Dr perricone diet

Dr. N.V. Perricone’s Menu Plan

By Dr. N.V. Perricone

The Perricone nutritional program provides the foods that reduce inflammation and avoids those that provoke it. Study the lists of foods that are approved and those that need to be to be avoided. There are 10 simple rules to the program:

  1. Each meal needs to include lean protein and carbohydrates (in the form of fruits and/or vegetables), and essential fatty acids from olive oil or fresh unsalted nuts.
  2. Be sure to include up to one tablespoon of olive oil and 1 cup of low fat yogurt 3x/week. (You can eat the yogurt for breakfast or as a snack between meals)
  3. Women need to consume 400 grams of lean protein per week, two servings of fruit and at least 4 servings of approved vegetables each day. (a apple or pear, 340 grams of berries or 113 grams of cut up fruit). Men need the same number of servings of fruits and vegetables, but should take in 450 grams of protein/week.
  4. Drink 8-10 glasses of water/day.
  5. Limit coffee to 1-2 cups/day.
  6. Take prescribed supplements at the recommended times, rather than all at once.
  7. Calories and quantities should be consumed evenly throughout the day.
  8. Don’t go longer than 4-5 hours without eating to keep blood sugar level.
  9. Don’t add fat to food when you cook.
  10. Don’t cheat– it will show up on your skin before it pads your hips!

BREAKFAST
If you are a traditionalist, the egg white or oatmeal breakfasts will fit into your routine. If time is short in the morning, these items can be picked up at the local coffee shop instead of the usual latte and bagel. If you tend to wake up hungry; the fish breakfast will be wonderfully satisfying. If eating is too much effort in the morning, a cool cup of yogurt will give you much needed protein and you don’t even have to chew.

  1. Egg white omelet (made with 3 egg whites), 1 serving of fruit
  2. 113 grams unflavored oatmeal with skim milk, egg white omelet/1 serving of fruit
  3. Fresh fish, preferably broiled or poached/serving of fruit
  4. Non-fat unflavored yogurt fruit salad of melons, berries, apples, pears, 5 grams of slivered almonds

LUNCH
Lunches are designed to meet nutritional needs with easily obtainable foods. Don’t use commercial salad dressings. Sprinkle the salads with 1/4 -1/2 ounce of extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Make sure you get at least 4 ounces of protein at lunch. You can substitute 1/4-cup bean salad or 28 grams of bean dip for the fruit.
Lunch Menus:

  1. Small can of tuna fish, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers (top with chopped onions if you wish)(serving of fresh fruit from approved list)
  2. Steamed vegetables and shrimp, chicken or tofu (season with Chinese mustard or low sodium soy sauce/ 1 serving of fruit.)
  3. Smoked or grilled salmon (can use canned salmon, just drain off liquid they way you do with tuna) or sliced fresh turkey on a bed of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, sliced radish, green pepper/ 1 serving of fruit
  4. Grilled chicken breast/tossed green salad/1 serving of fruit
  5. Grilled or poached shrimp make sure you eat at least six shrimp over a green salad, 1 serving of fruit
  6. 1/4 roast chicken (do not eat skin), green salad, 1 serving of fruit
  7. Broiled salmon/green salad/1 serving of fruit
  8. Turkey burger/ green salad or sliced tomatoes and lettuce/serving of fruit
  9. Small can of salmon/green salad/1 serving of fruit
  10. Small can of sardines in olive oil/green salad/1 serving of fruit

DINNER
You should be eating fish at least 10 times a week, which works out to at least one fish meal each day. To meet these goals, plan out what you are going to eat. Think about the demands of the upcoming day, and analyze what foods will be available for you. For example if you know that you are going to be in meetings all day, try to start off with a good supply of protein. If you’re going out with friends steer them to a restaurant where you can get fish and a fresh salad rather than pizza or burgers and fries. The dinner menus that follow can be easily found in restaurants or made at home. If you like to cook, indulge your creativity with fresh fish and approved vegetables and seasonings. If you consider heating up a Lean Cuisine in a microwave cooking, you can find appropriate foods in restaurants and take out stores. If you haven’t had two servings of fruit that day, finish the meal with melon or berries. Dr. Perricone recommends a daily salad that consists of lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers. To vary flavor each meal he advises adding on raw sliced mushrooms, green pepper strips, sliced radishes, and/or slivered celery. Toss salad with 1/4 – 1/2 ounce of olive oil and a few drops of fresh lemon juice to taste. Use black pepper and fresh herbs, but don’t add salt. Keep in mind that these menus are just suggestions. You can mix and match any of the protein and vegetable choices as long as they are on the list of approved food items. Your chicken, fish and vegetables should be roasted, broiled, grilled, steamed or poached rather than fried or sauted.

  1. Broiled Salmon/asparagus/salad
  2. Teriyaki salmon/snow peas/salad
  3. Mussels in white sauce/spinach/salad
  4. Clams in red sauce (no pasta)/escarole/salad
  5. Sauted scallops with garlic and parsley/zucchini/salad
  6. Pan roasted salmon/cauliflower/salad
  7. Egg white omelet with smoked salmon/sliced tomatoes/salad
  8. Roast fresh turkey/Brussels sprouts/salad
  9. Baked chicken/green beans/salad
  10. Broiled chicken/asparagus/salad
  11. Broiled swordfish/broccoli/salad
  12. Shrimp cocktail/broccoli rabe/salad
  13. Broiled filet of sole/green beans/salad

SNACKS
Don’t get too hungry. Use these snacks to feel energetic and fulfilled. Remember- each snack needs to contain the same components as a full meal– lean protein, carbohydrates in the form of fruits or vegetables and essential fatty acids from olive oil or nuts.

  1. 14 grams of whole almonds or Macadamia nuts, one small apple, sliced low fat ham
  2. 6 black and green olives/celery sticks/ 2 slices smoked turkey
  3. A grilled or poached shrimp/280 grams of cantaloupe/14 grams of macadamia nuts
  4. 1 small pear, 2 slices turkey breast/14 grams of slivered almonds
  5. Raw veggies (green pepper strips, cherry tomatoes. sliced cucumbers)/ 28 grams of bean dip
Description Serving Size Carbs
Animal crackers 8 15
Bagel 1/2 (1 oz) 15
Baked beans 1/3 cup 15
Bran cereals 1/2 cup 15
Bread 1 slice 15
Bread sticks 2 (2/3 oz) 15
Bread, reduced-calorie 2 slices (1 1/2 oz) 15
Bulgur 1/2 cup 15
Cereals, unsweetened 3/4 cup 15
Corn 1/2 cup 15
Corn on cob 1 (5 oz) 15
Cornmeal (dry) 3 Tbsp 15
Couscous 1/3 cup 15
English muffin 1/2 15
Flour (dry) 3 Tbsp 15
Graham crackers, 2 1/2 in. square 3 15
Granola, low-fat 1/4 cup 15
Grits 1/2 cup 15
Hamburger bun 1/2 (1 oz) 15
Hot dog bun 1/2 (1 oz) 15
Kasha 1/2 cup 15
Matzoh 3/4 oz 15
Melba toast 4 slices 15
Millet 1/4 cup 15
Muesli 1/4 cup 15
Oats 1/2 cup 15
Oyster crackers 24 15
Pasta 1/2 cup 15
Peas, green 1/2 cup 15
Pita, 6 in. across 1/2 15
Plantain 1/2 cup 15
Popcorn 3 cups 15
Potato, baked or boiled 1 small (3 oz) 15
Potato, mashed 1/2 cup 15
Pretzels 3/4 oz 15
Puffed cereal 1 1/2 cups 15
Raisin bread 1 slice (1 oz) 15
Rice cakes, 4 in. across 2 15
Rice milk 1/2 cup 15
Rice, white or brown 1/3 cup 15
Roll 1 (1 oz) 15
Saltine-type crackers 6 15
Snack chips, fat-free (tortilla, potato) 15-20 (3/4 oz) 15
Squash, acorn 1 cup 15
Squash, butternut 1 cup 15
Sugar-frosted cereal 1/2 cup 15
Tortilla, corn, 6 in. across 1 15
Tortilla, flour, 7-8 in. across 1 15
Waffle, 4 1/2 in. square 1 15
Wheat germ 3 Tbsp 15
Whole-wheat crackers, no fat added 2-5 (3/4 oz) 15
Yam, sweet potato 1/2 cup 15

Glycemic Index
Rick Mendosa
A glycemic index is basically a classification of how high and how fast particular carbohydrate foods raise blood sugar. This index compares the way carbohydrate foods raise blood sugar with the way white bread raises it. White bread is assigned an index number of 100. (There is another glycemic index that use straight glucose as the comparison). Generally speaking, for a person with diabetes, a low (slow-releasing) glycemic index food is preferred to a high (fast-releasing) glycemic index food. The following chart shows the glycemic index of a variety of foods that have been tested, including indigenous foods of regions around the world. For further information on the glycemic index, see the article The Glycemic Index.
Glycemic Index

BAKERY PRODUCTS
Donut 108 Waffles 109
BREADS
Bagel, white 103 Pumpernickel 71
Melba toast 100 Wheat bread, white 101
Wheat bread, wholemeal flour 99
BREAKFAST CEREALS
All-bran 60 Cheerios 106
Cornflakes 119 Cream of Wheat 100
Grapenuts 96 Oat Bran 78
Oatmeal 87 Rice Bran 27
Rice Krispies 117 Shredded Wheat 99
Special K 77 Total 109
CEREAL GRAINS
Barley, pearled 36 Buckwheat 78
Cornmeal 98 Millet 101
Rice, brown 79 Rice, parboiled 68
Rice, white 83 Sweet corn 78
CRACKERS
Stoned Wheat Thins 96
DAIRY PRODUCTS
Ice cream 87 Ice cream, low fat 71
Milk, full fat 39 Milk skim 46
Yogurt, low fat, artificially sweetened 20
FRUIT AND FRUIT PRODUCTS
Apple 54 Apple juice 58
Apricots, dried 44 Apricots, fresh 82
Banana 77 Cherries 32
Dates 141 Grapefruit 36
Grapes 66 Orange 63
Orange juice 74 Peach, fresh 60
Pear, fresh 53 Pineapple 94
Pineapple juice 66 Plum 55
Raisins 91 Watermelon 103
LEGUMES
Black beans 43 Black-eyed beans 59
Broad beans (fava beans) 113 Chick peas (garbanzo beans) 47
Kidney beans 42 Lima beans, baby, frozen 46
Navy beans juice 54 Pinto beans 55
Soy beans 25
PASTA
Fettuccine 46 Linguine 65
Macaroni 64 Spaghetti, wholemeal 53
ROOT VEGETABLES
Beets 91 Carrots 70
Parsnips 139 Potato, baked 121
Potatoes, french fries 107 Rutabaga 103
Sweet potato 77
SNACK FOOD AND CONFECTIONARY
Popcorn 79 Pretzels 116
SOUPS
Split pea soup 86
SUGARS
Fructose 32 Glucose 137
Glucose tablets 146 Honey 83
Lactose 65 Maltose 150
Sucrose (table sugar) 92
VEGETABLES
Peas, dried 32 Peas, green 68

Detoxing and cleansing are absolutely everywhere these days, especially now with the Summer season, aka bikini season, approaching fast. If you’re not juicing and detoxing, then most likely you know someone who is or who has at some point in time, or you’re likely to be contemplating it yourself. It’s become such a big trend in today’s times that just simply cannot be ignored.

I’ve never been one to follow diets, mostly as I’ve had a hard time committing, but I do believe that food makes a difference. You are what you eat and I believe that. So when I read about Dr. Perricone’s 3-Day Anti-Inflammatory Detox Diet here, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to judge for myself what detoxing is all about. There were a few things that lined up and immediately sold me on this particular diet:

1) you do eat proper and balanced meals several times a day (very important for me as I do not believe in starvation and deprivation),

2) it is an anti-inflammatory diet that also helps clear and brighten the skin, thus if the diet works you should notice visible improvement in your overall complexion right away (always a plus especially with a skeptic like myself), and

3) it’s only a 3-day affair and it would be over before I knew it.

As a detox novice, it was also important to me to have clear and uncomplicated directions (like here and here), pick a start date that fit my schedule and lifestyle, and lastly, select my meal options for each of the three days ahead of time and ensure I have all the necessary groceries, so that meal preparation didn’t turn into a lengthy ordeal (always a downside of dieting).

So let’s get familiar with this diet…

What is the Dr. Perricone 3-Day Anti-Inflammatory Detox Program

It is a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet that aids in the elimination of puffiness, thus increasing contours and firmness. The foundation of this diet is wild salmon, eaten twice a day. Wild Alaskan Salmon is beneficial to skin because it contains DMAE, astaxanthin, and essential fatty acids that increase skin’s radiance, glow, and firmness.

DMAE is an anti-inflammatory nutritional substance that combats sagging associated with aging, as well as improves memory and problem-solving ability.

Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant found in marine plants, algae, and seafood. It protects cell membrane components from oxidative stress and inflammation, thus diminishing wrinkles and providing a wealth of other benefits.

Fatty acids help the body absorb nutrients from fruits and vegetables and keep cells supple. They improve memory and mood and keep skin glowing and wrinkle-free.

What’s Expected

Generally, a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet can help minimize disease and maintain skin’s health and youthfulness. The Perricone Program offers a short term regimen (the 3-Day Diet), as well as a longer plan for sustainable results (the 28-Day Diet, for those interested, read here). Eating an anti-inflammatory diet for a short period of time will enable you to experience dramatic positive changes in not just how you look, but how you feel overall as well. As with any and all diets, there is the stipulation that if you stick closely to the suggested meal options, you will achieve better results than if you stray. After 3 days, you will be able to control inflammation and fluid retention, both important for achieving glowing skin and boosted energy. Needless to say, I was determined to conquer this diet, follow the rules exactly as stated and not stray. I didn’t think I could commit to the 28-day program, but a 3-day plan sounded promising.

It is also important to note that the 3-Day Diet is restrictive in nature to ensure quick results. The 28-Day Program is less restrictive in nature, so it is more realistic to stick to long term. But when you need a quick solution, say for a big event or an upcoming vacation, the 3-Day Diet helps detox your system fast.

What I ate

Day 1

Wakeup: 12 oz spring water with lemon

Breakfast: 2 egg omelet with ½ cup of chopped greens, 1/3 cup blueberries, a cup of green tea

Water: 8 oz. spring water with lemon

Lunch: 4 oz. grilled salmon with 2 cups of greens dressed with organic extra virgin olive oil and lemon, 1 kiwi, handful of walnuts

Water: 8 oz. spring water with lemon

Snack: 6 oz. plain yogurt, ½ cup of cantaloupe cubes

Water: 8 oz. spring water with lemon

Dinner: 4 oz. grilled salmon with 2 cups of greens dressed with organic extra virgin olive oil and lemon, ½ cup steamed broccoli, 1/3 cup blueberries

Water: 8 oz. spring water with lemon

Snack: 6 oz. plain yogurt, half an apple

Water: 8 oz. spring water with lemon

Day 2

Wakeup: 12 oz spring water with lemon

Breakfast: ½ cup of cooked oatmeal (not instant), 1/3 cup blueberries, a cup of green tea

Water: 8 oz. spring water with lemon

Lunch: 4 oz. grilled salmon with 2 cups of greens dressed with organic extra virgin olive oil and lemon, 1/3 cup blueberries

Water: 8 oz. spring water with lemon

Snack: 6 oz. plain yogurt, handful of walnuts

Water: 8 oz. spring water with lemon

Dinner: 6 oz. grilled salmon with 2 cups of greens dressed with organic extra virgin olive oil and lemon, ½ cup steamed broccoli, ½ cup cantaloupe cubes

Water: 8 oz. spring water with lemon

Snack: 6 oz. plain yogurt, handful of walnuts

Water: 8 oz. spring water with lemon

Day 3

Wakeup: 12 oz spring water with lemon

Breakfast: 2 egg omelet with ½ cup of chopped greens, 1/3 cup blueberries, a cup of green tea

Water: 8 oz. spring water with lemon

Lunch: 4 oz. grilled salmon with 2 cups of greens dressed with organic extra virgin olive oil and lemon, ½ cup cantaloupe cubes

Water: 8 oz. spring water with lemon

Snack: 4 oz. plain yogurt, 1/3 cup blueberries, handful of walnuts

Water: 8 oz. spring water with lemon

Dinner: 6 oz. grilled salmon with 2 cups of greens dressed with organic extra virgin olive oil and lemon, ½ cup steamed broccoli, ½ cup cantaloupe cubes

Water: 8 oz. spring water with lemon

Snack: 6 oz. plain yogurt, handful of walnuts

Water: 8 oz. spring water with lemon

My Experience

I start full of hopes and dreams on a dreary and rainy Monday morning, as tropical storm Colin takes over the news. Over the previous weekend I had gone grocery shopping and prepped my meals for the next three days, so as nothing out of the ordinary would interfere with or distract me from my detox aspirations (ie, being flooded in for two days). I purchased wild salmon, organic fruits and veggies and natural spring water, using the suggested shopping list here.

The menu seemed rather generous and at first glance, I even entertain the idea of having to skip a few snacks or suggested meal options. Every day of the 3-day program begins with a big glass of water with lemon, something I already do, so I really think I could easily do this. However, as Day 1 goes on, I find myself starving by lunch time and by dinner time, I could already see the effects of the sudden change to my usual meals. I start wishing I didn’t schedule this detox diet at a time when we got flooded in as tropical storm Colin rages thru Florida, and I’m homebound with my toddler and a bunch of yummy, chocolatey delights. Maybe it was the storm, maybe it was my tummy gurgling that night, but I sleep terrible and awake on Day 2, with low energy levels and wondering how I’m going to get thru yet another day of primarily salmon and greens (none of which are favorites of mine). I decide the morning of Day 2 and for the remaining of the diet, that I would go for the maximum suggested amount of salmon (6 oz.) for dinner, so as not to find myself going to sleep hungry again. Needless to say, I’m very happy that I opted to do that.

I should also mention that I decided to start this diet a few days before that time of the month, a time when I typically feel bloated, my complexion is lackluster, my skin is puffy, and some pesky hormonal breakouts make a sudden appearance. By late afternoon on Day 2, I can already see a difference in my complexion. The diet is working. My skin looks radiant, if I dare to say so myself, the puffiness is gone, and NO signs of hormonal breakouts (something that ALWAYS accompanies that time of the month for me).

Entering Day 3, I begin to feel more like myself in terms of energy levels and as Colin swiftly leaves our area, I even venture to the local gym for a quick one-hour workout. But in all honesty, there is little benefit to working out during a detox diet, as I’m struggling to complete my cardio routine. I don’t however feel hungry as I go to bed that night and surprisingly, I don’t feel as excited as I thought I would be to be done with the diet. Could it be that I’m getting used to this kind of eating regimen?

The Verdict

Throughout the 3-day diet, I religiously stuck to the program and its suggested meals. There were high points (as vain as it might sound, I did really like the way my skin complexion looked in the mirror by the end of the program, see unfiltered photo taken on Day 3) and low points (going to bed hungry, having low energy levels, not giving my workout the necessary energy it deserved). But I woke up on Day 4 feeling renewed, refueled and ready to take on whatever the day might bring. I felt great inside and my skin looked great on the outside as well: glowy, radiant and reinvigorated. I didn’t feel bloated or fatigued. I could see the full benefits of this anti-inflammatory diet. In terms of my weight, it didn’t change at all during those days. My regular diet is vegetarian with a serving of fish or other seafood several times a week, so the Dr. Perricone program didn’t terribly disrupt my ways.

There are definitely visible benefits to the Dr. Perricone anti-inflammatory detox diet. While I don’t know that I would do this every month, I will definitely consider doing this program again, as I’ve previously said, before a big event or special vacation.

Have you tried any detox diets? What were your thoughts and experiences?

Did you know? Your skin is an excellent barometer of your internal health. By following our Three-Tiered Solution to healthy living and aging, you can take steps to help keep both your skin and body healthy for many years to come. One of the key components of this approach is eating an anti-inflammatory diet and incorporating anti-inflammatory activity into your daily routine, which can lead to positive changes in as little as three days. In addition to the health benefits of eating foods that help normalize insulin levels and blood sugar, following an anti-inflammatory diet helps promote healthy weight loss and make your skin look radiant. The plan consists of:

  • High-quality protein (like that found in fish, shellfish, poultry and tofu)
  • Low-glycemic carbohydrates, including colorful fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains such as old-fashioned oatmeal, and legumes like beans and lentils
  • Healthy fats, such as those found in cold water fish (specifically wild Alaskan salmon, halibut, sardines, herring, and anchovies), nuts, seeds and olive oil
  • 8-10 glasses of pure spring water per day
  • Antioxidant rich beverages such as green tea

Aim to eat three meals and two snacks a day, which could consist of a slice of turkey, a small piece of fruit and a couple nuts or olives. Avoid sugary, starchy foods or those laden with chemical preservatives, as well as diet foods and meats high in saturated fats such as burgers. Incorporating an exercise program is also key, particularly one that includes walking or jogging, weight training, and flexibility exercises such as stretching, yoga or Pilates. For optimal benefits, make sure you’re doing these exercises on a regular basis, with aerobics such as brisk walking taking place for 30-45 minutes at least four days a week.

What Dr. Brunilda Nazario Says:

Getting to a healthy weight, and keeping it, is important to help prevent chronic disease. We need to feed our bodies, but eating too much can lead to inflammation. So why not try a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids? This diet seems to have the ingredients for a healthy diet and can be a good fit for those with heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. Exactly how inflammation relates to chronic conditions or extra weight is not exactly known, but weight loss does lower inflammation.

Does It Work?

While this is not for everyone, it does work. A diet high in fiber can help keep you full, yet the emphasis on fish as the “go-to” protein source isn’t easy. Fish is a major source of healthy fats, vitamin D, and selenium, but some people shy away from it, either because of its taste or they just aren’t confident in how to cook it.

Remember, weight loss comes down to how many calories you take in and how many you burn off.

Going for the types of foods that Perricone recommends is good for you, but to lose weight, you’ll probably also need to be more active and limit your portion sizes and calories.

Is It Good for Certain Conditions?

As with any diet, it’s vitally important to get the right amount of protein. People with conditions that affect the kidneys, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, may need to be careful that they don’t get too much protein. So discuss this with your doctor.

The diet takes into account vegetarians and others that avoid animal-based proteins, but it may still be a bit restrictive for this group. Fish is an important part of a healthy diet and gives you high-quality protein, essential nutrients, and omega-3 fatty acids. But fish also can contain mercury. The FDA advises some groups to limit some types of fish that can be high in contaminants.

The Final Word

This program challenges you to eat healthy foods and restore the nutritional value of foods. It represents a lifelong change in eating, so it may be appropriate for weight loss and weight maintenance.

When I went to hear famed dermatologist Nicholas Perricone, MD speak a few weeks ago, two things struck me. The first was that though his eponymous skin-care line, Perricone MD, is stocked with science-backed ingredients likely to bring about a glowing complexion, he spent the bulk of the talk advocating for anti-inflammatory foods as the most critical line of defense against aging skin. The second was that he doesn’t believe in the aesthetic benefits of Botox which, if you’ve been to just about any dermatologist lately, makes him an outlier.

Outlier, however, isn’t a position with which he’s totally uncomfortable. Long before it was en vogue to put forth an integrative approach to skin health, Dr. Perricone was doing so. It started, as such stories often do, with his own health journey. Dr. Perricone jokes that when he left the army before starting his medical career, he said goodbye to his fatigues, but not his fatigue.

Inflammation was present not only in diseased skin, but also in otherwise-healthy, aging skin.

In search of relief from exhaustion, he began reading up on Linus Pauling’s theories regarding vitamin C and the common cold as well as radical nutritionist Adele Davis’ work, both of which led him to believe that vitamins could be the missing link in his regimen. “I was convinced that supplements would help my condition and began taking them,” he says. “As I experimented, I started to feel more energetic.” He also turned to exercise, which he says helped him become more physically fit, productive, enthusiastic, and mentally sharp.

Dr. Perricone was slowly building the foundation for a wellness-based lifestyle, and as a dermatologist, it wasn’t long before he connected the dots between such practices and skin health, too.

“It’s important to remember that chronic, sub-clinical (invisible to the eye) inflammation is behind skin problems from acne to enlarged pores,” says Dr. Perricone.

In exploring this connection with skin health, Dr. Perricone became obsessed with inflammation, which was not yet the health buzzword it is today. He had noticed something odd—inflammation was present not only in diseased skin, but also in otherwise-healthy, aging skin. “I was puzzled about why this was occurring. Could inflammation be causing changes?” he questioned. Most people, he tells me, see aging skin as a result of chronological age but what he came to discover was that this isn’t true—a variety of lifestyle factors are actually at work. “, I began to consider wrinkles as a disease, since inflammation was present when damage to skin tissue resulted in wrinkles.”

This revelation kicked off Dr. Perricone’s anti-inflammatory approach to skincare. “Because my field is dermatology, where signs of aging and disease are so very visible, I have made it my life’s work to intervene, to halt this inflammation and reverse its negative effects internally and externally,” he says. “It’s important to remember that chronic, sub-clinical (invisible to the eye) inflammation is behind skin problems from acne to enlarged pores, wrinkles, sagging, loss of tone and radiance as well as dry skin.”

To mediate these effects, Dr. Perricone advocates for a three-tiered approach, the foundation of which is an anti-inflammatory diet. (Salmon! Lots and lots of salmon!) Dr. Perricone believes—and has even demonstrated—that adopting a strict anti-inflammatory diet can transform your skin in as few as three days. The second tier consists of his OG obsession—inflammation-reducing vitamins and minerals specifically geared twoards skin health. “The right supplements can keep us much younger than our chronological years,” he explains.

Photo: Stocksy/Kirsty Begg

As a third line of defense, Dr. Perricone recommends the topical treatments for which he has amassed a cult following. Since navigating the beauty shelves can be difficult, I ask him which hero products he’d recommend for those looking to toe-dip in. He suggests looking for the ingredient Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), which he calls “one of the most powerful anti-aging, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories available.” Apparently it has 400 times the potency of vitamin C and E combined.

He also touts the benefits of an ingredient involved in his latest product launch, the Essential Fx Collection, called acyl-glutathione, a proprietary form of a superstar antioxidant called glutathione. “It is almost impossible to overstate glutathione’s importance as the body’s primary antioxidant defense system,” Dr. Perricone insists.

Since our conversation, I notice I’ve begun looking at my diet a bit differently than I did before—vanity sometimes motivates where the vague promise of “health” does not—and my skin does appear more youthful since I started packing my plates with Perricone’s favorite fish and blueberries. I’ve also been using the Essential Fx Collection nightly, and I swear my pronounced marionette lines have plumped in the process. Perhaps it’s placebo, but if so… who cares? Prioritizing anti-inflammatory behaviors certainly can’t hurt. As Dr. Perricone says: “I’ve never seen beautiful skin on an unhealthy patient, and I’ve never seen skin to be ashamed of on someone of any age who is healthy.” Rx common sense, for the win.

You know who else is obsessed with inflammation? Deepak Chopra—find out why he’s now singularly focused on the phenomenon. Plus, good news for vegetarians—if you’re not sold on salmon, dark chocolate works, too.

I Did Dr. Perricone’s 3-Day “Facelift Diet”. Here’s How It Went…

Linda HortonFollow Jan 5, 2019 · 8 min read Results of day-before shopping trip to Whole Foods

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and after indulging with wild abandon over the last couple months, I’ve decided upon this diet as my jumpstart/detox of choice. I figure I can do anything for 3 days, and I’m hopeful that the results will be worth it it. My hopes are for better-looking skin (as opposed to sallow and puffy), and less toxic bloat (in tummy especially).

I first heard about this diet when Dr. Perricone’s book — The Perricone Prescription: A Physician’s 28-Day Program for Total Body and Face Rejuvenation, first came out in 2004. The 3-day diet is a more restrictive version of the 28-day program. Bring on the restrictions! I’m ready!

You can find the diet online, including here, and there may be slight variations from the original, but everything I’ve seen follows pretty much the same plan. The plan above allows Greek yogurt instead of chicken breast (bedtime snack), and I’m all over that.

So here goes:

The Prep:

First, I had to pick a chunk of time that included 3 days where I would be able to prepare and eat all the meals on this plan, and also a day to shop and prepare before I began the diet.

So, New Years Day was my designated preparing/shopping day, and I knew I had 3 relatively stress-free and structured work days after that.

I’ve had the book since way back in 2004 when it came out, and there’s a shopping list included, so I just took a picture of that page with my phone and headed to Whole Foods.

They really do have beautiful produce there, plus bins of nuts, and bags of frozen wild salmon. Pretty much everything I needed (except they were out of lemons and strawberries!). Anyway, $140 later and a quick stop at Jewel (lemons…they were also out of strawberries), I was done shopping!

I hauled the bags up and laid out the stuff that needed washing…berries, romaine, broccoli, and spinach (even when I buy the packages that say “pre-washed”, I still wash), and commenced the preparation.

I filled up 3 large ziplock bags with greens for the salads I’d be bringing to work for lunch for the next 3 days. I washed the berries and put those and cut-up cantaloupe in bags. I put a few pieces of salmon in the fridge to thaw.

The green teas bags were laid out next to my beloved coffee maker. Pans were placed on the stove, ready for me when I woke up.

I was ready.

Day 1:

Ok, I really was not looking forward to eating salmon for breakfast. I don’t particularly like salmon, but was prepared to eat it for medicinal purposes.

But first, per instructions, I chugged a glass of water, and prepared my green tea. I threw a piece of salmon in a non-stick pan (with a little olive oil), and turned it on low while I whisked up 2 eggs, artfully placed some cantaloupe on the plate, and cooked the oatmeal in the microwave, then topped with blueberries. When the fish was almost done, I cooked the eggs in the other pan, also with olive oil.

And voila:

Breakfast, Day 1 (and 2 and 3)

And you know what? It was GOOD! Maybe I’m not used to eating this good salmon from Whole Foods, and maybe I’ve been deprived of good healthy food for too long, but dang, I downright enjoyed it!

Off to work, with my lunch and “afternoon snack” packed up!

About 3 hours after breakfast, which really did stick with me pretty good, I started getting hungry. I did not relish the thought of eating a salad and more salmon. I waited another hour, then dug in to this:

Lunch at my desk

The romaine, spinach, and broccoli salad was dressed with a squeeze of lemon and some olive oil. Cantaloupe and berries on the side.

Ok, salmon is even better cold! That was a nice salad, and fruit never tasted do damn good! Pretty darn satisfying.

I took a break about an hour after I ate, and felt overwhelmingly tired. I actually nodded off a couple times in the break room (which is weird, I never do that!). I’m chalking it up to caffeine withdrawal, and my body working hard to get rid of the bad stuff.

About an hour later I started getting a really bad headache, which I also attribute to the above.

Time for my afternoon snack. I was ready for it (about 2.5 hours after lunch). I didn’t take a pic ‘cuz it’s not that photogenic…a couple ounces of chicken breast, a small handful of hazelnuts, and a green apple. It hit the spot.

Oh, and I am drinking tons of water throughout the day, too, per instructions. TONS.

After work I go home and walk the dog and take some aspirin for my headache, which seems to be getting worse, and get ready to make dinner.

I washed then roasted (in a bit of olive oil) a bunch of asparagus. When that was done I started cooking yet another piece of salmon. That was to go along with salad (romaine and spinach) dressed with lemon and olive oil. Cantaloupe and berries on the side. Are you sensing a theme here?

Dinner

Dinner was, well, fine. It was nice to have the addition of the asparagus.

So one more snack is allowed, the “bedtime snack”. There are updated versions (not in the original book) that say you can have 6 ounces of Greek yogurt (or sliced chicken or turkey), along with a “small handful” or raw almonds, and an apple (book specifies green apple, but other versions do not).

Anyway, I ate it, even though I wasn’t terribly hungry.

THEN, getting ready for bed, I go to wash my face, and I notice that I actually look kind of tan. In other words, the diet is working and I am seeing the first results! My skin went from dull and sallow, to looking healthy. In one day!

Day 2

I SLEPT LIKE A BABY! That never happens! Again, I attribute that to lack of my usual large amounts of caffeine in the morning (I feel that it never totally leaves my body). Whatever the reason, I’ll take it!

Anyway, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to breakfast, but I made it and ate it and it was good. It looked just like the one I had yesterday.

Ditto lunch. Except today I had a can of tuna instead of salmon on my salad. It was expensive lower-salt albacore from Whole Foods.

I choked down my afternoon snack. I made the chicken breast in the Instant Pot, without seasoning, and it’s pretty brutal to eat it that way, but the nuts and apple were good.

Dinner was similarly uninteresting. But I made it and ate it, and it looked just like the one I ate last night.

I ate my snack before bedtime, and it’s actually perfect, because I cannot sleep if I’m hungry. Greek yogurt, a few almonds, and an apple…all things I like and enjoy.

So far, I have never been ravenously hungry on this plan. It’s a little boring to eat the same stuff, and I’m kind of unclear on if we can season or not, but I know we can’t use salt, and that makes a big difference in how food tastes.

I’m sounding like I’m really bored with the food, which I kinda am, but I tell ya what…I had SO much energy today (as opposed to yesterday when I fell asleep on break). I walked over 12,000 steps, and took lots of breaks at work (mostly to go potty since I drink so much water), where I walked up and down the stairs, or walked to the bathroom on the opposite side of the (HUGE) building.

Also, besides the energy level, my face is a bit less puffy.

Day 3

I walked so much yesterday that my legs were really sore when I went to bed, so I had some trouble sleeping. After I took a couple aspirin, I fell right asleep, but then I woke up with achy legs a few hours later. Anyway, I think I still slept better than I normally do!

Anyway, got up and had my water and green tea and breakfast. I think I’m going to stick with this breakfast, but without the salmon. It is really satisfying, and I like the balance of protein (eggs and/or salmon) with the low-glycemic carbs (oatmeal, cantaloupe and berries). Definitely sticking with the green tea, too, as much as I love my coffee. The sleep benefits are truly life-changing for me.

One thing I noticed today is that my belly seems significantly smaller. I feel like the toxic bloat is almost gone. So far, I am getting everything I had hoped for out of this plan, even less than halfway through the 3rd day. My skin looks better, the major bloat is gone, and I have more energy. Awesome.

Anyway, made it through the rest of the day, and just finished my “bedtime snack”. I must say, I really did have to choke down that dinner tonight though. I actually kind of gagged a couple times, but powered through.

I really do feel good after I eat all this stuff, it’s just not that enjoyable going down, especially the same thing 3 days in a row. Especially since I don’t really like salmon. But I’m done, and I did good.

The Results:

Woke up after Day 3 and slept like a baby, once again. I do attribute this to cutting out the coffee. I’ll be sticking with green tea.

My skin looks and feels better, and my face is less puffy. I feel like all the toxic bloat is gone, especially in my belly. I lost 2.6 pounds.

For breakfast I ate basically the same thing I’ve eaten for the last 3 days, without the salmon, and a little more oatmeal.

It was totally worth eating the restricted diet, not only for the above results, but also to make me realize how horribly I was eating previously.

I feel great, and I’d like that to continue, so I’ll be eating healthier from now on….but I think I’ll pass on the salmon, for a while, at least 🙂

Eating for Beauty

I discovered Dr. Perricone through a friend who gave me a few of his products to try. I got hooked on his No Foundation Foundation and his Super Berry Powder with Acai, an antioxidant supplement which I now add to my water after workouts. We asked him to elaborate on the intricate connection between what we eat and the state of our skin. I learned many things from the below Q & A, and I hope you do too.

Love, gp

Dr. Nicholas Perricone on Beauty from the Inside Out

Q

You’re known for advocating “beauty from the inside out,” so what kinds of foods should we be eating to combat different kinds of skin conditions such as dry skin, wrinkles, blemishes, etc?

A

“Our skin reflects our diet almost immediately. If we consume fatty, sugary, and processed foods, our skin is likely to react by becoming inflamed, puffy and rough in texture. To maintain youthful, glowing skin, it’s important to take these necessary steps:

  1. Consume enough water. Water is vital to help flush out toxins and keep skin clear and hydrated.

  2. For dry skin, load up on Omega-3’s. These essential fatty acids (EFA’s) are necessary for healthy, supple skin and help to repair the protective barrier that keeps moisture locked in. The most potent plant-based source of Omega-3 is chia seeds, with more Omega-3 than flax seed or wild Alaskan salmon. It’s also recommended to use chia-based products, such as O-Mega Moisture from the SUPER line, my rich moisturizer loaded with chia oil.

  3. For blemish-prone skin, I recommend a diet rich in greens, including watercress, spinach, collard greens and apples. The Vitamin A in these leafy greens helps normalize the production of oil, while the quercetin in green apples helps reduce mast cell activity, which leads to inflammation and breakouts. I use quercetin in Acne Solution from SUPER, as it exfoliates, brightens and balances the skin.

  4. These foods are also good for sensitive skin, as is yogurt, a superfood loaded with probiotics and lactic acid to help soothe and calm redness and inflammation.

  5. It’s imperative to load up on antioxidants to maintain youthful, supple and radiant skin. Acai, blueberries and spices such as turmeric, cinnamon and ginger are all wonderful sources of antioxidants that help maintain healthy skin. These foods fight free-radical damage that leads to fine lines, wrinkles, dullness, sagging and lackluster skin.

Q

We hear that you stick pretty religiously to an incredibly healthy, balanced diet … So what does eating for your skin look like on a day-to-day basis?

A

I’ve created a day’s worth of recipes as an example of how to load up on foods that are good for your skin. (See the Recipes section below.)

Q

You’re famous for having introduced the world to the concept of superfoods, what are the benefits of some of the ingredients included in your menu below?

A

It’s important to always remember beauty is an inside job. What we eat directly affects the appearance of our complexion and determines how we age. Each meal contains the three crucial components to a good-skin diet: protein, healthy fats, and good carbohydrates such as fresh fruit and vegetables. Not only will these nutrients yield beautiful skin, but they also have protective and preventative qualities that slow the aging process.

The Building Blocks

  1. Protein. Protein is made up of amino acids that are the building blocks cells use to repair themselves. Healthy fats, especially Omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fat, have powerful anti-inflammatory effects improving skin’s moistness, texture, suppleness and smoothness.

  2. Fresh fruit and vegetables. These contain antioxidants that stave off free radicals, the aggressive molecules produced by a diet rich in sugars and starchy foods, as a byproduct of your metabolism or the environment. Free radicals create inflammation that damages your cells, resulting in inflexibility, wrinkles, sagging and the loss of firmness, tone, radiance, and texture in the skin.

The “Super” Ingredients

  1. Wild Salmon. This is probably the world’s most heart healthy source of protein. It is rich in long-chain Omega-3 essential fatty acids—the most beneficial kind—which protect heart health, inhibit inflammation, act as natural anti-depressants, increase feelings of well-being, and help keep skin young, supple and radiant.

  2. Asparagus. This is one of the richest sources of rutin, a bioflavanoid which strengthens small capillaries in the skin and may help prevent broken capillaries. It also contains glutathione—an abundant and essential tripeptide antioxidant found within the cells that plays a huge role in the cell’s ability to fight free-radical damage. Glutathione is our primary antioxidant defense and an effective suppressor of free radical damage.

  3. Dark Leafy Greens These are rich in the antioxidant plant pigments known as carotenoids, which enhance immune response, protect skin cells against UV radiation, and “spare” liver enzymes that neutralize carcinogens and other toxins. Their important antioxidant, anti-inflammatory effects reduce the risk of heart disease and block sunlight-induced inflammation in the skin—which leads to wrinkles and skin cancer.

  4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil.This is rich in oleic acid, which is a super emollient. The essential fatty acids present in olive oil nourish the skin and provide anti-inflammatory activity. The polyphenols that are found abundantly in olive oil are extremely efficient and multi-faceted antioxidants. Polyphenols are exceptionally stable and protective. The most powerful member of the Olive Oil Polyphenol group is Hydroxytyrosol. Extremely rare, and effective in even small concentrations, this super antioxidant, anti-inflammatory has been proven to be effective in improving general health and appearance.

  5. Pinot Noir. This is a delightful wine to accompany foods like salmon because pinot noirs have enough acidity in them to mitigate the fatty content. Red wine contains a powerful heart-healthy, anti-cancer, anti-aging antioxidant called resveratrol. It also appears that resveratrol helps protect the skin against the sun’s UV radiation. It appears that drinking wine—particularly red wines such as Pinot Noir—interferes with the production of a body chemical vital to the process that leads to clogged arteries and an increased risk of heart attack. White and rose wine do not offer the same protection.

  6. Green Jasmine Tea. Enjoy a cup of green tea after your meal and don’t worry about the caffeine, since a compound in green tea called theonine blocks the negative effects of caffeine, while acting as a natural mood elevator and promoting feelings of well-being. Because green tea is rich in polyphenol antioxidants, it can help fight inflammation and age-accelerating free radicals, protect against heart disease and cancer, boost the body’s natural defenses, and exert anti-viral and anti-bacterial effects.

  7. Nuts and Seeds. Hazelnuts, walnuts, and almonds are rich in short-chain Omega-3 essential fatty acids, which inhibit the accumulation of fats in artery walls that promotes angina, strokes, and heart attacks. Nuts are also high in the amino acid arginine, which prompts the body to release vital hormones, stimulate sexuality, increase lean muscle mass, burn fat, lower cholesterol, and boost the immune system.

  8. Apples. These are unusually high in fiber, with an average of five grams. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, we need approximately 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day, so one apple provides about 15 to 25 percent of your daily fiber requirement. Apples contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber is known as “pectin,” and is the substance that is added to jams and jellies to make them gel. Pectin has the power to decrease the appetite for up to four hours, making it a more effective appetite suppressant than the insoluble fiber found in grains such as wheat and rye. (Oats, like apples, are also rich in soluble fiber.)

  9. Pears. These offer protection from free radicals; Pears are high in both Vitamin C and copper, antioxidant nutrients that help prevent free radical damage to the cells. Both copper and Vitamin C also stimulates white blood cells to fight infections, and directly kills many bacteria and viruses. One medium size pear can provide about 11 percent of the daily value your body needs for Vitamin C, and almost 10 percent of the copper it needs. They also promote cardiovascular and colon health: The fiber in pears has been shown to lower high cholesterol levels. It also binds to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon, preventing them from damaging colon cells. Pears also protect against macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss in older adults and provide Vitamin B: Pears have a high concentration of folates, which make up the Vitamin B complex group. These vitamins are essential for metabolic activity and red blood cell production.

  10. Old Fashioned Oatmeal. This is high in fibers that enhance weight control and discourages cardiovascular disease; the beta-glucan fiber in oats and also barley exerts beneficial anti-glycemic effects as well, helping to stabilize blood sugar.

  11. Cinnamon. This helps stabilize blood sugar because it stimulates insulin receptors and inhibits an enzyme that inactivates them, thereby increasing cells’ ability to use glucose. Just one gram per day (approximately ¼ to ½ teaspoon) yields a 20 percent drop in blood sugar, and reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well. Cinnamon also reduces cellular inflammation—a key age accelerator.

  12. Fun fact:The mere scent of cinnamon enhances the brain’s cognitive processing, including attention, memory, and visual-motor speed.

  13. Omega-3 Eggs. These are a terrific source of protein and Omega-3 essential fatty acids. The key is to make sure you purchase eggs from cage-free chickens that are fed flax meal. Not only are they much more nutritious, they taste wonderful.

  14. Lemons and Lemon Juice. These contain important phytonutrients which protect lungs, alleviate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, help prevent cancer by boosting the activity of detoxification enzymes in the liver, lower blood cholesterol levels, and inhibit cancer in human breast cells, skin, lungs, stomach, mouth, and colon cancer in laboratory animals. They also play an important role in the maintenance of elastin and the stabilization of collagen.

  15. Berries. These are antioxidant and vitamin powerhouses. They contain important phytochemicals including phenolics, anthocyanins, carotenoids, and more. Blueberries also contains phytochemicals that can cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the areas of brain responsible for learning and memory. Raspberries are a rich source of Vitamin C—key for collagen production and also very high in ellegic acid superior in reducing the damage caused to cells from free radicals—like blueberries they are super anti-aging foods in just about every category. All berries are superb for all organ systems including skin.

  16. Yogurt This is a very good source of calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin-Vitamin B2 and iodine, Vitamin B12, pantothenic acid-Vitamin B5, zinc, potassium, protein and molybdenum. Yogurt that contains live bacterial cultures may help you to live longer, and may fortify your immune system. Research studies have shown that increased yogurt consumption, particularly in immuno-compromised populations such as the elderly, may enhance the immune response, which would in turn increase resistance to immune-related diseases.

  17. Chickpeas. These are low in fat and sodium but high in complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber. In addition to lowering cholesterol, garbanzos’ high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. They are also an excellent source of protein, needing only to be combined with grains such as barley or oats to provide all the amino acids necessary to make a complete protein for vegetarians who do not have other sources of protein for their meals.

  18. Turmeric. The golden root of turmeric has been used since ancient times for both health and beauty. A superb anti-inflammatory, the active curcuminoids help even out skin tone and color and have superior cell-protective properties, helping to keep skin soft and supple while protecting against the oxidative stress that accelerates skin ageing.

Eating for Beauty Recipes

Savory Scrambled Eggs with Mushrooms and Chives

This is one of Dr. Perricone’s recipes for eating from the inside out, as Omega-3 Eggs are a terrific source of protein and Omega-3 essential fatty acids.

Get Recipe

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal with Apples, Cinnamon and Walnuts

This is one of Dr. Perricone’s recipes for eating for beauty. Old Fashioned Oatmeal is high in fibers that enhance weight control and discourages cardiovascular disease; the beta-glucan fiber in oats and also barley exerts beneficial anti-glycemic effects as well, helping to stabilize blood sugar.

Get Recipe

Roast Chicken Salad on a Bed of Romaine Lettuce

This is one of Dr. Perricone’s recipes for eating for beauty. Protein is made up of amino acids that are the building blocks cells use to repair themselves. Healthy fats, especially Omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fat, have powerful anti-inflammatory effects improving skin’s moistness, texture, suppleness, and smoothness.

Get Recipe

Mixed Berry Yogurt Parfait

This is one of Dr. Perricone’s recipes for eating for beauty. Berries are antioxidant and vitamin powerhouses. They contain important phytochemicals including phenolics, anthocyanins, carotenoids, and more. Blueberries also contains phytochemicals that can cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the areas of brain responsible for learning and memory.

Get Recipe

Baked Fillet of Salmon with Asparagus and Caper-Enriched Lemon Sauce

This is one of Dr. Perricone’s recipes for eating for beauty. Wild Salmon is probably the world’s most heart healthy source of protein. It is rich in long-chain Omega-3 essential fatty acids—the most beneficial kind—which protect heart health, inhibit inflammation, act as natural anti-depressants, increase feelings of well-being, and help keep skin young, supple and radiant.

Get Recipe

Romaine Salad with Chickpeas

This is one of Dr. Perricone’s recipes for eating for beauty. Chickpeas are low in fat and sodium but high in complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber. In addition to lowering cholesterol, garbanzos’ high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia.

Get Recipe

Feta, Toasted Walnut and Pear Platter

This is one of Dr. Perricone’s recipes for eating for beauty. Pears offer protection from free radicals; Pears are high in both Vitamin C and copper, anti-oxidant nutrients that help prevent free radical damage to the cells. Both copper and Vitamin C also stimulates white blood cells to fight infections, and directly kills many bacteria and viruses. One medium size pear can provide about 11 percent of the daily value your body needs for Vitamin C, and almost 10 percent of the copper it needs.

Get Recipe

In the UK, Super by Dr. Nicholas Perricone is available at Boots and at Get Super.
In the USA visit Get Super, Sephora, or one of the Super stores:

1833 4th St.
Berkeley, CA 94710

3828 Cross Creek Rd.
Malibu, CA 90265

GETTING STARTEDThe best way to predict the future is to invent it.–Alan Kay, computer genius/visionary

In writing this book, I have discovered that the greatest gift I can give my readers is permission to eat healthy and delicious food. This might seem strange considering this book is about weight loss, because traditional concepts of weight loss are all about not eating —nevertheless, it is a fact.

Statistics regarding obesity and excess weight are alarming. The International Obesity Task Force, which is advising the European Union, had estimated in 2003 that about 200 million of the 350 million adults living in what is now the European Union may be overweight or obese. The U.S. Census Bureau’s Census 2000 stated that nearly two-thirds of adults in the United States were overweight, and 30.5 percent were obese.

However, a closer evaluation of the figures in the latest analysis indicated that may be an underestimate.

We Americans (children and adults) are more confused than ever about what constitutes a healthy diet. According to statistics from the National Institutes of Health, the prevalence of obesity in the United States has almost doubled since 1980.

Trending stories,celebrity news and all the best of TODAY.

And for good reason. For the past several decades, we have been bombarded with all kinds of misinformation about what we should and should not eat or drink. As soon as one scientific study hits the newswires, another one with equally convincing yet contradictory data springs up. From books to videos we are assailed with confusing and opposing points of view from all kinds of experts and pseudo experts. Consequently, figuring out what to eat and what to avoid has become increasingly difficult.

The Perricone Weight-Loss Diet cuts through the confusion and provides a simple, foolproof eating plan that will improve your health, help to fight the signs of aging, help you to lose weight, and prevent new weight gain. It all begins with learning which foods make this possible and which foods defeat our purpose.

BUT FIRST, SOME HISTORYBack in the 1960s, the then-young baby boomers began a dietary “back to the land” revolution in protest of the post-World War II introduction of processed foods. In typical backlash fashion, everything this generation embraced had to be “whole,” “natural,” “fresh,” “unprocessed,” and grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers. This was the beginning of the health food movement, which is stronger and more powerful than ever, and finally after more than four decades, is becoming increasingly mainstream.

That was the good news. The bad news is that this was the last positive dietary trend we have seen. Ever since then, we have had one dangerous and poorly-thoughtout plan after another. In addition, fast food has now become a ubiquitous part of our landscape. According to Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, on any given day one out of four Americans has a meal from a fast-food restaurant.

The 1970s saw the introduction of the Atkins low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet. At first glance, the concept made sense; however, there were a number of serious and dangerous flaws (some since amended), among them an overabundance of saturated fats. The ’90s reintroduced this craze, slightly modified.

Perhaps the worst dietary craze belongs to the 1980s, which heralded the age of the no-fat diet. Supermarket shelves were flooded with high-glycemic carbohydrate foods, offering little in the way of nutrients, but plenty in the way of empty calories. These foods became dietary mainstays for many people, especially women, who found themselves indulging in snack foods such as reduced-fat “baked” potato and corn chips, and fat-free rice and corn cakes, cookies, pretzels, and crackers. Suddenly millions of Americans were placing themselves in a chronic inflammatory condition. Why? Because eating these foods provokes a pro-inflammatory rapid rise in blood sugar, resulting in elevated insulin levels.

Insulin is an important hormone that helps the body utilize blood sugar for energy or store it as glycogen or fat. But if the insulin is released too quickly, it has a pro-inflammatory effect (explored further in Chapter 2). After a rapid rise, there will be a precipitous drop in blood sugar, resulting in feelings of hunger, which can lead to a vicious cycle of overeating. This is why a diet centered on breads, baked goods, snack foods, sweets, and other sugary, starchy foods results in unwanted weight gain and great difficulty in losing weight. Ironically, in this instance, it is not the caloric value of the foods causing the weight gain. In fact, a rice cake only has around 40 calories. However, because it is rapidly converted to sugar in the bloodstream, resulting in the insulin release, it will cause you to store body fat. An insulin release can result in the storage of body fat.

Our goal in the Perricone Weight-Loss Diet is to learn how to recognize and avoid sugary and starchy foods, so that we maintain even levels of blood sugar and insulin. Recognize? Yes, because many foods that look healthful can contain added sugars, dangerous trans fats (more about these later), and an ingredient called high fructose corn syrup, which will defeat weight-loss goals and have a negative impact on overall health. By following the Perricone Weight-Loss Diet, you will be able to control your appetite, prevent overeating, stop cravings, and burn excess fat for energy.

KEEPING IT SIMPLESome scientists and researchers believe that many of the health problems of today are caused by our departure from the hunter-gatherer diet, which consisted of nuts, seeds, berries, wild greens, roots, fruits, fish, fowl, and game. This is a fascinating theory and I do agree with the premise that natural, unprocessed foods are always the best choices. To be healthy and maintain normal weight we need all of the food groups — but not those that come from the laboratory. Our protein source needs to be pure, fresh (when possible) wild fish and other seafood, and free range chicken and turkey that are hormone and antibiotic free. Our carbohydrates need to be fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably organic. And we need good fats, such as those found in salmon, sardines and other cold-water fish, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocado, and açaí (a Brazilian berry whose fatty-acid ratio resembles that of olive oil). These “good” fats will help us absorb nutrients from our vegetables and fruits, keep our cells supple, our skin glowing and wrinkle-free, our brains sharp, and our mood upbeat. We also need dietary fat to burn fat.

By upsetting the delicate balance with extreme fad diets and ridiculous concepts, whether it is no-carb or no-fat or whatever, we create ongoing physical and mental health problems, including obesity, accelerated aging, and wrinkling, sagging skin. It is no coincidence that the rise of antidepressants such as Prozac occurred during the nonfat food craze of the 1980s — after all, our brains are comprised mainly of fat, and when we starve our brains of valuable nutrients, we become depressed. Salmon, with its rich complement of essential fatty acids, has been shown to be an excellent treatment for depression. Some studies have shown that it is more effective than powerful drugs in treating depression — without the side effects (moderate regular exercise is also great for depression — especially when combined with the salmon-rich anti-inflammatory diet.)

Our goal is to strive for balance, and to use common sense when planning a meal. But how does it all really work? The next several chapters will explain the science behind my revolutionary concepts, and how you can make them work for you.

Excerpted from, “The Perricone Weight-Loss Diet.” Copyright 2005 by Dr. Nicholas Perricone. Reprinted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc. For more information you can visit:

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