In light of the Biggest Loser finale approaching, I feel as if it’s appropriate to post about Jillian Michaels’ diet book. She has interesting diet direction and for the most part I agree with the recommendation. However, everyone is different and one diet book is not the answer for a healthy lifestyle.

My bottom line for good health is to always do your best in diet, exercise and work/life/balance.

Master Your Metabolism: The 3 Diet Secrets to Naturally Balancing Your Hormones for a Hot and Healthy Body

Review by Jeannie Gazzaniga-Moloo, PhD, RD

Master Your Metabolism is a three-phase program that claims to help you lose weight and feel your best by boosting your weight loss hormones with the three R’s of hormone power: Remove, Restore and Rebalance. Michaels claims her plan works by removing “antinutrients” and toxins that are slowing your metabolism; restoring natural whole foods to your diet that will rally your fat-burning hormones; and rebalancing hormones by sleeping, eating regularly and exercising.

Synopsis of the Diet Plan
Master Your Metabolism involves three phases. The first phase is to eliminate foods containing hydrogenated fats, refined grains, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, artificial preservatives, colors and glutamates. The plan also recommends reducing intake of starchy root vegetables, tropical dried and canned fruits, soy, alcohol, full-fat dairy, fatty meats, canned foods and caffeine. The second phase works to restore “fat-burning hormone foods” to your diet. Michaels places these foods into 10 “power nutrient” food groups: legumes or peas and beans, alliums like onions and leeks, berries, meat and eggs, colorful fruits and vegetables, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, organic low-fat dairy and whole grains. The plan stresses all meats, dairy and eggs and most fruits and vegetables are organic. The third phase works on adjusting the timing, quantity and combinations of foods for maximum metabolic impact. Rebalancing requires eating every four hours, always eating breakfast, eating until you’re full, not eating after 9 p.m., no carbohydrates eaten at night and combining protein, fat and carbohydrates in every meal and snack. Included is a shopping list and two-week meal plan that includes “all of the hormone health foods needed to get you ripped and keep you there.” She encourages four to five hours of intense exercise every week.

Nutritional Pros and Cons
Master Your Metabolism focuses on eating primarily organic, whole foods and limiting chemicals in your environment to support healthy hormone balance. The few meal plans provided do emphasize use of whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and low-fat dairy; but oddly, many of the meals do not include portion size. The price of switching to primarily organic foods could make the eating plan expensive to follow. Readers who follow the program will undoubtedly lose weight because the meal plans are high-protein, low in carbohydrates and low in calories — around 1,200 calories a day. The book does teach readers about chemicals, pesticides and preservatives with detail that is not often found in diet books. Michaels’s suggestion that those who want to lose weight should reconsider all medications, especially the “anti’s” such as antidepressants, antihypertensives and anti-inflammatories, raises concern. Her reasoning is the “anti’s” in particular don’t work with the body’s natural biochemistry; they work against it. While there are side effects to some medications, often the benefits outweigh the risks and readers should work very closely with their physician whenever considering stopping medication — a point Michaels fails to stress in her book.

Master Your Metabolism is well-written and Michaels does provide scientific studies, which she believes support the theory of endocrine disruptors leading to obesity, diabetes and other chronic health problems. Her message buried in 248 pages is simply to eat fewer chemicals and more organic food.

Bottom Line
Most people who subscribe to Master Your Metabolism will likely lose weight as they would when following a low-calorie program that encourages regular physical activity. A challenge for many readers will be the expense of organic foods.