Skip to main content

See also:

Dr. Oz and Andrew Weil talk fat: Eat cheese, fish and olive oil on low carb diet

Don't fear all fat, says Dr. Andrew Weil.
Don't fear all fat, says Dr. Andrew Weil.
Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images

Dr. Mehmet Oz invited one of his favorite guests, Dr. Andrew Weil, to his show that aired on August 7. Among their discussions: Saturated fat versus trans fat. Get the skinny on that discussion plus what Dr. Weil really eats and recommends for weight loss and health.

Dr. Oz has baffled viewers, other physicians and health experts by his constantly changing views (and guests) when it comes to the concept of a "healthy" diet. But Dr. Weil seemed to offer an approach that paralleled Dr. Oz's attitude toward low carb diets: Consume healthy saturated fats and avoid trans fats.

In addition, Dr. Oz and Dr. Weil both emphasize the importance of avoiding sugar, white flour and other carbohydrates that (a) contain no nutritional value and (b) have been linked to high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes and dementia. What should you eat? Dr. Weil believes that fish such as salmon, dairy such as quality cheese (as opposed to fat-free processed cheese) and olive oil can benefit your body and your waistline.

Dr. Weil attracted attention (and created a controversy) when he appeared on Larry King's show and defended investigative journalist Gary Taubes, author of "Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It" and "Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health." Although he does not advocate a butter-based diet, Dr. Weil does believe that the glycemic load impacts weight gain and weight loss as well as insulin sensitivity.

So what is the ultimate anti-aging diet for weight loss and health? In an exclusive interview on August 7, registered dietitian and low carb diet expert Franziska Spritzler answered that question.

"There's no consensus among the experts as to what constitutes the ultimate anti-aging diet, and I truly think that what will yield the best results depends on one's genetics," she said. While some individuals can win at weight loss and health by increasing their fat content, "others do better with a larger percentage of their diet as carbohydrate."

But don't underestimate the importance of protein, added Spritzler. "A diet that promotes graceful aging should provide adequate protein (1.2-2.0 g/kg ideal body weight), whole rather than processed animal and plant foods, and natural sources of anti-inflammatory nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C."

The inclusion or exclusion of grains also depends on "a person's genetics and personal tolerance to grains," she said. "I've known people in their 90s who've eaten bread every day of their lives." Despite some views that foods containing grains are linked to dementia, Spritzler says that those individuals are active, happy and bright.

Recently high fat low carb ketogenic diets have become popular for weight loss. But are there any long-term studies showing that they are safe?

"Although there are many anecdotal reports of people maintaining vitality and good health on very-low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diets -- including Dr. Richard Bernstein, who has Type 1 diabetes and at nearly 80 years old is still practicing medicine and broadcasting webinars -- there are no long-term clinical studies supporting this way of eating on a long-term basis," said Spritzler. And whether ketogenic diets and high fat diets are safe for everyone, "we just don't know."

She emphasizes that achieving nutritional ketosis is "not necessary for many people who want to lose weight and improve health." And a recent study shows that rather than focusing on ketosis, you may want to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables.

Researchers investigated whether the prevailing advice to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day actually impacts your weight, longevity and health. They determined that prescription for well-being is valid, reported Reuters on August 7.

And in contrast to the "less is more" theory of weight loss, scientists found that eating more veggies and fruit reduces your risk of heart disease while extending your life. The optimal amount: Five servings per day, said senior author Dr. Frank B. Hu, of the departments of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

The findings are based on an analysis of 16 existing studies covering more than 800,000 people. They confirmed that the standard American diet needs more focus on those foods.

"Since the average consumption of fruits/veggies in the general population is far below five servings per day, there is still a long way to go before meeting the recommended intakes," Hu said. However, consuming more than five did not provide additional benefits.