The No-Grain Diet

The No-Grain Diet


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The revolutionary diet and nutrition book and New York Times bestseller

With his revolutionary no-grain diet, online health pioneer, natural medicine advocate, and bestselling author Dr. Mercola will show you how to conquer food cravings and stay slim for life. 
The debate is raging from the FDA to the nightly news: Why are 65 percent of all Americans overweight or obese? The USDA says it’s fat.

Dr. Mercola says it’s grains and carbohydrates.

It is finally time for the nutritional truth to come out. The No-Grain Diet explodes the myths of the low-fat diet and reveals the unhealthy aspects of other protein diets, instead providing you with a diet that really works, that is healthy, and that anyone can stay on for life.

No more cravings, no more yo-yo dieting, no more confusion. The No-Grain Diet is the last diet book you will ever need. Be on your way to good health in three days!

An easy-to-read guide that provides important new information about the health problems and nutritional shortcomings of grain-based diets. Moreover, Dr. Mercola lays out a nutritional plan for weight loss and good health that closely resembles humanity’s original culinary fare: lean meats, fresh fruits, and vegetables.”
—LOREN CORDAIN, PhD, author of The Paleo Diet

“If you are seeking a dietary plan that will truly help you lose weight and be healthy—permanently—read this essential book!”
—JOHN GRAY, author of The Mars & Venus Diet & Exercise Solution

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780452285088
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/30/2004
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 638,714
Product dimensions: 5.51(w) x 8.35(h) x 0.72(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

DR. JOSEPH MERCOLA is a passionate advocate of natural medicine, a wellness champion, and a visionary who has implemented much-needed changes to our current health care system. As a physician for twenty-five years, he treated thousands of patients at his wellness center outside of Chicago. A New York Times bestselling author, his most recent title is Effortless Healing. He has also appeared on national news media such as CNN, Fox News, ABC News, Today, and The Dr. Oz Show. Visit for more information.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

The Obesity Epidemic

After more than three decades of consuming less fat and more carbohydrates, the average American is gaining weight at an alarming rate. We are eating sixty pounds more grain and thirty pounds more sweeteners than we did twenty-five years ago. The effects are clear: over two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. With excess weight the single, most important factor in the onset of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, we now face an epidemic with health costs skyrocketing to $1.5 trillion. As medical experts desperately seek answers, I am thankful I can offer an effective and time-tested solution in The No-Grain Diet.

For over a decade, the No-Grain Diet has been the centerpiece of my medical practice, used by hundreds of thousands of patients who visit my wellness center and my website. While the medical debate has simmered below the surface of media attention, I've been quietly refining my dietary strategy with nearly miraculous results. And finally, both doctors and the general public are recognizing a growing body of scientific evidence that supports what I've advocated all along. Eating certain kinds of carbohydrates, not fats, causes escalating weight gain and wide-ranging health problems.

According to writer Gary Taubes, in his cover article in the July 7, 2002, New York Times Magazine, new research confirms that the USDA food pyramid, the low cholesterol heart disease diet, and the medical recommendations to eat less fat and more carbohydrates "are the cause of the rampaging epidemic of obesity in America."

The Culprits in Weight Gain

Fats aren't to blame for weight gain! In studying our endocrine system, new research I'll detail more fully in the next chapter finds that the real culprits are grains, starches, and sweets. These foods trigger a hormonal cycle of grain and sugar addiction, weight gain, and diabetes. That's why eliminating all grains, starches, and sugars for a limited period of time is the best way to reprogram your cells to burn fat. Erasing the signals that prompt you to eat will help you overcome cravings and addictive food urges. Combining these two approaches, the No-Grain Diet provides a comprehensive strategy that will help you rewire your physical and emotional hardware so you can lose weight and conquer carb cravings forever.

My program comes complete with:

The No-Grain Food Plan: A twenty-first-century diet in which you'll learn how to eat healthy foods amply while burning off poundage.

The No-Grain Recipe and Menu Directory: Gourmet dishes and meals that satisfy your taste buds and nourish your cells. In compiling these recipes, I've incorporated a wide range of meat and vegetable dishes from all ethnic and healing food sources.

The "Cravings Eraser": A mind-body toolbox (cited throughout as EFT) that will include instructions on how to:

Conquer grain and sugar cravings

Eliminate the emotional causes of overeating

Banish the post-diet "yo-yo" effect that puts the weight back on

But How Is This Different from Atkins?

Dr. Robert Atkins, whose diet was first introduced back in 1972, deserves the credit for his tremendous efforts in bringing the low-carb diet into the national spotlight. But just as the Atkins program built upon and improved previous dietary wisdom, the No-Grain Diet improves upon Atkins by overcoming certain built-in weaknesses in Atkins's plan, which impede your ability to lose weight and keep it off in a healthy sustainable fashion.

I provide a solution to the excess animal protein consumption featured on the Atkins's diet, which is cause for concern because:

  • Hormones given to meat and dairy cattle create a surplus of estrogens in humans-and my meat recommendations eliminate this concern.

  • Antibiotics in animal feed contribute to antibiotic resistance in people-and my emphasis on grass-fed and organic meat and dairy sources eliminates this concern.

  • Animal protein can over-acidify the body, causing bone demineralization and bone loss-while on my diet ample portions of raw and cooked vegetables will alkalinize bodily tissues.

My improved diet strategy addresses all these concerns while incorporating a wider range of healthier foods than Atkins or his successors. I include organic foods, more vegetables, and international spa cuisine recipes, as well as the most necessary supplements and proven mind-body tools to beat cravings for grains and sugars. Here you'll learn the way to optimize your diet, using the best recipes for raw salads, soups and juices, delicately seasoned vegetable and protein stir-fries and curries, savory breakfasts, gourmet meat dishes like grass-fed beef burgers, and grain-free desserts! In addition, I'll guide you in selecting the right proteins for you. Not all proteins are created equal, and customizing your protein sources is one key to successful weight loss long term.

Why Most Diets Fail

The vast majority of diets fail due to cravings for grains and sugars, which are symptomatic of grain addiction. Let's face it, no one's addicted to spinach, or other healthy greens, which contain complex carbs. But lots of people fall off their diets reaching for breads, pizza, or cookies. When Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution originally promoted a reduced carb diet, many people labeled all carbs as bad. The best-selling book The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet first drew national attention to the prevalence of carb addiction and its attendant health dangers. But despite their astute diagnosis, which rang true for millions of readers, Drs. Heller and Heller's food plan was ineffective. Why? Because they allowed dieters to eat ample quantities of grains, starchy foods, and sweets for a brief period every day.

It's as Easy as Erasing the Old Tapes

Diets fail because after the diet, you return to your old habits. It's not because you're weak-willed; it's because you do what your body tells you to do. Like sucking in your gut for a photo, you can stick to a strict deprivation diet for a short time. But you just can't do that forever.

Over 175 million Americans are classified as overweight (with a staggering 80 million of these classified as obese). Why? Because these folks did what their cells told them to do-they kept eating grains. Yet, with a new diet and new wiring, anyone can erase the old tapes and create a biological response that works in their favor.

As director of Illinois's Optimal Wellness Center, and founder and host of one of the world's most visited health websites, I have cared for over fifteen thousand patients at the Center and provide cutting edge health guidance and information to several million site visitors annually. Over a dozen years ago, I watched helplessly as one patient after another went through the frustrating cycle of diet followed by weight gain. Then with one patient, something clicked. Instead of urging her to try harder, or concluding that she had an obesity gene, or was otherwise doomed to dietary failure, I sought-and found-a way to change the messages that her body was sending. The grains and sugars that she was eating were actually programming her to crave and eat more fattening foods. As her self-esteem plummeted, mental messages reinforced this unhealthy eating pattern.

By reprogramming her body and mind with a new diet and new messages, she was able to lose weight and keep it off permanently. I continued to use, refine, and modify this plan and found that it worked for over 85 percent of the people who tried it.

One Giant Step to Losing Weight

The cornerstone of the No-Grain Diet is one simple secret to effortless weight loss. Eliminating from your diet:

* Grains

* Starches

* Sweets


Cutting down on these foods, which most diets recommend, doesn't work because even the tiniest bite of a grain or sweet will trigger your body to crave more. On the No-Grain Diet, you're going to get serious about weight loss and take a giant step forward. For a certain time period, you will totally avoid eating grains and sugars in order to change the messages your body sends you.

The three components of my weight loss strategy constitute a total reprogramming of your system for permanent weight loss. Total systemic reprogramming on the No-Grain Diet will transform you from an overweight person who struggles unsuccessfully to lose weight to a slim person in control of food addictions and cravings-forever.

Here's how it works:

First: Once you start eating the recommended foods, your cells get this new message: release fat and burn it. The end result: you lose weight. (See Chapter Two to learn the biochemistry this program is built upon.)

Second: With the diet, you'll also learn to use EFT (a psychological acupressure technique) to curb any remaining grain and sugar cravings. Instead of telegraphing the urge to eat fattening foods, your cells will send you the message to eat nutrient-rich foods. The end result: you'll permanently conquer food cravings and overcome grain and sugar addiction. (See Chapters Three and Four to find out if you're a grain addict and how EFT can help you overcome it. In Chapters Nine and Ten, you'll learn how to use EFT for every kind of obstacle you'll face in weight loss.)

Third: Using EFT, you'll change your self-image. Instead of telling you that you'll always be fat and there's nothing you can do about it, your cells will tell you that you're slim and have the right to be. The end result: you'll easily maintain your new, slimmer self. (Chapter Eleven will help you reprogram yourself for successful weight loss, heightened self-confidence, and abundant energy.)

Debunking the Fad Diet Myths

Eliminating all grains, starches, and sweets (in the initial phase) is the first step in reorienting your body's signals to transform you from perennially overweight to slim-and-trim. You'll find it's easy to be amply nourished and enjoy delicious meals without these foods. "But aren't grains healthy?" most people ask. "The Food Pyramid says I should eat more servings of grains than any other category."

Let me address this two-part question.

Yes, if you are at your ideal weight, whole grains can be healthy. But if you're overweight, it's likely that they aren't healthy for you. What's more, you're probably eating processed breads, pastas, and cookies-rather than healthy grains like quinoa, teff, millet, buckwheat, and amaranth.

Further, the Food Pyramid guidelines are ineffective for weight loss. They are based on theories already disavowed by such prominent nutritional scientists as Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard. Among these discredited theories are:

All fats are bad

All complex carbohydrates are good

All protein sources offer the same nutrition

High quantities of dairy foods should be consumed

Further, the guidelines fail to distinguish between healthy fats, like omega-3 fats, and trans-fats, shown by many studies to cause disease. Nor do the guidelines address the interaction between grain consumption and insulin balance. Why are the guidelines at variance with the best current nutritional and medical science? It may perhaps be connected to the serious conflicts of interest found by recent U.S. Court rulings to effect six out of the eleven members of the advisory committee that composed the USDA Pyramid guidelines.

Table of Contents

Part one: Why a No-Grain Diet?
Chapter 1. The Obesity Epidemic 3
Chapter 2. The Biochemistry of Weight Loss 18
Chapter 3. Are You a Grain Addict? 33
Chapter 4. Using EFT to Overcome Grain Addiction 47

Part two: The No-Grain Diet
Chapter 5. Three Days to Grain Freedom 63
Chapter 6. Customizing Your Diet (Pick Your Food Plan) 87
Chapter 7. The Food Plan (All the Foods You Can Eat) 101
Chapter 8. Menu Plans 122
Chapter 9. Supports for Your Health 143

Part three: Overcoming Cravings
Chapter 10. EFT: The Basic Tapping Menu (and How to Use It) 165
Chapter 11. EFT: Really Getting It! 182

Part four: Recipes
Chapter 12. Recipes 199

Appendix One: Food and Supplements 249
Appendix Two: EFT 258
Appendix Three: Medical Tests 264
References 271
No-Grain Resources 287
Acknowledgments 293
Index 297
About the Authors 312

Customer Reviews

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No-Grain Diet 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm a big fan of Dr. Mercola, and I was quite pleased when his book finally came out. Most of the material is not new since it's available in his website, but it's easier to access now since it's all in one spot. The one thing I was really disappointed with was the sample menus for the first three days. Unless you love to cook, you will be quite dismayed when you see it. You are supposed to eat small meals every two hours for the first three days, but no sooner are you done eating one meal then it's time to start cooking the next. Nothing on the menu is grab & go, so to speak. While I agree that eating 'real' food is the healthiest, I think that Dr. Mercola grossly underestimates how difficult it is for people to change their cooking and shopping habits. Let's face it, most people don't really cook from scratch anymore. Most meals consist of whatever can be thrown together in 20 minutes or less with minimal thought and preparation. Suddenly you're being asked to cook completely new dishes with new ingredients, lots of veggies with added prep time, etc. Let's not forget additional time preparing a grocery list and shopping since you're completely changing your shopping habits. Don't get me wrong, these are very necessary changes, but most people can't accomplish them overnight. When you read the sample menus, don't be put off. If you don't have time to cook all those meals, then substitute. Stick with the recommended food lists, but choose the more familiar items. Make use of a variety of cheeses, fruits, familiar veggies and salads that are portable and quick to prepare. As you get more familiar with the basic priniciples you can gradually get fancier with your meals.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am 46 years old and have been fighting my weight for 40 years. I've tried EVERY diet that has come along during this time period and sure I'd lose a little weight, but would grow tired of the whacky diets/foods that you would have to eat and drop off to go back to my high sugar and carb foods. And I've also done the starvation thing. That worked great...except my hair fell out and nails became soft as butter. When I got this book, I was a little skeptical, but I read it and I started on it one week ago today. And I'm here to tell you that this works (and this from the diet queen of all times!). I'm not hungry, I have totally lost my carb cravings and one week into it I'm 10 pounds lighter! What more could you ask?? And what's even better is the fact that I feel much better. I don't have the highs and lows of too much sugar/carbs. And I know that I'm nurishing my body while the pounds are coming off. Sure there's a little preparation time for the foods, but when you think about it, isn't your health worth a little effort?? Thanks Dr. Mercola!! This is the first time that I have ever felt that this is doable!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I started on this food plan June 1, 03 and by mid August, I dropped 45+ pounds. At the start I wore 3x clothes. By August 4, my 67th birthday, I was into size 16! I SHED a total of 73 pounds by December 18th and into size 12 clothes. I hesitate to say 'lost' because I've found everything I've lost in the past with other 'diets'. I'm also diebetic. June 1, I was using 150 units of insuling/day. In less than a month, I was using only 25-30 units/day of insulin. I can't say enough praise for this book/program for the better health I'm enjoying. Dr. Mercola's combination of food program, exercise recommendation and EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) is so effective that I feel in control of my life and health like never before. The only thing prospective dieters have to lose is their fear of failure with this program.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've done many diets, but could stick with none. Until now. I've been following the No-Grain Diet for about three months. I've lost 30 pounds. My cholesterol levels have gone way down (except my HDL which went up). But best of all, I feel great. I have energy. I'm not hungry all the time. I don't believe I will ever eat grains again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The No Grain Diet book is easy to read and interesting. I have been on the diet for 4 days now and have found it easier than most because you don't get hungry. What is nice is the list of foods you can eat and the receipes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After many years of yo-yo dieting and never being able to keep weight off, The No-Grain Diet has opened a door for me to good health, weight loss, feeling good, and, hopefully, longevity of life. I was a skeptic at first. Growing up in a mid-western town in a large family, we were taught eating pasta, rice, potatoes, fruit juices, corn, bread, deserts, etc. in abundance was healthy. We never left anything on our plates. Of this I am certain - I became addicted to sugar. And, it took this book to help me realize that. The first week of dieting I had terrible cravings for carbs, chocolate, refined sugar because I went cold turkey and ate nothing but protein and while starving myself. The second week I settled down and followed the diet recommended in the book. The cravings began to subside and, today, I not only do not crave refined sugars or chocolate but they don't even taste good! I don't crave the pastries I used to love or the afternoon chocolate bars. I feel like a young woman, instead of my 56 years. I sleep better, too. 'Five Stars' go to this book and a note of appreciation to Dr. Mercola for the dedication and sincere desire to help people alleviate health problems through his newletter and great website.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Since some find it difficult to control their weight after being diagnosed with celiac disease, this is a wonderful book to help them on the road to good health.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book because it is backed up by extensive research....I have been following its suggestions and it is a no brainer....easy to follow...commom sense approach...I am losing weight, my complexion looks like I've had a facelift..( I am 51 yrs old now ) and I have all this energy...
Guest More than 1 year ago
On Jan. 1, 2003 my weight was 256 pounds. Today I weigh 205 pounds,and feel great. This diet works, the book is extremely easy to read and follow, and it offers very specific action steps with receipes to follow. I totally endorse Dr. Mercola's work and encourage my patients to follow his program. With all the confusing diets and fads out there, THIS IS THE REAL DEAL. What is it worth to you to regain your health? J. Roth, D.C.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was raised believing and touting the natural, unprocessed, grow-your-own, avoid sugar and white flour line. I grind my own flour for Pete's sake. So why am I 100 pounds overweight? Aside from laziness, I am astonished to discover that wheat and other grains may not be good for me. After four days of adherence to the ideas in this book I am getting up early to walk, HAVE NO SWEETS and carb cravings (BIG problem before), and for the first time have serious hope of getting this weight off. This book is so easy to understand and lays out a really uncomplicated plan for improving one's health. Combined with the Metabolic Typing diet, which I read first, ANYONE, I feel can get healthy and lose weight! If I can do it, ANYONE can!! Thanks, Dr. Mercola!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The No-Grain Diet itself is excellent. I'm on it and have successfully lost weight and improved my health. The book, however, is not very entertaining, and I was even more disappointed that so much of it was devoted to recipes. Good information poorly presented.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I started losing weight and my blood pressure went down. I don't crave sweets either. This is a great book with ideals to help you live a healther life. Thank you Dr. Mercola
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was sold on this book before I bought it! I have been a faithful reader of for about one year and just needed the push to change my diet and this book provides the needed recipes and guides. After discovering my metabolic type and eating toward it, I have definitely been feeling better. I have been diagnosed with hypothryoidism and asthma and now face the prospect of GERD. I am working hard to avoid as many drugs as possible. Thanks, Dr. Mercola!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just bought this book and have just read a few chapters and skimmed throught others. I KNOW it's what I've been looking for. I'm 56 and have been feeling that, yes, I can lose weight, but am I eating right when I do lose weight? No, and this book is going to get my metabolism corrected...lower my cholesterol, get me thin and trim...i'm sure of it. I'll be baaack!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
There are always multiple diet books on the market, and now is certainly no exception... but if you are really looking for 'the last diet book you'll ever need,' as it's been called, this is it. It goes further than Atkins and other popular diet books in many ways, such as: 1) Not just giving you a diet that will help you lose weight in the immediate future, but one that will help you STAY fit, and help you prevent disease and illness 2) Fully explaining (in easy to understand language) the science behind cutting out or reducing grains, sugars and other 'bad' carbs ... the low-carb approach really makes sense after reading this book 3) Incorporating an entire plan to deal with and defeat the negative emotions like cravings that often end most people's attempts at diets. It also offers about fifty incredible recipes ... try the No-Grain Pancakes ... better than the real thing, and MUCH healthier!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for people who have no problems with protien digestion. All the protein required is not easy on the liver or the kidneys, not to mention how the diet does nothing to alkalize the body. I'd love it if my favorite on line Dr. would knock down my theory.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book is VERY full of information on how to eat right, how to change your personal attitudes (EFT), menus, recipes, advice. It is almost too overwhelming. Really who has the time to make all the recipes, to eat every 2 hours some fancy special concoction, do the EFT techniques? I guess the advice I give is take and use what you can out the pages of the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A wonderful take off of Atkins; great timing. Very impractical for working stiffs, who must eat out, very limited cuisine for most citizens in my neck of the woods. Should be a way to utilize The Fast Food offerings, grocery stores and menus for average joes in this pitiful economy. Bottom line...what is the author,really telling us...protein, carbos(complex), what percent and how much. Get real......
Guest More than 1 year ago
Complex Polysaccharides (Carbohydrates) are *not* the enemy. They provide ATP's, our body's source of energy. Protein cannot be burned -- the excess protein gained in diets like these and others are harmful and lead to liver and kidney problems. Wanna lose weight fast? Don't really care about the negative health reprecussions? Cut off a limb. You won't even have to wait 6 weeks.