Saturday, December 31, 2011


If someone you love has ever struggled with the scourge of diabetes, you
know what a devastating disease it can be. In the year 2000, diabetes was the
sixth leading cause of death in the United States. But chances are that this demonic
disorder probably contributes to many more deaths; it’s a leading cause
of heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke, and its other complications include
blindness, amputation, impotence, and nerve damage. It’s also highly
preventable—and the Abs Diet and the Abs Diet Workout are near-perfect
Diabetes works like this: Your digestive system turns brunch into glucose—
the form of sugar your body uses for energy—and sends it into the bloodstream.
When the glucose hits, your pancreas—a large gland located near
your stomach—produces insulin, a hormone, and sends that into the
bloodstream as well. Insulin is your body’s air traffic controller: It takes
command of all your glucose and directs it into your cells, where it can be
used for rebuilding muscle, for keeping your heart pumping and your brain
thinking, or for doing the macarena (if you’re the type to do the macarena,
that is).
But over time, bad health habits can take a toll on your flight command
center. Overeating, particularly eating high–glycemic index foods, floods
your body with massive amounts of glucose time and time again. Like any
air traffic controller, insulin can become overwhelmed when it’s asked to
do too much all at one time, and eventually, it burns out. Insulin loses its
ability to tell cells how to properly utilize the glucose in your blood—a
condition known as insulin resistance. After several years, the pancreas gets
fed up with producing all that ineffective insulin and begins to produce less
than you need. This is called type 2, or adult-onset, diabetes. (Given that
poor diet is the major risk factor, it’s no surprise that 80 percent of people
with type 2 diabetes are overweight.) Glucose builds up in the blood,
overflows into the urine, and passes out of the body. Thus, the body loses
its main source of fuel even though the blood contains large amounts of
Two bad things happen: First, you start to lose energy, and your body starts to
have trouble maintaining itself. You feel fatigue and unusual thirst, and you
begin losing weight for no apparent reason; you get sick more often, and injuries
are slow to heal, because your body is losing its ability to maintain itself.
Second, the sugar that is hanging around in your blood begins to damage the
tiny blood vessels and nerves throughout your body, particularly in your ex-
B U R N F A T D A Y A N D N I G H T 51
tremeties and vital organs. Blindness, impotence, numbness, and heart
damage ensue.
But diabetes is a relatively preventable disease. Exercising and eating right
are the two best ways to manage it—and what a coincidence, that’s just what
this book is intended to teach you to do. So adopt the principles of the Abs
Diet and the Abs Diet Workout, and while you’re at it, consider these additional
Get mushy. Oatmeal is high in soluble fiber, which may decrease your risk of
heart disease, some cancers, diverticulitis, and diabetes. Mix it up: Eat oatmeal
with berries and nuts one day, and have eggs and meat another.
Climb. Yale researchers found that men with insulin resistance—a risk factor for
diabetes and heart disease—who exercised on a stairclimber for 45 minutes 4
days a week improved their sensitivity to insulin by 43 percent in 6 weeks.
Steal from the teacher. Researchers at the National Public Health Institute in
Helsinki, Finland, studied the diets of 60,000 men and women over the course
of a year and found that individuals who ate apples the most frequently were
12 percent less likely to die during the course of the study than those who
rarely bit into a McIntosh or Granny Smith. In particular, they cut their risk of
diabetes by 27 percent.
Eat the right carbs. Get to know the glycemic index, a measure of how quickly
the carbohydrates in a particular food are converted to glucose and released
into the bloodstream. In a Harvard study, men who ate foods with the lowest indexes,
like whole-wheat bread, were 37 percent less likely to develop diabetes
than those who ate high–glycemic index foods, such as white rice. (To find out
the glycemic index of your favorite foods, go to
Eat more E. In the alphabet soup of vitamins, E is the one that may prevent
the big D. When Finnish researchers evaluated the diets of 944 men, they
found that those with the highest vitamin E intake had a 22 percent lower
risk of diabetes than men with the lowest intake. Vitamin E may also prevent
the free radical damage that plays a role in the complications caused by
Start wining. In a study of 23,000 twins, researchers found that individuals
who had one or two drinks a day were up to 40 percent less likely to develop
diabetes than individuals downing less than one drink daily. Previous
research has linked alcohol consumption to increased insulin sensitivity.
Just don’t overdo the amount you drink. In a separate study, researchers
found that binge drinking may increase your risk of colorectal cancer

Changing the Way You Think About the Word Diet

HERE’S A TYPICAL diet scenario: You nibble on a piece of toast for
breakfast and a sack of baby carrots for lunch, and you figure that
puts you well ahead of the calorie-counting game. By dinner,
48 T H E A B S D I E T
though, you’ve got so many onion rings jammed into your mouth
that you look like Dizzy Gillespie. If you’re so restricted in what
you can eat, you’ll eventually act like a rebellious teen and break
the rules. While most diets say “no” more than your boss at review
time, the Abs Diet gives you options. Most diets are about restricting.
This one is about fueling.
For years—or maybe for all your life—you’ve probably had one
notion about what dieting needs to be. Restrict your foods, eat
like a supermodel, sweat on the treadmill, and you’ll lose fat. In
reality, those could be the very reasons why you couldn’t lose
weight. It’s why you gained back what you lost. It’s the reason
why your speedboat metabolism may have geared down to that
of an anchored barge. It’s why you don’t see much progress when
you try new weight-loss programs. And it’s why the only real
recipe many diet plans offer is a recipe for pecan-encrusted
failure. What the Abs Diet will do is reprogram your circuitry.
You’ll stop thinking about every calorie and start thinking about
how best to burn calories. Once you master that, your body will
be equipped with all the tools it needs to strip away fat—and
show off your abs.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Changing the Way You Eat

FEW THINGS IN American society have failed more often than diets
(with the exception of the hapless Red Sox). I think there’s an explanation
for the high failure rate. For one, many diets have re-
B U R N F A T D A Y A N D N I G H T 47
volved around low-fat menus. I’ll discuss fat in a later chapter, but
one of the problems with low-fat diets is that they can suppress
the manufacture of testosterone, the hormone that contributes to
the growth of muscle and the burning of fat. When testosterone
levels are low, your body stores fat like squirrels store nuts. In one
study, men with higher testosterone were 75 percent less likely to
be obese than men with lower levels of testosterone. Many diets
also fail because they don’t take advantage of the single most powerful
nutrient for building muscle and increasing your metabolism:
Protein—in proportion with foods from other groups—works
in two primary ways. First, eating more protein cranks up the
thermic effect of digestion by as much as one-third. Second, protein
is also the nutrient that builds calorie-consuming muscle. In
effect, you get a double burn—while you’re digesting food and
later, as it helps build muscle. In the Abs Diet, you’ll emphasize
protein for these very reasons, but you’ll also emphasize the most
powerful sources of protein. A Danish study published in the
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition took a group of men and
gave them diets that were high in protein either from pork or
from soy. They found that men on the diet higher in animal protein
burned 2 percent more calories during a 24-hour period than
men on the soy protein diet, despite the fact that they ate slightly
less food. That’s 50 calories a day if you’re eating a 2,500-calorie
diet. In other words, if you want to burn calories, tenderloin is
better than tofu.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Changing the Way You Exercise

HAVE YOU EVER seen a gym at rush hour? Everyone hovers around
the treadmills, elliptical trainers, and stationary bikes. Signs
warn you of 20-minute maximums so that the next sweat seeker
can have his turn. It seems like everyone wants a cardiovascular,
44 T H E A B S D I E T
aerobic workout. The more you sweat, the more calories you burn,
the more weight you lose, right? In a way, yes, the headphoneand-
Lycra set is right. Cardiovascular exercise—steady-state endurance
exercises, like running, biking, and swimming—burns a
lot of calories. In fact, it often burns more than other forms of exercise
like strength training or trendier workouts like yoga or Pilates.
But when it comes to weight control, aerobic exercise is
more overrated than the fall TV lineup. Why? For one reason: Aerobic
exercise builds little (if any) muscle—and muscle is the key
component of a speedy metabolism. Muscle eats fat; again, add 1
pound of muscle, and your body burns up to an additional 50 calories
a day just to keep that muscle alive. Add 6 pounds of muscle,
and suddenly you’re burning up to 300 more calories each day just
by sitting still.
Here’s the problem with low-intensity aerobic exercise. Just
like a car can’t run without gas or a kite can’t fly without wind,
a body can’t function without food. It’s the fuel that helps you
run, lift, and have the legs to make love all night long. Generally,
during exercise, your body calls upon glycogen (the stored
form of carbohydrate in muscles and the liver), fat, and in some
cases protein. When you’re doing low-intensity aerobic exercise
like jogging, your body primarily uses fat and glycogen (carbohydrates)
for fuel. When it continues at longer periods (20 minutes
or more), your body drifts into depletion: You exhaust your
first-tier energy sources (your glycogen stores), and your body
hunts around for the easiest source of energy it can find—protein.
Your body actually begins to eat up muscle tissue, converting
the protein stored in your muscles into energy you need
to keep going. Once your body reaches that plateau, it burns up
5 to 6 grams of protein for every 30 minutes of ongoing exercise.
(That’s rougly the amount of protein you’ll find in a hard-boiled
egg.) By burning protein, you’re not only missing an opportunity
to burn fat but also losing all-important and powerful muscle. So
B U R N F A T D A Y A N D N I G H T 45
aerobic exercise actually decreases muscle mass. Decreased
muscle mass ultimately slows down your metabolism, making it
easier for you to gain weight.
Now here’s an even more shocking fact: When early studies
compared cardiovascular exercise to weight training, researchers
learned that those who engaged in aerobic activities burned more
calories during exercise than those who tossed around iron. You’d
assume, then, that aerobic exercise was the way to go. But that’s
not the end of the story.
It turns out that while lifters didn’t burn as many calories during
their workouts as the folks who ran or biked, they burned far more
calories over the course of the next several hours. This phenomenon
is known as the afterburn—the additional calories your body burns
off in the hours and days after a workout.When researchers looked
at the metabolic increases after exercise, they found that the increased
metabolic effect of aerobics lasted only 30 to 60 minutes. The
effects of weight training lasted as long as 48 hours. That’s 48 hours
during which the body was burning additional fat. Over the long
term, both groups lost weight, but those who practiced strength
training lost only fat, while the runners and bikers lost muscle mass
as well. Themessage: Aerobic exercise essentially burns only at the
time of the workout. Strength training burns calories long after you
leave the gym, while you sleep, and maybe all the way until your
next workout. Plus, the extra muscle you build through strength
training means that in the long term, your body keeps burning calories
at rest just to keep that new muscle alive.
That raises a question. What aspect of strength training creates
the long afterburn? Most likely, it’s the process of muscle repair.
Weight lifting causes your muscle tissues to break down and
rebuild themselves at a higher rate than normal. (Muscles are always
breaking down and rebuilding; strength training simply accelerates
the process.) That breakdown and rebuilding takes a lot
of energy and could be what accounts for the long period of calorie
46 T H E A B S D I E T
burning. In fact, a 2001 Finnish study found that protein synthesis
(the process that builds bigger muscles) increases 21 percent
3 hours after a workout.
The good news is that you don’t have to lift like a linebacker to
see the results. A recent Ohio University study found that a short
but hard workout had the same effect as longer workouts. Using a
circuit of three exercises in a row for 31 minutes, the subjects were
still burning more calories than normal 38 hours after the workout.
(The Abs Diet Workout is designed along similar principles, to
mimic these results.)
As I said earlier, building muscle increases your metabolism so
much that you burn up to 50 calories per day per pound of muscle
you have. The more muscle you have, the easier it is for you to lose
fat. That’s why one of the components of the plan includes an exercise
program that will help you add the muscle you need to burn
fat and reshape your body. And it also points to one of the reasons
why you should deemphasize cardiovascular, aerobic exercise if
you want to lose fat: because it depletes your body’s store of fatburning
Now, before you think I’m some sort of anti-aerobics fanatic,
let me clarify a few things: I run almost daily, and I’ve even completed
the New York City Marathon. Aerobic exercise burns calories,
it helps control stress, and it improves your cardiovascular
fitness. It also helps lower blood pressure and improve your cholesterol
profile. If your choice is aerobic exercise or no exercise, for
Pete’s sake get out there and run. But when it comes to long-term
weight management, I’ll take gym iron over road rubber any day.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What Is “Metabolism”?

Metabolism is the rate at which your body burns its way through
calories just to keep itself alive—to keep your heart beating, your
lungs breathing, your blood pumping, and your mind fantasizing
about the Caribbean while crunching year-end accounting figures.
Your body is burning calories all the time, even while you’re
reading this sentence. The average woman burns about 10 calories
per pound of body weight ever day; the average man, 11 calories
per pound.
There are three main types of calorie burn that happen
B U R N F A T D A Y A N D N I G H T 41
throughout your day. Understand how they work, and you’ll understand
exactly why the Abs Diet is going to turn your body into
a fat-burning machine.
Calorie burn #1: The thermic effect of eating. Between 10
and 30 percent of the calories you burn each day get burned by
the simple act of digesting your food. Now that’s pretty cool—satisfying
your food cravings actually makes you burn away calories.
But not all foods are created equal: Your body uses more calories
to digest protein (about 25 calories burned for every 100 calories
42 T H E A B S D I E T
Name: Jessica Guff
Age: 43
Height: 5'4"
Starting weight: 130
Six weeks later: 120
Jessica Guff doesn’t believe in stepping on a scale. See, numbers don’t
give a total health picture, Guff says. What really matters is how you view
yourself—not to mention how others view you, too. Take the time she was
walking into a client’s office. The people there hadn’t seen her for a
couple of weeks, and one employee said to another, “Who’s that skinny
woman over there?”
“It’s Jessica,” the other employee told her. “She’s on this thing called the Abs
That exchange took place just 2 weeks after Guff started the Abs Diet—and
she felt the effects immediately. Guff, 43, who runs marathons, has always
been in good shape. But the effect of having two kids had taken a toll on her
belly. “I was in pretty good shape, except for my stomach,” she says. “But
since going on the plan, I really noticed a difference. I could probably crunch
walnuts with my abs.”
consumed) than it does to digest fats and carbohydrates (10 to 15
calories burned for every 100 calories consumed). That’s why the
Abs Diet concentrates on lean, healthy proteins. Eat more of
them, in a sensible way, and you’ll burn more calories.
Calorie burn #2: Exercise and movement. Another 10 to 15
percent of your calorie burn comes from moving your muscles,
whether you’re pressing weights overhead, running to catch the
bus, or just twiddling your thumbs. Simply turning the pages of
this book will burn calories.
B U R N F A T D A Y A N D N I G H T 43
The key for Guff was changing the way she approached eating. Sacrificing her
own eating habits to get her kids out the door and keep up with her fitness
training, she’d start the day with tea—and often little else. “I used to go out
and run without eating anything, and that was really stupid,” Guff says. “I was
horrified to learn the truth—that exercising on an empty stomach causes you
to burn muscle, not fat.” But the simple strategies of the Abs Diet changed all
that. “Now I’m having smoothies for breakfast, and it’s made me fitter and
stoked up my energy,” Guff says.
Guff says she couldn’t do a program in which she’d have to count calories or
weigh food. “What I love about the Abs Diet is the flexibility,” she says. “All I
have to remember is the catchy acronym—ABS DIET POWER—and I can remember
the 12 Powerfoods.”
The results: She’s leaner—and stronger. When her 56-pound daughter fell
asleep on the couch, Guff was the one who picked her up and carried her to
bed. “I thought, either I’m getting stronger or she’s losing weight,” she says.
And she’s also more confident. “When women look at other women, they look
at their boobs, their butts, and their waists—especially women who’ve had
children. Every woman who’s had a child cares about having a flat stomach.”
But the true measure of her success came in the form of a pair of green satin
cargo pants. Guff says, “They’re kinda hot, but my stomach shows when I
wear them. I have two kids, so I have no business flashing my midsection.”
But after 2 weeks on the plan, she decided to put them to the public test.
“All these people started complimenting me. A guy I went to college with
said, ‘Nice outfit.’ My husband said I looked great,” Guff says. “I’m going out
tonight and I’m wearing the pants again.”
Calorie burn #3: Basal metabolism. This one’s the biggie.
Your basal, or resting, metabolism refers to the calories you’re
burning when you’re doing nothing at all. Sleeping, watching TV,
sitting through yet another mind-numbing presentation on corporate
profit-and-loss statements—you’re burning calories all
the while. In fact, between 60 and 80 percent of your daily calories
are burned up just doing nothing. That’s because your body
is constantly in motion: Your heart is beating, your lungs are
breathing, and your cells are dividing, all the time, even when
you sleep.
Add up the percentages and you’ll see that the majority of your
daily calorie burn comes from physiological functions that you
don’t even think about—the thermic effect of eating and your basal
metabolism. While exercise is important, you need to realize that
the calories you burn off during exercise aren’t important. Let me
repeat that: Exercise is important, but the calories you burn off
during exercise aren’t important. That’s why the exercise program
we outline in the Abs Diet is designed to alter your basal metabolism,
turning your downtime into fat-burning time. And it’s why
the food choices we outline for you are designed to maximize the
number of calories you burn simply by eating and digesting. I
want you to forget about the calories you’re burning during those
30 minutes in the gym and concentrate on the calories you’re
burning the other 231⁄2 hours a day.
In effect, the Abs Diet is going to change your body into a fatfrying
dynamo by several means.

The Case against Calorie Counting

Before you bust a button, hear me out. Labels and machines both
have their appropriate uses (the former for the simple knowledge
of the vitamins, minerals, and ingredients in your food, the latter
for getting people off their duffs and exercising). My beef with
labels and machines is not what they do per se but the myth
they perpetuate. Through their function, they feed into a way of
thinking about weight loss that actually makes it harder to control
weight. They’ve turned us into a community of heavies who worship
at the altar of one seemingly omnipotent number: the calorie.
With every food you eat and with every workout you finish,
you look at how many calories come in and how many calories go
out. It’s the turnstile theory of weight loss: If you exercise away
more than you take in, then you’ll lose weight. Experts tell us that
a pound of fat contains roughly 3,500 calories, so if you simply
delete 500 calories from your daily meals, increase your daily exercise
by 500 calories, or some combination thereof, you’ll lose a
pound of fat a week. That sounds great in theory, but in real life,
the whole concept of calorie management is more likely to make
40 T H E A B S D I E T
you lose heart than lose weight. You hump it on the stairclimber
for 30 minutes and sweat like a guest on The O’Reilly Factor.
When you see the final readout—“Workout Completed; 300 Calories
Burned!”—you feel like you’ve just chipped away at your belly
and gotten closer to your goal. That is, until you reach for a midnight
snack and see that a serving and a half of Raisin Bran also
equals 300 calories. What took 30 minutes to burn takes 30 seconds
to dust off during Leno. It’s a psychological diet killer.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with using nutritional labels
to track what you eat or as a deterrent to stay away from highcalorie
foods in the first place. And it can be helpful to use machine
readouts to gauge the intensity of your exercise. But you
will derail your weight loss efforts if you keep focusing on the
number of calories you take in during meals and the number of
calories you burn off during exercise. You need to focus, rather, on
what is happening inside your body during the rest of your day—
when you’re working, sleeping, making love, or just sitting still
right now reading this book. Right this very instant, your body is
either gaining fat or losing fat. The Abs Diet will train your body
to lose fat while you’re sitting still, because the Abs Diet focuses
on something other diet plans miss: your metabolism.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


popular diets are designed to offer
only short-term weight loss, and
how following these programs sets
you up not only to regain the
weight you initially shed but to actually gain even more
fat in the long run. Most diets, in fact, are not long-term
fat-loss plans but long-term muscle-loss plans. The Abs
Diet is different: It’s a program that helps you rev up
your body’s natural fat burners and keep them revved
up for life.
As harmful as most diet crazes may be, diets alone
aren’t to blame for the obesity epidemic in America. In
fact, there’s plenty of blame to go around: fast food,

funnel cakes, stress, sedentary lifestyles, supersizing, all-you-caneat
buffets, the demise of physical education classes, free refills,
couches, movie theater popcorn, you name it. We’re a society of
overeaters who often hold desk jobs and would lobby to make the
Bloomin’ Onion its own food group. But in the battle of weight
control, these are the easy targets. Instead, I’d argue, one of the
reasons we keep getting fatter is that we put our faith in two
things that are supposed to help us lose weight. These weight loss
“double agents” reap praise for their contributions to good health,
but they’ve also done their part in skewing the way we think
about weight loss. The two culprits I blame for our obesity epidemic?
Nutritional labels and exercise machines.


every day. Grapefruit is gaining ground as a power food. New research shows
that it can fight heart disease and cancer, trigger your body to lose weight,
and even help you get a better night’s sleep. A grapefruit a day can lower
your total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels by 8 and 11 percent,
Cram in the cranberry. Researchers at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania
found that men who drank three glasses of cranberry juice daily raised
their HDL (good) cholesterol levels by 10 percent, which in turn lowered their
risk of heart disease by 40 percent. Plant compounds called polyphenols are
believed to be responsible for the effect. (Note: Cranberry juice often comes
diluted, so make sure the label says that it contains at least 27 percent cranberry
Spread some on. Instead of butter or margarine, try Benecol spread. It contains
stanol ester, a plant substance that inhibits cholesterol absorption. A
study at the Mayo Clinic found that people eating 41⁄2 tablespoons of Benecol
daily lowered their LDL (bad) cholesterol by 14 percent in 8 weeks. When they
stopped using it, their LDL returned to previous levels. Benecol can also be
used for cooking.
Gain with grains and beans. Researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto
had people add several servings of foods like whole grains, nuts, and beans to
their diets each day. One month later, the test subjects’ LDL (bad) cholesterol
levels were nearly 30 percent lower than when the trial began. In another
study, this one at Tulane University, researchers found that people who ate
four or more servings a week had a 22 percent lower risk of developing heart
disease (and 75 percent fewer camping companions) than less-than-once-aweek
bean eaters.
Don’t let your tank hit empty. A study in the British Medical Journal found
that people who eat six or more small meals a day have 5 percent lower cholesterol
levels than those who eat one or two large meals. That’s enough to
shrink your risk of heart disease by 10 to 20 percent.
Refrain from fries. In a study published in the New England Journal
of Medicine, the exercise and nutritional habits of 80,000 women were
recorded for 14 years. The researchers found that the most important
correlate of heart disease was the women’s dietary intake of foods containing
trans fatty acids, mutated forms of fat that lower HDL (good)
W H Y T H E A B S D I E T ? A N D W H Y N O W ? 37
and increase LDL (bad) cholesterol. Some of the worst offenders are
french fries.
Sow your oats. In a University of Connecticut study, men with high cholesterol
who ate oat bran cookies daily for 8 weeks dropped their levels of LDL
cholesterol by more than 20 percent. So eat more oat bran fiber, such as oatmeal
or Cheerios. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports
that two servings of whole-grain cereal (Cheerios count) a day can reduce a
man’s risk of dying of heart disease by nearly 20 percent.
Rise and dine. In a study of 3,900 people, Harvard researchers found that
men who ate breakfast every day were 44 percent less likely to be overweight
and 41 percent less likely to develop insulin resistance, both risk factors for
heart disease.
Fortify with folic acid. A study published in the British Medical Journal found
that people who consume the recommended amount of folic acid each day
have a 16 percent lower risk of heart disease than those whose diets are
lacking in this B vitamin. Good sources of folic acid include asparagus, broccoli,
and fortified cereal.
Order a chef’s salad. Leafy greens and egg yolks are both good sources of
lutein, a phytochemical that carries heart disease–fighting antioxidants to your
cells and tissues.
Be a sponge. Loma Linda University researchers found that drinking five or
more 8-ounce glasses of water a day could help lower your risk of heart disease
by up to 60 percent—exactly the same drop you get from stopping
smoking, lowering your LDL (bad) cholesterol numbers, exercising, or losing a
little weight.
Give yourself bad breath. In addition to lowering cholesterol and helping to
fight off infection, eating garlic may help limit damage to your heart after a
heart attack or heart surgery. Researchers in India found that animals who
were fed garlic regularly had more heart-protecting antioxidants in their blood
than animals that weren’t.
Crank up the chromium. According to new research from Harvard, men with
low levels of chromium in their systems are significantly more likely to develop
heart problems. You need between 200 and 400 micrograms of chromium per
day—more than you’re likely to get from your regular diet. Look for a supplement
labeled chromium picolinate; it’s the most easily absorbed by the body.
Snack on nuts. Harvard researchers found that men who replaced 127 calories
of carbohydrates—that’s about 14 Baked Lay’s potato chips—with 1 ounce
of nuts decreased their risk of heart disease by 30 percent.

Monday, December 26, 2011


Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance found among the lipids (fats) in the
bloodstream and in all your body’s cells. For all the bad press it gets, the fact
is that you need cholesterol, because your body uses it to form cell membranes,
create hormones, and perform several other crucial maintenance operations.
But a high level of cholesterol in the blood—hypercholesterolemia—
is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, which leads to heart attack.
You get cholesterol in two ways. The body—mainly the liver—produces
varying amounts, usually about 1,000 milligrams a day. But when you consume
foods high in saturated fats—particularly trans fats—your body goes cholesterol
crazy, pumping out more than you could ever use. (Some foods also contain
cholesterol, especially egg yolks, meat, poultry, fish, seafood, and
whole-milk dairy products. But the majority of it, and the stuff I want you to
focus on, is made by your own body.)
Some of the excess cholesterol in your bloodstream is removed from the
body through the liver. But some of it winds up exactly where you don’t
want it—along the walls of your arteries, where it combines with other substances
to form plaque. Plaque is wack for several reasons: First, it raises
blood pressure by making your heart work harder to get blood through your
suddenly narrower vessels, which can eventually wear out your ticker.
Second, plaque can break off its little perch and tumble through your bloodstream,
eventually forming a clot that can lead to stroke, paralysis, death,
and other annoyances.
Inside your body, a war is raging right now between two factions of specialized
sherpas called lipoproteins that are moving cholesterol around your insides
according to their own specialized agendas. There are several kinds,
but the ones to focus on are the Jekyll and Hyde of health, HDL (highdensity
or “helpful” lipoprotein) and LDL (low-density or “lazy” lipoprotein)
The good guy: HDL cholesterol. About one-fourth to one-third of blood
cholesterol is carried by helpful HDL. HDL wants to help you out by picking
up cholesterol and getting it the hell out of your bloodstream by carrying it
back to the liver, where it’s passed from the body. That’s good. Some experts
believe that HDL removes excess cholesterol from plaques and thus
slows their growth. That’s really good. A high HDL level seems to protect
against heart attack. The opposite is also true: A low HDL level (less than
40 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) indicates a greater risk. A low HDL cholesterol
level may also raise stroke risk.
W H Y T H E A B S D I E T ? A N D W H Y N O W ? 35
The bad guy: LDL cholesterol. Lazy LDL has no interest at all in helping you
out. LDL just wants to stick cholesterol in the most convenient place it can
find, meaning your arteries. LDL doesn’t care that too much cholesterol lining
your arteries causes a buildup of plaque, a condition known as atherosclerosis.
A high level of LDL cholesterol (160 mg/dL and above) reflects an increased
risk of heart disease. Lower levels of LDL cholesterol reflect a lower risk of
heart disease.
Simply put, HDL is trying to come to your aid, but LDL is just sitting there,
laughing at you. (I also heard it said something bad ‘bout your momma.) So
whose side are you on? If you want to give HDL a hand, start stocking up on
the Abs Diet Powerfoods, and follow the guidelines of the Abs Diet Workout.
Here are some more quick ideas on beating the bad guy for good.
Butt out. Tobacco smoking is one of the six major risk factors of heart disease
that you can change or treat. Smoking lowers HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
Drink up. In some studies, moderate use of alcohol is linked with higher HDL
(good) cholesterol levels. But take it easy there, Dino. People who consume
moderate amounts of alcohol (an average of one to two drinks per day for
men and one drink per day for women) have a lower risk of heart disease, but
increased consumption of alcohol can bring other health dangers, such as alcoholism,
high blood pressure, obesity, and cancer.
Johnny B good. A B vitamin called niacin reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol at the
same time it raises beneficial HDL. In fact, niacin can be more effective at
treating these things than popular cholesterol-busting drugs, which tend to
act more generally on total cholesterol and gross LDL. (Be careful, though.
While the niacin you get from foods and over-the-counter vitamins is fine,
super-high doses of niacin can have serious side effects and should be taken
only under a doctor’s supervision.)
Tea it up. Three recent studies confirm that drinking green tea can help lower
your cholesterol level and reduce your risk of developing cancer. In a 12-week
trial of 240 men and women, researchers at Vanderbilt University found that
drinking the equivalent of 7 cups of green tea a day can help lower LDL (bad)
cholesterol levels by 16 percent. Seven cups a day is a lot of tea, but even 1 or
2 cups a day could have a beneficial impact. Meanwhile, researchers at the
University of Rochester recently determined that green tea extract can help
prevent the growth of cancer cells, and Medical College of Ohio researchers
found that a compound called EGCG in green tea may help slow or stop the
progression of bladder cancer.
Go for the grapefruit. If you want to make one simple dietary change for
better health, the best thing you can do is eat a single white or ruby grapefruit

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Name: Bill Stanton
Age: 40
Height: 5'8"
Starting weight: 220
Six weeks later: 190
Bill Stanton, a security consultant, had been pumping iron since he was 15.
But even with his rigorous weight training, he kept getting fatter: By the time
he reached 40, he had ballooned to 220 pounds on his 5-foot-8 frame. Why?
Because Stanton’s diet and exercise routine consisted of doing bench presses
and squats and then finishing the night with chicken wings and booze.
“My pants were fitting me like a tourniquet, and it was like I was in a bad
marriage—I was living comfortably uncomfortable,” Stanton says. “The Abs
Diet challenged me to get on the program, step up to the plate, and step
away from the plate.”
you want. Anything. During the bulk of the week, you’ll focus on foods
that will charge your metabolism and control your temptations, but
you’ll also have the freedom and flexibility to stray just enough to
keep you satisfied without ruining all the work you’ve already put in.
You’ll gain time. On some diets, it seems like it would take less
time to organize a hunting party and stalk a woolly mammoth than
it would take to plan and cook the recipes they tout. On this diet, all
of the meals and recipes are low-maintenance. For planning purposes,
all I want you to do is take this program 2 days at a time. Since
mindless noshing is the nation’s number one diet buster, your best
defense is to plot out a simple strategy for how and what you’re going
to eat each day. Every night, take 5 minutes to sketch out what and
when you’ll eat the next day, and you’ll have deflated temptation
and gained control. After reading the principles, you’ll see that the
Abs Diet establishes a new paradigm for weight control. Simply:
W H Y T H E A B S D I E T ? A N D W H Y N O W ? 33
After following the Abs Diet for 6 weeks, Stanton lost 30 pounds—and has cut
his body fat from 30 percent to 15 percent. “I looked pregnant. I looked like a
power lifter—big arms, a big chest, and a big gut. Now I look like Rambo.”
Stanton appreciated the diversity of the Abs Diet meals and the plan’s totalbody
approach to working out, though he admits that eating six times a day
took some getting used to. “What I had to do was learn to eat to live, not live
to eat,” he says. And then, he says, everything just rolled from there. Once his
mental approach changed—being committed to the plan, limiting the number
of times he partied at night, and eliminating late-night meals—he was able to
turn everything around. “You wake up attacking the day rather than waiting
for the day to end,” he says.
Now, everything just feels better. He’s always in a good mood. He walks taller.
He has more energy. And now he’s a model for others.
“I work out at Sports Club L.A., where people are really focused on looking great,“
he says. “Even there, guys and girls all come up to me.One guy said, ‘You are
kicking butt. Everybody sees that transformation. You’re inspiring a lot of people.’”
Stanton has changed his physique so dramatically that he’s even been accused
of taking steroids. “I take that as a compliment,” he laughs.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The South Beach Diet: Eating Right Is Just the Start

IN THE SOUTH BEACH DIET, Arthur Agatston, M.D., emphasizes
balanced eating, relying on lean protein, good fats, and good carbohydrates.
As you’ll see, some of South Beach’s nutritional principles
are similar to those of the Abs Diet. Agatston focuses
heavily on the role of insulin and how spikes in blood sugar
make you hungry. While his diet focuses on how food works in
relation to losing weight, it doesn’t show you how to tune up
your metabolism, your body’s natural fat burner. The Abs Diet,
on the other hand, incorporates factors like exercise that can
have a profound impact on not only the amount of fat you can
lose but also the rate at which you lose it. By revving up your
body’s fat-burning mechanism, you can take control over not
30 T H E A B S D I E T
only the calories coming into your body but also the calories
being burned away by it.
• • •
As I said at the beginning of this book, most diets are about
losing. The Abs Diet is about gaining. The Abs Diet is based on the
simple notion that your body is a living, breathing, calorieburning
machine, and that by keeping your body’s fat furnace constantly
stoked with lots and lots of the right foods—and this is
important—at the right time, you can teach it to start burning off
your belly in no time. In fact, this diet can help you burn up to 12
pounds of fat—from your belly first—in 2 weeks or less. And just
look at what you’ll gain in return.
You’ll gain meals. Americans have huge appetites.We hunger
for success, we hunger for freedom, and yeah, we hunger for food.
Traditional calorie- or food-restricting diets run counter to this
uniquely American appetite. They leave us hungry, miserable, and
one snap away from going psycho in the chips aisle. But not the Abs
Diet. You will eat on this program—and eat often. In fact, you’ll be
refueling constantly, and with every delicious meal or snack, you’ll
be stoking your body’s natural fat burners. Imagine that: Every
time you eat, you help your body lose weight and turn flab into abs.
You’ll gain muscle. With the Abs Diet and the Abs Diet
Workout, the more you eat, the more muscle you’ll build, and the
more fat you’ll lose. This program converts the food you eat into
muscle. The more lean muscle mass you have, the more energy it
takes to fuel it—meaning that calories go to your muscles to sustain
them rather than convert to fat. In fact, research shows that
adding lean muscle mass acts as a built-in fat burner. Again, for
every pound of muscle you gain, your resting metabolic rate goes
up as much as 50 calories a day. The strength-training component
can put several pounds of muscle onto your body. You won’t beef
up like a bodybuilder, but you will build enough muscle to shrink
and tighten your gut—and, depending on your starting point,
W H Y T H E A B S D I E T ? A N D W H Y N O W ? 31
show off your abs. When you add exercise into the mix, you can
think of it as a simple equation:
Now, consider the alternative:
Isn’t it incredible that most diets focus on the “less food” equation?
And isn’t it time we changed that? (Sure, some studies have
shown that you’ll live longer on a super-restrictive diet of less
than 1,400 calories a day. But given how such a plan would make
you feel, you probably wouldn’t want to.)
You’ll gain freedom. Most diets deprive you of something—
whether it’s carbs, fat, or your manhood. (Tofu? No thanks.) In this
plan, you will not feel deprived. You’ll stay full. You’ll eat crunchy
food. You’ll eat sweet food. You’ll eat protein, carbs, and fat. In fact,
there’s even one meal during the week when you can eat anything.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dr. Phil: Just a Little Too Emotional

DR. PHIL MCGRAW, the pop psychologist who made it big as the
tough-love guru on Oprah’s talk show, has a hugely popular diet
W H Y T H E A B S D I E T ? A N D W H Y N O W ? 29
program whose main emphasis is on stripping food of its emotional
power. McGraw’s book, The Ultimate Weight Solution: The
7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom, stresses the notion that we’ve allowed
food to have too much power in our lives and that, in
order to quit binge eating, we need to (a) limit our access to junk
food, (b) select foods that take a long time to prepare and chew
so that it’s harder for us to eat, and (c) stop eating to satisfy
cravings and feelings of stress. Sounds good, except that in
today’s world, Antarctica is about the only place that doesn’t
have convenient access to junk food. I agree that we should stop
eating to satisfy cravings and stress, and I applaud Dr. Phil for
recognizing the psychological aspects of our eating habits. What
the Abs Diet does is show you how to eat to prevent cravings
and stress. The Abs Diet makes it easy to snack smartly
throughout the day, so you’ll never go hungry. It also helps you
take control of your food intake, your body, and your life, so you
can beat back stress. The best reason the Abs Diet is superior to
Dr. Phil? No moustache!

Sugar Busters: Making Sweets a Sin

THE SUGAR BUSTERS DIET philosophy centers around eliminating
foods high in sugar as well as foods that spike your blood sugar
and make you hungry (like some carbohydrates such as pasta,
corn, beer, and potatoes). The benefit, proponents say, is that if
you follow the plan, you’ll be able to enjoy steak, eggs, and
cheese—and still lose weight. But simply eating less sugar won’t
help you lose weight. Without nutritional balance, you can still
consume a lot of high-calorie foods that are low in sugar and end
up gaining weight. And as with other diets, you’ve done nothing
to change the way your body processes foods to achieve the
highest calorie burn that you can.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Zone: A Too-Delicate Balancing Act

THE ZONE DIET, by Dr. Barry Sears, involves balancing the kinds
of food that you eat with the goal of putting you “in the Zone.” The
basic premise is that at every meal you should have carbs, protein,
and a little bit of monounsaturated fat in the precise ratio
that Sears recommends. Carbs are divided into desirable carbs,
such as vegetables and some fruit, and undesirable carbs, such as
bread, juice, beer, and sweets. Proteins and fats are divided similarly.
This gives you freedom to eat what you want, but when
choosing undesirable foods, you must eat less of them and they
must be accompanied by other foods. For example, you can indulge
in “bad” carbs, but only in moderation, and you must accompany
them with protein and some fat. So if you’re planning to have a
28 T H E A B S D I E T
beer, plan on a side of cottage cheese and a few olives to balance
it out. This is why many people complain about the Zone—some
of the food combos can be out of the ordinary, and measuring how
much of each group you can and should eat can be overly complicated.
Sears provides formulas to determine how much of which
foods you should eat based on how much you exercise and your
level of body fat. This number can be converted to how many
“blocks” of each food you should have in a day. You can distribute
them throughout the day but not let 5 hours pass between meals.
The business of measuring, dividing, and combining can get pretty
complex to manage; even though the balance of food is pretty sensible,
you’d have to be an air traffic controller to keep everything
straight. The diet is so reliant on its central gimmick that almost
no one has the time or energy to follow it for very long.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Weight Watchers: Too Much Math, Too Little Food

WEIGHT WATCHERS—a popular point-tallying system that enforces
portion control by having you log the amount of food you eat every
day—works for many people. Those who overeat can benefit by
tracking what they consume and being conscious of reducing calories.
But this program has its flaws. First, I don’t know many
people who have the time or long-term discipline to measure foods
and count calories on a daily basis. Second, Weight Watchers
doesn’t guarantee nutritional balance. You could count your points
so that you eat nothing but junk if you skimped during other parts
of the day. In theory, you could eat your day’s worth of points at one
or two meals—and that would slow down your metabolism and
might actually make you gain weight. Calorie counting, as I’ll explain
in the next few sections, is only one component of a successful
weight-control program. Third, and most important, a lot of people
don’t like the support group atmosphere of Weight Watchers.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Atkins Diet: Limiting Food, Limiting Nutrition

THE ATKINS DIET eliminates practically all carbohydrates for the
first part of the plan, leaving you with only foods that contain protein
and fat: no bread, no pasta, no fruit, no vegetables, no juice—
no fun. The Atkins diet, no question, helps people lose weight. I’ve
seen men lose 10, 20, even 30 pounds on Atkins—all of them
feasting on steak, cheese, and bacon while doing so, and I’ve seen
the studies that support the plan’s effectiveness in helping people
26 T H E A B S D I E T
lose weight, at least in the short term. Emphasizing protein is
smart, but eliminating many other foods that are important to
maintaining good health isn’t. But here’s my real issue with this
kind of diet, one that often gets overlooked in the whole no-carbohydrate
debate. I could restrict you to any couple of foods—let’s
say chips, ice cream, and burgers. Go on a diet eating just those
things, and chances are that you’d lose weight—because you
simply can’t force yourself to eat the same stuff over and over
again. By simply restricting the foods you eat to only a handful of
them, you’ll automatically drop pounds because you’ve dramatically
reduced your total calories. But you’ve also dramatically reduced
your intake of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, while upping
your intake of artery-clogging saturated fats. Even more important,
you just couldn’t stay on such a diet long-term, no matter
how much you liked it, because your lifestyle (and taste buds) demand
a more flexible, more enjoyable eating plan—and because
your body is programmed to crave fruits and grains and juices
just as much as it craves burgers and chips.
Well, as crazy as it sounds, that super-restrictive, low-nutrient
diet is exactly what you get with Atkins. You eat a limited number
of foods—the vast majority containing protein and saturated fat.
You’ll drop pounds because you’ve eliminated carbohydrates, but
you’ve also put yourself at risk for a number of health problems.
For one, the foods on Atkins have high amounts of saturated fats,
and there’s overwhelming evidence that societies with diets high
in saturated fats face a greater prevalence of heart disease.
Second, by eliminating most carbohydrates from your diet, you’re
eliminating some important nutrients, like vitamin B and fiber
and phytonutrients that help your immune system. Worst of all,
even though Atkins does introduce carbohydrates later in the
plan, few people can stick to the limited number of foods that
Atkins allows. So that short-term weight loss leads to long-term
weight gain and, potentially, long-term health problems.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


half a dozen ways the Abs
Diet will improve your life.
And I told you about the
unique and scientifically
proven promise of the Abs Diet, how it can strip off up to
20 pounds of fat in 6 weeks—starting with your belly.
But the next steps are up to you.
If you’re simply not interested in improving your
life—if the idea of becoming a slimmer, fitter, healthier,
pain-free, more successful, more sexually vital person
doesn’t appeal to you—then close this book right now,
and return it. (After you wipe off the Cheetos grease
stains, of course.) If you’re not interested in achieving the greatest
possible results with the least possible effort, this book is not
for you.
But if you do want to make a change—one you can see, one you
can feel, one that will last a lifetime—then this book is for you.
The only one for you.
The Abs Diet is a simple plan built around 12 nutrient-packed
foods that, when moved to the head of your dietary table, will give
you all the vitamins, minerals, and fiber you need for optimum
health while triggering muscle growth and firing up your body’s
natural fat burners. I’ll tell you more about these foods in an upcoming
chapter, but here’s a quick overview. (Tell me this isn’t a
meal plan you can stick to!)
Almonds and other nuts
Beans and legumes
Spinach and other green vegetables
Dairy (fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese)
Instant oatmeal (unsweetened, unflavored)
Turkey and other lean meats
Peanut butter
Olive oil
Whole-grain breads and cereals
Extra-protein (whey) powder
Raspberries and other berries
I’ve chosen these foods both for their nutritional content and
for their simplicity. See, every day, new diet books and weightloss
advice shuffle across my desk. (In fact, if you plug “diet” in
24 T H E A B S D I E T
to’s search engine, you’ll turn up more than 80,000
titles.) Some of these diet schemes are a little wacky: grapefruit
diets, cabbage soup diets, cottage cheese diets, raw-egg-and-Slim-
Jim diets. Some of them sound good—low-fat diets, low-carb
diets, low-salt diets. But most of them have one thing in common:
They are actually designed to make you fail in the long run.
That’s because even the diet plans that are based on sound
principles sometimes fail to acknowledge the realities of life—that
you’re too busy to whip up intricate meals like mango-flavored
shrimp kebabs. That you enjoy food too much to swear off pasta
and potatoes all the time. That eating is supposed to be a pleasure,
not a chore. That’s why I based the Abs Diet on common foods that
are easy to prepare and enjoy. The way I see it, most other diet
plans are too complicated and invite failure in three major ways.
1. They reduce calories too severely. With a strict—or
drastic—calorie reduction, you may lose weight at first,
but you’re left hungry. When you’re hungry, you’ve increased
the chances that you’ll gorge at some point during
the day. When you gorge, you feel as if you failed, then feel
guilty for failing, then drop off the plan and resume your
cold-pizza-for-breakfast habits. With the Abs Diet, however,
you’ll never go hungry—in fact, you’ll find yourself
eating much more often than you do now: six times a day!
2. They restrict too many foods. It would be easy to
build a plan that didn’t include cheeseburgers, pizza, or
beer. But if I did that, you’d ditch the plan on the first
Monday night of football season. Even though changing
your eating habits is a fundamental part of this program, I
think there’s a greater chance you’ll stick to the plan if you
don’t have to give up everything you like. It’s normal to
have steaks with clients, to have hot dogs at a barbecue, to
share a pitcher of beer after work. If you deprive yourself
W H Y T H E A B S D I E T ? A N D W H Y N O W ? 25
of every food that tastes good, there’s not much incentive
for even the most motivated person to stick to the plan for
longer than a few weeks. The Abs Diet is about eating the
foods you enjoy—and indulging yourself when need be.
3. They don’t take into account lifestyle. If we all had
a chef to prepare our meals—or even more than a few
minutes to do it ourselves—losing weight would be much
simpler. But when was the last time you had 2 hours to
prepare a meal? We’re all busy. We eat in restaurants. We
order in. We hit drive-throughs. We wish we had time to
tally fat-gram totals, or measure every ounce of food, or
prepare elaborate good-for-you dishes. But the reality is
that most of us won’t, no matter how much weight we
need to lose. We have commitments to jobs and families,
and we spend so much time doing everything from commuting
to fixing our home that a mango-shrimp masterpiece
is what slips down on our priority list. The Abs Diet
is what you need: a low-maintenance program, with lowmaintenance
foods and even lower-maintenance recipes.
Let’s take a look at a handful of today’s most popular diets, and
I’ll show you why many of them are designed to offer short-term
weight loss and long-term weight gain.


Journal of Human Hypertension, researchers found that prehypertensive patients
who added more potassium to their diets lowered their systolic pressure
by 2.5 points and their diastolic by 1.6 points. Potassium helps sweep excess
sodium from the circulatory system, causing the blood vessels to dilate. What
makes V8 better than a banana (another good source of potassium)? V8 also
contains lycopene and lutein, two phytochemicals that have their own blood
pressure–lowering properties.
Cut out the cold cuts. One slice of ham contains 240 milligrams of sodium,
more salt than you’ll find on the outside of two pretzel rods. The point:
Lose the lunchmeat, and lower your blood pressure. A recent study found
that prehypertensive people who reduced their daily sodium consumption
from 3,300 to 1,500 milligrams knocked nearly 6 points off their systolic
blood pressure and close to 3 off their diastolic. If you want to have your
hoagie and eat it, too, at least switch to the Boars Head line of low-sodium
meats—ham, turkey, roast beef—and leave the pickle on your plate (833 milligrams
of sodium). Another rule of thumb: If a food comes canned or jarred,
it’s probably a salt mine.
Go two rounds and out. Make the second drink of the night your last call for
alcohol. In a landmark study published in the New England Journal of Medicine,
researchers found that one or two drinks a day actually decreased blood
pressure slightly. Three drinks or more a day, however, elevated blood pressure
by an average of 10 points systolic and 4 diastolic. The type of alcohol
doesn’t matter. Heck, order a screwdriver: Orange juice is one of the best
sources of blood pressure–lowering potassium.
Drink more tea. An American Heart Association study found that men who
drank two cups of tea a day were 25 percent less likely to die of heart disease
than guys who rarely touched the stuff. The reason: Flavonoids in the tea not
only improve blood vessels’ ability to relax but also thin the blood, reducing
Top your toast. Black currant jelly is a good source of quercetin, an antioxidant
that Finnish researchers believe may improve heart health by preventing
the buildup of the free radicals that can damage arterial walls and allow
plaque to penetrate.
Have a Mac(intosh) attack. Men who frequently eat apples have a 20 percent
lower risk of developing heart disease than men who eat apples less often.
Eat fresh berries. Raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries are all loaded
with salicylic acid—the same heart disease fighter found in aspirin.
Order the tuna. Omega-3 fats in tuna and other fish as well as flaxseed help
strengthen heart muscle, lower blood pressure, prevent clotting, and reduce
levels of potentially deadly inflammation in the body.
Squeeze a grapefruit. One grapefruit a day can reduce arterial narrowing by
46 percent, lower your bad cholesterol level by more than 10 percent, and
help drop your blood pressure by more than 5 points.
Feast on potassium. Slice a banana (487 milligrams) on your cereal, then
bake two small sweet potatoes (612 mg) or cook up some spinach (1 cup has
839 mg) for dinner. All are loaded with potassium. Studies show that not getting
at least 2,000 milligrams of potassium daily can set you up for high blood
pressure. Other good sources of potassium include raisins (1 cup, 1,086 mg),
tomatoes (1 cup sauce, 811 mg), lima beans (1 cup, 955 mg), and papayas
(one has 781 mg of the mineral).
Buy calcium-fortified OJ. Increasing the calcium in your diet can lower your
blood pressure. You’ll derive a benefit from the vitamin C as well. According
to research from England, people with the most vitamin C in their bloodstreams
are 40 percent less likely to die of heart disease.
Snack on pumpkin seeds. One ounce of seeds contains 151 mg of
magnesium, more than a third of your recommended daily intake. Magnesium
deficiencies have been linked to most risk factors for heart
disease, including high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, and
increased buildup of plaque in the arteries. Other great sources: halibut
(170 mg in 7 ounces of fish), brown rice (1 cup, 84 mg), chickpeas
(1 cup, 79 mg), cashews (1 ounce, 74 mg), and artichokes (one gives
you 72 mg).
Change your oil. Researchers in India found that men who replaced the
corn and vegetable oils in their kitchens with monounsaturated fats (olive
oil or, in this case, sesame seed oil) lowered their blood pressure by more
than 30 points in just 60 days without making any other changes in their
Cut down on mindless candy snacking. A compound in licorice root
has been shown to spike blood pressure—especially in men who eat a lot
of black licorice. Fruit-flavored licorice, however, doesn’t contain the