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White rice, pasta, sugar and flour cause obesity, says low carb convert Dr. Oz

Does Dr. Oz have the solution to obesity?
Does Dr. Oz have the solution to obesity?
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

In recent years, low carb diets have earned praise from a growing number of medical experts. Now talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz has joined their ranks and proclaimed white foods such as flour and sugar to be the main causes of obesity in a Friday interview with the Edmonton Sun.

Dr. Oz avoids all white foods and advises others to do the same: White rice, white pasta, white sugar and white flour. "All those white foods are the bane of our existence in the west," he declared, echoing the recent Standard American Diet (SAD) shaming in "The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet." However, he's not yet advocating buttered bacon for breakfast but reserving his ammunition for starch and sugar.

Author of "YOU: On A Diet Revised Edition: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management," Dr. Oz contends that those starchy foods and sugar "lead to obesity more than anything else." He also recommends avoiding fried foods.

Moreover, after years of advocating low-fat diets and whole grains, Dr. Oz has become a champion of animal protein. "I'll eat red meat. I'm fine with lean meat," he declared.

However, Dr. Oz is quick to emphasize that he stays away from processed foods. He prefers a steak to "beef patties or processed crisps or this and that."

And don't count caffeine among his vices. Instead of waking up with a cup of coffee or even tea, Dr. Oz performs a short workout. "I use it instead of caffeine. And all day long I know I did my seven-minute workout, so I'm a little bit ahead of everybody in my own mind," he boasted.

The workout comes from his personal trainer, Joel Harper. "I'm usually sweating just when I finish that," Dr. Oz admits. Harper even created a series of fitness DVDs based on the concept that short, high intensity workouts get the best results, such as "Joel Harper's Slim & Fit."

The combination of no sugar and no grains is often called a NSNG diet. Among those who champion it is celebrity trainer Vinnie Tortorich, author of "Fitness Confidential."

Vinnie and Dr. Oz agree that NSNG is not a temporary weight loss fix but a permanent lifestyle. "The word 'diet' suggests that you will eat one way for a while, but once you hit your target weight, you will stop the diet," Vinnie told me in an exclusive interview on Sunday.

And while Dr. Oz has become an advocate of animal protein, Vinnie says that vegans and vegetarians also can benefit from a NSNG diet by getting enough fat. For fat, he recommends avocado and olives, with raw nuts and nut butter added to enhance the diet with both protein and healthy fats.

"I have as many Vegans and vegetarians following NSNG as I do meat eaters," Vinnie told me. "Many will bridge the gap with lower glycemic beans."

What about the Paleo diet, which also emphasizes NSNG? "I think that the Paleo guys are on to something. I'm a fan, but the difference is that NSNG allows dairy," noted Vinnie.

Where Dr. Oz and Vinnie disagree: Vinnie champions more saturated fat. "I have eggs for breakfast, usually two whole eggs with a third egg yolk and coffee with heavy whipping cream."

But they do agree on the benefits of coconut oil for weight loss and health. Vinnie's even created a concoction he calls an Energy Shake that consists of "a ton of fresh veggies in a high speed blender with coconut oil added in."

For dinner, he eats meat, fish or poultry with veggies. "If we have any dessert, it's fresh berries with heavy whipping cream," he added.

While Dr. Oz is not yet hip to heavy whipping cream, he recently has invited high fat low carb ketogenic diet experts on his show. Among them, Dr. David Perlmutter, author of "Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar--Your Brain's Silent Killers."

Dr. Perlmutter, like Vincent, advises eliminating all grains and sugar from your diet. In their place, he advocates healthy fats, lean protein and vegetables.

In addition, whereas Dr. Oz used to emphasize whole grains, he now has included recommendations for healthy fats on his show frequently. Among his favorites: Avocado, extra-virgin olive oil and coconut oil.

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