Friday, December 20, 2019

Book Review: The P:E Diet by Ted Naimann, M.D.

I've been following Ted Naiman off and on for a couple of years now. He has worked hard at refining, simplifying and perfecting his big idea about why we get fat and how to remedy that. His book, the P:E Diet is the culmination of that work. (P:E stands for protein to energy ratio.)

With the holiday binging season reaching its conclusion in a couple of weeks, many of us will be muttering to ourselves about the extra weight we gained and what can be done about it. Ted's book is an excellent brief, but thorough, treatment. I've been incorporating much of Ted's basic ideas for diet for a good chunk of 2019 and I am at my old road running competition weight again, 20 years later: 145lbs.  Like many things that work well, the P:E Diet is simple (as in not complicated) but, it does require a modicum of both discipline and curiosity about what goes into your pie-hole, besides pie.

Ted's big idea is that overweight and its associated ills are caused, from a nutrition standpoint,  by "protein dilution." You want to meet your protein needs without damaging your metabolism and health by over consuming energy. A picture is worth a thousand words, and maybe a couple thousand empty calories.(This is one of Ted's own illustrations which I am using without permission,  maybe go to Amazon and buy the book, or his website, so he doesn't send me a cease and desist.)


 We essentially stay hungry until we satisfy our "nutrient hunger" for protein and minerals. If you are eating lots of carbs and fats with your protein you will tend to consume more energy than you need in an effort to get your protein needs met.

So how do we organize our eating to consume adequate nutrition without overeating? In short, replace most of your carbs and fat with lower fat proteins and watch the extra el-bees melt away.

Here is another graph of Ted's that pretty much explains it all.


Ted goes into much more detail than I am here obviously, but the material is not presented in a dry, pedantic way. It's all very useful information, engagingly written and brief, including discussions on evolution, biology, biochemistry, eating strategies (intermittent fasting, keto, the evils of butter chugging) and a very nice section on cooking (we are, as he points out, also evolved to be cucinivores!) and even a recipes section. 

While I don't buy into all the methods in Ted's exercise recommendations (not a HIIT fan) I do subscribe to his overarching point that it's building mitochondria and associated metabolic machinery we are after for optimizing metabolic health and I also agree with him that we don't have to spend hours and hours at the gym each day to do that. So, do give his exercise methods a try. I'm going to, just to see what happens!

Happy Holidays!