One year ago to this day I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and chronic gout. It was an eye opener, a shot across the dietary bow. I had no choice but to get my metabolic house in order. So, over the last year I lost 80 pounds. My gout symptoms disappeared over the summer. In December I went off all diabetes medications and I’m treating my diabetes with just diet and exercise. I can show you one of the best dietary tools I’ve ever encountered:

It’s a miracle of modern civilization, called the stainless steel knife. Using one of these, you can cut your food into reasonable portions. You can then doggie bag the rest, to be eaten later or given to those in need. In the process, you get to practice prudence, practicality, and portion control. The 3 P’s, and a good oft used knife, will put you in good stead no matter how healthy or unhealthy your particular dietary routine might be.

With all due respect to Mark Bittman and his recent Manifesto, the essential issue in American food and health is portion control. Eating enormous quantities of very healthy food doesn’t make you any healthier than enormous quantities of relatively unhealthy food.

Got up, weighed myself. 177.5 pounds. Instead of the diet being virtually over, it is over. Maintenance from now on. I haven’t been posting much because I had surgery for a hernia last Friday. It was relatively pain free within a couple days, though coughing and laughing still hurt, a lot.  Now I’m in, as Mike Stock of 285 Foodies puts it, in a “livit” from now on.

A reader recommended I read this book, and so I have been, taking my time of it. Gary Taubes is a prize winning science journalist, and in this book he documents how the current dogma of high carb – low fat diets emerged.  What Mr Taubes proves deftly is that the case against fats is hardly proven. Further, the sheer number of societies that had essentially no heart problems or diabetes until they adopted Western ways and a Western diet is simply overwhelming. And the one things that’s new in these diets are refined carbohydrates. Many of them, such as the Masai and the Inuit, were eating plenty of fat before converting to Western ways.

That doesn’t necessarily make carbs the smoking gun. It could be more what Dr David Kessler blames: that the combination of sugar, fats, and salt working as a hunger enhancer, encouraging an orgy of overeating that actually leads to the diseases of modern civilization. That said, Gary’s writing at least puts the interested reader in a position to judge the data for themselves, and he’s proven convincing to a number of doctors and PhDs who now think that fats are hardly the beginning and end of the problem in the Western diet (especially since, as we eat fewer and fewer fats, these diseases are becoming more and more prevalent).

For a quick review of the ideas in this book, you might check out the text “What if it’s all been a big fat lie?” in the New York Times. For a different point of view, more directed at sugars, there is a nice review by David Mendoza. For those wondering how saturated are animal fats (turns out they have a plurality of fats made from oleic acid) please see this chart. And for some post publication comments by Gary Taubes, there is this article on the Protein Power site.