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What is the Aztec Diet?


By +Rachel Berman on Mar 06, 2013 10:00 AM in Dieting & You

Move over Paleo, there’s a new diet attributed to ancient people. It’s called the Aztec Diet based around the power of the Aztec superfood, chia seeds. According to the book’s author Dr. Bob Arnot, the Aztec’s diet was composed of “the healthiest foods on the planet and fueled one of the most powerful empires in history” including fish, turkey, beans, corn, vegetables, fruit and grains including amaranth, bulgar, quinoa and of course, chia seeds. But, is the Aztec Diet right for the modern-day you? 

 

How Does It Work?

In Dr. Arnot’s words, “The blood of most people on a classic, carb-loaded Western diet has become a poisonous, angry stew of altered hormones and elevated blood fats, inflammation, cholesterol and sugars”… which leads to obesity and disease. With The Aztec Diet: Chia Power: The Superfood that Gets You Skinny and Keeps You Healthy, Dr. Arnot’s goal is to teach you how to improve your health and mood and eliminate cravings for sugar. According to the book, that starts with heavily incorporating chia seeds into your diet. The book also goes into a carbohydrate ranking system for those to choose and avoid as well as cutting out food items such as fried foods and pizza. In addition, the book endorses regular exercise.

There are three phases to the Aztec Diet:

  • Phase I: The Chia Challenge. You have three chia-rich smoothies for your meals. 
  • Phase II: Accelerate with Lunch. You substitute the mid-day smoothie with a balanced meal of food.
  • Phase III: Real Life Aztec Style. This phase teaches you to maintain your weight loss with foods and recipes utilizing chia seed. (There are 100 recipes in the book). 


Should You Try It?

That chia seeds pack in a strong nutrition punch is not even a question. Chia is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and just 2 tablespoons contains 10 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 18% of recommended calcium needs, and 12% of your iron needs for the day. It’s true, adding chia to your diet can not only help you get these nutrients for health but can help you feel fuller, longer, facilitating weight loss. Many food naturally rich in fiber will help minimize blood sugar spikes and reduce cravings. Studies on whether or not chia seeds have more of an impact that other nutritious foods on your health and satiation levels have been mixed. Also, chia is not a magic food that causes weight loss on its own without additional diet or lifestyle changes as this study indicates. 

Overall, the diet is medically sound and places a focus on health, not only weight loss, which is a major plus. And if you feel like you need to follow a plan, the book offers up a two week long detailed meal plan plus tons of recipes which could help get you started on the right foot. However, remember, that you can incorporate chia seeds into your diet without following a plan dedicated to them. And for the most part, making these types of lifestyle changes – cutting out refined carbohydrates and saturated fat, adding more nutritious foods in containing fiber and omega-3, and getting regular exercise – will help you get results. 

In case you were wondering, Dr. Arnot has authored 14 books on health and nutrition, is a TV Emmy-award winning medical correspondent and, of note, the Chief Wellness Expert for Lifemax, a company that distributes chia seeds. 

 

Let us know...

What are your thoughts? Would you try the Aztec Diet?

 



Comments


That sounds good!  Taco Bell, here I come!



It's just a fad. Diet and exercise. It's only good to bust open your wallets. 



I'm fairly sure that no Aztec ever consumed a "smoothie".  And the "Paleo" diet of the Native Americans included anything that they could arm-wrestle down their throats -- no coconut flour for them.

But DO buy the book and then the next one and the next one because that's the objective -- to separate you from your money. Ka-CHING!



There are too many products out there to mix up our minds. No offence, but here I write just to remind the basics as this marketing thing has no end but our budget has! It's all about thermodynamics' simplest rule, if the fuel you got in your tanks (food we consume) is more than enough, once this has been noticed, it is converted to most suitable form (fat) and sent to final reserve fuel tank (depending on age, gender, genetics : stomach, belly, hips or overall spread). This might be too basic to accept, we always tend to believe that there must be some kind of magic to take us to our goals but isn't, we only have to believe in ourselves - to nothing and noone else. It all starts with acceptance (accept the status quo), set the goals to achieve and set the deadline for them to be achieved and stick with it. As we will soon notice, it continues to stabilise at being a life style - and it is not a temporary diet anymore, its the way we live! Then we notice that we don't even need to buy all that exotic, appealing products like chia seeds, quinoa and whatever it is because we now know that, we are the ones who construct barriers to avoid our bodies to return to their natural form, in fact if we manage to remove those barriers, as time goes by, our bodies will return to their most ideal state by themselves..

I will conclude with a short story of mine. Two days ago I coincidentally found my high-school notebook. I did what I usually do in these circumstances and looked inside the pages to see whats in there. Somewhere in the middle I saw my own handwriting of what I ate that day and I've also had recorded my weight at that time. The date was 2001 and my weight was 190 lbs. A short calculation and I suddenly realise it has been more than 10 years since I've been trying to return to my most ideal state, I can say that I'm very close now though, but journey (3-4 days workout & clean eating style) still continues. I've read a library of hardcover and e-books in these years about foods & diet and the only lesson I learnt besides the bunch of meal plans is the thermo law I've already mentioned above.

I wish all the best to those who are here and thanks for your patience in reading as I'm not native in English.


I once had a Chia pet, never thought of eating it though.



Arnot is not some flake; he has been writing credible health-related advice for many years. I think the term "Superfood" is off-putting, but I would not put this in the "fad diet" category. I'm going to investigate this with an open mind based on my belief that the typical American diet ~ which I try to move away from as much as possible ~ is bad on some many fronts. 



The problem with the American diet isn't carbs, not by a long shot! It's the processed foods and animal products that keeps people fat. I live is Korea and they are getting bigger after eating Western food. However the older people who eat rice, vegetables, soup and fermented foods three times a day are fit and healthy. Don't buy another diet book with a plan you can't follow long term. They make these books to benefit the publisher, not your health. Take care and eat smart.


Original Post by: cchrenae

The problem with the American diet isn't carbs, not by a long shot! It's the processed foods and animal products that keeps people fat. I live is Korea and they are getting bigger after eating Western food. However the older people who eat rice, vegetables, soup and fermented foods three times a day are fit and healthy. Don't buy another diet book with a plan you can't follow long term. They make these books to benefit the publisher, not your health. Take care and eat smart.

And the portions! When I see on an American show what they bring out for one order, my jaw drops. I live in Hungary, and a regular portion is by no means small in the traditional restaurants here. But it's about half of what the have in the US. I could eat one of those plates for 4 days, and have nothing else.



Comment Removed

I want to take this one out of the library for the chia seed recipes. I really like my chia seeds (made bread with them last night!) and I would love to have more recipes :)



For the past 3 years i have incorporated chia seeds into my diet.

The results are amazing . after 8 months i lost 4 kg of weight due toFeeling fuller and eating less for lunch. after some 12 months my blood pressure and weight dropped to the point that i dont longer need blood press. lowering medication. These results also included eating less refined carbs and , meat and animal fats.




I follow the paleo/primal it is about clean eating, removal of the antibiotics and hormones, the chemically treated, genetically modified, sugar laden, highly processes foods from your diet. I have never felt better in my life. It is easy and I can have non-paleo/primal foods when I'd like, however when I had a pasta and bread for a meal I paid the price. It's a healthy lifestyle and unless you have really studied this lifestyle you shouldn't shun it. I have also dropped 18 lbs in 6 weeks. Love it!


Fad or not, this plan lost me competely at "replacement shakes three times a day".  I will never, and I do mean never, follow a plan where I cano only eat smoothies....even if it is temporary.  That is not reality.  There has to be a better way.  While I am not experiencing DRASTIC weight loss, I am losing slowly and steadily by making healthy lifestyle choices.  I will be able to maintain this weight loss long term as a result.

That said - I do like chia seeds and am interested in learning more uses for them.  I add them to overnight refrigerator oatmeal, and that breakfast fills me up a lot more than I ever would have expected.  I also just tried sprinkling them on whole wheat toast with peanut butter, and really enjoyed that as well!



This diet seems to be rather commercial, pushing chia seeds so. However, it definitely applies the most basic rule of any successful diet, to permanently and not drastically increase the nutrient density of food. While I doubt the Aztec diet in any way is superior to all of the other ethnic diets like Mediterranean, of what one need for a permanent change in their eating habits is to pretend to be Aztec, more power to them. Also, I must say that American food is not innately unhealthy. It is high in calories, sure, but many traditional recipes like corn bread and gumbo can and certainly should be enjoyed in moderation, to nourish muscles after exercise or something.


I am interested in the chia recipes.  I purchase seeds at my local farmers market and use them to make chia gel.  I regularly add it to plain yogurt with some stevia for a tasty, filling snack.  I will definitely look for some recipes online, but like some others, I am skeptical about purchasing the book, concerned it is mainly to promote the chia seeds or just another fad diet.  



The title of the book totally turns me off. Some people have problems with words like "diet" and "cheat", I have a problem with the word "skinny." I'm always offended that everyone assumes that's the end goal. I hate when women want to rid themselves of boobs, hips, thighs, and other feminine features. I'd rather not look like a young boy. I want to be healthy. I want to live longer and feel better. I want to be strong. I don't want to be skinny. Okay, I'm done with my rant :)



Funny, at the end of the article they make a small note of how Dr. Arnot, the author, works for a company that distributes chia seeds. I have no problem with chia seeds, but to me they aren't the end all be all either. This book may help people live healthier, but I am very certain that part of it's content is dictated by the company's desire to sell more chia seeds.



I never knew that the Aztecs made smoothies? how did they come up with the ice, or ice cream?



Original Post by: hannahruthlee

Funny, at the end of the article they make a small note of how Dr. Arnot, the author, works for a company that distributes chia seeds. I have no problem with chia seeds, but to me they aren't the end all be all either. This book may help people live healthier, but I am very certain that part of it's content is dictated by the company's desire to sell more chia seeds.


more than likely. There's new diet coming about every year or so. I heard about the Paleo diet about a year ago, and now this?



Hey, chia seeds are great, I have them most days in with my lunch. But when you're talking about a dramatic and restrictive change in diet (3 smoothies, then after a while you can add back in lunch, oh great), we all know that rarely works. How can you make a lasting healthful lifestyle change that way?



First of all, I have a problem with what you said about saturated fats at the end their, do we really still live in the 80s??? Coconut oil, grass fed beef, eggs, these are foods you SHOULD be adding to your diet.

As far as Aztec diet goes, doesn't sound horrible but eating chia seeds every day at every meal? Seems like overkill and the more you eat of one food the less benefits you can get from other foods, not to mention that you will get sick of chia seeds so fast on this plan. It just seems like another lame attempt to say "eat less and you'll lose weight."



Thanks aitannaa2012 for a very useful comment!

One of my favorite restaurants is Cracker Barrel,  but I don't go as often as I once did.   Cracker Barrel has a style of food which reminds me of home when I was I child.  I always request that my meal be brought with a to go container.  I order whatever I want without regard to calories, but only eat about 25% of it at the restaurant.  The rest will easily make 2 more meals or even three. 

   Freedom should never be sacrificed for avoiding our own responsibility to use common sense and moderation. 

 



Sounds remarkably gimmicky. There is certainly good advice to be found here, as there is with any fad diet generally, but this obviously has no staying power. Parisian diets, Mediterranean diets, Caveman (Paleo) diets, Aztec diets - these show us some people feel the need to latch onto something novel outside their daily lives in order to achieve their fitness goals. That is simply not true.

Successfully living a healthy life means more than following meal plans and consuming "super foods".



Interesting fad.  You could use a proofreader.



http://jackkruse.com/brain-gut-6-epi-paleo-rx/

Nuts and seeds are part of Paleo..you can eat Paleo and Chia. 

For those that are still in the past in regards to saturated fat.

http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/how-did-we-come-to-believ e-saturated-fat-and-cholesterol-are-bad-for-us

http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/the-straight-dope-on-chol esterol-part-i

I know people have been saying it for so long its hard to give up.

Anyway the reason western diets are so bad isn't the meat its the combination of processed foods.  Many groups of people have thrived on meat and vegetables that are unprocessed.  There are bad things about meat cooked at really high temperatures, and also meat from CAFOs isn't ideal but meat is fine for most especially if its grass-fed/finished/pastured.

The foods we eat mess up our metabolic systems.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U36XJaETbh8&list=SPfqQ99w WPyw_p4G1xTM92avTSyNt_V3lO

The right foods will go a long way to fixing that system.

http://www.askthelowcarbexperts.com/2013/01/35-dr-steven-gun dry-high-fat-diets-good-vs-bad/

Good podcast on Fats.



As a New Zealander I have to agree - went to Hawaii and the portions were enormous .

We learnt very quickly to order one meal and two plates , and even then we did not go hungry.....if thats the norm even a so called " healthy salad meal" would pack a punch as they are huge.



Well didn't the Aztecs ceremonially eat each other? Don't some people credit this to a lack of protein in their diets because they had high populations but no domesticated animals? Do we really want to drive people mad?Smile



Not a shock that he distributes chia seeds. I seriously doubt the Aztecs were pounding out chia smoothies with a mortar and pestle. No thanks. I'll eat chia on my own terms. 



did Chia Pets the result of these seeds or something? I'm not into fad diets. I just think that most diets are just temporary stuff people get into to get their body in shape for some season(mostly summer time) and they get back to noshing. Why not think about your health instead. all of those fats can accumulate and give you some form or imflammation that can give you a form or cancer, and IF you EVER beat it, you'll get another one. I'm just saying. 



Original Post by: itsbeadyeyes

Not a shock that he distributes chia seeds. I seriously doubt the Aztecs were pounding out chia smoothies with a mortar and pestle. No thanks. I'll eat chia on my own terms. 


totally agree with you IBE, :).....next they'll come up with some berries out of Antarctica and convince you they're good for losing weight faster than most polar bears. 



I am a Mila distributor and have been eating chia seeds (Mila) fo three years.  I have never felt better nad inflamation in my joints is gone.  Energy level is up.  Digestion is great!  go to Lifemax.net/nixon and order your Mila today.  Eating this whole natural food is the best thing you can do for yourself....... My husband and I would not go a day without our Mila. Just mix in water or juice and drink or try this new smoothie diet.



Chia seeds are nutritious and useful for weight loss, but a diet of only chis seeds cannot be maintained or even appealing. For those looking for more recipes/ideas using chia seeds, here's a good start http://www.chiaseedrecipes.com/40-ways-to-use-chia-seeds.php


Original Post by: MPC8875

did Chia Pets the result of these seeds or something? I'm not into fad diets. I just think that most diets are just temporary stuff people get into to get their body in shape for some season(mostly summer time) and they get back to noshing. Why not think about your health instead. all of those fats can accumulate and give you some form or imflammation that can give you a form or cancer, and IF you EVER beat it, you'll get another one. I'm just saying. 


Fat is only a an issue regarding cancer when the wrong fats are consumed.  Inflammation is at the root of cancer and many other chronic conditions.  An ideal Omega 3/6 ratio is one of the more important issues.  That ratio is around 1:4 3/6 to 1:1.

One of the major reasons cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions are on the rise is that people are eating too many Omega 6 oils in processed foods.  People have a range of ratios from 1:20 to 1:200 depending on how much processed junk food with Omega 6 oils they eat.  Omega 6 fats are not bad but when they aren't balanced with Omega 3s it leads to inflammation. 

Much of it is vegetable, corn, and soy oil.  They are PUFAs that end up getting oxidized in the process of making the processed foods and makes them even worse.  Further hydrogenation of oils creates trans fats that are even worse than Omega 6s out of balance.

Saturated fat is good for us as long as its not paired with large amounts of carbohydrates as in junk food.  Candy, hamburgers, hotdogs etc..  Many of the "high fat foods" are also high in carbohydrates and there in lies the problem.

They drive blood sugar and insulin up and lead to inflammation.

http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/how-did-we-come-to-believ e-saturated-fat-and-cholesterol-are-bad-for-us

http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/the-straight-dope-on-chol esterol-part-i

http://www.askthelowcarbexperts.com/2013/01/35-dr-steven-gun dry-high-fat-diets-good-vs-bad/

There are some people who may want to avoid animal foods besides fish because they may promote inflammation.  These people should only get saturated fat from coconut oil and other vegetable sources.

Its about 20% of people and can be determined by an ApoE gene typing test as detailed in the Gundry podcast.



How about just checking it out of your local library and reading it. If its something you think you can stick to then go out and buy the book. Less likely to waste money on another fad diet that way, lol!



Original Post by: raiken3712

Original Post by: MPC8875

did Chia Pets the result of these seeds or something? I'm not into fad diets. I just think that most diets are just temporary stuff people get into to get their body in shape for some season(mostly summer time) and they get back to noshing. Why not think about your health instead. all of those fats can accumulate and give you some form or imflammation that can give you a form or cancer, and IF you EVER beat it, you'll get another one. I'm just saying. 


Fat is only a an issue regarding cancer when the wrong fats are consumed.  Inflammation is at the root of cancer and many other chronic conditions.  An ideal Omega 3/6 ratio is one of the more important issues.  That ratio is around 1:4 3/6 to 1:1.

One of the major reasons cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions are on the rise is that people are eating too many Omega 6 oils in processed foods.  People have a range of ratios from 1:20 to 1:200 depending on how much processed junk food with Omega 6 oils they eat.  Omega 6 fats are not bad but when they aren't balanced with Omega 3s it leads to inflammation. 

Much of it is vegetable, corn, and soy oil.  They are PUFAs that end up getting oxidized in the process of making the processed foods and makes them even worse.  Further hydrogenation of oils creates trans fats that are even worse than Omega 6s out of balance.

Saturated fat is good for us as long as its not paired with large amounts of carbohydrates as in junk food.  Candy, hamburgers, hotdogs etc..  Many of the "high fat foods" are also high in carbohydrates and there in lies the problem.

They drive blood sugar and insulin up and lead to inflammation.

http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/how-did-we-come-to-believ e-saturated-fat-and-cholesterol-are-bad-for-us

http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/the-straight-dope-on-chol esterol-part-i

http://www.askthelowcarbexperts.com/2013/01/35-dr-steven-gun dry-high-fat-diets-good-vs-bad/

There are some people who may want to avoid animal foods besides fish because they may promote inflammation.  These people should only get saturated fat from coconut oil and other vegetable sources.

Its about 20% of people and can be determined by an ApoE gene typing test as detailed in the Gundry podcast.


Thank you for this explanation raiken3712! I have been recently learning about this and it blows my mind. You laid out the facts very clearly, and I think it's so important that people become educated on this.



There is no one superfood.  Healthy food can be found in every grocery store.  Be careful of processed junk, and be balanced!



I just have to say that the comments on this article totally made my day.  I love how honest and discerning you all are.  I'm admittedly a total sucker for any infomercial that comes along and I love you guy's cynical comments, they're great.  I myself have not tried chia seeds, but I'm going to make a post about vegan protein bc my hair's been really shedding.  *positive vibes* guys!



I checked it out at the library. I have been on Phase 1 for 1.5 weeks and have lost 24 pounds. I am not much on smoothies, but I do like the idea of the chia for protein and omega 3's. I will start back on solid food for lunch next week.

But it has not been easy when you are used to eating nothing but fast food.

I no longer have any cravings for sugar and that IS GOOD!

I would recommend it if you think yo can go the 2 weeks, I have lots to lose though....



I like chia seeds with peanut butter sandwiches!!!  Also, oatmeal and just about anything else!!!



I am a big fan of Chia Seeds.  A chef friend of mine turned me on to them.  I started adding them to the shakes I was already drinking for breakfast.  I finally found a way to turn my fiber bar green once I started doing this!  You can also easily sprinkle them on any salad.



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