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'Super Shred' vs 'Doctor's Diet': Physicians debate merits of weight loss plans

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So you want to lose weight. What could be better than a diet plan created by one of the well-known physicians on the popular health talk show "The Doctors," two of whom have created their own weight loss programs? The challenge in choosing one of those plans: Dr. Ian Smith provides very different diet tactics in his "Super Shred" diet when compared to Dr. Travis Stork's "The Doctor's Diet," reported USA Today on Feb. 23.

Dr. Ian says he believes that the key to rapid weight loss is "calorie disruption," and contends that his diet can help dieters lose 20 pounds in four weeks: "Super Shred: The Big Results Diet: 4 Weeks 20 Pounds Lose It Faster!" (click for details).

The "Super Shred" weight loss program alternates calorie counts, up to 1,600 calories on some days and down to 900 calories on other days. Included are grocery lists, meal plans and recipes. Dieters are advised to perform 40 minutes or more of high-intensity interval aerobic exercise a day.

In addition to calorie disruption, Dr. Ian tells dieters to snack frequently, including specifics on timing. He also emphasizes what he calls "sliding nutrient density," which means that you eat plant-based foods in the second part of your day.

In contrast, Dr. Travis focuses on food prescriptions so that your meals and snacks become your medicine: "The Doctor's Diet: Dr. Travis Stork's STAT Program to Help You Lose Weight & Restore Your Health" (click for details).

Although the "Doctor's Diet" emphasizes health and weight loss equally, Dr. Travis does provide a four-week jump-start to accelerate weight loss, followed by diet to continue the weight loss and concluding with a maintenance plan. That four-week plan emphasizes healthy fats, moderately high protein and low-carb diet meals and snacks.

As for Dr. Ian's emphasis on high-intensity exercise for 40 minutes, Dr. Travis prescribes only 30 minutes of an activity such as walking. In addition, Dr. Travis feels strongly about the dangers of sugar, telling dieters to surrender the sweet stuff while boosting their protein intake. While not eliminating carbohydrates, he says that those who engage in only minimal activity can benefit from low carb diets.

"We don't know exactly why protein helps with weight loss. One reason is that it has an impact on the action of ghrelin, known as the hunger hormone, and leptin, the satiety hormone, which is why people who eat protein at each meal find they are fuller and less hungry after they eat than do people who skimp on protein," he explains.

As a result, the "Doctor's Diet" is a high protein diet: "Up to a third of your daily calories come from the protein in meat, poultry, seafood, beans, peas, eggs, dairy, nuts and seeds," adds Dr. Travis.

Previous diet books by both physicians also reflect their different weight loss philosophies:

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