re Thinking:: “But without milk my bones would weaken and I would break a hip. Milk is the best source of calcium, and plants are calcium deficient.”

You Continue: Women in Asia and Africa grow normal adult skeletons without consuming any milk after they wean from their mothers' breast. Rural African women consume 400 mg of calcium daily, often have 10 babies, and nurse them for 10 months, yet do not have hip fractures (and 10% live to be older than 60). They also eat a diet of starches (corn and rice) with few animal foods. (Calcium recommendations are as high as 2000 mg/day for US women). Our calcium requirements are so small that there has never been a case of “dietary calcium deficiency” ever reported on any natural diet, even diets with no dairy foods at all. Osteoporosis is not due to calcium deficiency, but primarily due to an acidic condition created in the body from consuming meats and cheeses. The only reason you believe otherwise about protein and calcium is because of the size of the megaphones the meat and dairy industries hold.

7) Plants, not fish, make all omega-3 (good) fats.

They’re Thinking: “Fish have a unique metabolism that allows them to make essential omega-3 fats. These fats act like powerful drugs to prevent heart disease and more.”

You Continue: Only plants can make omega-3 fats. A diet of starches, vegetables, and fruits always meets the omega-3 fat needs of men, women, and children. Fish get their omega-3 fats from the plants they eat, and they then store the plant-synthesized fats in their bodies in high concentrations. These fats can act like powerful medications to humans. They thin the blood and, in this way, may prevent a heart attack from a blood clot. But with “thin blood,” consumers are more likely to bleed to death following a car accident. Omega-3 fats suppress the immune system and thus may quiet arthritis symptoms; but the same suppressed immune system is less effective at fighting off cancer and infections. These essential fats are safely consumed in their natural plant packages.

8) Taking vitamin supplements will increase cancer, heart disease, and death.

They’re Thinking: “Vitamins and minerals are necessary to live. More is better, and that little extra will push my metabolism to work even harder to restore my lost health.”

You Continue: Vitamins and minerals are essential, but to be health-promoting they must be delivered in the proper packages: starches, vegetables, and fruits. In these natural settings, nutrients are absorbed and utilized by the body’s cells in the right amounts, at the right times. But when packaged as supplements, one or more of the vitamins and minerals are isolated and concentrated into pills. When consumed these powerful chemicals flood our cells, creating nutritional imbalances, which increase our risk of heart disease, cancer, and death.

9) In Order to Get “the Cure,” You Must Stop the Cause.

They’re Thinking: “I am incurably ill and my body has let me down. Medications have been able to improve some of the outward signs of my disease, like my blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol, but I am really no better.”

You Continue: People are fat and sick with obesity, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease because of their meat-, dairy-, and vegetable oil-centered diets. But their body has not let them down; it is working overtime to repair the effects of a bad diet. Unfortunately, the injury from the harmful foods outstrips the body’s healing capacities, and disease progress. Taking pills does not fix the problem—the outward result is fat, sick people carrying around big bags full of drugs. When a diet of rice, corn, potatoes, and beans, with some fruits and vegetables is consumed, then healing dominates, and disease reverses. Cleaning up other bad habits (smoking, alcohol, coffee, inactivity, etc.) helps, too.

10) People love to hear good news about their bad habits.

They’re Thinking: “I don’t understand what you’re talking about. Look at me, I’m still alive. Life would not be worth living without my favorite foods: beefsteak and banana cream pie. Plus I have read chocolate, cheese, and wine are good for me”

You Continue: I understand; I was once at the same place myself. I could not see past my own dinner plate. I once believed pizza and milk chocolate sundaes were great sources of protein and calcium. I now know that this is untrue. More importantly, because I now eat differently, I see the world from a new viewpoint. As I walk by a table surrounded by overweight diners, the cause of their conditions is obviously the spread of rich foods set before them. A U-turn in your thinking can cause you to become drastically different—trimmer, younger, happier, more functional, and less medicated—too. Think about the possibilities and give the Starch Solution a 10-day trial.