Diet Review: The Hormone Diet
The Hormone Diet: What You Can Eat continued...
After the detox, dieters start step two, or the "glyci-med" approach of eating the right foods, at the right time and avoiding a long list of ‘hormone-hindering’ foods, which Turner claims are peanuts, high fructose corn syrup, large fish high in mercury, farmed salmon, raisins, dates, nonorganic meats, and nonorganic coffee.
Foods not allowed in step two include refined sugars, refined grains, trans fats, processed meats, excess saturated fats, foods with nitrites, and most artificial sweeteners.
The plan calls for supplementing the diet with a cocktail of pills, including multivitamins, vitamin D, basic antioxidant, calcium-magnesium, and a whey protein isolate. It also recommends drinking plenty of water, at least eight glasses per day.
Recipes, shopping, and food lists are provided.
The Hormone Diet: How It Works
The rules are simple, Turner says: If you eat the right foods at the right times (about every 3-4 hours) and avoid the ‘hormone-hindering’ foods, you will balance hormones and lose weight.
A self-assessment test is supposed to help you determine which hormones are out of balance and how to correct them with diet changes, supplements, stress reduction, sleep tips, and other lifestyle behaviors.
A degree in biochemistry would help make sense of the very detailed explanation of hormones. The problem is that there appears to be a disconnect between the list of problems and how diet is supposed to solve the hormonal imbalance and trigger weight loss.
The Hormone Diet: What Experts Say
Nutrition experts take issue with numerous aspects of The Hormone Diet. Positive aspects include attention to sleep, stress reduction, exercise, and eating healthy.
“The first red flag among lots of hype in the book is the tremendous amount of supplements without guidelines to monitor for interactions with medications and at quantities that could be dangerous,” says American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Karen Ansel, MS, RD.
Peeke agrees. "Pushing supplements to correct mystical hormonal imbalances in unfounded and extreme," she says.
Detoxing is a popular diet book approach. But experts point out that if you have a healthy liver, detox is not necessary.
“Taking away so many foods during the detox phase will severely trim calories for the extreme weight loss and cause some people to not feel so terrific," Ansel says. She also disagrees with the book’s claim that our food supply is full of toxins and stripped of nutrients.
“To say that certain foods are ‘hormone hindering’ is inaccurate and grossly oversimplifies the role of nutrients in the body; the entire process of metabolism is impacted by more than hormones, which are only one of the elements but not the only one," Ansel says.
Anyone who exercises regularly may find the diet too low in carbohydrates to provide adequate energy, Ansel says.
The bottom line: Ansel and Peeke give the book a thumbs-down because it is unnecessarily complicated and full of hype.
“Not all hormonal conditions can be fixed by diet and the ones that can be -- like low blood sugar -- are not clearly identified with the right diet fix,” says Ansel. "Beware of any book that ascribes all problems to one entity, such as hormones," Peeke says.