Two Week Diet
The excessive intake of refined carbohydrates is a relatively new phenomenon, perhaps resulting from a decade of misleading advertising, bombarding us with concepts like, “all fats are bad” and “a high carbohydrate diet is good for everyone.” Whatever the reason, many of our diets now contain a disproportionate amount of carbohydrates. Americans now consume an average of 165 pounds of white sugar every year (earlier in the 20th century, it being only ten pounds). It is also not widely known that about 40% of your carbohydrate intake at any meal ends up being converted into fat and stored in your body. In addition to the increased fat storage, overeating carbohydrate foods can actually interfere with your body’s attempts to metabolize or burn fat.
Determining your level of carbohydrate sensitivity is both inexpensive and practical. The Two Week Test, described by Dr. Philip Maffetone in his book In Fitness and In Health, leads you to discover this level for yourself. The Two Week Test is used here with the permission of the author.
The Two Week Test
This test will provide you with two vital pieces of information:
- It will help you decide if you really have Carbohydrate Intolerance.
- If you do, it will start you on the right path to finding your optimal level of carbohydrate intake.
(You should do this with the help of your doctor. If he or she does not approve, you might need to find another doctor.)
The Two Week Test also provides you with a finite period of time in which your insulin levels remain relatively low because your carbohydrate intake is decreased. The test simply requires eliminating sugars, and foods rapidly converted to sugar in the body, for a two-week period. During this time you’ll observe how you function on different fuel, and can then adjust your diet accordingly when you proceed to Step B.
Here are the three rules – please read and follow these directions carefully.
1. Before you start the test, Ask Yourself again about the following signs and symptoms of Carbohydrate Intolerance:
- Body Inflammation (painful joints, muscles, or any symptom that reduces with anti-inflammatory medication)
- Cardiovascular stress
- High blood pressure
- Fatigue (either mental or physical)
- Weight problems
- Intestinal bloating
- Accelerated aging
Write down the problems that you have from this list, along with any other complaints you have. After the test, you will Ask Yourself again how you feel regarding these complaints. In addition, weigh yourself if you are concerned about your weight.
2. For a period of two weeks, do not eat any high carbohydrate foods:
Foods to avoid:
- Bread, rolls, pasta. Pancakes, cereal, muffins, rice cakes
- Sweets, including products that contain sugar such as ketchup, honey, and many other prepared foods (read the labels)
- Fruits and fruit juice
- Potatoes (all types), corn, rice and beans
- Milk, half and half, yogurt
- So-called healthy snacks, such as 40-30-30 bars and drinks
3. You may eat as much of the following foods as you like:
- Whole eggs, all real cheeses, cream
- All meats (beef, turkey, chicken, lamb, etc.) but beware: many cold cuts are cured in sugar and should be avoided
- All fish and shellfish
- Tomato, V-8 or other vegetable juice (such as carrot)
- All vegetables (except potatoes and corn), cooked or raw, and tofu
- Nuts, seeds, nut butters
- Oils, vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, (no hydrogenated oils)
- Sea salt is highly recommended, unless you are sodium sensitive
Ok, it’s time to go shopping. Before you start the test, make sure you have enough of the food you’ll be eating during the test. We recommend getting rid of the sweets in your house, or you’ll be tempted.
For more on the Start2Health System and Diet, fill out the
Start2Health System™ Supplement Questionnaire
and you’ve taken your first step…2Health.
There is a variety of food to select from so you don’t ever go hungry. Eat as many eggs as you want, as much cheese or meat and as many vegetables as you need to feel full. Remember, this is only a test, and it will only last for two weeks. You will not be eating like this forever. Don’t worry about cholesterol, fat or calories. Or the amount of food you’re eating. This is balanced in the next steps.
The test should not be difficult, although it is probably a big change from the way you were previously eating. Many CI individuals have been on a high carbohydrate, low fat and low protein diet. If you’ve been eating a lot of sweets or other carbohydrates, you may experience cravings for sugar for a few days during the test. (Some have referred to this as a carbohydrate addiction). Eat something on the acceptable list instead and stick it out.
Following the diet for less than two weeks probably will not give you a valid result. If you break down and eat a bowl of pasta after 8 days, you will need to start the test over.
After the Two-Week Test, re-evaluate your list of complaints: do you feel better now than you did two weeks previous? Did you lose weight? If nothing improved, then you may not be carbohydrate intolerant, and can proceed directly to Step B, the S2H Basic Healthy Diet. If you do feel better – some say they feel like a new person- especially if you’ve lost weight (which would be water weight), the test most likely indicates you have some degree of CI.
If the Two-Week Test improved your symptoms, the next step is to determine how much carbohydrates you can tolerate, without getting any of those symptoms. This is done the following way:
- Begin adding small amounts of carbohydrates to your diet. This may be a slice of bread at lunch, or a half of potato with dinner. Whatever you add, make sure it’s not a refined carbohydrate: no sugar containing foods, no refined flour products (like white bread, rolls or pasta), brown rice instead of white, etc.
- Don’t add a carbohydrate with back-to-back meals. Because the amount of insulin production is partly base on your previous meal, add a carbohydrate every other time you eat a meal or snack.
- With each addition of carbohydrate, check to see if any of the symptoms returned which had been eliminated by the Test. Look especially for symptoms that develop immediately after eating, such as intestinal bloating, sleepiness after meals, or depression. If your hunger cravings disappeared during the two weeks and now have returned, you’ve probably eaten too many carbohydrates. If you lost 8 pounds during the test and gained 5 back after adding some carbohydrates (give yourself a week or two to gauge), you’ve probably eaten too many carbohydrates and will have to scale back.
During the Two-Week Test and forever after, be sure to drink lots of water. Most people need at least 6-10 glasses (8 oz. ones), per day. Generally, the more protein you consume the more water you will need between meals.
Once you’ve found your body’s ideal level of carbohydrate intake, it will be relatively easy to maintain your intake. You’ll be able to eat almost anything you want once you know your limit. And you probably won’t want to eat more than your limit because you’ll become acutely aware of how bad your body feels when you eat too many carbohydrates. From time to time, you may feel the need to go through a Two Week Test period to check yourself and make sure your tolerance has not changed.
Many people find the loss of grains in the diet leaves the digestive tract sluggish, which may make you a little constipated. If you become constipated during the Two-Week Test, or afterwards when a lower amount of carbohydrate in the diet is maintained, it could be due to any or all of three reasons. First, you may not be eating enough fiber. Bread, pasta and cereals are significant sources of fiber for many people. But so are vegetables. And sometimes it’s the cooked vegetables that are better for the intestines since they’re partly broken down in the cooking process. So if you become constipated, it may simply be that you need to eat more vegetables. And once you learn how much carbohydrate you can tolerate in your diet, adding carbs back in will also help. Especially if you can tolerate some fruit. Adding plain unsweetened psyllium (available in health food stores) to a glass of water or tomato juice will keep your system running smoothly. Another way to add psyllium to your diet is to use it in place of flour for thickening sauces or in place of bread crumbs to coat meats and vegetables. If you require a fiber supplement, be sure to use the ones that do not contain sugar. Most fiber products contain sugar, so read the labels. Konsyl, available in drug stores, is among the many sugar free psyllium products on the market. One teaspoon per day is usually enough to maintain regularity.
Another reason for constipation at this time may be dehydration. If you don’t drink enough water, you could be predisposed to constipation. During the Two-Week Test, you’ll need more water – up to three quarts or more per day. For some people, drinking gallons of water won’t prevent the intestine from absorbing too much water, making you constipated. This is partly controlled by the prostaglandin’s, which come from our dietary fats. For now, remember that a third reason many people become constipated is there is not enough oil in the diet.
Occasionally, some people will get very tired during the Two-Week Test. This can be due to a number of problems.
- Am I drinking enough water?
- Am I eating enough food?
- Am I eating as often as necessary (i.e., every two to three hours)?
- Am I eating carbohydrates without realizing it?
- If I am not sodium sensitive, am I getting enough salt (sea salt)?
- Am I eating enough vegetables?
All vegetables contain some carbohydrates. Except for potatoes and corn, the amounts are relatively small. Occasionally, a person is so sensitive that high-starch vegetables like carrots or squash cause symptoms.
An Overview of the Start2Health System™
- If indicated, do the Two Week Test to determine your level of carbohydrate intolerance
- Follow the principles of a Basic Healthy Diet
- Take Supplements regularly (the S2H Supplement Questionnaire will assess these for you)
- Redo the Start2Health Supplement Questionnaire every month
- Follow your Start2Health Exercise System™