Nothing rubs me the wrong way more than reading nutrition advice from a so-called “expert” who, not only gets a few scientific facts wrong, but tries to tell you they know better than the rest of the nutrition (or even scientific) community.
Unfortunately, today that person is Paul Chek. Now, I have tried to find what his background is regarding formal education, or anything other than his self-prophesied Holistic Health Practitioner title, but I have yet to find anything. This bothers me because without a basic knowledge of chemistry, biochemistry and biology it hard to “discover” new theories regarding the body. This worry of mine also applies to Paul’s good friend Mr. William Wolcott who invented the theory of “Metabolic Typing” and the subsequent diets that are tailored to your Metabolic Type. Again, there are only vague references to Mr. Wolcott’s past experiences of “doing research” in the 80’s that led him to discovering this “revolutionary” new way of eating right for your metabolic type.
I tried to take the test that would answer the greatest question of all: whats MY metabolic type!? The test, from what I can gather, was invented by Chek and asks questions such as:
1. I often: add salt to my food OR find that foods are too salty for my liking.
2. When eating dairy products, I feel best after eating: richer, full fat yogurts, cheeses or desserts OR lighter, low fat yogurts and cheeses or desserts.
WELL…. I don’t know about you, but my answers are not so straight forward as A or B. It kind of depends on the food, the day, my mood…
These questions are “analyzed” and from it you will be categorized as either a person who is a “Carb type”, a “Protein Type” or a “Mixed type”
The concept behind this “non-diet” diet is this: eat the proportions of fats/protein/carbs that feel right for you…OH and don’t forget to eat the right foods for your type.
There are pages and pages of specific advice for each type- for example an orange, which is normally considered a healthy food, may push a “protein type” out of balance (what does that mean!?).
I don’t think so.
Despite all the “groundbreaking research” Mr. Wolcott and Chek have done in their lifetimes, I think the thousands of actual research experiments that have been carried out over the last 400 years may have something to say about that.
If this was the answer to obesity, I think we would have heard about it by now.
I was randomly flipping through his “nutrition” chapter and came across information regarding eating raw. Firstly, he mentions that by cooking fruits and vegetables we are killing vital enzymes that we need to help digestion. This myth has long since been dispelled. If Chek understood basic biology he would understand that an enzyme is a protein and once exposed to stomach acids, they become denatured. This means they are no longer active enzymes by the time they reach our intestines where digestion happens. Not to mention the fact that as humans, we have our OWN set of enzymes that help us digest- we cannot use pineapple or papaya enzymes because we are not fruit.
Chek goes on to talk about how the human body was not designed to eat lots of grains and how meat from herbivores contains condensed nutrition. 1lbs of this meat apparently is nutritionally equivalent to many pounds of vegetables.
We all know that there are different nutrients found in protein rich and carbohydrate rich foods and that we need BOTH to be healthy. Just because you can convert stored fat into carbohydrates does not mean that our body is meant to do this over a long period of time. Our body is meant to use carbs as a main source of carbs and can resort to using our fat stores in times of starvation. Breaking down fat to get carbs (or glucose) over extended periods of time has it downfalls- its called ketoacidosis.
I think the fact that Paul Check states clearly that be “believes meat is essential for optimal health” says it all. This has been proven wrong time and time again- not through the scientists “experimenting on themselves” but in real population studies and lab studies.
I could go on and on about the mis-information you can find in Paul’s book but it would take days. My advice to you: when reading about new diets or so called discoveries, refer back to common sense and basic biology 101.