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Book Review: 'The 6-Week Cure for the Middle-Aged Middle' by Mary Dan Eades and Michael R. Eades

March 6, 2010 | 10:32 am

6-week-cure cover

The weight can creep up on you. One day you realize your waistline is not as trim as it once was. You’ve got a little belly going where you once were flat and firm. Or maybe it’s not so little.

If you’re ready to do something about it, you may be tempted by a new book that promises to help you shed those excess abdominal inches and pounds. “The 6-Week Cure for the Middle-Aged Middle” targets people about age 50 and older who have seen their waistlines expand and may be finding it harder to whittle their middles than they once did.

Authors and obesity specialists Dr. Mary Dan Eades and Dr. Michael R. Eades say they designed the diet for themselves when they needed to tighten up their midsections fast to appear more svelte for a TV cooking show. They went on to devise a plan that could be used by others struggling to shed those accumulating abdominal pounds.

This is not unfamiliar ground for the authors, who staked out similar territory in an earlier book, “Protein Power,” which sold more than 4 million copies. But much of the nutritional advice in their latest book is based on new studies and their interpretation of evolving research.

For instance? The Eadeses say saturated fats from red meat, butter, eggs and cream are good, even essential, for abdominal weight loss, as are coconut and palm oils, and they encourage their consumption. Omega-6 vegetable oils such as corn, safflower and sunflower, on the other hand, help pack on the abdominal pounds and should be avoided, they say.

Many nutritional experts advise the opposite, counseling people to strictly limit their intake of saturated fat because of the health risks and to substitute a moderate amount of vegetable oils instead. (But nutritional science does waver: A new analysis, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, questions the link between saturated fat and heart disease.) This is what the National Institutes of Health says about fats.

Also on the Eadeses’ hit list are carbohydrates, such as those found in breads, rice, pasta, oats and desserts -- whole grain or not. These are allowed only in tiny amounts (an occasional slice of “light” bread) during the six-week diet and in small amounts after that.

They recommend cutting out sugar, particularly fructose, almost entirely. (Low-sugar fruits and low-starch vegetables are allowed in minimal amounts during the diet and can be eaten freely later.) Also severely restricted during the six-week diet are dairy, caffeine and alcohol, as well as any medications not absolutely necessary.

What does one eat on the diet besides saturated fat? Protein, and lots of it. 

During the first two weeks of the six-week plan, dieters are instructed to eat one protein-heavy meal of real food a day. That meal might include a chicken Caesar salad lettuce wrap and some grapes, or flank steak and sautéed spinach, an olive oil vinaigrette-dressed tomato and blackberries with cream. The book includes 80-plus recipes for dishes that can be eaten on the program.

Three other meals for the day consist of a protein shake boosted with an artificial sweetener such as Splenda, two tablespoons of heavy cream, leucine and D-ribose. Diet syrups, diet soda and frozen berries may be added to the shakes for flavoring. A vitamin and mineral supplement is highly recommended.

The Eadeses say the composition of their diet is what slims down the midsection specifically. They say that protein and saturated fat are needed to help the body shed the visceral fat that accumulates in the abdomen around the organs. (Visceral fat -- different from subcutaneous fat stored under the skin around the body -- has been associated with health problems such as cardiovascular disease.) They describe an at-home procedure to determine which kind of fat you have in your midsection.

The Eadeses say that the accumulation of visceral fat is linked to nonalcoholic fatty liver disorder
and that the intake of protein and saturated fat has been shown in studies to rid the liver of fat.

The book’s explanation of how the process reportedly works is complex. Suffice to say, many nutritional experts might raise an eyebrow or two at some of the claims. Here's Mayo Clinic’s explanation of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and its causes.

The Eadeses also discuss the reported role of stress, and subsequent cortisol production, in the widening of the waistline. Menopause can play a part, they say, and they recommend getting reproductive hormones checked to correct imbalances.

Would you lose weight on the Eadeses’ diet? On such a restricted eating plan, it’s a pretty safe bet most would. Is the diet nutritionally sound or one most people could or should maintain over time? That’s less certain.

-- Anne Colby

Photo: "The 6-Week Cure for the Middle-Aged Middle," Mary Dan Eades, MD, and Michael R. Eades, MD, Crown Publishers, $24.99

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Comments (6)

I'm a locally-based, nationally syndicated, science-based advice columnist and blogger. I frequently recommend Dr. Michael Eades' blog and the books he writes with his wife, Dr. Mary Dan Eades.

The Eades, like investigative science journalist Gary Taubes, USC's Dr. Robert Lustig, and too few others, give evidence-based dietary advice -- educating people that it's carbohydrate consumption that causes the insulin secretion that puts on fat.

Surprisingly, this reviewer makes it seem as if the Eades are pushing unfounded advice. That's anything but the case. I suggest readers here see for themselves by checking out Dr. Michael Eades' blog at http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/

In my own blog comments, I get frequent thank yous from people who’ve dropped pounds with ease after I turned them on to the evidence-based science on diet in Taubes' book, and on the Eades' site and in their books. Here, for example, are two comments from my site from February:

Posted by "Elle": Amy, thank you for blogging about Taubes and Eades and all of them. This is going to be long, but I want you to appreciate the positive impact you've had on my health. I always thought my weight was a lost cause. I knew I could never cut down to a low-fat all grain diet like my sister. Point counting left me irritated and hungry. My fiance started Nutrisystem and the food was gross and I was always hungry. Nutrisystem is really, really icky. I resigned myself to being a fat bride for our wedding at the end of this year. But after reading Taubes and Eades about the low-carb thing I knew I could do that. All the real food I could eat. It was a little difficult to give up my 2liter a day Mtn Dew habit and harder to give up bread (I still love bread. It's the perfect carrier for butter). But in four weeks I've dropped a pant size and 5% of my body fat. I've never felt better in my life. No winter itchies, no winter doldrums, no sleeping problems. I'm completely sated at every meal (and sometimes skip one or two without noticing). I'm losing weight faster than my low-fat grain eating sister. My fiance eyes my plateful of steak and peppers longingly while he makes his nutrisystem crap-in-a-cup. And I'm amazed out how easy this whole "diet" thing is. I really will be able to do this for the rest of my life. There's still a ways to go. I still have at least another 15% body fat to lose to get down to my ideal range. But I won't be a 200lb bride. And I won't be adding to that weight for the rest of my life. So thanks Amy. You make a difference (as if you had any doubts).

Posted by "Steamer": My wife and I are doing Eades' 6 week cure and we have both dropped about 5 lbs in the first two weeks. A real bonus is that some of the dinner recipes in the book are really tasty and we'll be using them after the six weeks. I have never tried a short term diet before. Any changes I have made were with the idea that they would be permanent, but reading the book convinced me that the "6 week cure" was a good idea. In a nutshell you are retraining your body to draw on your stored fat for energy rather than using sugar and carbs.

There’s an interesting post over at the Health Journal Club that makes the case that people should just not eat anything that wasn’t a food 100 years ago. Gets rid of the aspartame, bleached GM flour, high fructose corn syrup garbage they try to pass off as food these days. If interested you can read on it here,
http://healthjournalclub.blogspot.com/

"Is the diet nutritionally sound or one most people could or should maintain over time? That’s less certain."

Isn't the book called the SIX WEEK cure? I did the six week cure, after being on the protein power life plan for 6 months. While on the PPLP I lost 50 lbs in 6 months. I then started the 6 week cure and lost an additional 20 lbs (Mostly visceral fat). I am continuing the Protein Power Life Plan today. Drs. Mary Dan and Michael Eades are Heroes to me and my family. I was prediabetic with Hypertension, high BP, Asthma and Sleep Apnea. All those conditions are gone now, thanks to Drs. Mary Dan and Michael Eades.

VEry interesting article although the more you read about nutrition the more confused you get. One thing is clear, sugar and all its derivates are very dangerous for your health and should always be avoid them.

These people wrote a good book years ago, but now they jump on every bandwagon (e.g., they pushed intermittent fasting until they realized there was no money in that) trying to cash in and sell a new, different theory and a new book. I guess you can't really fault them for trying to make another buck.

Meanwhile, Protein Power was a good and, IMO,reliable book. Stick to that book and save your money.

its very exellent. thanks for post.



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