The Starch Diet: Good-Bye, Atkins?


The diet pendulum has swung again. Welcome back, pasta! At least that's what Dr. John McDougall and his wife, Mary, proclaim in their new book, "The Starch Solution," published in May of 2012 by Rodale. This recent addition to the weight loss genre has both advice and recipes and it is being hailed as valid by many respected experts including Dr. George Lundberg, currently editor-at-large for MedPage Today and formerly Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association.   

"Eat all you want; any time you want. Statements that sound too good to be true usually are ... too good to be true," Dr. Lundberg said in the transcript of a MedPage Today video. "But, 'The Starch Solution'; richly referenced for science, but gracefully written for consumers, just might be both good and true . . . Yes, I have been using a modified (not fanatically dedicated) version of Dr. McDougall's starch diet since he sent me a prepublication version earlier in 2012 and asked for a marketing cover blurb . . . I have lost 13 pounds, mostly fat, and added substantial muscle."

What's important to note, however, is that Dr. McDougal's diet is, as he puts it, "low-fat vegan." Dr. Lundberg doesn't say what his "modifications" to the diet are so we don't know whether he has added any animal protein sources to the plant sources recommended by McDougal. Please be aware that combing plant sources in order to get the full compliment of amino acids required for good health is crucial. If you plan to embark on a strictly vegan diet, be sure to get your physician's go-ahead and also learn all you can about making the vegan lifestyle as healthy as possible. Remember too that many recent studies have shown that "low-fat" food is not necessarily good for you and may in fact cause you to pack on pounds. Here at ThirdAge, we're not jumping on "The Starch Solution" bandwagon. A balanced diet of mostly fish, a small amount of meat, plenty of fruits and veggies, "good fats" from sources such as olive oil, whole grains, minimal amounts of processed foods and sugar, plus lots of fluids is still our plan of choice. A regimen like that, along with regular moderate exercise, probably can't be beat when it comes to overall well-being and maintaining a healthy weight.


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