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I’m finding that people have a lot of questions, which isn’t surprising given how much truly bad information there is out there on nutrition & weight loss dieting.  Any related Google search drops you in a sea of misinformation, with individuals pushing theories & opinions as fact.  Many are well-intended, but stem from sources not knowing to require or how to evaluate & interpret scientific evidence.

What really bakes my noodle are the people capitalizing the desperation so many of us feel to lose weight by making false claims & promises.  Unfortunately, people do believe & spend tens of billions each year on useless crap that doesn’t work (at best it doesn’t work, it could be harmful).  Not only does this damage people’s trust in what they are told is science & medicine, but it leads them to believe that there is a magic bullet and, if they can just find it, a healthy body can come in a pill.  If they believe this, as many do, then why would they bother putting forth the effort required for proper nutrition?  Think about it, if a healthy body came in a pill, everyone would have one.

I would like to do what I can to spread good information. I certainly don’t know everything but I am more than happy to share what I do know so please feel free to ask whatever questions you have!

15 thoughts on “Questions?

  1. This is meant to be an open dialogue so I encourage you to challenge my opinions if you disagree. With all the misinformation out there, I believe that being skeptical of nutritional information is a good thing.

    • I notice that your recipes don’t show salt/potassium in the notes. Why? My husband is strickly low salt and I need that info. From a fan in Ohio

      • Hi Allen! Thanks for your comment. I try to limit the presented nutrition facts to only those relevant for weight loss for most people. However, I understand that that info can certainly be vital for individuals with specific conditions. We are actually preparing these recipes for presentation at seasonal events in NYC so I will update those posts with that info.

  2. Great question, Ashley, thanks! It’s actually so good that it’s going to get it’s own post b/c the answer is a little complicated so I want the chance to explain everything:

    Glycemic index measures the extent to which a carbohydrate raises blood glucose levels and how much insulin the body has to release in response (insulin regulates the burning of fat and carbs in the body). High glycemic carbs cause rapid spikes in glucose (& insulin) levels, which is no bueno- it can mess up the body’s insulin response and/or sensitivity to insulin, which if bad enough = diabetes (type II).

    Think of your body as a furnace. Eating high glycemic carbs is like feeding the fire with paper- burns up quick and then nothing left so you have to keep putting more and more on. Low glycemic carbs, on the other hand, are like seasoned logs that will burn steady for a long time. No glucose spike, no crash after, no need to feed the fire as often. So the theory goes.

    Does it work? About as well as most other diets, which is to say OK in the short-term and really really bad in the long-run. Definitely not a magic bullet and requires just as much time, $ & effort as the rest of them.

  3. Not if you are not overeating. Honestly, I do most of my eating at night. I don’t recommend this but it’s the schedule that works for me. As long as the total calories you eat that day is equal or less than the total calories you burn that day (women usually between 1500-2500 depending on body size, activity level, etc), you will not gain weight. Yes, there is are small differences in digestion rate and metabolism, which means you are not 100% as efficient at burning calories digested at night but it’s a really really small effect so I personally don’t worry about it. Much much much more important to pay attention to total caloric intake per day and the macronutrient content (getting enough lean protein, limiting saturated fat, etc). Thanks for the question, hope this helps!

  4. Dr. Ochner…are your grandparents Ronald and May? If so, your father is my mother’s first cousin along with Lois. My mother (90 years old) saw
    you on TV a few days ago and she has been very curious. Her mother and your great grandfather Louis were brother and sister. Please respond, as we all would love to know.

  5. Carol, I sincerely apologize for missing your last message! Ron & Mae are my parents actually, so it’s very nice to sort of meet you! Send me a message on the Don’t Just Diet facebook page ( if you like and we can touch base. I hope you and your mother are well!

  6. Great questions, Melissa! The answer to the first is ‘Yes, but…’ and the answer to the second is ‘Weight loss in someone who is overweight or obese is healthy almost no matter how you get there, save for obviously bad ideas like starvation, vomiting, laxatives, etc. There are definitely healthier diets out there but, regardless, you’d be infinitely better off adopting healthy nutritional habits that you’ll continue for the rest of your life rather than ‘going on a diet.’ Diets don’t work, but adopting healthy nutrition does- that will literally change your life!

    This short post will give you a little more detail:

  7. Can you tell me a little about gluten free diets? I hear they might be beneficial even if you’re not allergic or sensitive to gluten.

  8. Thanks, Cheryl, I get this question a lot so I am going to do some more research and then put up a full blog post about it. My immediate reaction is that, for individuals with gluten intolerance, Crohn’s or IBS (irritable bowl syndrome), it can be a life-saver (literally and figuratively). However, there’s not yet any evidence that I know of that it has any effect beyond any other structured diet for other individuals. It’s “in” these days, so you’ll see more ‘gluten-free’ products cropping up. Reports of how difficult it is to adhere to the diet range from almost impossible to no problem but most agree that it’s considerably more expensive to eat gluten-free.

    If you try it for a reasonable amount of time (> 1mo), please write back and tell us about your experience. Best of luck!

  9. Energy is a CONCEPT , A PROPERTY ONLY. Does length turn into a ruler? No.

    As Richard Feynman noted, nobody ever ate a calorie. As Feynman also,said: Energy is not anything material, nor an object, nor a substance, nor a description of any mechanism whatsoever. Energy is merely an abstract mathematical concept .

    It is not possible for a concept, calories, to turn into or put fat tissue (whi h IS STUFF-MATTER etc. ) on a human body.

    • Thanks for your comment, R. You raise a very good point, which is the separation between a calorie as a unit of measure (the energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 °C) and a calorie as a measure of the energy provided by macronutrients (technically a kilocalorie or kcal), which is how most people think about calories.

      If you string 12 inches together on a piece of wood and segment them appropriately, some would argue that you have a ruler. Conventional wisdom, which may or may not be correct, suggests that consuming more calories than you expend leads to fat accumulation on the body (lipogenesis).

      An interesting question is whether the intake of excess calories from fat causes lipogenesis at the same (or at least a very similar) rate as does the intake of excess calories from protein or carbohydrates. Conventional wisdom says yes but conventional wisdom is not always correct…

Questions or Comments?