The Starch Solution

The Starch Solution

Eat the Foods You Love, Regain your Health, and Lose the Weight for Good!

Book - 2012
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Challenging the viewpoint that starches are unhealthy, the plant-diet advocate explains how to fuel the body with carbohydrates rather than proteins and fats, drawing on the philosophies of the "China Study" to outline a lifestyle plan.
Publisher: New York : Rodale, c2012
ISBN: 9781609613938
Characteristics: xx, 348 p. : ill. ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: McDougall, Mary A. (Mary Ann)


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Apr 17, 2020

For those who want to lose weight effortlessly by not starving themselves and falling prey to fad diets, this is the book for you.

Mar 10, 2018

The Carbs fight back. There has been an emerging consensus towards a low-fat & high-carb diet (Dr. Gundry in “The Plant Paradox”; Dr. Perlmutter in “Brain Grain”; Dr. Mercola in “Fat for Fuel’). All the low-carb & high-fat proponents wrote formidable books with extensive scientific references and first hand testimonials from numerous patients reversing an array of intractable chronic diseases.

So, one would think we would be done with carbs. They have too much sugar, or they convert into sugar too quickly and cause a spike in insulin. That in turn causes insulin resistance, diabetes, overall inflammation. Those conditions promote cardiovascular diseases and other illnesses.

Not so fast, Dr. McDougall comes to the defense of the carbs, starches in particular. His book is equally formidable to the ones mentioned. He advances and supports his arguments with literally hundreds of studies. And, he cures patients from amazing illnesses such as many different types of cancers and even MS.

It is most interesting to contrast Dr. McDougall’s nutrition protocol with Dr. Gundry, the leading proponent of the low-carb & high-fat diet.

At their respective foundation, they both look at our early ancestors during the Paleolithic era (all nutritionists do nowadays). And, they have a very different take on what our ancestors ate. Gundry advances that before the first agricultural revolution that took place 10,000 years ago we ate mainly plants, very little meat, and virtually no grains. McDougall agrees with the plant and little meat bit, but advances we ate much grain and also many starch type plants way before the agricultural revolution.

I think the type of well researched divergence these two demonstrate is beneficial. First, people are different. Maybe you are blessed with an abundance of amylase enzyme, so you can digest grains just fine. And, you will do well on McDougall’s starch based diet. But, maybe you have an opposite condition. And, you have celiac disease or are just gluten sensitive. In that case, you will do well with Gundry’s no-grain & low-carb diet. You may have a specific health condition you are attempting to resolve through nutrition. And, you have tried one diet and it did not work so well. Now, you can try the other diet.

Another conundrum is how come both authors recommend essentially a plant-based diet while deriving most of your calories from fat in one case and from carbs in the other? How is that possible?

Well, let’s take a specific example. McDougall’s favorite plant food is potato and Gundry’s is avocado. By chance, a potato and an avocado have both close to the same calories (around 250). And, a potato has no fat, but 54 grams of carbohydrates (mainly starch). So, carbs account for over 80% of a potato’s calories. Now, let’s look at avocado. It has 21 grams of fat that amounts to 80% of its calories. So, with McDougall you are going to eat a lot of potatoes, grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits that are all rich in carbs and have no fat. With Gundry you are going to eat more avocado, olive, olive oil, and you will also eat some full fat cheese.

How about if as your core foodstock you ate a lot of potatoes and avocados, the preferred food from each diverging authors? I would think it would make for a remarkably good diet. Mix and matching both diets may work.

Oct 07, 2014

As Dr. McDougall points out in his many youtube videos, he stands on the shoulders of many doctors who have contributed to his work and to the health of thousands, if not millions. You can check out the science behind his teachings at his website where he provides so much free information.

I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in 2011 and was prescribed Metformin by my doctor. I have been living medication free for almost two years after researching and following the advice of doctors John McDougall, Neal Barnard, Caldwell Esselstyn, T. Colin Campbell, Dean Ornish and others too numerous to mention.

You can watch a youtube video by the co-founder of Whole Foods, John Mackey, who says “We've had at least 100 team members reverse Type 2 Diabetes...”, after attending seminars by some of the above mentioned doctors.

The videos “Forks over Knives” and “Forks Over Knives, The Extended Interviews” available from the library are also highly recommended.

Jan 04, 2014

This is the plant-base, whole foods eating program I follow. I have tried others and did not have the feeling of satiety I needed - this as it is starch-based is the one. I feel so much better and have reversed chronic health issues - like pre-diabetes using this way of eating - though had not had any success with the carb counting methods taught to me by my health provider. Now, my doctor is thrilled that I am doing this as my health stats are all in normal or better than normal ranges! I am so happy to be doing this!

Dec 02, 2013

In the beginning of the book, McDougall creates a straw man using paleo diet. He defines the paleolithic period as including 13,000 years ago; however Cordain (The Paleo Diet) defines it as more than 30,000 years ago, pre-agriculture. Then, McDougall cites mummies with conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis and claims that this is evidence that Paleolithic people ate grains and had these diseases. He actually just proves Cordain's point that grains have a degenerative effect on the body. Later in the book, he includes a chart of protein requirements as suggested by prior research but fails to include the recommendation of the Paleo diet. Further, McDougall uses a chart in the book with no definition of what the numbers mean. He also uses foods in 3000 calorie units for comparison to try to prove that we can get enough protein from vegetables; but no one eats 3000 calories of one food in a single day. Prior to reading this book, I respected McDougall prior to reading this book, but the science is inaccurate and the math is very misleading. He should study archaeology and get his dates correct before presenting data that falls into the wrong period to support his argument.

Jun 21, 2013

This eating plan makes the most sense to me. Obviously there is science behind everything McDougall prescribes, but I think also we all know what we should and shouldn't be eating but we try to avoid that truth by 'reaching for the magic bullet' .. McDougall just spells out the truth for you in a no holds barred sort of way. He doesn't sugar coat it.

sabelos Apr 05, 2013

A well written piece from one of the most renound nutritional scientists who is at the forefront of healthy eating in western society.

VeganMan Sep 22, 2012

This is the only proven natural way to take charge of your health. I have been following this way of life for eight years. I am back to my highschool weight no high blood pressure. I feel healthy and full of energy. I started this program weighing 185lbs 5'5 now I am a lean healthy happy 127lbs. I had high blood presure pre diabetes and the start of arthritis all gone because of this way of life. I highly recommend this book it will change your life forever without being put on all those horrible drugs with nasty side effects. Good luck try try again you can make the change for the better with this food plan. I give this book a 12 out of 10.

Aug 13, 2012

I have read virtually every book on diet and this is the first one that actually makes sense. I have been eating this way for several months now, and have effortlessly dropped 10 pounds. i am looking forward to getting my cholesterol, etc. results when I have my annual physical later this month, but believe there will be a significant improvement. It is so great to be able to eat as much as I want of all the foods I really like, while not feeling guilty about eating carbs! I recommend this to anyone who is serious about improving their health.

Tulips13 Aug 04, 2012

I have been trying to switch to a plant-based diet for many reasons. This book has been very persuasive. The long term affects of eating meat, dairy, and eggs are very scary. Towards the end the book became dull when the author started to discuss the different vitamins you need and how to get nutrients. I know about that and I didn't need 4 chapters devoted to it. Other than that the book was very helpful.

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Jul 16, 2012

In the seventies, researchers from the [....] asked 16 moderately overweight college-aged men to add 12 slices of white bread (at 70 calories a slice) or high fiber bread (at 50 calories a slice) to their diet daily. On average, subjects eating the extra white bread lost 14 lbs (6.26Kg) and those adding the high fiber bread lost 19 pounds (8.77 Kg) during the next 8 weeks. Appetite-appeasing breads worked by replacing the easy-t-wear fat found in the meats, dairy products and vegetable oils, causing them to spontaneously, without any additional conscious thought or effort, lose the weight. p.24

Jul 15, 2012

In this book I share what I have learned over the past 44 years about promoting health and healing illness. To help you get started, I've included a 7-day Sure-Start Plan in Chapter 14, backed up by practical information on how to ready your kitchen, your family, and your life for this change in the way you eat. Chapter 15 gets the foods you love on the table with nearly 100 easy-to-prepare recipes to suit every taste.

Jul 15, 2012

I fully realize that the views I advocate cause people with vested interests to dislike me. But I can live with that unfairness. Too many physicians and dietitians pay allegiance to the big business of food and pharmaceuticals rather than to their customers, the patients.

Jul 15, 2012

"Mary's recipes are easy to prepare, not only in a professional kitchen, but also at home. (Nearly 100 of our favorites are included in Chapter 15.) The resort's kitchen quickly learned to turn out copious quantities of food that tasted good while nurturing our participants' health and well-being. p. xix

Jul 15, 2012

"At $4000 for my primarily educational program compared with $100,000 for bypass surgery, perhaps it just wasn't bringing in enough revenue for the hospital." [...]
"I anticipated an enthusiastic response from the hospital administration, but after lengthy discussions, they decided that associating themselves with MS patients might stigmatize the hospital since these patients never seemed to get better. I also wondered whether the limited opportunity for profit might have also been a consideration".


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