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NINO diet

Fat Fiction > NINO diet

It's not all about visiting the fruitman you knowHere’s the simplest diet you’re ever likely to see. It’s totally healthy. It’s all you really need to know, and it’s only 35 words and it’s based around the simplest truth there is. It’s not calories in, calories out. It’s nutrients in, nutrients out (NINO). And as soon as you start thinking like that, foods like whole grains fall to the bottom of the pile while meat rises to the top.

So, let’s cut to the chase. In 35 words, here it is:

1)        Eat when you’re hungry. If you’re still hungry after eating, eat something different.

2)          Eat lots of meat, fish, vegetables, saturated fat and whole foods.

3)          Eat little grains, sugar, legumes, and vegetable oils.

4)          Eat no gluten.

That really is it.

Q&A (add more by sending a comment below and I’ll add it in)

What does ‘eat something different mean’?
You can eat as much meat, fish and healthy fats as you like but everything else has anti-nutritional properties – even vegetables. Of course, this doesn’t mean they contain no nutrients, it means they have the ability to strip nutrients, or prevent you absorbing them as well as provide them, all to varying degrees. Rather than figuring out exactly what these combinations are, trust your hunger. Ensure every meal contains protein and fats which are essential in your diet, and then rotate the remaining food groups. Just eaten a meal with potatoes and still hungry? Eat nuts and seeds. Just eaten some beans and still hungry? Eat a piece of chocolate. Etc. Note it doesn’t matter what order you cycle through, just ensure it’s something different.

The different food groups you need to know are broadly:

-          Meat and fish
-          Healthy fats – saturated (animal fats), olive, omega 3 fats found naturally in fish and nuts
-          Starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips
-          All other vegetables, from spinach to aubergines. Also tomatoes (strictly a fruit I know)
-          Grains like rice and corn, but not wheat, barley or rye that contain gluten which are off limits
-          Nuts and seeds. Not peanuts as it’s a legume
-          Fruits – any and all except tomatoes
-          Sugary foods – preferably stick to dark chocolate
-          Legumes - beans, lentils, peanuts

How fast will it work? The fitter and stronger your metabolism, the quicker you’ll see changes – anywhere from 1lb a week if you’re elderly and sluggish to 7lbs in a week if you’re fit.

What about fruit juices and sugary snack? The quickest way to derail a diet is by eating crap. You know it, I know it. Fruit juice is always best avoided and eat the fruit instead because otherwise you’ll continue to rely on sugars for a fuel source. Sweets should all be limited – stick to dark chocolate instead

Why no gluten? I’m not allergic to gluten. The damaging effects of gluten are universal, not just to celiacs (clinical intolerance to gluten). Read the posts on wheat for more.

How can I stop sugar cravings? The more you crave sugar, the more you absolutely shouldn’t have it. The craving (not simply ‘enjoyment’) for sugar is your bodies way of saying that it cannot use body fat as a fuel source, and the most likely culprit is a lack of essential vitamins, minerals and fats. Perversely, eating sugar will make it worse, whereas eating other mineral rich foods like spinach will improve it. If you don’t believe it try it – compare eating milk chocolate with dark chocolate and spinach, and find out which sorts out the craving faster.

How can I stop wheat cravings? Only by eliminating it completely. It’s been shown to have similar effects to heroin on the brain. Cold turkey is best

What about fruit, nuts and seeds? Cycle as you would with any other foods. Ensure nuts are unsalted, and seeds like flaxseed ground to have any use whatsoever

Won’t saturated fat kill me? Nope. Read posts on saturated fats for more.

Won’t saturated fat make me fat? Nope again. It’s really important not to eat the half-fat or skimmed milk versions of products. It takes away essential vitamins found in the fat (A, D, E and K) which you need to burn off fat. Avoiding fat will make you fat. Strange but true.

What about other fats? Olive oil? Omega 3/6 ratios? If you’re asking you already know. If you don’t, the upshot is you need to keep omega 6 ratios low relative to omega 3 ratios. The easiest way to do that is to avoid omega 6 fats and eat fish and oils high in omega 3 like flaxseed. Olive oil is always good.

How about milk and cheese? Totally indulge. Full fat. However, if you’ve suffered gluten-based damage to your GI tract, you may need to avoid dairy for a few months. In celiacs (those completely intolerant to gluten), this takes anywhere from 6 months on. If you feel fine, it’s all good.

What’s gluten found in? Wheat, barley and rye. In short, tons of stuff from breads to pasta to malt vinegar to cheap chocolates. Check.

Is this a diet for life? Why shouldn’t it be?

Is this a paleo/caveman diet? Not exactly though it shares some principles. Paleo diets exclude all grains and  legumes. Traditional paleo excludes saturated fat too. Either versions are at extreme ends of the scale. It’s perfectly possible to eat these foods, but only if you’re aware of what they’re doing to you nutritionally speaking.

What does burning fat as a fuel feel like? If you’ve been overweight for a few years you probably won’t recognise it – it feels like a fire in your belly, but in a good way. You can actually feel it happening. And you won’t feel as hungry as you did while you’re burning off fat.

Fruitman in the Caribbean from Tabooze

Comments (19) Trackbacks (1)
  1. Hi, your NINO diet made wonders in my body, weeks ago from the last heartburn, and I remembered this old article, translated from Spanish to English with Google Translator (I am from Mexico, the land of the most comsumed comercial beverages), this old article ( http://translate.google.com.mx/translate?hl=es&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&sl=es&tl=en&u=http://www.mitosyfraudes.org/Risks/ames_triage.html ) relates about the relation of the nutrients and the body, I hope you like the article because this confirms the power of your NINO diet in a scientific basis.

    My mother got gallblader gallstones years ago, she suffers an attack only if she consumes a food mixed with exaggerated fat and exaggerated refined carbs, can be possible if the dangerous mix of fat and gluten causes your gallstones from beginning? I suspect the fat only can no cause gallstones but the mix of fat and gluten, this mix is a real shit seriously as I seen my mother suffers from the attacks only after that bad food mix.

    I like very much the lemons, the potent citric acid can be a possible prevention or remediation for the gallstones due to action above the bilis, and surprise my mother don’t like the lemons and she had the gallstones, and my father don’t like very much the water and he had kidney stones (extracted under sedation, that shit scares me every bit), excuse my regular English as this is not my maternal language, regards,


    • Hi Sergio, thanks for your comment, really interesting. I’ve been reading up on this guy – Bruce Ames – and it’s a terrific find. I’ll look into more of what he’s doing because as you say a lot of it chimes with what I’ve been looking at. But it goes one step further – that micronutrient deficiencies are responsible for most diseases. One experiment revealing about vitamin K is here for anyone interested:

      Fat + gluten possibly. My current understanding is that gluten is causing damage, fat is just contracting the gallbladder, so there’s two different timescales, but if she’s seen a definite cause and effect that’d be interesting to fathom out.

      I’d come across nutrients and Mexico early on funnily enough. Because Mexicans have such a high intake of grains and sugar, it’s been causing malnutrition in the poor. So much so, the govt have actively been undertaking a huge country-wide fortification programme. Amazingly, the science behind the phytic acid and malnutrition is proven, but dieticians seem largely oblivious to the whole thing.

      • Thanks by the reply, in my country Mexico the corn is controlled with artificial prices (subsidy) and this bad move results in a cheap grain, so the people will buy the most cheap food, the irony is that without the subsidy the people will be leave without an option but to purchase the most health food (meat, fruits, veggies, legumes and nuts).

        In the school the fast food was removed by law, but a trap was set, the corporations sell to schools pseudo-health food that is the same shit repackaged with a shiny bag so is the same problem again.

        I suppose you saw the documentary “Food Inc” from the USA, they subsidized heavily the grains and with the NAFTA dynamited the Mexican grains market, so now my country imports most of the grains and the farmers migrate to the USA or works for the narco, this a very vicious circle really.

        I find very funny that the first thing to be get with the agriculture in the final Paleolithic age was the beer, so next was the grains; and excess of beer is very bad for the health, and the same thing about the grains (as a whole); and the worst about the grains is that the wild grains from thousands years ago were bad for the health (I readed in your site about the Egyptian mummys) so the man mixed differents grains species and obtain a more palatable, edible and no so toxic grain; the equivalent is to refine a nuclear bomb so can we bomb the enemise safely without radiation.



        • Sergio, I’d say grain subsidies are pretty much a worldwide problem. I haven’t seen Food inc, but I know Michael Pollan – I should check it out.

          You’re right about the wild grains. The problem is the poison’s in the dosage like so many things. People eat so much grains because they’re so keen to avoid fat. And that in turn is because the research has proven sat fat to be detrimental to health and obesogenic. This is a real trap- the research – that allows corps to sell garbage in schools and underpins everything else – govt policy, grains, consumer demand etc. Where are the scientists when you need them eh?! The tide is gradually turning as new information comes out, but it’s very slow.

          • Hi Mike, I am stuck in the same weight despite following the NINO diet for four weeks, but I am much more, more healthy than before without any slight sugar cravings, the funny thing is thanks to the NINO diet I have a too much free time due to the much less eating so I am beginning to spend gradually more time in exercises I like, not in a gym but in my house.

            Finally I quit the gluten, but I don’t know if the milk can be the culprit of the stalled weight (mine is 220 pounds with a 6 feet and 1 inch height), everyday I prepare a milkshake with 1/2 milk cup, 1/2 ice water cup, 1/2 banana, 1/2 apple, 6-8 walnuts (contains Omega-3), 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, I don’t put any sugar; oh man I love this shake because of the healthful pack of vitamins and minerals with the plus of the blood sugar control of the cinnamon (this condiment make wonders for the diabetics, and no I am not diabetic, thanks to Heaven).

            The milk I drink is semi-descremated (was not my fault, was the milk my family purchases every week), I will try the next two weeks with full normal milk with its intact fat, but if this thing don’t help me then, can I use the almond milk? I found in the Internet the recipe to make almond milk in home, the question is, the almond will be good for me? or can ruin me with any anti-nutrient property like the gluten?

            And, the coconut oil is OK in the NINO diet or is classified under the vegetal oils?, regards,


          • Hi, good and bad news in one eh?! First off, coconut oil, OK (it is not a vegetable oil) and almond milk – sure give it a go. Lots of foods have phytic acid in them, and it only really becomes a problem if you too much of one single item. Strict paleo advocates no grains whatsoever, which is too limiting for most people. Again, it’s about moderation.

            The weight loss happens as it happens. I know that sounds ridiculous but rather than trying to lose weight, you’re aiming to naturally start burning fat, and naturally eat less. By its nature it’ll take different amounts of time in different people. If you cut out all carbohydrates, that’d jump start it (and so a lot of people do, Atkins and Dukan et al), but you might want to keep going a while longer while your gut flora restores and let it happen naturally. If after persisting it doesn’t happen then by all means scale back on carbs and let us know how you get on.

            Best of luck

          • Oh man, I err in the last message with the quantities of the milkshake, was not cup but glass, so is 1/2 milk glass and 1/2 ice water glass, sorry and regards,


  2. Hi Mike, I found this article about the dangers of sugar and wheat in the tooth decay ( http://www.healingteethnaturally.com/dr-herbert-shelton-real-reasons-tooth-decay.html ) and this shit can be got bad since the pregnancy and the bad diet from the mother.

    In another side… I recommend you to read the book “Fasting and Sun Bathing” ( http://www.soilandhealth.org/02/0201hyglibcat/020127shelton.III/020127.toc.htm ) from Herbert M. Shelton, about the real benefits of fasting, first read this please and in the future you can consider a fasting to get ride of the gallstones or got that shit really downsized, this is not guaranteed but I want to help, but please first read the book from start to end, is very fascinating and full of demonstrated benefits (one of the benefits is the shrinking of tumors, but I want to see beyond and see the full body participation in the self-healing) of the fasting and why this is not starvation.

    Of course, I fasted again and the irony is that my gut was healed so I now can tolerate perfectly (yeah, I swear) the gluten and the full milk without troubles; I am sorry but I can not imagine my life without a little bread or few “tortillas”; of course I don’t eat any candy, nor sugar, nor legumes or another processed foods anymore, but a little bread and/or few “tortillas” can made wonders for my diet everyday and I am happy.

    So I follow the NINO diet with a little bread and few tortillas and I am very healthy (thanks Heavens) and burning fat everyday without any sugar cravings, regards,


    • Thanks Sergio. First off, terrific news the diet is working out for you.
      I did have a look at Shelton’s book. It’s interesting. His history makes it quite easy to dismiss him as a shill, and some of the way he approached medicine are in my eyes unforgiveable. But, *some *of the book is compelling. His insight that sugar and flour and water diet vs a water diet alone would kill the former quicker than the latter is insight way beyond his time.
      Also, I agree that we’ve lost a forgotten plenty of important traditions with food that have already been discovered but are being replaced by the superficial immature science of nutritionism, something which Michael Pollan makes a compelling case for.
      As for fasting to cure disease, it’s definitely worth investigating. Thanks for sending

  3. Hi Mike, I am again, how you go with the gallstones? I found an interesting link with a thing called “liver flush” ( http://www.alternativehealth.co.nz/cancer/liverflush.htm ), if you read the link then you will find an possible and natural solution to the gallstones (two gross images included in the link); I hope this can help you (and in the near future, helping my mother).

    Meanwhile… better late than never, I am finally going down in the excess weight, from 51 inchs (February) from waist to 46 inchs (March) and 18 pounds (from a initial weight of 220 pounds), with the rest of the body going very, very well in the physical appearance.

    I hope the link will be useful to your gallstones’ battle,

    cheers and regards,


    • Hi Sergio, great news on the weight loss. Thanks for the gallstones link, I found something similar a few years back. It is an old wives tale unfortunately (although I did try it, just to be sure). However they havent caused any problems for over a year, so no hurry for cures just now. Cheers

  4. Hi Mike, Just found your blog and am really interested in this. i am obese and just found out that i have low stomach acid so I am taking betaine hcl with pepsin. I desperately want to lose weight and have tried everything. I have only just found out about the low stomach acid. I read your NiNo diet, but I am vegetarian, I eat some fish but very little, only about twice a week. How can your diet work for me? I really want to lose this weight!!

    • Hi Joan, I could tell you you absolutely need to do x/y/z but I’m not trying to position myself as some kind of diet guru so this is just my best guess.

      Vegetarian means you have to be that much stricter because your protein sources (exc. fish) also contain antinutrients that can inhibit other nutrients; the only way around this is to eat wide ranges of food in any sitting. Also stripping out meat means you have to be much stricter with no sugar/processed food too. But still the same applies- broad range of nutrients, go low on starches and replace with other veg until your appetite drops off. Intermittent fasting (see Mark Sisson) is also a good idea, to get your appetite under control.

      Lori (see loved above) has had a lot of experience with low stomach acid too, definitely have a read. Interesting about the effects of low stomach acid, be good to know how prevalent it is. Anyway, plenty of folks have got rid of these issues, so root them out and best of luck

  5. Hi Mike,

    I am interested in eating the NINO way, due to recent gall bladder removal and wanting to lose the weight that I am thinking has caused the problem in the first place.

    Is there any further guidance as in recipes that will help me produce meals for my family and I, that allow us to eat this way easily day in day out???

    Thanks and take Care

    • Hi Jo,
      There aren’t any recipe suggestions, only because there’s so many other people who do it so well. The basics of this diet and any other paleo-like diet is don’t eat processed shit, or low fat products (denatured as some call them). Check out loved section and a few other sites. Marks Daily Apple is probably the most comprehensive.
      It is harder with kids obviously, see Primal Parent for some good ideas.

  6. Hi Mike.
    I was hoping you could answer some of my questions when you find the time.
    Which cereals are ok for breakfast? Cornflakes? Müsli? Which one is better?
    Are boiled eggs good? Are peas? Why are beans bad?

    breakfast & dinner:
    cereals (musli, cornflakes)
    boiled eggs
    what else?

    • Hi Dito, rather than absolutely good or bad, it’s more a case of nutritious or not. Legumes (beans, peas) are not so much bad, just nutritionally poor compared to other foods. In part of a balanced diet the net effect is beneficial – and in many countries where beans are a staple they are carefully balanced with other foods. However, if you’re overweight you need to get the most nutrition possible, ergo go easy on the legumes.
      Cornflakes – processed.
      Eggs – great.
      Cereals are grains, so nutritionally poor. Ignore the advertising, it’s all bunkum.

  7. Hi Mike, it’s me, Sergio from Mexico, you remember me? I was the heavy man with height of 5 foot and 10 inch, weight of 220 pounds and 51.2 inchs from waist since I started the NINO diet in February, I have good news for you, I weigh actually 167.2 pounds with 35 inchs from waist, I go from XL to S clothes and I donated 9/10 of my wardrobreweeks ago.

    In those months I readen everyting about every diet and, finally confirmed the NINO diet is the correct diet, always was the nutrients; and yeah, the gluten is very bad, I see if I eat gluten then I become bloated and depressed, now I prepare everything in the kitchen (plus this is a good exercise to burn extra fat); is a real pleasure to eat free and healthy; I hope you can return with another article (I know is hard because you created excellent articles to explain in a minimalist style all about the obesity crisis), cheers and regards,


    • Hi Sergio I do remember clearly! Congratulations, that’s great news, really very pleased for you. You make for a great case study, and it’s really impressive results that you’ve had.
      As for continuing writing, I really will, but I’ve had to prioritise my paid work over this which has been really busy, so this blog is paused rather than forgotten. I’ll come back to it soon.

      thanks for letting us know


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