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The Metabolism Miracle: 3 Easy Steps to Regain Control of Your Weight... Permanently

Book Review

3 Easy Steps to Regain Control of Your Weight... Permanently
By Diane Kress, RD, CDE
Da Capo Press (2009)
Reviewed by Toby Smithson, RD, LDN, CDE

Claims

Metabolism B is put forward as an inherited condition that causes certain individuals' bodies to over- process carbohydrate foods into excess body fat. By following The Metabolism Miracle program, the reader will discover reasons why traditional weight loss approaches do not work; tools to lose weight and reprogram metabolism; a method to improve cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels; return of energy, focus and sense of well-being; sample menus and recipes to match each of the three step plan; and an active lifestyle plan to maintain a newfound body weight.

Synopsis of the Diet Plan

The author claims there are two types of metabolism: metabolism A and metabolism B. Metabolism A is that of a "normal person," versus metabolism B which corresponds with symptoms seen in metabolic syndrome, syndrome X or insulin resistance. The author notes people who have metabolism B are unable to lose weight the "traditional way," eating fewer calories and increasing exercise. Weight loss for people with metabolism B is described as hormonal and individuals will experience an erratic weight-loss pattern. The Metabolism Miracle plan is suggested as a lifetime lifestyle plan that is right for people with metabolism B.

There are three steps to the author's plan. The first step restricts carbohydrate consumption to no more than 5 grams in any five-hour time period. Step one lasts for eight weeks, in some measure to rest the pancreas. Step 2 reintroduces healthy carbohydrate foods in specific portions (11 to 20 grams of low-impact carbohydrate) and at the right time of day — no more than five hours apart. This pattern lasts for eight weeks or longer if one has not reached a desired weight. Step 3, a lifetime weight maintenance stage, encourages readers to include more carbohydrate-containing foods to their plan — 30 percent to 35 percent of calories. At this stage, the achieved weight goal will have already been met and metabolism B will be now under control. It is suggested to eat at least one carbohydrate serving per meal or snack, but no more than four servings at any one time. If weight gain begins, return to step 1.

Sample menus are included with each of the three steps. Vitamin supplementation is recommended as part of the "Rules to Thrive By."

Nutritional Pros and Cons

This book describes physiological patterns that are not widely accepted. The author's interpretation of insulin resistance, for example, cites no supporting research and there are no medical references to back the theory about metabolism B. The use of the word "miracle" in the title sensationalizes the plan and the supporting information is primarily anecdotal. Basically, metabolism B is described as metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes and excess insulin is commonly referred to as hyperinsulinemia. This book is anecdotal, based on the author's personal and professional experience but not published in a scientific format.

Some of the key messages from the 2005 Dietary Guidelines are found on the list of 10 "rules to thrive by," although calculations for label reading for carbohydrate, fiber and sugar alcohol are not accepted methods of the American Diabetes Association and American Association of Diabetes Educators. Additionally, some recommendations do not reflect American Heart Association guidelines: AHA does not recommend supplementation of vitamin E, but the author has it listed in her recommendations. In step 1, there is a focus on lean meats with inclusion of up to five egg yolks per week.

The author does note that step one is not nutritionally sound, though it should be followed for eight weeks. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics does not endorse a diet that is not nutritionally sound. An individual with a metabolic syndrome would do better with a well-balanced, high-fiber diet and increased physical activity. This book does emphasize higher-fiber foods and correct portions of carbohydrate-containing food. Increasing fiber is a positive addition to anyone's diet and will help with weight loss.

Bottom Line

Metabolism B is basically another term the author is using for metabolic syndrome. The science is not available or at least not cited to support claims of a second type of metabolism, nor that pancreatic rest is a key behind weight loss in people with a metabolic condition. There are no miracle diets and this could cause confusion to the reader.