Calorie-counting, going hungry or special diets aren't necessary.  If you are a chronic carboholic, understanding what is going on is the first step to gaining control over your appetite and right-sizing your body.  And believe me, it's easier than you expect!

Note:  you can download a printable one page summary of the rules here.
For an obese person, it's a reasonable assumption that they have tried to weigh less by eating less  --- i.e. calorie restriction.  If that approach had worked, that person would not be obese. 
Does this ring a bell?  For more reading on the science behind this approach, you will undoubtedly enjoy Gary Taube's book, "Good Calories, Bad Calories".  There is a pdf summary of the book available online to get you going, but this is a book worth owning.  You will find yourself wanting to highlight sections and rereading them over and over.

Alternatively, he also wrote "Why We Get Fat", which covers the same topics, but it's a shorter, easier read.   Both books are excellent;  it just depends on how much detail you prefer.

You become overweight not because of the fat you consume, but because of the fat you absorb. You absorb fat because you eat grains and sugar.

The basic premise couldn't be simpler:   

No grains, starchy vegetables or added sugar.

That means cutting out:
Potatoes (regular or sweet potatoes)
Cookies, cake and candies
Beans and legumes*

Instead, fill your plate with nutrient-packed foods with a low sugar content:
Vegetables, lots of them
Meat, fish, poultry
Yogurt (high fat is fine)
Fruit (berries are a good choice, but avoid tropical fruits like mango, pineapple & banana)
Nuts in moderation (not peanuts, which are a legume)
Cheese, milk and other dairy products

And that's pretty much it!  There is no need for calorie counting, and in fact, there are studies that show that calorie restriction slows down the rate of weight loss.  So, simply eat until you are comfortably full.  As you get used to this new way of eating, you will probably find that your portion sizes adjust by themselves.  You won't be hungry, and you won't be getting those late afternoon lows that have people heading for the kitchen for a sweet snack.

"I could never give up bread and pasta!"
Although this is really straightforward, most people looking at this "diet" for the first time react quite negatively.  This is a knee-jerk reaction.  Think about it some more.  Read the rest of this site.    When you are ready to do it, you will find you can do it. It's a lot easier than you think.

You'll be cutting the beige foods from your diet, and replacing them with a rainbow of tasty options.  It's all about good nutrition.  You will be eating until you are comfortably full.

*In case you're wondering about this one, beans and legumes are highly nutritious, but they do pack a high carbohydrate load, even after factoring in the fibre content.  It's very easy to veer off track with portion control when you're eating them.


  1. A few thoughts from a non-expert:
    - sugar of any sort is probably bad, per Lustig and others
    - vegetable and seed oils are probably bad
    - butter is great
    - potatoes and white rice are fine in moderation (certainly after reaching one's target weight; not sure about during)
    - yogurt is almost always loaded with sugar (unless homemade)
    - green beans and green peas are probably fine
    - bananas may be fine

    Here's a different list to consider:

  2. Scott,

    Thanks for your comment. We read Archevore regularly too; it's a great site. I do agree with you (and Harris) about the distinction between sugar and carbohydrates from potatoes and white rice, at least as far as neolithic agents of disease are concerned.

    You didn't mention wheat in your list. Even though I don't have celiac disease, I notice distinctly less inflammatory pain without eating wheat. My husband's chronic rotator cuff pain is gone too. Of course it could all be in the brain, but Dr. Davis from is very vocal about health problems due to wheat consumption.

    When it comes to weight loss, one thing to remember about Kurt Harris' take: he recommends no more than 20% of calories, or 50-70 grams a day, as carbs.

    One achieves that level very quickly without even trying - or at least, I do, in my daily tea and coffee, vegetables, and nuts. That's before even thinking about eating potatoes, rice or starchy green vegetables!

    The best thing is probably to count one's carbs for a while (e.g. to get a feel for all the hidden sugars in these foods. And then remember that the fewer carbohydrates one is eating, the less important it becomes to watch portion sizes when it comes to fats and proteins. Once the pancreas isn't pushing out much (if any) insulin any more, the metabolism tends to self-regulate itself much better.

  3. I understood that beans and legumes where foods that would not have been part of our evolutionary diet, especially since these are known for being a challenge to cook and digest, hence the well-known flatulence reputation of both. I couldn't eat them before going primal w/o an adult version of colic. Also, if one is carb sensitive/insulin resistant, they can be a problem due to their high starch content. Though, some people, like my spouse, seem to tolerate more of such foods.

  4. Kurt Harris from the Archevore blog writes about the defenses plants (since they can't run away like animals) have developed over time to avoid being eaten. It makes sense to me that this is why legumes aren't that straightforward to eat.

    I haven't eaten any in a long time, because every time I look at the label on a can of beans, it reminds me how hugely carb-dense they are.