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Color coding for weight loss: Which foods get the green light?

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
The Thinsulin Program explained

Could color coding your food be the easiest way to lose weight? If it sounds good, you might be interested in the Thinsulin program that claims to have helped thousands of people with weight loss.


Weight loss that leads to better health is no easy task. There is a plethora of information available that is downright confusing for the average consumer. Should you cut calories? What about foods that are raise your blood sugar, known as high glycemic index foods? Is protein the best for weight loss, or how about low-carbohydrate diets? On the other hand, there are so called-good carbs and then there are bad carbs?

The Thinsulin Program can help eliminate all of the above mentioned confusion and answer questions quite simply. Color coding your food into red, yellow and green is a simple and easy way to know what to eat and what to avoid to lose weight and keep your metabolism healthy.

How it works

Two medical doctors, Charles Nguyen M.D. (Author), Tu Nguyen M.D.(Author) focus on insulin instead of calories. The theory is avoiding foods that lower your insulin level in order to lose fat and lower your risk of diabetes.

The diet color codes foods to make it simple. The yellow category means be cautious; green means eat all you want and red means foods you should avoid.

Green, yellow, red foods

The basic idea is to color code your foods according to how the foods affect insulin levels:

The first category is green and foods that you should eat for weight loss include:

  • Vegetables (except for potatoes and other root vegetables, corn, carrots and beets)
  • Protein such as beef, chicken, fish, tofu, pork and egg whites
  • Lentils

Yellow foods (eat judiciously, in small amounts) include:

  • Grapes
  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Raw Nuts

But remember, fruits are nutritious, so don't cut them completely out of your diet.

Foods in the red category to avoid when you are on a weight loss diet are:

  • The vegetables mentioned above
  • Mangos
  • Pineapples
  • Grains
  • Snack foods
  • Fruit juices
  • Sodas
  • Sweets
  • Grains

The MD authors say there is something missing when it comes to weight loss. It isn't just about high sugar; high fat foods - it's about controlling insulin levels that peak when we eat foods with a high glycemic index.

The secret to weight loss is insulin; not calories, according to Psychiatrist Charles Nguyen and bariatric internist Tu Song Anh Nguyen.

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Health journalist Mary Ann Marshall who collaborated as a book author explains when we lower our insulin level, we begin to burn fat.

The Thinsulin Program is a two part approach to losing weight, with a second part that helps ensure you maintain weight that was lost.

Dr. Charles Nguyen shared the following Q&A with EmaxHealth via e-mail:

Q:. I wonder if one of the physicians could elaborate a bit about how this diet might benefit diabetics also. I did do some research and realize it is good for prevention, but what about treatment?

A: Diabetes is a condition where the body is unable to bring down the blood sugar. It can be caused by the inability of the pancreas to produce insulin (type 1), or the insulin receptors become resistance to insulin (type 2), both leading to elevated blood sugar. However, insulin plays an important role in fat storage. Because there's only limited sugar storage space in the muscle and liver cells, the extra sugars are forced to be stored in fat cells, leading to increased fat storage and ultimately weight gain, especially around the hips, thighs and stomach area. With Thinsulin, you're taught to think in terms of insulin. It's one step beyond just sugar. With sugar, it doesn't tell the complete story. For example, berries and beets are both considered healthy and contain sugar, but the glycemic index (GI) would favor berries over beets for those with diabetes. Therefore, to think in terms of sugar, you're still not getting the complete picture. By thinking in terms of insulin, you're going to eat what we term green light foods that simple don't spike insulin level, such as green, leafy vegetables and proteins. At the same time, you want to avoid red light foods that spike insulin level, such as sweets, starchy vegetables and grains.

For those with diabetes that's not well controlled, it's often because they're still choosing to eat red light foods. So if they avoid those red light foods, their pancreas doesn't have to produce as much insulin to bring down the blood sugar. Over time (it takes up to 3 weeks), your body's insulin level will lower, leading to fat burning and weight loss. In short, Thinsulin would be ideal to help treat diabetes as it teaches them how to choose foods that won't spike their insulin level. They should consult with their doctors first before doing Thinsulin because Thinsulin will drop their blood sugar a lot so medication adjustment of their diabetes treatment may be needed.

Q: Why are grains excluded from the diet? What about whole grains?

A: Yes, even whole grains because whole grains still spike insulin. Even though the GI is low, its Glycemic Load (GL) is high, so it will still cause your pancreas to produce insulin. A great example is beer versus wine. Beer is made from very healthy grains, barley and wheat. Beer still causes insulin to spike, causing fat deposit around the waist. That explains the beer belly. On the other hand, wine is made from grapes, a low GI fruit that doesn't spike insulin as long as you drink a glass. That's why you don't see a wine belly. Again, the story goes back to insulin.

Q: What is the expectation on pounds lost; time frame?

A: If you lower your insulin level, you should expect to lose 3-5 pounds in the first week, about 5% of your initial weight in the first month, and up to 20% of your body weight at the end of 4 months before you hit the weigh-loss plateau. Thinsulin also teaches you how to overcome this plateau with the Passive Phase.

Q: The diet has no bread at all?

A: Thinsulin isn't a diet. It teaches you the science behind weight loss and fat burning. During the Active Phase of weight loss, your goal is to lower insulin level. Bread is a red light food that spike insulin. Even multi-grained bread spike insulin. Eating bread will cause spiking of your insulin level, leading your body to store fat. You may still lose weight, but you won't be able to maximize your weight loss of 20% at the end of 4 months and achieve that tone body if you eat bread. Thinsulin emphasizes more of a journey and teaches the readers to reject the whole vicious cycle of dieting.

Drs' Nguyen have been helping patients with weight loss for the past two decades in Southern California. Color coding your food to avoid high glycemic index foods is a more simple way to remember which foods to avoid and which will help you burn fat to lose weight. What do you think? Would the Thinsulin program work for you, or have you tried it?

Updated: 3/16/2016



never buy soda ever again! enjoy your last 6 pack of sodas and follow your diet! stay motivated, I'm in my 2nd day of the 3 week diet (link removed by admin.) and the foods I buy are the best, I cooked before starting my day so I have everything ready and avoid junk food! get motivated. :)