Thursday, November 30, 2006

Mens Health

A recent article by Adam Campbell, a writer for "Men's Health" magazine has created a great deal of noise in the blogoshere and elsewhere. As noted by Regina Wilshire, the ADA, is losing its credibiltiy, fast. "Men's Health" is a pretty mainstream amagazine, and not usually on the fore front of any nutrirional movement. Though it is published by Rodale who also publishes the South Beach Diet and associated books, the magazine is generally not considered a source for low carb information. In retrospect however, "Men's Health" has been about controlled carb eating for quite a while. I happen to have 2 different books from "Men's Health", "The Abs Diet" by David Zinczenko, and the "Testosterone Advantage Plan" by L. Schuler, A. Campbell, M. Mejia, and J. Volek. So I decided to took a fresh look at the diet information each of these books.

The TAP diet is a reduced carb, high protein (33,34,33 c-p-f) version of the Mediterranean diet. In a nut shell its the same diet I described in one of my earlier blogs, and probably where I got the idea from in the first place. Published back in 2002, I had not read the book in quite a while. So I read it again. While reading through the book this time, the one downfall I notice is that the info is sold as a short term "diet and exercise plan", not as a lifestyle. Advice on protein, eat lots; on Fat, get plenty, mostly from mono-unsaturated sources; on carbs, eat low GI and not too many. Advice on exercise, skip the cardio and lift weight. Solid advice - yes, but, designed to keep the reader comming back to buy the next book. Still, the information stands on its own, and for those not in need of a ketogenic diet, it will certainly lead to a reduced carb intake and a healthier diet than many currenlty eat. If you can overlook the 9 week thing, and convince yourself that this is the way your going to eat period, and couple it with any reasonable exercise plan, you are well on your way to an active healthy lifestyle.

Lifestyle is the key word for "The Abs Diet". While the marketing premise for the book is to get "6 pack Abs", the book sets about letting the reader know that not everyone will really get a 6 pack. Rather than focusing on specific amounts of any given macro-nutrient, the eating plan is based around "power foods" that have a high nutrient density, combined with adequate protien, and a moderate to low glycemic load. When I read and tried this plan last year, I didn't do well, but I also didn't do it correctly either. The first time through the book, I skimmed major sections like yea yea, just tell me what to eat. What I missed was the part about controlling the glycemic load of each meal, and your whole day. Unlike the TAP, this is presented as a permanent way of eating. So impressed was I after a second reading that I went out and got the The Abs Diet 6-Minute Meals for 6-Pack Abs . With a title like that how could I resist. The book isn't really about recipes, but food combinations, that meet our nutritional needs. The combinations are definately male oriented, though women may like them too. The whole package works when paired with any reasonable exercise plan. For those who are overweight and have not progressed into diabetes, this plan provides the ounce of prevention that will prevent the need for more drastic measures later. Advice on protein, eat some at every meal and snack, but keep it mostly lean; on fats, olive oil and nuts are your freind eat them every day; on carbs, eat the right ones focusing on nutritive value and glycemic load. Exercise advice, Circuit train and do Intervals.


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