The Gold Coast Cure's Fitter Firmer Faster Program
Andrew Larson, MD, and Ivy Ingram Larson Reviewed by Malena Perdomo, RD, CDE Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics March 2007
Designed by a general surgeon and his wife, a certified health fitness instructor, the diet plan claims to be a healthier "whole" approach to weight loss. Their first book is The Gold Coast Cure and this is their second book. Mrs. Larson was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in her twenties, sparking her interest in making lifestyle changes to control her symptoms. The "Fitter Firmer Faster Program" claims you can get a killer body without killing yourself and will help to gain health, lose weight and reduce inflammation. The book provides more than 50 whole-foods recipes, two weeks of 30-minute meal plans, brand-name supermarket shopping guide, supplement shopping guide and exercise guide.
It is a three-prong plan consisting of a diet of unprocessed and unrefined foods, six nutritional supplements and 30 minutes of exercise three days a week. Diet is based on whole foods, more nutrients and fewer calories. Meal plans are provided with serving guidelines for all foods and are divided based on gender and activity level (very light, light activity, moderate activity and very active). The book recommends limiting saturated fat and processed foods and including flaxseed or flaxseed oil daily, a protein serving of fish or soy and one small sweet treat every day. The exercise recommendations consist of resistance circuit training. The book provides pictures and instructions for each exercise.
The authors believe most adults could benefit from a supplement regimen but also say there is no need for mega doses of supplements. The six supplements recommended are: multivitamin, multimineral supplement; calcium with magnesium and vitamin D; natural vitamin E with selenium; vitamin C with bioflavonoids; GLA (gamma linoleic acid) and fish oil.
Nutritional Pros and Cons:
The diet plan is a whole-foods program consisting of plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds and healthy fats. It encourages eating fewer calories, no refined or processed foods and mostly organic foods. The book is also packed with tips for parents or others with hectic lifestyles on how to include these foods easily into your diet.
However, the meal plans are low in calcium with just one serving of soy or dairy per day. Also, the authors "advocate against intentionally consuming three servings of dairy a day." Their reasoning is although calcium is extremely important, other people around the world are able to maintain good health without dairy products. Nutrition experts agree calcium sources are available through non-dairy food sources; however, people following the program will have to eat a lot of broccoli, collards and tofu to meet their calcium daily needs as suggested by the authors.
Also, it is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that the best nutritional strategy for promoting optimal health and reducing the risk of chronic disease is to wisely choose a wide variety of foods instead of relying primarily on supplements for these nutrients.
This is an easy book to read and understand. Exercise is an important part of the equation for weight control and this book does an excellent job explaining nutrition is as important as physical activity - advice that is often missing in other diet books. It is a good book for weight loss and for those wanting more instruction on which foods to buy and how to prepare healthy foods. While the menus and meal plan are helpful, they do lack the recommended servings of calcium from calcium-rich foods. This can be a problem for many people, since studies have shown Americans aren't consuming enough calcium and osteoporosis is a major public health problem.