July 2001

Lose Weight - Facts and Methods

Positive Thinking

What is a "Serving"?

The Catabolic Breakfast

The Catabolic Lunch

The Catabolic Dinner


by Joseph Patrick Jakubal

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"Catabolic food" is a term first used by Dr. Victor Lindlahr who practiced in the Chicago area during the first half of the 20th century. It refers to foods that had, what he called, "reverse calories". These foods actually break down fats and burn them up (as opposed to foods that add fat to the body).

Over the past century fad diets have come-and-gone with everyone searching for the "magic bullet" that would allow people to eat all-and-anything they want and suffer no ill effects … in fact, many of those diets did result in significant weight reduction. Unfortunately, and to the dismay of the users, these diets did not provide "lasting" results. Dieters discovered that, with time, they put on all the weight they took off … and a bit "more". Then, when a new "fad diet" came along, these discouraged people run out and buy the new book. It is an industry that perpetuates itself on the same people, over-and-over. However, the "catabolic diet" has been around since 1929 and is still the choice for responsible weight reduction . . . minus the pain and hunger.

Dr. Lindlahr grew up in a household that included his nutritionist father, Henry, who overcame obesity and diabetes. In the late 1800's Henry weighed 250 pounds but was only 5'7" in height. He tried the diets and cures of the time but nothing seemed to help, in fact - he was getting worse and was at the point of "giving up".

Ultimately, a friend advised him to see Father Kneipp - a nutritionist and famous healer in Eastern Europe, who had a reputation for curing diseases naturally … with fruits, vegetables, sunshine and other natural methods - instead of with medications. Upon following the program that Father Kneipp set up for him, Henry Lindlahr cured his diabetes and lost 40 pounds.

Following his successes, Henry Lindlahr devoted himself to nutrition and became a doctor in 1904 and founded the successful Lindlahr Sanitarium in the Chicagoland area.

Henry's son, Victor, was brought up in a health promoting environment and later graduated as a doctor of medicine from Jenner Medical College and took charge of the Lindlahr Sanitarium.

Diabetics came to the Sanitarium and were put on low carbohydrate diets that consisted primarily of fruits, vegetables and minimal sugar and starches. Years of experience with this diet made it apparent that diabetics who incorporated this style of diet into their lifestyles lost more weight than people who abstained from eating any food whatsoever.

In 1925 Dr. Lindlahr saw a patient from Philadelphia who told him she wanted to lose 30 pounds in the following 30 days because she wanted to look good for her upcoming marriage. Victor decided to treat her with a "monitored fast" … however, after seven days she had only lost four pounds and decided that at that rate she would never meet her goal of 30 pounds in 30 days. Therefore, he decided to put her on the low carbohydrate diet that worked so well for his diabetic patients. During the second week she lost weight at approximately two pounds a day to lose 12 pounds … the next week she lost eight pounds … and, the following week she lost six for a total of 30 pounds. By the time of her wedding day she lost 34 pounds total.

Upon analyzing the results of this lady's diet, Dr. Lindlahr thought it strange that this person ate in excess of three pounds of food a day and lost more weight than when she was fasting. After careful analysis of 152 cases of fasting patients, versus 206 cases of people on the catabolic diet, it became apparent that the catabolic diet was more effective than fasting! Another interesting conclusion was that people with greater amounts of body fat experienced greater results than those who were leaner.

It was concluded that patients who fast lost a little "less" than a pound per day (0.75 lbs) while those on the Catabolic diet lost a little "more" than a pound a day.

It must be noted that the fasting diets of Dr. Lindlahr's patients were not "strict" … they included the ingestion of fruit juices.

THEORY: The reason why the catabolic diet was so effective is due to the fact that the body requires a lot of energy (calories) to digest food. Think about what must happen when you ingest a piece of food … first you expend energy chewing … then, upon swallowing, the muscles of the esophagus move back-and-forth to deliver the food to the stomach … next the body must manufacture and excrete the acids that continue the digestive process. Finally, the bolus of food must travel through 10 yards of intestines that constrict and convert the food into simpler forms. On top of all this, the body extracts the nutrients from the food and spreads it throughout the body (via the blood stream) to nourish cells throughout the body … the liver, spleen, pancreas and other organs of the body continue to process and assimilate, all of which takes up energy (calories). Oh, and don't forget that it takes energy (calories) to prepare and cook the food prior to ingestion.

Exactly how much energy is required to eat something is very difficult to determine due to the differences of body chemistry between human beings ... it is apparent, however that less energy is required by the body to digest a piece of pork than the amount of energy that the pork supplies ... there is a "net gain" of calories. Those calories will likely be used up for activities like gardening, walking, house cleaning, etcetera.

Catabolic foods however do not provide a "net gain" of calories ... in fact, they provide a "net loss"! Catobolic foods like apples require all the same digestive processes as pork ... however, the amount of energy that is required by the body results in a "net loss" of calories. In other words, the body must "make-up" these calories from the fat stored in the body ... thus, weight loss.

Eating apples all the time would definitely result in weight loss, but this may be unhealthy ... there are many more foods that also possess this property of "negative gain".

CATABOLIC: The body goes through two natural phases: 1) "catabolic", and 2) "anabolic". The term "catabolic" is used to define the process whereby the body breaks down tissue and the term "anabolic" is used to define the process whereby the body builds tissue. Now you can see why foods that result in a "net loss" of calories are called "catabolic" and those that result in a "net gain" are called "anabolic". It must be pointed out that just because certain foods cause a decrease in calories, it does not mean that they lack nourishment ... in reality many of these foods provide many essential minerals, vitamins and ash that neutralizes body acids that are caused by the breakdown of fats. Also, many of these foods have an effect on the manufacture of glucagon by the pancreas ... glucagon is a dissolver of fat when in the presence of foods that have a catabolic nature.

A diet that is based on the catabolic principles is very low in calories ... three pounds of these foods contain only 600 calories on average. Many doctors and scientists thought that it was impossible for someone to thrive on so few calories, however it is now known that a catabolic diet not only allows a patient to thrive, but it has also been known to cure them of terrible diseases ... despite the low calories.

BENEFITS: This is a healthy diet that has been known to make sick people well. Second, this is a diet that allows people to lose weight by eating ... not starving. Another benefit is that you do not have to abstain from eating the foods you love because you can "balance off" a high calorie dish with catabolic foods to lessen the amount of effective calories being absorbed into the body. You may not lose weight by doing this but you can certainly lessen or nullify "net positive" foods.

Back in 1935, Dr. Lindlahr asked listeners of his radio broadcast to test his new diet and report back to him the results. More than 1,000 people took part in this experiment and reported excellent results ... a pound a day for ten days. Later in the year Dr. Lindlahr again tested his diet with 26,000 listeners who reported an average weight loss of eight pounds in seven days.

CATABOLIC FOODS: The following foods neutralize the effects of fattening foods and contain "net loss" calories ... they cause the fat reducing hormone, "glucagon" to be manufactured. Remember that glucagon only works it's magic when in the presence of catabolic foods. When talking "catabolic" I must emphasize that the whole fruit or vegetable must be eaten ... as opposed to it's juice. Juices are typically low in calories but are very easy for the body to digest and therefore are not "catabolic". Part of the catabolic process is the digestion of the fiber that accompanies these foods. Lean meats only are allowed on the catabolic diet but do not add significant calories.

Apples (best when eaten raw) ... apricots (best when eaten raw)... artichokes, ... asparagus (best when eaten cooked) ... beets ... beet greens (best when eaten cooked) ... blackberries (best when eaten raw) ... blueberries (best when eaten raw) ... broccoli (best when eaten cooked) ... brussels sprouts ... cabbage - white (best when eaten raw) ... cabbage - red (best when eaten cooked) ... cantaloupe (best when eaten raw) ... carrots (best when eaten raw) ... carrot tops (best when eaten cooked) ... cauliflower (best when eaten cooked) ... celeriac (a vegetable best when eaten cooked) ... celery (best when eaten raw) ... chard (best when eaten cooked) ... cherries (best when eaten raw) ... chervil (a vegetable best when eaten cooked) ... chicory (best when eaten cooked) ... Chinese cabbage ... chives (best when eaten raw) ... clams (cooked) ... cod steaks ... collards (best when eaten cooked) ... corn ... crabs ... cranberries (best when eaten raw) ... cucumbers (best when eaten raw) ... currants ... damson plums ... dandelion greens (best when eaten raw) ... dill pickle ... eggplant (best when eaten cooked) ... endive (best when eaten raw) ... flounder (sea food) ... frog legs ... fruit salads ... garlic ... grapefruit (best when eaten raw) ... grapes (best when eaten raw) ... green beans ... honeydew ... huckleberries ... kale (best when eaten cooked) ... kohlrabi (best when eaten cooked) ... kumquats (fruit) ... leeks (best when eaten raw) ... lemons (best when eaten raw) ... letuce(best when eaten raw) ... limes (best when eaten raw) ... lobster ... loganberries ... mangoes ... mushrooms (best when eaten cooked) ... muskmelons (best when eaten raw) ... mussels (sea food) ... mustard greens ... nectarines ... okra (vegetable) ... onions (best when eaten raw) ... oranges (best when eaten raw) ... oyster plant (best when eaten cooked) ... papaya ... parsley leaves (best when eaten raw) ... parsnips (best when eaten cooked) ... peaches (best when eaten raw) ... pears (best when eaten raw) ... pineapple (best when eaten raw) ... peas ... peppers (red & green - best when eaten raw) ... pickles ... pineapple (best when eaten raw) ... plums (best when eaten raw) ... pomegranates ... prunes (best when eaten raw) ... pumpkin (best when eaten cooked) ... quince (a fruit) ... radishes (best when eaten raw) ... raspberries (best when eaten raw) ... red cabbage ... rhubarb (best when eaten cooked) ... salsify (vegetable) ... sauerkraut (best when eaten raw) ... scallions, sea bass ( fish) ... shrimp ... sorrel (a vegetable best when eaten cooked) ... spinach (best when eaten cooked) ... squash (best when eaten cooked) ... strawberries (best when eaten raw) ... string beans (best when eaten cooked) ... tangerines (best when eaten raw) ... terrapin (sea food) ... tomato (best when eaten raw) ... turnips (best when eaten cooked) ... watercress (best when eaten raw) ... watermelon (best when eaten raw) ... wax beans (best when eaten cooked).

And there you have it! The catabolic diet is easy and efficient ... very little cooking and very fast to assemble. It only takes seven days to lose seven pounds which will not be put back on when you commence eating normally. Pick from the list of catabolic foods to assemble a variety of meals.

Also note that very similar diets are used to treat some types of heart problems, gallbladder problems, diabetes and other diseases. If you desire to continue the diet past the seven days ... no problem. Or, you might alternate one week of normal eating with one week of the catabolic diet.


1) Do not drink any water with your meals (30 minutes prior to or following the meals are okay). Drink as much as you like during other parts of the day.

2) Do not drink or eat anything prior to going to bed or between meals (except for chewing celery).

3) Do not cheat, stick to it (it is only seven days).

4) Limit the ingestion of salt since it causes water to be retained by the body.

5) To increase the amount of weight you lose simply increase your activity levels ... exercise, walk, etcetera.

6) Some people will not experience a weight loss for the first day or two due to the fact that water is manufactured by the body when fat is burned. Some people will not expel this water for a couple of days and retain it in their tissues. However, in most people it is excreted through the intestines, skin, kidneys and even the breath.

7) Even hard to reduce areas of the body like the "double chin" and "spare tire" are reduced by this diet.

8) Scientists tell us that we must consume approximately 10 glasses of water a day to meet the needs of the body ... the catabolic diet is very high in water content and keeps you "in balance".

9) Other diets may produce "weight loss" but no "fat loss". High protein diets are an example of this phenomenon. Beware of any diets that cause dehydration.

10) Eat the same breakfast for the duration of the seven days.

11) Eat fresh fruits and vegetables as opposed to canned ones because the heat from the canning process removes enzymes and contain more calories.

CATABOLIC BREAKFAST: The basic idea is that you must eat catabolic foods for this diet to work ... do not skip breakfast.

1) Drink a glass of fruit juice
2) Eat a piece of catabolic fruit
3) Unsugared coffee
4) Half glass of skim milk.


1) Fresh salad
2) One serving of a cooked, fresh vegetable
3) One serving of another cooked, fresh vegetable
4) One serving of fresh fruit.


1) Raw salad

2a) Chose six ounces of lean meat (BEEF boiled, chopped, roast, or steak ... HAM baked ... MUTTON chop, lean... VEAL chop, lean, roast leg with the fat removed ... BEEF LIVER ... MUTTON KIDNEYS ... CHICKEN broiled, white meat, roast ... GUINEA HEN breast ... QUAIL ... TURKEY roast).

2b) If a vegetarian then substitute the following for muscle meats (BEANS baked, kidney, green lima, yellow lima, soy ... PEAS ...

Substitute the following for meats that contribute to glandular health ... cottage cheese, eggs, soy beans.

3) One serving of fresh fruit

4) One serving of cooked, fresh vegetable #1

5) One serving, fresh vegetable #2.

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