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Researcher Oversees Diet Sensation

Armen Hareyan's picture

The new diet program with high carbs could be the new weight loss mechanism. The diet features bread, and lots of it.


The Bread for Life Diet: The High-on-Carbs Weight Loss Plan, the diet phenomenon that has made nutrition researcher Olga Raz as famous in Israel as Atkins was in America, is scheduled to be released by U.S. publisher Stewart Tabori and Chang in September 2005.

"It's the diet other publishers didn't want to touch because it is so anti-Akins and South Beach," says Debora Yost, the book's editor, "but I have known all along that there were flaws in those diets and knew it was just a matter of time until carbohydrates would come back in vogue and be part of a sensible eating program."

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Yost, a veteran health editor and an author herself, said she heard a loose translation of the diet was around and she tracked it to an advertising agency in Florida with the help of an industry colleague. "As soon as I saw it I could see that it made perfect sense. I contacted Olga Raz and had several e-mail conversations with her. She was very impressive and has an outstanding scientific background. The diet is not like anything I have ever seen, and I have seen them all."

The diet features bread, and lots of it, up to 12 slices a day for women and 16 slices a day for men, plus lots of other wholesome carbohydrates and is a two-part program. "The bread is not a gimmick. Rather it is a real weight loss mechanism because it is eaten in such a way that it corrects the biological processes that make dieting difficult for so many people, and it prevents the cravings and hunger that lead to diet failure," says Debora Yost. Raz has already guided thousands of people in Israel to successful weight loss through the "It's All in You Head"; weight loss program at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Israel's second largest hospital where Raz is the director of the nutrition and dietetic unit; her own private clinic; and through her book Eat Bread and Get Slim, which became an instant best-seller. The Raz Diet, as it is called in Israel, also became the basis of a hit reality program in which Raz coached 20 obese people, and helped them lose a combined total of 880 pounds over a six-to-eight month period.

Ironically, Raz developed her diet as a result of a scientific experiment she did to help come up with an explanation for her patients who complained that they could not sustain low-carbohydrate diets and did not like the way they made them feel. Raz's experiment involved measuring the levels of serotonin in the blood. Serotonin is a brain chemical that, in addition to other things, controls the hunger and satiety centers in the brain (Meguid, M. et al., 2000). When Raz fed patients a high-protein meal, there serotonin level rose but quickly plummeted. However, when she fed them whole grain carbohydrate-based bread their serotonin level went up and stayed up, meaning they felt satisfied and stayed satisfied.

"She took that finding and developed it into the diet that became The Bread for Life Diet," said Yost. "Subsequent research also found that it has big health benefits as well, including the ability to lower cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar. It also eliminates mood swings, so you don't get the cravings and hunger that makes people abandon their diets. She even found it helps relieve headaches."