Failsafe weight loss
FOOD INTOLERANCE NETWORK FACTSHEET
Failsafe weight loss
An inspiring weight loss story
Which weight loss diet?
Combining failsafe with low fat/sugar/salt
A typical day
11 guidelines for a low fat diet
Capsaicin and food cravings
The Western lifestyle has led to an obesity epidemic unprecedented in the history of the world and obesity is now regarded as one of the most serious public health problems of the 21st century.
Failsafe eating (free of additives, low in salicylates, amines and flavour enhancers) is not about weight loss, it is a way of reducing your exposure to additives and potentially harmful natural food chemicals. However, some people do lose weight in the long term when they go failsafe, particularly if they have previously eaten highly processed foods with hidden fats and sugars.
Three ways food intolerance can contribute to overweight
- Food chemicals can be addictive. That is why people on the elimination diet generally experience cravings and withdrawal symptoms some time during the first two weeks.
- Food chemicals - especially salicylates - can cause appetite disturbance. Children and adults who refuse to eat breakfast or other meals are often food intolerant. When they go failsafe, normal eating patterns appear. Skipping breakfast is not helpful to weight loss.
- Symptoms of food intolerance such as bloating and stomach discomfort can make people overeat. When these symptoms improve on failsafe, the weight may fall off. A woman who did the diet for her bloated stomach and related irritable bowel problems found that salicylates and dairy foods were the cause of her problems. She now stays strictly failsafe at home and avoids processed foods when out:
'The result has been a new zest for life - new role at work, back to studying part time and lots of activities. I'm back to size 12 clothes (have bought lots of new ones). I turn 50 next week and feel like 40. I'm a bit evangelical when I tell people why I've lost so much weight ... thanks again for providing the tools for me to get my life back.' - see full story  An adult success story - irritable bowel and weight loss
If weight doesn't just fall off without even trying when you switch to failsafe, you may need to change your input-output, that is, consume less energy from foods than you use up. To lose weight you can either eat less or exercise more, or preferably both.
The National Weight Control Registry started in 1994 with a study of nearly 800 long term weight losers who had lost an average of 30 kg and successfully kept off at least 13 kg for an average of five years (1). The researchers now follow over 10,000 long term weight losers at www.nwcr.ws
What do these successful losers have in common? The majority:
- eat a low energy, low fat diet
- do about 1 hour of moderate intensity exercise per day
- watch 10 hours less TV per week than the average American
- weigh themselves at least once a week
- eat regularly 5 times a day (3 meals and 2 snacks)
- at fewer food from fast-food restaurants (less than one per week) and meals in non-fast-food restaurants (about 2.5 per week) than average. "The majority of meals eaten by registry members were prepared or eaten at home" (2). So with failsafe you are making a good start.
Australian teacher Jeanne Mithieux was working in London when she saw a photo of herself in a bathing suit and decided to lose weight. To surprise her family, she secretly started to eat a sensible diet, starting with branflakes with low-fat milk and fruit for breakfast, fruit for morning break at school and soup or a jacket potato for lunch. For dinner she ate fish and vegetables followed by fruit and low-fat yoghurt.
Jeanne said she had the occasional treat like a muesli bar or a glass of wine, but she avoided butter, margarine, biscuits, cakes, cream, anything fried, nuts, dressings with oil and avocadoes. She also began five minutes of exercise a day in her living room. When she could run around her living room 800 times without stopping she started running outside. Over sixteen months, 80 kilos (176 pounds) just fell off. Weighing 57 kilos, Jeanne flew home for a visit. Her family was waiting at the airport but failed to recognise her. They thought they were being hugged by a stranger. Jeanne is delighted by her weight loss and now runs every day, no matter what the weather. http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=331564
Failsafe foods can be used in any kind of weight loss diet from high protein, low carbs to the Pritikin program (3) that has been described as "arguably the most effective diet, exercise, and lifestyle change program in the world" by the London Business Times.
The Pritikin program pioneered low fat/sugar/salt eating in the US over 50 years ago and now has more than 110 scientific studies to back it up.
We started our dietary voyage over twenty years ago with the Pritikin program which is based on minimally processed plant foods with limited meat and dairy. It resulted in easy weight loss and low cholesterol levels, but is high in natural salicylates so it led to an increase in salicylate-related symptoms for us. Eventually I found a way to combine Pritikin principles with failsafe eating.
I like the Pritikin program for weight loss because it has been thoroughly researched, it works, and it has numerous long term health benefits including prevention or reversal of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and many other Western diseases.
Do's & Don'ts
DON'T count calories, keep a food diary, limit food intake or go hungry
DO eat healthy food, limit fat, and avoid sugar and other sweeteners - except for very rare treats - because sugar makes you eat about 10 per cent more than the same meal without sugar. Yes, there are indulgent recipes in the Failsafe Cookbook but you don't have to eat them all the time – they are to get children who are used to eating at Macca's through the first painful months of the elimination diet, to be gradually reduced and after that used in small portions for special occasions.
- cereal - e.g. oatmeal
- skim milk - 1 cup or equivalent*
- wholemeal bread - e.g. 3 slices*
- fruit - e.g. 2 pears
- fish/chicken/lean beef or lamb - e.g. 100 g
- vegetables - e.g. 5 serves
- canola oil – e.g. 1-2 tsp per day
- water, soda water, decaf coffee
- alcohol – e.g. whisky & soda 2 glasses/week*
- exercise – e.g. 1 hour of brisk walking per day or equivalent
* see Guidelines below
Breakfast: oatmeal or millet (GF) porridge with skim milk/substitute, chopped fresh pear
Lunch: e.g. unlimited low (and moderate if tolerated) salicylate salad vegetables and
wholemeal or chewy white bread with low fat failsafe hummus or bean paste or low fat quark (yoghurt cheese) or egg white omelette or mashed butternut pumpkin or sweet potato (if moderate salicylates are tolerated) with fresh chopped chives, or plain tuna in spring water/mashed banana (if amines are tolerated)
Dinner: Eat failsafe salad or vegetable soup at the start of the meal
e.g. fish, chicken (no skin) or lean beef, (less than 100 g) with vegetables. 1-2 tsp of canola oil per day can be used for cooking stir-fries/fish/chicken/leeks/shallots, or for salad dressing
Chicken, beef or lamb stew with vegetables on rice. The allowed portion of chicken, beef or lamb is chopped small and used mostly for flavouring.
Dessert: fresh peeled pear or delicious apple
Snacks: fresh vegetables, fruit, low fat quark, whole grains and breads, e.g.
- steamed, microwaved or dry roasted potato
- vegetable soup (e.g. failsafe lentil & veg soup, see recipes in the Failsafe Cookbook)
- celery sticks plain or with low fat failsafe hummus or bean paste
- Mountain Bread or Sunrice/Pure Harvest original rice cakes plain or with failsafe hummus
- oatmeal or millet cereal
- fruit from your allowance with limited low fat quark (optional)
- occasional, small quantities: cashew nuts, whole eggs (egg whites are always okay)
Drinks: water, soda water, mineral water, decaf preferably black or with lowfat milk, soy or rice milk
CEREALS are more filling if wholegrain and cooked not dry e.g. oatmeal , millet porridge (GF). A typical serve would be half a cup of raw rolled oats cooked with one cup of water.
MILK & DAIRY are limited: 1 cup of skim or low fat milk, soy or rice milk or 1 tbsp low fat quark. Yoghurt is no longer permitted on the RPAH elimination diet due to amines, so quark (made by straining yoghurt) is an alternative. As some low fat dairy products are lower than others - low-fat is less than one percent fat or less than one gram of fat per glass - check the fat content e.g. 0.2% in http://www.barambahorganics.com.au/organic-yoghurt/low-fat-organic-yoghurt/
BREAD & WHOLEGRAINS – Wholemeal bread, pasta and brown rice are recommended but if you are intolerant to wholegrains and brown rice, you can eat white rice, limited white bread (chewy if possible, such as Coles Rustic baguettes) and plain rice cakes e.g. Sunrice/Pure Harvest original which are made solely from wholegrain brown rice but are generally well tolerated. White rice has a much better satiety value than you would expect. Millet is gluten free, usually well tolerated, and also recommended. Wholegrains - especially wheat bran – are very high in insoluble fibre, so too much can cause bloating, stomach aches and diarrhoea. If these symptoms are your problem, start with small amounts or avoid altogether – it is counterproductive to have stomach aches when trying to lose weight. http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09333.html
FRUIT – 2 peeled fresh pears (not canned pears in sugar) or if tolerating moderate salicylates golden or red delicious apples. If cravings are a problem, it is best to not eat fruit alone. You can eat fruit within a meal e.g. chopped in salads or as a dessert with low fat quark yoghurt cheese
MEAT, FISH, CHICKEN – it is easy to achieve a very low fat diet on vegan meals (4), but can be difficult nutritionally and is difficult to combine with failsafe. The limit is 100 g of meat per day or less – e.g. by using small amounts of chicken, lean beef and lamb in stir fries, soups and stews, mainly for the flavouring – and you can have some vegetarian days
Salad vegetables - are unlimited. For low salicylates, choose iceberg lettuce, celery, raw or steamed cabbage, bean shoots, mungbean sprouts, chives, cooked green beans and Brussels sprouts. If tolerating moderate salicylates, eat to tolerance level from: asparagus, fresh beetroot, carrot, cucumber peeled, snow peas, fancy lettuce such as cos or mignonette
Other vegetables – white potatoes (it is a myth that potatoes are fattening , just don't add butter, oil, sour cream or salad dressing) , swedes (can be mashed together with potatoes in the cooking water), cabbage, choko, Brussel sprouts, leeks, shallots, green beans, lentils, chickpeas and all kinds of dried beans except broad beans, small amounts of garlic. If tolerating moderate salicylates, eat to tolerance level from: bok choy, pak choy, sweet potatoes orange or white, coloured potatoes, butternut pumpkin, turnip, peeled zucchini, marrow. Some vegetables - especially dried beans lentils and chickpeas – are very high in insoluble fibre. Too much can cause bloating, stomach aches and diarrhoea. If these symptoms are your problem, start with small amounts e.g. 1 tsp of bean paste per day, or avoid altogether – it is counterproductive to have stomach aches when trying to lose weight. http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09333.html
COOKING OIL –Pritikin guidelines recommend canola because it has the best omega ratio. We agree. You can still choose to buy non-GM canola oil.
ALCOHOL - e.g. whisky & soda, vodka and gin - obviously without sugar or sweetener-laden mixers such as tonic. Best to avoid or limit to 2 tiny drinks per week, partly because of calories in the alcohol and partly because alcohol undermines willpower.
SUGAR, SWEETENERS, BUTTER, MARGARINE – none.
SALT – avoid or reduce. Like any flavour enhancer, salt makes you eat more. Failsafers generally eat little salt because they don't eat much processed food. If you choose to add salt, make it iodised because iodine deficiency is becoming a problem, unless you eat fish regularly.
EXERCISE –the equivalent of one hour of brisk walking nearly every day
Reader hint: I only ever eat 1 teaspoon of fattening foods like icecream or rich desserts. – thanks to Janine
Chilli peppers can reduce food cravings and boost metabolism in some people. Author of The Chili Pepper Diet, Heidi Allison conducted a study in which 14 subjects ate 5-6 small low fat meals a day with and without chillies. During two months of eating chillies, participants lost an average of 9.4 pounds. In the no-chilli phase of the study, subjects reported strong cravings for fatty and sweet foods, cheated on their diets and on average lost ten times less (0.9 pounds). One woman regained all the weight she had lost (twelve pounds) within four weeks. When chillies were reintroduced, weight loss resumed. Research suggests that capsaicin boosts metabolism, enhances fat burning, and suppresses appetite especially at high doses and may aid weight management although the effect is small (5). Can failsafers eat chili to help with weight loss? We don't know yet – see Capsaicin for management of salicylate intolerance: an open trial.
1. Shick SM, Wing RR, Klem ML, McGuire MT, Hill JO, Seagle H. Persons successful at long-term weight loss and maintenance continue to consume a low-energy, low-fat diet. J Am Diet Assoc. 1998;98(4):408-13. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9550162
The most comprehensive study of long-term weight loss ever conducted, the National Weight Control Registry, found that the vast majority of its nearly 4,500 successful people followed a Pritikin-like program that involved daily exercise and an eating plan low in fat and very high in fiber-rich carbohydrates like vegetables and fruit. The members lost, on average, 66 pounds and, at six-year follow-up, had kept it off. Less than 1% followed a high-protein, high-fat diet.
2. Klem ML, Wing RR, McGuire MT, Seagle HM, Hill JO. A descriptive study of individuals successful at long-term maintenance of substantial weight loss. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997;66(2):239-46.
"The majority of meals eaten by registry members were prepared or eaten at home" http://www.ajcn.org/content/66/2/239.long p243
3. Anderson JW, Konz EC, Jenkins DJ. Health advantages and disadvantages of weight-reducing diets: a computer analysis and critical review. J Am Coll Nutr. 2000;19(5):578-90. Full text http://www.jacn.org/content/19/5/578.long
A comparison of eight popular weight-loss diets. Conclusion: While high fat diets may promote short-term weight loss, the potential hazards for worsening risk for progression of atherosclerosis override the short-term benefits. Individuals derive the greatest health benefits from diets low in saturated fat and high in carbohydrate and fiber: these increase sensitivity to insulin and lower risk for CHD.
4. Turner-McGrievy GM, Barnard ND, Scialli AR. A two-year randomized weight loss trial comparing a vegan diet to a more moderate low-fat diet. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007 15(9):2276-81.
This study assessed the effect of a low-fat, vegan diet compared with the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) diet on weight loss maintenance in sixty-four overweight, postmenopausal women. The vegan diet was associated with significantly greater weight loss than the NCEP diet at 1 and 2 years. Both group support and meeting attendance were associated with significant weight loss at follow-up. http://www.nature.com/oby/journal/v15/n9/full/oby2007270a.html
5. Ludy MJ, Moore GE, Mattes RD. The Effects of Capsaicin and Capsiate on Energy Balance: Critical Review and Meta-analyses of Studies in Humans. Chem Senses. 2012;37(2):103-21.
Abstract: Consumption of spicy foods containing capsaicin, the major pungent principle in hot peppers, reportedly promotes negative energy balance... Evidence indicates that capsaicin and capsiate both augment energy expenditure and enhance fat oxidation, especially at high doses. Furthermore, the balance of the literature suggests that capsaicin and capsiate suppress orexigenic (appetite stimulating) sensations. The magnitude of these effects is small. Purposeful inclusion of these compounds in the diet may aid weight management, albeit modestly. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22038945
The Pritikin program www.pritikin.com
Florida's Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa, An Inner Adventure by Steve Giordano http://highonadventure.com/Hoa04jun/Pritikin/pritikin.htm
Fed Up by Sue Dengate
© Sue Dengate Feb 2012