ALTHOUGH this method may appear to be a reductio ad absurdum it has something to commend it if not continued too long. The method consists in eating only one article of food at a meal, changing the food from meal to meal or continuing the same food day after day. Practically any food can be used for the purpose for in the final analysis it is the caloric value of the food ingested which determines weight reduction. Given a normal digestive tract, 1,000 calories of candy will reduce just as quickly as 1,00O calories of meat, milk, oranges (whole), grapes, potatoes or string beans. But candy would obviously be too irritating, would leave no residue in the colon and would increase the blood sugar too rapidly. Any one of the six foods just named can be used for reducing purposes without any special harm to one with normal digestive functions if properly supervised, and not too long continued.
But foods other than meat, milk or oranges do not lend themselves advantageously to weight reduction on account of their bulk, monotony and distastefulness.
Though the writer does not recommend any of the mono-diets for unsupervised reduction, he feels that they have their rightful place in weight control therapeutics when properly individualized and managed.
Certain obese types and temperaments do exceedingly well on a diet devised by the author which consists of —-
Fruits, exclusively, for breakfast. Vegetables, exclusively (equal portions starchy and green), for lunch. Meat, exclusively (fish, fowl, meat), for dinner.
Some obese subjects do better on a modification of the above method by taking —
Fruit, exclusively, on the first day. Vegetables, exclusively, on the second day. Meat, exclusively, on the third day. Mixed diet on the fourth day–
and continuing this four-day method until the desired weight is reduced.
Patients consume fewer calories using either of these methods and I have noted that the working efficiency of those following such dieting usually increases, contrary to the effects of many reducing diets.
Milk Milk exclusively in its various forms has been used for weight reduction. It has the advantage of being nearly a perfect food, alkaline, easily taken and agreeing with most people.
Whole milk, bulk for bulk, has only one-half the reducing effect of skimmed milk.
In the overweight person with ulcer or hyper-acidity the milk diet has real merit. It should be followed, however, only for a minimal period, i.e., until the underlying condition is under control or until half the desired loss has been accomplished.
Orange Juice The chief objection to this mono-diet for reducing, as in the case of milk, is its bulk though this is not necessarily a basic objection. Whole oranges are preferable. A large orange or three-q’uarters of a glass of orange juice equals one hundred calories and a 1,500 caloric intake would thus require fifteen oranges or a dozen glasses of orange juice.
In a study of the effects of orange juice on weight increase it was found that when used with other foods the increase was greatly in excess of the calories in the orange juice itself, because orange juice increases the assimilation of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and nitrogen. In the mono-orange diet this factor, of course, does not enter into the weight problem.
It is practically impossible to exceed the body’s ability to oxidize the citric acid in orange juice even though; twenty-four oranges are taken in a day. The urine remains alkaline even after this large consumption of oranges.
If the orange method for reducing is resorted to it is well to take half the amount in orange juice and, the remainder of the whole orange, excluding, of course, the seeds or skin. The pulp gives the necessary residue for stimulating colonic function.
Meat and Salad Diet
This diet, consisting exclusively of any kind of flesh and raw green vegetables, is particularly advantageous in endocrine types of obesity. Meat is palatable and has great satiety value. It is strength giving and stimulates glandular activity.
Two experimental subjects under the author’s care at the Russell Sage Foundation at Bellevue have subsisted on an exclusive meat diet (no vegetables, fruit, cereals or milk) for one year and have remained in perfect health and physical condition, subjectively and objectively, verified by exhaustive laboratory tests. Fat, of course was liberally consumed with the meat. Lean meat alone, if taken for but a few days, produces nausea, diarrhoea and headache but in conjunction with. even a small amount of fat this does not occur. The obese person should avoid fatty meats but should add the raw vegetables, which these experimental patients did not have.
By adding salad to meat the diet becomes an alkaline, high residue, vitamine and mineral salt containing one and may be continued for a long period of time. Even in the presence of heart, kidney and circulatory disorders this diet is not contraindicated for recent research has robbed meat of much of its reputed harmfulness in these conditions. However, consult your physician before resorting to such a specialized diet.
Preparation of this Diet
The meat may be cooked in any desired way. Fatty cuts should be avoided and all major fat trimmings cut away. One pound of lean meat contains, roughly, between 8O0 and 1,OOO calories.
A slight amount of butter and salt may be used in cooking.
Lemon juice may be added to the salad. One average head of Iceberg lettuce weighs about a pound and contains approximately one hundred calories. The average serving is one-half a head.
One-half pound of meat and one-half head of lettuce will therefore supply, roughly speaking, about S0o calories of food.
This diet may be followed for the three meals of the day or, if objectionable for breakfast, one whole orange, one egg, and a cup of coffee with a dash of cream may be substituted.
Water should be used as a beverage.
On this diet eight to ten pounds should be lost the first month.
The following points (from author’s monograph 1926) regarding Stefansson’s dietetic experience in the Arctic while on an exclusive meat diet are interesting:
1. He spent altogether eleven and one-half years within the arctic circle.
2. He lived for a number of day% totaling nine years, on an exclusive meat diet.
3. He lived for nine successive months on an exclusive meat diet.
4. He reached his maximum weight while subsisting on meat (fish).
5. His sense of physical and mental well-being was at its best during that period of his life.
6. He found that the exclusive meat diet worked as well when he was inactive as when active, and as well in hot weather as in cold.
7. Constipation was never present. One month’s entire absence from exercise produced neither constipation nor muscular weakness.
8. His hair thickened and his scalp became healthier.
9. Teeth decay was apparently much less rapid.
10. Stefansson avers that not a single case of constipation was observed in 60o exclusively meat-eating Eskimos for a period of three years.
Both while in the Arctic and during his experimental year at the Russell Sage Foundation Stefansson maintained his weight but this was due to the fact that between 2,000 and 4,OO0 calories of meat and fat were consumed daily. A normal or overweight subject on a 1,0OO or 1,5OO calory meat diet would lose weight rapidly. The subjects so dieting should be watched for signs of ketosis and this condition treated appropriately. Though the writer has used this method successively in several selected cases he is not ready to recornmend it as an orthodox or safe method for weight reducing until further scientific studies have been made. The writer’s cases present excellent evidence in favor of the mono-meat diet in certain endocrine types particularly the hypo-thyroid and thyro-pituitary types.