Doctor tackles myths about high-protein diets

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- When most of us think about losing weight, we think of high-protein diets. Well, one local doctor decided to dive into what really makes us drop the pounds.

For years, Dr. Garth Davis practiced what he preached: protein, protein, protein. When his own health started fail, though, his research led him a drastically different direction.

"My practice is predominantly weight loss, but I see people with the usual western civilization diseases: hypertension, cancer, heart disease, and everybody is telling me the same thing. They've all -- the number one thing they're doing is high-protein diets," explains Dr. Davis.

Dr. Davis knew his health wasn't 100 percent.

"My belly was bigger and bigger, I felt terrible all the time, IBS, I was going to GI doctors," he said.

But, he certainly didn't think he was in terrible condition. Then, he went for a physical as a part of a life insurance policy application, and his results weren't what he expected.

"It came back with high cholesterol, and I was hypertension, and my triglycerides were high, and my liver had fatty liver. I didn't know any of this. I was 35 years-old," Davis says.

He started researching high animal-based protein diets and realized too much of this protein isn't a good thing.

"Protein causes weight gain for several reasons. Protein comes with saturated fat. Number 2, it stimulates a hormone called IGF1, and IGF1 is a growth hormone and it does increase growth and body fat storage. You're getting endotoxins from the bacteria that's in there," he explains.

Davis changed to a plant-based diet, saw drastic results in his own weight and health and now shares his results with others.

"I'll tell my patients I want grains, beans, berries, whole fruits, lots of vegetables," says Davis.

And while he's a vegetarian, he realizes that's a drastic change for others.

"I'm not telling people to become a vegetarian. I'm saying lets' turn this plate around. Let's eat mainly yams and vegetables and fruits," he said.

It's a lifestyle change even his employees tried.

"I stepped up my exercise, of course, but I did a lot with lentils, beans, and kale that I never did before," says Casey Jo Edminston.

She hasn't given up meat, but adding more fruits, veggies, and fiber worked.

"In the past two years, I've lost about 35 to 38 pounds," adds Edminston.

Dr. Davis put all of his research and recipes together in his book, Proteinaholic. It's available online and in bookstores nationwide.
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