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NutriDesk Diets

Weight Management Diet

Knowledge Matters

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The great diet delusion

  • 'The great diet delusion'  was the title of an article in New Scientist [19 January 2008]. The comment made here was "For the past century, the advice to the overweight and obese has remained remarkably consistent: consume fewer calories than you expend and you will lose weight. This prescription seems eminently reasonable. The only problem is that it doesn't seem to work. Neither eating less nor moving more reverses the course of obesity in any but the rarest cases."
  • Does the statement above ring true for you?
  • Eat less and move more would almost certainly work in mildly overweight young, healthy individuals with no hormonal or genetic predisposition to weight gain where growth hormone and other hormones of youth are at optimal levels and primed for maximum lean muscle mass and low adiposity. For the rest of us, this statement is indeed highly simplistic and does not take into account the numerous complexities and individual variation involved in gaining weight.

NutriDesk has been the culmination of 26 years of medical experience and post-graduate study and has taken 5 years to design with an additional 2 years of website development to work out how to incorporate all of these complex nutritional concepts and benefits
into one easy to follow diet!

About NutriDesk

The diets are very easy to follow --- too easy!

  • If you can follow a recipe, then you will be able to follow a NutriDesk diet.
  • Don't be concerned about the depth of knowledge provided here for you. The information is there for you to see the science behind the diet.
  • You can rest assured that the concepts that have been described are embedded in the diets themselves. So you don't need to understand what is being presented, you can simply follow the diets like one would follow a recipe.

A big thumbs-up for ease of use.

  • The aim of these diets is to provide an in-depth analysis of the nutritional factors thought to prevent or alter the course of a disease. NutriDesk confronts the complexities involved and takes great effort to provide a clear and concise picture of knowledge as it currently stands.
  • This knowledge is expanded upon by rich graphical representations and by multimedia tutorials that are aesthetically pleasing but also carry scientific depth. These features are used to help a lay individual navigate through the knowledge base in a highly visual and easy-to-understand way making the learning experience that much more pleasant.
  • Remember, you can save the diet you have chosen and you also have 24 hours to change your body composition data in BodyCalculator if you feel you have made a mistake.
  • You can then take your time to go back and again to this saved diet within the MyNutriDesk panel. Simply go to My Diets within this personal panel and here you can view the details of your diet at your leisure.

The Info button on the NutriDesk Diet Button Panel

  • Further information can be found within the purchased diet by clicking the buttons of the NutriDesk Diet Button Panel above.
  • You can find all the information presented on this page by clicking the 'Info' tab within the diet. This information may or may not be expanded upon.
  • Each diet you choose is rich with specific information about your particular dietary or medical concern.
  • To make it easy for you, a wealth of highly specific information has been placed into special compartments and accessed by clicking the buttons on the NutriDesk Diet Button Panel found on the top of each purchased diet.

Some of the factors in weight gain are: 

  • The type of food you consume – Glycemic Index, Glycemic Load, Saturated & Trans Fat Intake, Omega 6 to Omega-3 ratio.
  • Genetic Factors - numerous mutations are being discovered linked to obesity.
  • Hormonal imbalances – age related, body fat mass related, menopause [females], andropause [males], thyroid & adrenal gland dysfunctions.
  • Energy imbalance due to your energy intake [how much food you consume] being far greater than your energy expenditure [how much of this energy you burn off] - Yes, this is an important factor for weight gain but not the only cause of weight gain. As mentioned above, it is one of many factors that we need to focus on. A great strength of the NutriDesk diet is to be able to calculate food quantities [portions] automatically for you.
  • Decreased Resting Energy Expenditure [REE] with Age: A major reason why humans accumulate white adipose [fat] tissue [WAT] as they mature is that there is a dramatic drop in metabolic energy expenditure i.e. your ability to burn off excess energy decreases as you get older. This is explained further under Boosting resting energy expenditure [REE]  - see below.
  • Multiple physiological mechanisms such as the type of bowel flora you have, your muscle mass. Can bowel bacteria influence fat accumulation in your body? - find out below.
  • Multiple molecular mechanisms such as insulin resistance, leptin resistance, cell membrane fluidity, abnormal adipocyte command signals and numerous others.
  • Inflammation – fat in the central abdominal area is not benign! This fat is regarded as a ‘hormone factory’ producing many inflammatory chemicals. One cytokine produces a very specific marker for inflammation called CRP which is now known to be a powerful inhibitor of leptin causing leptin resistance leading to worsening overweight/obesity. An important ‘vicious cycle’. Learn more about this effect below and in the ‘info’ section of the purchased diet. Targeting inflammation and CRP is an important focus of the NutriDesk diet.

What you should know:

  • Always discuss your dietary choice with your doctor before paying for and proceeding with any diet.
  • At the bottom of this text box you will see 'Information for General Practitioners'. Your GP can view this information to see if there are any problems for you as an individual especially if you have a medical condition, are taking certain medications or if you have a genetic predisposition to a particular problem.
  • The 'info' tab within the diet of your choice will have expanded explanations to the points and  questions raised below.
  • The main reference database is also located in the NutriDesk Diet Button Panel under 'References' which can be viewed once you purchase the diet of your choice.
  • NutriDesk uses highly reputable sources of information for this website. However, the onus is on you to research and seek medical counsel to see if any information or recommendation found within this diet or on this website is appropriate to your unique personal needs.
  • Please view 'Our Philosophy' and the 'Terms of Use' of this website before proceeding.
  • The 'My Research' portal is your gateway to wonderful resources to begin your personal research. It is your right to question anything being presented to you and this is encouraged. My Research is a great tool to begin this journey of nutritional discovery.
  • The GP Resources area will provide your general practitioner with not only the resources you have access to, but also resources aimed more at a professional level. This will enable your GP to do some research on your behalf if presented with personal queries triggered by this website.

There are numerous pillars that support successful weight loss

Pillar Number 1: Supporting the right Carbohydrate Intake & Improving Insulin Sensitivity

Insulin resistance causes not only fat storage and weight gain especially around the central abdominal area but will also increase the risk of inflammation in the body and of many cancers now known to be associated with high insulin levels.

There are numerous reasons why insulin resistance occurs:

  • The aging process where receptors become less sensitive
  • Insulin itself - with increased levels in the blood stream the GLUT4 insulin receptor is downregulated i.e. less of this receptor is produced causing insulin resistance.
  • We know that high glycemic index [high-GI] and high glycemic load [high-GL] carbohydrate diets can cause short-term or long-term elevations in insulin which can result in insulin resistance through the GLUT4 downregulation mechanism or through other molecular mechanisms.

 How can NutriDesk's Weight Management Diet help with Pillar Number 1?

  • The diet revolves around an Optimal Nutrition Core that guides the user towards low-GI and low-GL choices by automatically calculating the amount of carbohydrate required and providing excellent carbohydrate choices
  • The 'info' button of the purchased diet will discuss numerous nutritional approaches to significantly improve insulin resistance.



Pillar Number 2: Overcoming Fat Induced Inflammation

The concepts behind each pillar are not entirely independent but the result of an interrelated network. Picture each pillar as a mechanism for obesity all in a straight row with one  toppling over and crashing into another. The pillars will a fall over one after the other like a stack of dominoes analogous to one mechanism for weight gain 'feeding' another. There are many biological closed-loops caused in the first instance by aging or hormonal imbalances or chronic ill health. The trick is to interrupt these loops and move the body back to homeostasis [physiological and chemical balance]

The hyperinsulinaemia [high blood insulin level] mentioned above  is associated with systemic [body] inflammation. A high insulin level is associated with many inflammatory markers such as nuclear factor-kappa B, interleukin-6 [IL6] and C-reactive protein [CRP]. The CRP test has now emerged as a sensitive marker for hidden inflammation in the body. It is a very sensitive marker for inflammation and elevated levels should never be ignored. One test readily available in the general practice setting is the highly sensitive CRP or hs-CRP test which can be ordered by your doctor if you are overweight or obese.  Higher CRP's indicate higher inflammation levels and the greater your risk for cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and diabetes.

Inflammation a great risk for Heart Disease, Cancers and Alzheimer's Disease

It is critical to control inflammation as it places you at high risk for many chronic diseases. Inflammation is also self-perpetuating by producing numerous suppressors of cytokine signaling [SOCS]. An important SOCS molecule has been discussed above and will be discussed further in the third pillar. Cytokines are molecules produced in significant amoutns by the fat cells that accumulate in the mid-abdominal area and are involved in cell-signaling throughout the body. Some cytokines such as tumour necrosis factor alpha [TNF-a] are potent signalling molecules for inflammation.

How can the NutriDesk 'Weight Management Diet' help?

  1. Fat accumulation in the midsection is a major risk factor for not only insulin resistance and diabetes but for chronic inflammation in the body and many cancers. It is for this reason that many governments, including the Australian government are running expensive advertising campaigns to educate individuals about this dangerous abdominal fat. One published paper published in the prestigious in the British Journal of Nutrition stated the following about the large number of dangerous protein chemicals called cytokines secreted by this abdominal fat mass : "Production of these proteins by adipose tissue is increased in obesity, and raised circulating levels of several acute-phase proteins and inflammatory cytokines has led to the view that the obese are characterised by a state of chronic low-grade inflammation, and that this links causally to insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome." [Trayhurn et al 2004]
  2. A tremendous amount can be achieved through diet but often a pharmacological approach is used to control inflammation. Inflammation is either the cause or effect of many chronic illnesses and many dietary practices only help to 'feed' this inflammatory process. Powerful anti-inflammatory nutritional approaches can be used and the strength of the NutriDesk approach is to show diets in all its complexity but to simplify the process for you so that you know exactly what can be used and why. The 'info' tab will highlight how the NutriDesk diet will help you overcome this inflammatory response of increasing body adiposity [fat accumulation] and other tabs within the diet such as the 'Special Foods' tab, 'Nutraceuticals' and 'Functional Foods' tabs will highlight specific and powerful dietary approaches to inflammation. Too often the clinical application of diet and nutrition is underestimated in the prevention or co-treatment of disease.


Pillar number 3: Overcoming Leptin Resistance

Suppressors of cytokine signaling [SOCS]  as mentioned above are produced by the accumulating abdominal fat levels.

One of these suppressors has been recently identified as being due to CRP the inflammatory marker mentioned above.

CRP is a potent inhibitor of leptin (Chen, Li et al. 2006). Leptin has two main functions:

1] To suppress appetite
2] To promote the burning of triglycerides [trigs] in bloated fat cells






Leptin Resistance [Graphic Above]: Increasing fat accumulation in your abdomen [midsection] leads to a vicious-cycle where the fat cells of the central abdomen produce inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-6 [IL6]. IL6 stimulates the production of CRP a protein marker of background inflammation in the body. CRP is a potent inhibitor of leptin. CRP-Bound Leptin cannot cross the Blood Brain Barrier [BBB] and as a result cannot suppress appetite. As a result hunger is increased leading to increased caloric intake, increased adiposity and thus increased IL6 and CRP production – the cycle continues.

How can the NutriDesk diet help to decrease leptin resistance?

Well, quite a lot. The strategies embedded  in the Weight Management Diet in NutriDesk are designed to be anti-inflammatory. It is a diet rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids that will help to suppress CRP. Nutraceuticals found by clicking the 'Nutraceuticals' tab of the  purchased diet will feature products designed to have an anti-inflammatory, CRP suppressing effect helping to support this pillar of successful weight loss.


Pillar number 4: Providing nutrient-dense calorie sparing foods.

 The NutriDesk 'Weight Management Diet' ensures that you have all the vitamins, minerals, trace elements, amino acids, essential fatty acids that your body needs to function at optimal levels.

Without this vital nutritional support, your cells cannot burn off excess fat.

 With all these nutrients available to the cells of your body, there won't be that constant hunger signal forcing you to eat simply to acquire adequate quantities of a particular micro or macro nutrient.

 How can the NutriDesk diet help you?

The Optimal Nutrition Core in NutriDesk ensures food choices that are absolutely nutrient dense and choices that have multiple nutritional benefits. You have many choices within the diet and clicking on each choice will provide you with a wealth of information on each item chosen with information gathered from the most respected sources of information and this information is referenced - just click on the 'References' tab within the purchased diet.


Pillar number 5: Boosting resting energy expenditure [REE]

This may sound a difficult task but there are numerous nutritional and exercise approaches that can do exactly this - boost resting metabolic rate so that your body is in a fat burning state. 

As mentioned above, many studies have shown a distinct drop in the ability to burn off energy as you get older. One study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition noted:

"Aging is accompanied by a decrease in REE that is significantly greater than what is predicted by variations in body composition. This decrease may reach a mean level of about 500–800 kJ/day." [Alfonzo-González et al 2006]. References within the purchased diet in the NuriDesk Diet Button Panel.

In terms of calories that is 120 to 191 calories per day that will not be converted to energy. So if your energy intake [caloric intake] has stayed the same throughout your life then increasing adiposity is an almost certain outcome.

How can the NutriDesk diet help you?

The 'info' tab within the purchased 'Weight Management Diet' will outline how you can overcome this aspect of aging. There are numerous strategies that can be used to boost resting energy expenditure [REE]. The thermic energy of food [TEF] can be used to advantage and there are numerous food components and supplements that can help to 'uncouple' energy production by diverting energy conversion to heat production rather than producing the energy storage molecule called ATP by activating mitochondrial uncoupling protein 1 [UCP1]. Simply click on the NutriDesk Diet Button Panel to view the possibilities.



 Pillar number 6:  Restoring hormonal balance or using medications where appropriate.

There are many disease states that can affect your ability to burn off fat. Here is where your general practitioner becomes a great ally and can either manage your condition or refer you to a specialist that can.

  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome PCOS]: This is a disease affecting many young women who find it difficult to lose weight. Women suffering from PCOS often have insulin resistance in the background placing them at high risk for developing diabetes before they reach menopause.
  • If you have been suffering from irregular ovulation or menstruation, acne, increased hair growth in unusual locations for women, weight gain then PCOS is something high on the list for consideration. You should be assessed for diabetes or insulin resistance. 50% of women with PCOS will become frankly diabetic sometime prior to menopause.

Find out which medication can significantly improve insulin resistance in this setting. Simply click on the 'info' tab of the purchased 'Weight Management Program' to find out which medication to investigate and discuss with your doctor.

  • Hypothyroidism: An underactive thyroid may be the reason why many individuals [especially women] are unable to lose their weight. Find out what to look out for in this regard under the 'info' tab of the purchased diet.
  • Menopause and testosterone levels in women: The pendulum swings in favour of hormone replacement therapy [HRT] one way or the other over the decades. The Women's Health Initiative seemed to throw a spanner in the works but on closer appraisal of this study, many findings were found to be absolutely false ones. Timing of HRT was found to be absolutely critical as to whether HRT showed benefit or not and the earlier you start HRT the better off you are. Testosterone in this setting is extremely important as testosterone determines muscle mass and hence resting metabolic rate. Low testosterone in middle aged women will lead to increased weight gain especially in the abdominal region.
  • Andropause and low testosterone levels in men: Men have often suffered from the devastating effects of low testosterone levels as they age. There has been an absolute misconception in the medical profession that testosterone treatment causes prostate cancer. The myth about testosterone replacement was destroyed by experts at Harvard University. In fact these experts from a highly respected university have shown that low testosterone levels can actually increase the risk of prostate cancer in aging men. Find out about this important topic by clicking on the following link:
    Testosterone QuickGuide.

 There are numerous pillars that support successful weight loss

 Pillar number 7:  Exercise and Energy Expenditure

Exercise is vital for a strong cardiovascular system and to create what is known as an 'Energy Deficit'. If you can keep your caloric intake to that calculated for you in NutriDesk, this energy deficit will mean that you will tap into your fat stores to 'fill' this deficit needed by the body.

Muscle fibre dysfunction is associated with many diseases of Western societies such as obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

Aerobic exercise helps to change muscle fibres from type-IIb to fat burning type-1 muscle fibres which have a high ability to oxidize ['burn'], fat as fuel.

Another form of exercise is also important and this will be discussed further in the 'info' button content of the purchased diet.


How can NutriDesk help?

NutriDesk will outline strategies for exercise that will suit the majority of individuals even if limited mobility is an issue. Once you purchase a diet, you will be able to access the exercises found in 'My Research'. These have been designed by an expert Exercise Physiologist for your benefit.


There are numerous pillars that support successful weight loss

Pillar number 8:  Optimizing Bowel Health

So what does bowel health have to do with overweight/obesity?

Well, quite a lot. A recent article in Research Matters on the National Institutes of Health [NIH] website was titled 'Gut Microbiomes Differ Between Obese and Lean People' . This article stated that: 

"A new study has found that obese and lean twins have clear differences in their gut microbial communities. The finding points the way for future research into the roles that gut microbes may play in obesity and other health conditions.- The researchers found differences between obese and lean people in over 300 bacterial genes, many of which are involved in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. This initial set of markers for the obese gut microbiome is a major step toward understanding the role that gut microbes may play in obesity and its related diseases." by Harrison Wein, Ph.D.


Many studies have shown the benefit of prebiotics, probiotics and of many forms of carbohydrate [grain choices] that can have a marked effect on bowel flora.

NutriDesk will guide you towards bowel friendly nutritional choices and indicate if supplements are available that may be of benefit.

The signficance of this colony of bowel organisms can be seen in the free NutriDesk tutorial 'Bowel Flora and Health'


Optimum nutrition with any diet chosen: The Optimal Nutrition Core

You can rest assured that the core of any diet you choose is based on cutting-edge nutritional principles for optimum health. So how do the diets differ? Recommendations of the various nutritional components are based on clinical trials, laboratory research or epidemiological studies that show an advantage for a particular diet, food, functional food or nutraceutical that can be used for the purpose of disease modification or to provide a preventative advantage in a particular disease state or risk-of-disease setting. 


Information for General Practitioners

  • This diet is rich in plant foods and thus high in vitamin K. Vitamin K is found mainly in dark green leafy vegetables and parsley is a rich source of vitamin K. Thus Warfarin [Coumadin] is not contraindicated however, if a patient commences this diet, the INR will need to be monitored regularly until it has stabilised. Plant foods are highly beneficial and often these foods are restricted in those taking warfarin to the detriment of the individual’s health. The INR’s simply need to be adjusted to the patient’s daily intake. The patient needs to understand if they are on warfarin that plant food consumption should be consistent day-by-day and that they should not vary this intake dramatically while on Warfarin. Any significant variation in intake of plant foods will require close INR monitoring once again.
  • This diet is a rich and healthy source of beneficial potassium and if the individual is on an ACE inhibitor or potassium sparing diuretic or other potassium sparing medication, the blood potassium should be monitored closely as well.
  • A high dietary intake of potassium is desirable from a health perspective for a variety of reasons and blood pressure may respond favourably to a high potassium diet. Please monitor the individual’s blood pressure regularly while on the diet. Adjustments in the dose of medication/s may be necessary or perhaps even ceased for reasons of weight loss or the beneficial effects of an optimal diet.
  • If the individual has gout, then specific high-purine foods advised within the diet will need to be avoided. Some foods may contain high sodium levels such as the fermented soy drink called Miso soup. Individuals with hypertension will need to limit consumption of this food.
  • Many grains have moderate to high oxalate levels and those individuals with calcium-oxalate stones may need to restrict consumption of such foods. White rice does not have significant oxalate levels whereas brown rice does.
  • Advise the patient to avoid any known dietary triggers
  • Encourage the patient to exercise regularly.
  • HRT should be considered where hormone levels have been shown to be diminished by blood testing and where the patient shows signs or symptoms of hormone deficiency such as vasomotor flushing [US Flashing] or abnormal sweating, loss of muscle mass and weakness, increasing abdominal adiposity. For testosterone deficiency view the QuickGuide on testosterone [link below]
  • According to the Bayer-Schering Consumer Product Information [CPI]
    "The testosterone in TestogelTM is identical to the naturally occurring testosterone present in the body." Thus this hormone is a bioidentical hormone, meaning that it looks and acts exactly like the hormone your body has been producing all its life. Dr Abraham Morgentaler in the book Testosterone for Life, indicates that about 60% of the US market for testosterone replacement is through the use of bioidentical testosterone gels like TestogelTM.
  • If HRT or testosterone replacement is being considered, then due diligence needs to be shown to assess for existing hormone sensitive malignancies in the breast or prostate by a combination of blood tests, imaging and physical examination. Counsel the patient on possible side-effects of testosterone such as hirsuitism or deepening voice [unlikely if testosterone levels are kept at an optimal range for the gender.]
  • Follow-up check-ups and blood testing are mandatory steps to keep side-effects to a minimum and ensuring an optimal level of hormone.
  • Remember to check SHBG when testing hormones - SHBG binds free hormones [estrogen or testosterone]. The higher the SHBG, the lower the free hormone level. Look for factors that increase SHBG levels.
  • Accepted dogma should always be challenged!  In the case of not using testosterone in middle-aged men due to the fear of promoting a prostate cancer, the dogma has indeed been challenged. The extremely tenuous roots of this myth have been delved into by reviewing the original articles in the inner sanctum of Harvard's professional library, one that has an incredible archive of important medical research - the  Countway Medical Library. These oft cited references were used in absolute defence of the dogma. The slender threads of this misunderstanding have been severed one-by-one in this important book 'Testosterone for Life'.
  • Compounding pharmacists are true professionals who can be of great assistance in terms of literature for hormone replacement. Can compounding pharmacists make a mistake - you bet! Should you avoid a compounding pharmacist because a mistake is made in the industry every now and then? How may recalls have you experienced from pharmaceutical companies who also make mistakes? Can we avoid them if they make a mistake? In both cases thank goodness mistakes are relatively rare and both industries have important roles in clinical care. 

Please view a an in-depth coverage of the topic of testosterone. Click on the following link: 'Testosterone'

The following should be considered for ongoing encouragement and assessment of progress on a regular basis:

  • Weight; Waist Circumference Measurement; Blood Pressure Check with other assessments as considered appropriate for the individual
  • Women with dense breasts on mammography or with a history of benign mammary dysplasia are at a higher risk of breast cancer. Monitoring with appropriate imaging at acceptable intervals is always worthwhile. This diet aims to address the nutritional, weight gain and hormonal factors that are associated with breast cancer risk. But if hormone replacement is being considered then monitoring the levels of hormones at least twice a year and annual or two yearly mammography [or breast US in younger females] including a physical breast examination is mandatory. A woman should be instructed to perform her own breast self examination [BSE] every 3 - 4 months.
  • A male should have his prostate specific antigen [PSA] assessed 2 - 3 months after commencing testosterone and then annually if there are no increases. A rectal examination of the prostate should be performed prior to commencing testosterone and then annually or sooner if the PSA rises. Remember it is not a concern that testosterone is causing a prostate cancer because it has been established that it is low testosterone that puts a man at risk for prostate cancer. It is the question of whether a microscopic prostate cancer already exists at the time testosterone is commenced. The book Testosterone for Life states how safe testosterone is as long as the safeguards of blood and physical testing has been carried and appropriate follow-up has occurred.
  • The ‘GP Resource’ tab at NutriDesk is a General Practitioner only resource area. It will provide you with links and tools to assess any dietary or nutraceutical recommendations further. Please take the time to register. This is a quick process and worthwhile.
  • There are highly informative and visually appealing free tutorials on a variety of topics with regard to nutrition, nutritional genomics and nutritional biochemistry at NutriDesk. Simply go to the home page and click on the ‘Free Tutorials’ tab and choose a topic of interest.


  • Bray GA, York DA. Leptin and clinical medicine: a new piece in the puzzle of obesity. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1997 Sep;82(9):2771-6.
  • Chen, K., F. Li, et al. (2006). "Induction of leptin resistance through direct interaction of C-reactive protein with leptin." Nature Medicine 12: 425-432.

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