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Marilu Henner loses 54 pounds with food-combining diet and supplements

Marilu Henner lost 54 pounds with food-combining diet.
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

At 62, former "Taxi" star Marilu Henner has more energy than many women half her age. She visited Queen Latifah's talk show on Monday to reveal how she improved her health and lost 54 pounds by dramatically changing her diet.

Marilu has become a health expert, authoring books such as "Marilu Henner's Total Health Makeover." She has her own radio show ("The Marilu Show" for Genesis Communications Network) and her topics range from plastic surgery to breastfeeding in public.

As for her diet, it's based on clean eating and eliminating processed foods. Initially, she was consuming two gallons of soda daily. Bidding the bubbly bye-bye boosted her weight loss.

Dairy has become an increasingly controversial topic. Marilu advises against it because she feels that it's difficult to digest. To streamline her digestion, she uses food combining.

What that involves: Eat certain combinations of food to boost your energy, slim down and ease the digestive process.

The first rule: Do not combine proteins, starches and fruit. The simple sugars in fruit causes problems for your digestive system, depleting your energy.

Instead, Marilu recommends eating protein on its own or starches on their own with a complementary food. For example, you can eat fish with mushrooms or rice with cabbage.

The second rule: Eat fruit alone. Marilu advocates snacking, and fruit as a snack boosts your energy while keeping your metabolism functioning optimally.

And the final rule: Eat wet foods rather than gulping down water with your meals. Examples include tomatoes and zucchinis.

How long does it take to get the benefits? Marilu has created a book revealing how you can reap the rewards in a month: "The 30 Day Total Health Makeover: Everything You Need to Do to Change Your Body, Your Health, and Your Life in 30 Amazing Days."

In addition to her food-combining diet, Marilu is an advocate of nutritional supplements. She told the Energy Times that she takes "vitamin E, omega-3 fish oils, antioxidants, garlic, coral calcium and echinacea supplements."

Beyond her weight loss and health success, Marilu is famed for her fabulous memory. Her Highly Superior Auto-Biographical Memory, or H-SAM, allows her to recall in detail any day in the past. And for those of us have trouble with even remembering where we put our car keys, she's authored "Total Memory Makeover: Uncover Your Past, Take Charge of Your Future."

But when it comes to children, the combination of supplements and fortified foods - even when consumed using those food-combining rules - can be dangerous to their health. A bowl of cereal might seem like the ideal breakfast, but when that cereal is fortified with vitamins and minerals and prefaced by a vitamin, an overdose of nutrients can result, reported the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

Millions of kids are consuming vitamin A, zinc and niacin in dangerously high doses, according to a new report. Researchers found that an overdose of certain vitamins and minerals is harmful, and that toxicity can result.

"With some vitamins, there’s a limit to what’s healthy for you, but it’s very hard to ever reach that limit. With others, there’s really no limit," said the research director for the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Renee Sharp, who co-authored the report.

How serious is it? Potential problems include liver damage and bone abnormalities.

Making it even more challenging for parents: "With some vitamins the window between what’s good for you and what’s potentially toxic is actually quite narrow," added Sharp. "Only a tiny, tiny percentage of cereal packages carry nutrition labels that list age-specific daily values."

The fortification of cereals is linked to marketing, contends Susan Roberts, a professor of nutrition at Tufts University. She expressed concern that millions of children are consuming more than the safe upper levels.

"But right now we don’t have a lot of evidence that it is creating massive health problems. Rather, I would say it is unnecessary, not health-promoting, and in some individual cases may be causing toxic problems," added Roberts.

To avoid potential problems, the EWG advises parents to feed their children only fortified foods that contain at most 25 percent of the adult daily value for each nutrient. Just like food combining, choosing foods wisely can make a dramatic difference in health.