Neuroscientist Explains Why Diets are Fattening


I am delighted that Sandra Aamodt, Ph.D, a neuroscientist whose Ted Talk I have recommended many times, now has written a book called, Why Diets Make Us Fat.

It is great to have a common sense approach to eating and dieting supported by Dr. Aamodt.

For those of you who may have had doubts about my advice, check out her Ted Talk on YouTube

And remember:

  • Dieting makes you more likely to be heavier over time.
  • Dieting doesn’t work – 78.6 million Americans are OBESE and many of these obese people got there by yo-yo dieting.
  • Stress causes your body to release hormones that are related to weight gain.  Diets cause stress…. Hmm..

I created my workbook to guide you through the transition from diet mentality to healthy thin mentality. (Available on this site)  Also, please:

Subscribe to my YouTube channel for  for an upcoming series using my WorkBook as a guide. YouTube Page for an upcoming series using my WorkBook as a guide.

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How Obeying Nutrition Research Backfires All The Time

scientist with money

For 25 years, I ignored my own body and listened to the the “expert of the day” to decide what to eat,  when to eat to and how much to eat.

Do not do this to yourself.

What seems like a simple, and harmless action– restricting calories, replacing food you love with “clean food” and ignoring hunger, is not harmless, it is destructive.

It fundamentally changes your relationship with food, eating and your body:

  • You become less able to “hear” hunger and satiety because you ignore it.
  • You reject your body’s ability to guide your eating and instead eat according to some stranger’s advice.
  • Instead of a stress-free relationship with one of life’s greatest pleasures, eating, you agonize over food, you weigh yourself before and after you pee, and you have several sizes of jeans in your  closet.

Why did I, (and why do you) put yourself through this?

Because we are trying so hard to do the right thing, to get healthy, to have a lean body we can proud of, to lose that baby weight, to get back into that pair of jeans, that we get desperate:

So we listen to advice that is propped up by a massive revenue machine: the diet industry.

But diet/nutrition research is flawed because researchers frequently have a corrupt agenda for the results they seek.   This leads to the ever changing “magic food” of the day- a la Dr. Oz.

  • They may truly believe that fats are bad and seek to prove that and ignore contradictory results
  • They may benefit financially for supporting a food group
  • Lobbyists for food/diet industries PAY for research and influence interpretations-yes even FDA research (See the Men Who Made Us Thin – BBC documentary of YouTube- 4 part series- eye opening…)

So your good intentions to follow smart scientists leave you, ironically, subject to bad advice.   If you doubt this, read this:  (It is also reprinted at end of this post)

And the vast majority of testimonies you see are not real.

Don’t swallow a testimony from a highly-paid celebrity!  They are paid millions!  She may have had weight loss surgery, liposuction, cool sculpting etc., and credit some diet because they are paying her millions.

So, may I “bottom line” this for you?

It is not reasonable to ignore your body’s voice to get to a healthy weight, a healthy relationship with food, and to enjoy eating.

In fact, respecting your body’s voice is the way to get there!  

It is in you, buried under a layer of deep diet mentality.  People, if I can get rid of mine, you can get rid of yours.  Mine was so so powerful.

I created a book and workbook to guide you through this.  Believe me, I am not doing this to make money off of you.  This is a passion for me.  I put it together to mimic how I made the transition.  It is the best gift you can give yourself.  I am starting to put it out on YouTube too.-  I will go through it week by week.  So, if you don’t want to spend money on the book- check out YouTube Diets Are Fattening.  But I do think that it is helpful if you use it in conjunction with the vids, I think it would be more powerful.

I will post on Facebook, Twitter and  when I have new vids up.

I am screaming this message! Below I have reprinted the article from The Washington Post that I mentioned earlier.


This study 40 years ago could have reshaped the American diet. But it was never fully published.

By Peter Whoriskey April 12

It was one of the largest, most rigorous experiments ever conducted on an important diet question: How do fatty foods affect our health? Yet it took more than 40 years — that is, until today — for a clear picture of the results to reach the public.

The fuller results appeared Tuesday in BMJ, a medical journal, featuring some never-before-published data. Collectively, the fuller results undermine the conventional wisdom regarding dietary fat that has persisted for decades and is still enshrined in influential publications such as the U.S. government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans. But the long-belated saga of the Minnesota Coronary Experiment may also make a broader point about how science gets done: it suggests just how difficult it can be for new evidence to see the light of day when it contradicts widely held theories.

The story begins in the late 1960s and early ’70s, when researchers in Minnesota engaged thousands of institutionalized mental patients to compare the effects of two diets. One group of patients was fed a diet intended to lower blood cholesterol and reduce heart disease. It contained less saturated fat, less cholesterol and more vegetable oil. The other group was fed a more typical American diet.

Just as researchers expected, the special diet reduced blood cholesterol in patients. And while the special diet didn’t seem to have any effect on heart disease, researchers said they suspected that a benefit would have appeared if the experiment had gone on longer.

There was “a favorable trend,” they wrote, for younger patients.

Today, the principles of that special diet — less saturated fat, more vegetable oils — are recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the government’s official diet advice book. Yet the fuller accounting of the Minnesota
data indicates that the advice is, at best, unsupported by the massive trial. In fact, it appears to show just the opposite: Patients who lowered their cholesterol, presumably because of the special diet, actually

suffered more heart-related deaths than those who did not.
The higher rate of mortality for patients on the special diet was most apparent among patients older than 64.

The new researchers, led by investigators from the National Institutes of Health and the University of North Carolina, conclude that the absence of the data over the past 40 years or so may have led to a misunderstanding of this key dietary issue.

“Incomplete publication has contributed to the overestimation of benefits and underestimation of potential risks” of the special diet, they wrote.

“Had this research been published 40 years ago, it might have changed the trajectory of diet-heart research and recommendations” said Daisy Zamora, a researcher at UNC and a lead author of the study.

The new research drew quick criticism, however, especially from experts who have been prominent in the campaign against saturated fats.

“The bottom line is that this report adds no useful new information and is irrelevant to current dietary recommendations that emphasize replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat,” Walter Willett, chair of the nutrition department at Harvard University, said in a blog post from the school. “Many lines of evidence support this conclusion.”

He characterized the new analysis of the old experiment as “an interesting historical footnote.” ***
[Related: The rapidly evolving science on dietary fat]

The new research will agitate the debate over one of the most controversial questions in all of nutrition: Does the consumption of saturated fats —the ones characteristic of meat and dairy products — contribute to heart disease?

It is, without doubt, an important question. Heart disease is the leading cause of mortality in the United States, and Americans eat a lot of red meat and dairy foods.

The federal government has long blamed saturated fats for health troubles, and it continues — through the Dietary Guidelines for Americans — to recommend that people limit their intake.

Indeed, the Dietary Guidelines continue to embrace the principles advocated by the Minnesota researchers from 40 years ago. The book advises Americans to limit their intake of saturated fats and to replace them at least in part with oils, just as the Minnesota experimenters did 40 years ago. More specifically, it advises Americans to consume about five teaspoons (27 grams) of oils per day, mentioning canola, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean and sunflower oils.

“Oils should replace solid fats rather than being added to the diet,” it advises.

But the idea that spurning saturated fat will, by itself, make people healthier has never been fully proved, and in recent years repeated clinical trials and large-scale observational studies have produced evidence to the contrary. Whether cutting saturated fats out of your diet will make you healthier depends, of course, on what you replace them with.

“What this research implies is that there is not enough evidence to draw strong conclusions about the health effects of vegetable oils” Christopher Ramsden, a medical investigator at NIH and a lead author of the study, said in an interview. While urging caution in drawing conclusions about the new analysis, he said the research suggested

saturated fats “may not be as bad as originally thought.”

Ramsden and colleagues discovered the missing data during their research examining the potentially harmful effects of linoleic acid — a key constituent of most vegetable oils — on human health. Preliminary research suggests a link between linoleic acid and diseases such as chronic pain, Ramsden said, and humans have been consuming it in larger quantities than their bodies may be prepared for. Before the advent of agriculture, humans got 2 to 3 percent of their calories from linoleic acid, according to the new paper; today most Americans, awash in cooking oils and oils added to snack foods, get much more.

It’s not exactly clear why the full set of data from the Minnesota experiment was never published.

As research efforts on diets go, the study was rigorous. Funded by the U.S. Public Health Service and the National Heart Institute, it involved more than 9,000 patients who were randomly assigned to one of the two diets. Detailed measurements of blood cholesterol and other indexes of health were recorded.

Willett, the Harvard nutritionist, faulted the experiment because many of the patients were on the special diets for relatively brief periods – many were being released from the mental institutions. But about a quarter of the patients remained on the diet for a year or longer, and why such an apparently well-done study received so little fanfare is mystifying to some.

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The results of the study were never touted by the investigators. Partial results were presented at an American Heart Association conference in 1975, and it wasn’t until 1989 that some of the results were published, appearing in a medical journal known as Arteriosclerosis.

The lead investigators of the trial, noted scientists Ancel Keys and Ivan Frantz, are deceased.

Steven Broste, now a retired biostatistician, was then a student at the University of Minnesota and used the full set of data for his master’s thesis in 1981. He interacted with the researchers. Part of the problem, Broste suggested in an interview, may have been limits on statistical methods at the time. Computer software for statistics wasn’t as readily available as it is today. So, at the time of the study, it wasn’t as easy to know how significant the data was. Broste completed his thesis several years after the last patients had left the trial, but it was not published in a journal.

Broste also suggested that at least part of the reason for the incomplete publication of the data might have been human nature. The Minnesota investigators had a theory that they believed in — that reducing blood cholesterol would make people healthier. Indeed, the idea was widespread and would soon be adopted by the federal government in the first dietary recommendations. So when the data they collected from the mental patients conflicted with this theory, the scientists may have been reluctant to believe what their experiment had turned up.

“The results flew in the face of what people believed at the time,” said Broste. “Everyone thought cholesterol was the culprit. This theory was so widely held and so firmly believed — and then it wasn’t borne out by the data. The question then became: Was it a bad theory? Or was it bad data? … My perception was they were hung up trying to understand the results.”

Peter Whoriskey is a staff writer for The Washington Post handling projects in business, healthcare and health. You can email him at ! Follow @PeterWhoriskey

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Is Your Eating on Auto Pilot?

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 7.35.51 AM

If you wake up every morning, and go the your coffee maker and then go to your fridge and eat the same breakfast everyday, you may be engaging in auto-pilot eating.   And being on auto-pilot with respect to eating is not progress toward a healthy Thin Mentality.

Every single morning when and if  you eat, it should be in response to your particular hunger and cravings on that particular morning.  Comments like, “I always have toast and an egg for breakfast,” indicate a lack of respect for your body’s voice.

Unless your days are exactly the same in energy expenditure, it is highly unlikely that your body will crave the exact same breakfast or any food for that matter, day after day, week after week, month after month.  So, as you build your healthy Thin Mentality, throw away food routines.  Be open to the possibility that your body will ask for different food today than yesterday.  Be open that you need more, or less! food today than yesterday.

Be open to the possibility that less food will satisfy you than you thought…

In other words, reconnect with your voice many, many times every day to guide your eating choices.  Put away all of your assumptions about what you need. Silence the self talk that ignores your body’s cravings.  Instead of saying, “I should eat some low fat yogurt and granola,” ask yourself, “What is my body asking me to nourish it with?”

And nourish doesn’t mean you are looking for “perfect” food.  It means you are responding to the nutritional needs your body expresses to you through cravings.

And, as I sit here writing this, I am sipping on an ice cold coke.  I usually have coffee, but I was craving a coke.  No, not a perfect food.  But I am not perfect either.  I am just a person who trusts myself and knows that a coke is not poison.  And I also know that my body cravings come from somewhere and fighting them is futile.  So I drink a coke and move on.

So, instead of judging  your food choices too harshly, stay focused on making sure those choices are “fresh” and not from a stale “auto-pilot”system.  You will arrive at nourishing your body in a healthful way.  And you too will realize that when your body craves an “imperfect” food, it is No Big Deal.

The next time you eat will be different.



That Thin Feeling…


That feeling you get when you drop a few pounds quickly makes you happy, I know.  You check yourself out in the mirror, notice that your pants are loose and your stomach feels smaller.

How do you feel when you gain it back?  How miserable are you when you reach into your closet and put those pants on and they are now really tight, or you can’t even pull them up?

That is the ying and yang of dieting.

A thin mentality person never gets that empty, newly thin feeling.  Your progress toward your ideal body weight comes at a pace that is not going to freak your body out.  It IS slower than dieting, for absolute sure.  No doubt.

But, like the turtle who wins the race against the rabbit, the thin mentality person “wins.”  Weight loss is permanent, in harmony with your biology.  You work WITH your body.  You don’t fight your instincts anymore.

I have to reiterate, as I do a lot, that working with your biology includes eating when you are hungry and NOT eating when NOT hungry.  Yes, of course that is important.

Eating when you were NOT HUNGRY is what made you fatter than you want to be in the first place!  You did not get heavy eating when you were hungry.

So, if you miss that “Wow, I just dropped 5 pounds this week high” please remind yourself that you won’t miss the “Wow, I gained 7 pounds this week low.”


People!  Slow and steady wins the race.  Happy, thin, relaxed, smart.  That is you as a thin mentality person.  Join me!!


Diets and Depression and Anxiety

i hate mysef

Studies show that dieting frequently leads to lowered self esteem, and more depression and anxiety.  The study I am citing is from the University of New Zealand in the mid 1990s.  But honestly, I don’t need a study to tell me that.  Do you?  I have lived it.

So, if you need more motivation to build your thin mentality, consider that you will very favorably impact your mental health along the way.  NO I am not a doctor.  But as I say in my book, I am a “noticer.”  And too many people go through life not “noticing” things.  It is like we have blinders on.

“Notice” that diets leave you depleted, anxious and obsessed with what should be a very normal bodily function: eating.

And, if they worked (kept you thin for life) maybe, and I mean MAYBE?? it would be worth it-  But they don’t.

So- commit to your thin mentality.  The rewards are so great:  freedom from food obsession, higher self esteem- yes really!  Lower anxiety, and harmonious weight loss.

I gave an example in the post today to help you think logically about this.  Suppose you randomly starved your dog, and then let it binge.  Don’t you think he might become a little erratic?  Yes!  Well, if you wouldn’t do that to your dog- why would you do that to yourself?

Free yourself from dieting to get thin, get peace.  Life is so much better without diet anxiety!


Lifestyle Experts Are Just Selling Diet Advice



Doctors frequently recommend “lifestyle coaches” to help overweight patients figure out what to eat.  But, lifestyle choices can be summed up so easily- lean meats, limit sweets, lots of fruits and vegetables and exercise. We all get that, it isn’t complicated.  Problem is, it doesn’t work.

People fall into a good food/ that leaves them obsessed with food. Normal people when put on a diet (and lifestyle change is another word for diet) become abnormally obsessed with food.

Doctors need to advise patients to reconnect with their hunger and satiety cues, as well as with their cravings.  This will enable patients to calmly, reasonably, and happily chose the proper food for themselves with ease.

Craving isn’t a bad word. It is mother nature’s signal. The profit driven diet industry including doctors like Dr. Oz, have a huge stake in making us think we need “experts” to tell us what to eat. And those experts frequently do not treat us as individuals,

If you are a 35 year old 180 pound lady, your recommendations will not be different from the 35 year old 180 pound lady sitting next to you- but you may be very different indeed. And your body knows that, even if the doctor in front of you doesn’t.

Reconnect with your body, and you won’t need to pay an “expert” to tell you how fabulous antioxidants are.  You will crave foods rich in vitamins, including antioxidants, as well as foods that aren’t.  And that is fine.


Going to Bed Early to Avoid Eating?? UGH

Woman with insomnia

When I was a dieter, I remember going to bed at 8 to avoid night-time eating?  What a sad way to live, don’t you think?

For me, that was a long time ago, and it makes me sad to think about it because it was so unnecessary.

If you are living with these kinds of  thoughts, then the first step is to realize that this is NOT an okay way to live.  Dieting has made you think that following your diet at all costs, is your number one goal.  No!

Your number one goal should be to reconnect eating with hunger one day, one “eating occasion” at a time.  The supreme joy and normalcy of this is your first reward.  The second is that your body will return to your ideal weight range.  Yes, by eating just what you require to quiet hunger, your body will begin to trust that you are listening to it.  No more urges to binge.  No more need to go to bed early to avoid the fridge… UGH!

This process of returning to the way Mother Nature intended us to eat is just that- a process.  It takes time and it takes finally understanding that dieting is the way to be a dieter, not the way to be your best, your ideal weight.

Please read these blogs to understand how wise this is.  I have a workbook to guide you through it too.  If you can’t afford it, email me.  I am committed to helping you, my friend, find the joy and freedom that I did.  Life is so so much better with food and eating in its proper place.



More Evidence Stressed Out Dieters Lose Health, Not Weight

tiny_bunny_eating_carrot1So interesting…

I was listening to satellite radio yesterday- Oprah channel.  This could have been an old interview- really don’t know, but it featured Deepak Chopra.

He was talking about how powerful the mind is.

He referenced a study on cholesterol.  High cholesterol food was given to several groups of  bunnies.  One of the groups did not suffer any negative effect from the high cholesterol diet.

Do you know what they figured out?

The researcher who was feeding that group of rabbits was interacting with them affectionately as they were fed.

Chopra explained that the researcher inadvertently demonstrated how providing a calm, positive and relaxed eating situation for the bunnies was extraordinarily advantageous to their health.  Their bodies were able to neutralize a food that should impact them badly.  Their calm, positive and relaxed eating was a powerful contributor to their health.

How does this relate to my anti-diet advocacy?

Dieters do not have a calm, relaxed relationship with food!  They are freaked out about what to eat, when to eat, how much.   And, they struggle with stress when they are losing weight, and, of course, when they are gaining it back.

I advocate that you enjoy your food, and that you release yourself from all the traumas of dieting, thinking about dieting, putting yourself on “famines,” and feeling guilty about eating, and fearing food.

In short, I am trying to get you to create your own version of the calm, relaxed rabbit in the study.

And, I guess this study shows that there are even more good effects from this kind of eating than even I thought possible.

The importance of having a relaxed, healthy relationship with food is huge.  Diets ruin that for us.  As a dieter, you may be eating 100% of all the RDA of vitamins and five servings of vegetables a day and lean protein etc.

But the person who is relaxed around all kinds of food and is listening to their body for hunger and satiety cues is creating a healthier, leaner body than the  obsessed, yo yo dieter.


Do You Want to Be Thin or A Dieter?

woman-eating-cakeDieters deny themselves cake for weeks or months and then crack and binge on it.

With your Thin Mentality, you have the power, the cake doesn’t have power over you…

Dieting is:

  • Rigid rules
  • Ignoring your body
  • Joyless eating
  • Feeling victimized by circumstances

A thin mentality is:

  • No rules
  • Listening to your body
  • Extremely joyful eating
  • Feeling completely powerful around food


AT 11 PM, she gets up and looks in the fridge.  She knows that she shouldn’t eat anymore, because she has already had all her “points” today.    To make herself feel full, she pours a huge glass of water and drinks it.  Then, she goes up to bed feeling kind of sad and empty and hoping that she can sleep.

It is 11 PM and she notices that the hunger pangs she felt an hour ago aren’t going away and that she really needs to eat something before bed.  She goes into the kitchen and looks for something warm and cheesy.  She doesn’t know why she is craving that and she doesn’t care.  She trusts herself, and knows that if she eats when she is hungry, she is eating with respect for her body.  She makes a delicious cheese toast.  Feeling very pleased that she has the food she likes in her fridge, and that she can take care of her hunger, she takes her bedtime snack up to her room and eats it happily.  She is relaxed, feels lucky, and anticipates a nice night’s sleep.

Yes, the dieter in this example may be lighter the next morning because she has forgone food.  But over time, ignoring your body will backfire on you.  Eating when you are hungry, as the thin mentality person does, will never make you fat.  And when you respect your hunger, and non hunger, you will normalize your relationship with food and begin to understand this:

What got you fat or heavier than you want to be, wasn’t eating a snack when you were hungry, it was eating when you WEREN’T hungry.  And remember, all food, even organic, highly nutritious food, will make you fat if you aren’t hungry when you eat it.  



Respecting Your Voice Builds Self-Esteem

smaller intuition

Diet Mentality:

If I could lose the weight, I would feel more confident to voice my opinion.  I feel like my weight makes me look like I am undisciplined, so I feel shy and less secure.

Thin Mentality:

Dieting was beating up my self esteem.  I felt like a failure when I couldn’t keep weight off.  Now that I understand that dieting was never going to work, and I have reconnected hunger with eating, I feel so much stronger and confident.

How your thin mentality improves self-esteem:

  1. You don’t blame yourself for gaining weight back after dieting.   Instead,  you realize that you have a powerful survival instinct!  By understanding that your inability to keep weight off was simply your strong biology demanding to be fed, you feel almost proud.  (Hey, you would have survived in ancient times of famine!)
  2. You respect your uniqueness.  By understanding that no one knows better for your body than you, you become your own “expert,” and you value your own instincts.
  3. You become a better critical thinker, and less willing to simply “follow the herd.”  Your thin mentality bleeds over into other parts of your life too.  You become more independent and less likely to believe slick commercials for anything.
  4. Your thin mentality encourages you to pay attention to your own “intuition,”  a valuable, but frequently overlooked, source of wisdom in our lives.

Like I always say, your thin mentality is the best gift that you will ever give yourself.