08/28/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

The Dieter's Dilemma

The pressure to be thin has never been greater. Unfortunately our daily food choices have made this goal practically impossible!

The average American, adult and child alike, are bombarded with corn-fed beef, high fructose corn syrup, refined sugars and starches and dangerous transfats. Even that ubiquitous jar of peanut butter is guilty, harboring a hefty dose of hydrogenated fats.

The trouble with these foods is they sabotage even the most dedicated dieter because they encourage the storage of body fat by being pro-inflammatory. Maintaining a healthy weight is not about your daily intake of fat -- and it is not about cutting out the carbs. It is about something most people have no conception of -- the connection between inflammation and body fat (and the fact that one is never present without the other).

As the August 2009 issue of Allure reports in "The fashion insiders diet," people, especially women, in this industry are basically starving themselves. This is not new -- the pressure on celebrities is extreme. In fact, many extremely talented and beautiful women and men have suffered from eating disorders, which they have fortunately overcome and shared their story to help others. These include Kate Beckinsale, Princess Diana, Audrey Hepburn, Kate Winslet, Elton John and Jessica Alba.

Starvation diets mean that you not only lose body fat, you lose muscle mass. On the other hand, the incredible beauty and power of the anti-inflammatory diet leads to a rapid loss of body fat without losing the muscle mass -- a detrimental by-product seen in all other weight-reducing diets.

As many readers of my earlier books know, the original anti-inflammatory diet is both a powerful anti-aging, disease-fighting tool and the secret to clear, wrinkle-free skin. It was not specifically designed for weight loss. However, once I realized that people who needed to lose weight were rapidly losing it on this eating plan, I recognized a whole new world of potential for the overweight man or woman -- whether he or she needed to shed a mere 10 pounds or was morbidly obese. This actually inspired me to write an entire book, Dr. Perricone's Weight Loss Diet, filled with recipes, meal plans and proven tips to reduce body fat without going hungry or feeling deprived and depressed.

Follow these simple rules to shed the body fat, maintain the muscle and enjoy eating healthy, delicious food without the fear of weight gain.

  • Every meal or snack must include: protein, low-glycemic carbs, essential fatty acids.
  • Always eat your protein first. Reach for that shrimp cocktail or smoked salmon appetizer first, which helps suppress your appetite. Proteins are digested much more slowly than carbohydrates -- even carbohydrates that are high in fiber. Also protein is neutral in terms of its effect on blood sugar.
  • Save the fresh fruit for the end of the meal. This way, you will prevent the natural sugars found in the fruit from causing a spike in blood sugar. Our goal is to avoid spikes in blood sugar which trigger insulin release. Remember this fact: insulin release = stored fat!
  • Eat salmon and take fish oil. The incredible anti-inflammatory power of omega-3 essential fatty acids found in high fat fish and in fish oil will reduce inflammation in all organ systems, accelerate the loss of body fat, stabilize blood sugar levels and lower insulin levels.
  • Switch from corn-fed beef to grass-fed beef, which provides more balanced omega-3s and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as CLA. In addition to the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and insulin-sensitizing actions of CLA, many studies show that CLA helps prevent muscle loss and weakness associated with aging and disease. Grass-fed beef is now much more widely available. In New England, The Stannard family farm in beautiful Benson, Vermont is a great resource and will deliver, for more information visit them at Other sources can be found on
  • Don't forget to eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fruit. Their anti-inflammatory properties cannot be overstated
  • When you fall off the wagon and eat sugars or starchy foods, reach for the alpha lipoic acid capsules to help counter the effects.

As an active researcher, I welcome your comments and suggestions.